Eleventh Judicial District Court - McKinley and San Juan Counties
Mediation is a way of settling disagreements about the care of children following separation and divorce without a courtroom battle. Mediation requires both parents to think about and work on these problems. The rights and responsibility of each parent are identified. The ways in which the children’s needs continue to be met are discussed. The solutions to problems and responsibilities for the children are left where they have always been and will continue to be with the parents. The goal is to recognize the family, not to “award” custody to one parent and make a “visitor” of the other.
The Mediation Program was developed to provide people with a choice, leaving the responsibility with the family for making decisions. While every family may not resolve all of the disputes regarding the future care of the children, most have found mediation useful in reaching acceptable agreements which define their ongoing relationships and responsibilities to each other as well as to the children.
With the assistance of trained mediators, parents meet together in an informal setting to decide on a parenting plan for the future which best meets their individual needs and the needs of their children. The mediators are neutral and objective; their role is to help parents work cooperatively in resolving their disputes so they can continue on with the task of parenting their children.
Mediation is a way to begin making joint custody work. New Mexico law now states, “There shall be a presumption that joint custody is in the best interest of a child in an initial custody determination.”
The Mediator reports to the Court with an outline of the agreements reached by the parents. Such outline is named the “Parenting Plan”. If the agreement is approved by the Court, it will be entered as an enforceable order of the Court.