Mr. Darren M. Shapiro's experiences in the realm of family law has allowed him a comprehensive insight into the emotional turmoil and complications that can arise in cases involving children. Regardless of whether matters of child custody or divorce are managed through litigation, or more negotiation-friendly methods like collaborative law, or mediation, Mr. Shapiro recognizes that the presence of a child alone is enough to make the simplest cases more complex. While amicable methods of addressing custody, visitation, divorce, and other legal matters can help clients to avoid some of the obstacles typically created in litigation, some mediation and collaborative cases may require additional input to allow for the most successful results.
While the neutral mediation and guidance of Mr. Darren Shapiro himself can be an incredibly valuable tool, he notes that additional expertise can sometimes provide parents with the navigation they need to move through complex cases. In fact, many collaborative lawyers and mediators like Mr. Shapiro advise their clients to work alongside other experts during the discussion of issues in matters of parenting time and custody - regardless of whether the custody matter arises as a side product of divorce or outside of a divorce.
One valuable expert that can be accessed in mediation and collaborative cases is the child specialist. As the title indicates, a child specialist is a professional who has received extensive training in order to provide assistance in easing the friction and emotional complexities involved in decisions associated with custody, parenting time, and other important matters of family law. Child specialists have a unique ability to provide value to a wide range of different cases, as they come equipped with effective techniques for dispute resolution, specialized knowledge regarding custody and child matters, and more. Although these specialist individuals are often used most often in collaborative law cases, Mr. Shapiro has also worked alongside them in the process of mediation to allow for a more positive outcome for all involved if obstacles occur. Usually, it is not required to use a child specialist in mediation, however, it is nice to know the option exists if necessary.
A child specialist acts as a neutral party within the process of a mediation or collaborative divorce case, which can be essential to child-related matters which might cause a significant amount of friction. These individuals, like Mr. Shapiro in mediation cases, will not attempt to push the desired outcome of either of the parents involved. Instead, they work to use their mental health knowledge and legal expertise, to assist in facilitating conversation about the requirements and needs of the children, or child involved. A child specialist is also able to address some of the concerns that parents, or even children, may have regarding the decisions to be made on visitation, custody, and parenting time. Just like the majority of legal professionals that may become involved in a case associated with children, the focus of a child specialist is to pursue the best interests of the child, or children involved. Because of this, these professionals are responsible for examining the thoughts and perspective of the children as comprehensively as possible, while providing opportunities for those children to be heard in the context of legal procedures.
In an effort to understand both the concerns and hopes a child has during a child-related legal case, child specialists often meet with the children alone to speak with them about the changes in their family life. Following these conversations, specialists can then meet again with professional mediators or collaborative lawyers like Mr. Darren M. Shapiro, as well as the parents, to make suggestions about decisions, and offer insights. Because these individuals can offer a unique insight into the needs of every person involved in a parenting time or child custody matter, specialists can often be effective in helping parents to create plans that meet with their goals, as well as the requirements of the children. Because child specialists are generally involved in extensive discussions with both parents, as well as the children involved in the case, they can often offer a better insight into what needs to be addressed in order to meet with the best interests of the child involved. Sometimes, the child specialist will even refer to the thoughts and opinions of the child in helping parents to better understand the needs of their children in regards to parenting decisions.
Following a thorough discussion into the possible outcomes of parenting time and custody matters, a collaborative lawyer or mediator can be used as a drafting attorney, so that the clients may enter an agreed parenting plan into court, so that it can be admitted as a piece of the final legal settlement. This solution often presents a highly beneficial option for many families, as the process of collaborative law or mediation alone allows for the reduction of expensive and emotional litigation, while still assisting parents in making crucial decisions regarding their children's future. Unfortunately, it's also important to remember that both collaborative law, and mediation may not offer realistic options to parents in certain circumstances. In litigation, similar assistance may be accessed in the form of a forensic custody evaluator, but it's worth noting that these professionals are expensive to access, and may not provide the same results as a child specialist. Unfortunately, even access to a custody evaluator will not mean that the family does not experience the trauma that litigation might entail, as this process can take a significant toll on the children and parents involved.
Despite the fact that litigation can be a difficult process - particularly when children are involved, it's important to note that if a parenting plan cannot be established through negotiations, mediation or collaboratively, litigation must be accessed in order for a court to design a plan according to the best interests of the children. Mr. Shapiro's office, though equipped to offer both collaborative services and mediation when applicable, recognizes the need for litigation in some circumstances, which is why Mr. Shapiro is willing to litigate whenever the issue requires it.
To discuss your options regarding child custody and visitation matters in greater depth, please contact the law and mediation office of Mr. Darren Shapiro for friendly and professional advice. You can schedule your initial appointment for free by getting in touch either via our useful online form, or calling at 516-333-6555.