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Mediated child custody arrangement is challenged in Texas

Mediation is a great option for some families who want to save time, money and stress in certain family law situations. Two parents, for example, could sit down at a table together with a mediator (who doesn't take sides) and come to a child custody agreement free from any back and forth between lawyers. Mediation can lead to agreements that parents can more easily live with.

In the case of at least one Texas child custody agreement, however, a father regrets the agreement he and his ex reached during mediation. His challenge to his own custody agreement is causing some controversy in the state, as protecting the mediation process is seen as important with regards to the family law process.

According to the American-Statesman, the father is worried that the agreement he and his ex came to in mediation will put their daughter at risk. His ex-wife is currently dating another man who is a registered sex offender. The father claims that he knew of the sex offender status but he didn't know that his probation terms had changed and that the boyfriend could now legally have contact with children. The father, therefore, doesn't feel comfortable allowing his daughter to be with his ex if there's a chance that the boyfriend will be present.

When he found out that information after the mediation ended, the father went to a judge to challenge the mediated agreement. The judge agreed with the father, keeping the child custody agreement from going forward as planned. Both the father and the court thought it was crucial to override the custody agreement because it would not have been in the best interest of the child.

The fight to protect not only the agreement but the validity of mediation in general, however, is not over. This case will go to the Texas Supreme Court for final consideration and we will post an update when there is a development in the case.

Source: American-Statesman, "Child safety case could affect disputed Texas divorces," Chuck Lindell, May 28, 2012

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