Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka has decided not to participate in the U.S. Open this year because due to an ongoing custody battle with her child’s father. She is apparently concerned about traveling out of the state with the child, who is less than a year old, and has decided to stay in California and miss this major tournament.

Azarenka provided the following statement: “I am sadly unable to compete in this year’s U.S. Open due to my ongoing family situation that I am working through”.

While this situation is definitely unfortunate for everyone involved, these are exactly the types of situations that occur when parties rely on attorneys and litigation to address issues related to parenting. And often times once parents have started to utilize the court system to resolve their disputes, they continue in this manner all the way until their children reach age 18. I had a court-based mediation several years ago where never-married parents who had eight-year-old twins had already been in court seven different times (almost once a year since their children had been born).

In mediation, we have the opportunity to address parenting concerns in a much more constructive and proactive manner that more often than not leads to mutual agreements between the parents. Additionally, the parties have an opportunity to express their concerns in a more informal, relaxed environment which allows the parties to engage in a dialogue rather than simply having attorneys fight over legal principles (all the while charging the parents tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars).

I have quite a few videos regarding how to handle specific parenting plan (custody) issues on my YouTube page.