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Court-Ordered Custody Mediations

All of our services are offered in-person or virtual. Please call our office at 570-374-1718 if you have questions, and our case coordinator will explain the options to you. 

  1. You will receive a court order instructing you to call SVM within 10 days to schedule an appointment. You can contact our office 570-374-1718, Monday – Thursday. 

  2. When you contact SVM, our case coordinator will explain mediation to you and answer any questions you may have. As soon as all parties in your case have contacted our office, your mediation will be scheduled and you will receive a packet of information. If you have been ordered to attend Kids First, your class time will be scheduled. 

  3. You can mediate either at our Selinsgrove office or at our Lewisburg office. 

  4. When you arrive at SVM for your mediation, the co-mediators will explain the process. You can choose whether or not to mediate. If you would like to mediate, you sign the Agreement to Mediate form.

Possible Outcomes

If you and the other parties decide to mediate, there are several possible outcomes:

  • You may write a custody agreement, which we will submit to the Union or Snyder Court for you.

  • You may write a custody agreement and choose to take it to an attorney before filing it. In this case, we will not file it for you.

  • You may decide to not write a custody agreement and choose to go back to court.

  • You may decide to come back for a second session within 60 days. There is no additional fee for a second session. Parties may give a donation if they wish.

  • You may decide to withdraw your custody complaint from the Union or Snyder County Court altogether. You may pick up the withdrawal form in our office, or in the Union or Snyder County Courthouse.

At SVM, we use the Transformative Model of Mediation, which emphasizes the decision-making capabilities and dignity of the parties participating in mediation.

What to Expect

Frequently Discussed Issues

Although every mediation is different, it may be helpful to you to familiarize yourself with frequently discussed issues. This can help you understand what issues are important to you before you begin mediating. 

1. Legal Custody

  • Whether one or both parents will have “legal custody.” Legal custody means that a person has access to all medical, educational, psychological, counseling and religious records and information regarding a child or children. Additionally, all significant decisions regarding a child are made by the parent or parents who have legal custody.

2. Physical Custody Schedule

  • Whether the child or children will spend time with each parent according to a schedule and, if so, what the schedule will be.  The sharing of time is referred to as “physical custody.”

  • If one parent would like to make a temporary change in the schedule other than in an emergency situation, how much notice should be given to the other parent?

  • If a schedule is adopted, when and where will the change of physical custody from one parent to the other occur, and may the parents use any other people to bring or pick up the child(ren), such as other family members?

​3. Vacation Time 

  • Will provisions be made so that each parent will be able to spend vacation time with the child(ren)? If so, will there be a specific time when each parent will be able to vacation with the child(ren) and will the parent having physical custody be required to provide the other parent with travel information in advance of the trip, such as a written itinerary, destination addresses and phone numbers, and flight plans?

4. Holidays and Birthdays

  • Will there be arrangements for holidays and birthdays, such as New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Presidents’ Day, Passover, Easter, Mother’s Day, mother’s birthday, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, father’s birthday, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, children’s birthdays, grandparents’ birthdays?

5. Special Events

  • Will any provision be made so that parents will cooperate with one another so that the children may attend special events, school events and family events, whenever practicable?

6. Phone Contact

  • Will provision be made for regular phone contact between the child(ren) and the parent who does not have physical custody?

7. Emergencies

  • What obligation shall each parent have, if any, to notify the other in the event of an emergency that arises when a child is in the parent’s custody? If the parties are to share legal custody, and the parent having physical custody at the time an emergency arises is either unable to attempt contact with the other parent before a decision needs to be made, or is unsuccessful after using all reasonable efforts to contact the other parent, may the parent having physical custody make a unilateral decision necessitated by the emergency circumstances without consulting the other parent?

8. Co-Parenting

  • Will the parties acknowledge the importance of the other parent in the lives of the children and agree to further a positive relationship between the child(ren) and the other parent, and avoid speaking negatively about the other parent to the children?

9. Privacy

  • Will the parents agree to be respectful of each other’s right to privacy?

10. Grandparents

  • Will provision be made for grandparents to spend time with the child(ren)?

11. Tax Returns

  • Will there be an agreement as to which parent is entitled to claim the child(ren) as a dependent on tax returns?

12. Further Mediations

  • If a dispute regarding custody arises in the future, will the parties agree to try to resolve the dispute in mediation prior to litigation?

Frequently Discussed Issue
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