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Child Custody & Visitation

What should I do if a child custody lawsuit has been filed or my spouse is threatening to file a child
custody lawsuit?

For many people, the prospect of child custody litigation is the scariest aspect of separation and divorce.
It seems crazy to allow a person who doesn’t know you and who doesn’t know your children the right to
decide who gets custody of your children. How do you take such a risk with the ones you love the most?
Sadly, sometimes you don’t have a choice.
If a child custody lawsuit has been filed or you are being threatened with filing of a child custody lawsuit,
you need to retain the services of a law firm with experience in this area as soon as possible. When you
retain The Mueller Law Firm, our team immediately starts work on your case. You and your children are
our top priority. Despite the stress of this situation, you will feel confident working with the exceptional
Mueller Law Firm members and comforted by their compassion, understanding and respect.

Just because a child custody lawsuit has been filed, does that mean my custody case has to be decided
by a judge?

Most parents want to try to resolve their child custody issues outside of court. The Mueller Law Firm,
guided by your insight as to what is best for your family, will make every effort to settle your child
custody case without the necessity of a court hearing. You can decide whether to participate in
negotiations, a settlement conference or a private mediation. If the issue of child custody is settled
outside of court, your attorney will memorialize the agreed-upon terms in writing.

Are there other opportunities to settle child custody without going to a court hearing?

In Wake County, we have the benefit of an amazing Child Custody Mediation Office that is funded by our
tax dollars. As a result, you are not charged any additional fees to participate in this type of mediation.
When a child custody case is filed in Wake County, the Wake County Family Court Office sets a date for
you and the other parent to attend Child Custody Orientation so that you can receive information about
the Wake County Child Custody Mediation program. After orientation is completed, a date is set for

Can my attorney or a friend or a family member attend mediation with me?

Only the parents attend and participate in both the orientation session and in mediation. Lawyers and
others are not allowed to attend.

How successful is Child Custody Mediation Program?

This program has a great success rate. The Mueller Law Firm supports the Mediation Office and
encourages our clients to participate fully and meaningfully.

What happens after the mediation session?

If you and the other parent settle your differences through the Mediation Office, the mediator will
memorialize the terms in a document referred to as a “Parenting Agreement.” Do not worry. You are
not pressured to sign this document at any time. The draft Parenting Agreement is mailed to you and to
your attorney. You are allowed ample time to review this document with your attorney.
After reviewing this document with your attorney, if you still agree to its terms, you return to the
Mediation Office to sign the Parenting Agreement. Once both parents have signed, the mediator
delivers the Parenting Agreement to the assigned Family Court Judge. Once the Parenting Agreement is
also signed by the Judge, it becomes an order of the court.

On the other hand, if mediation is not successful, your case remains in the court system and may be
decided by the assigned judge unless it is not otherwise resolved. Please read the list of documents and
information you need to provide to your attorney for child custody.

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