Thursday, August 04, 2005

A new way to treat children of divorce - NH

The Telegraph Online


Divorcing couples with children will find a change of procedure in New Hampshire’s court system starting Oct. 1.

A new law aimed at making divorce less hostile allows judges to refer parents to mediation when they are unable to agree on how much time their children will spend with either mom or dad as part of broader custody issues.

The law, however, would not apply to cases where domestic violence has been an issue.

Lawyers who deal in divorces and other family issues hope the law will encourage parents to settle custody disputes themselves by setting up a plan for shared child-rearing responsibilities rather than having a judge impose a top-down solution.
It could be a less costly and quicker resolution of custody issues and a happier outcome for children who are the unhappy bystanders in a marital breakup.

The law, approved by the Legislature as part of a bill called the Parental Rights and Responsibilities Act, is the product of a task force that studied ways to reform divorce and other aspects of family law in the state.

Under the law, lawyers and others familiar with divorce proceedings hope parents, through mediation, will work cooperatively to set up visiting schedules, holiday participation, school attendance and living arrangements that best meet their kids’ needs rather than their own.

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