Parents often disagree about how child custody matters should be handled. For example, one parent may wish to have virtually all of the parental responsibilities and parenting time, while the other parent believes that custody should be split 50/50. Parents may also disagree about where their child should go to school, the types of extracurricular activities or religious practices the child should be involved in, or countless other issues.
When divorcing parents disagree regarding child-related legal issues, the court may require the parents to attend mediation. If you are a parent who is planning to divorce, make sure you understand Illinois laws regarding mandatory mediation.
When Does the Court Require Mediation?
Typically, mediation is ordered by the court if the parents disagree about the provisions of the parenting plan. Mediation allows the parents to discuss the issue and work toward a solution without the court’s involvement. Illinois courts typically want to avoid child custody cases becoming highly litigious because this is not typically in a child’s best interest. So, the first step is going to mediation.
What Happens During Mediation?
During family law or divorce mediation, parties work with a mediator who helps them discuss the disputed issues and explore various solutions. The mediator is not a lawyer and does not represent either party. His or her main job is to facilitate productive conversation about the issues at hand. If the conversation becomes too heated, the mediator may step in, redirect the conversation, and help the parties cool down. Many parents find that the mediation process helps them put emotions aside and focus on reaching an agreement that is best for their child.
What Are the Benefits of Mediation?
Mediation can be especially beneficial for divorcing parents because parents will continue to be involved in each other ‘s lives even after their marriage is over. Divorcing spouses without children can simply complete the divorce and walk away from each other, never needing to interact again. However, divorced parents may run into issues in the future that they will have to work together to solve. The mediation process can be a great way to start off a co-parenting relationship on the right foot. When parents learn how to discuss child-related issues calmly and efficiently during divorce, they are better equipped to handle conflict in the future.
Another main benefit of mediation is that the parents remain in control of the outcome of the mediation sessions. When parents develop their own parenting plan, they are more likely to stick to the plan than if the court handed down a decision.
When is Mediation Not Required?
There are some situations in which the court will not require divorcing parents to attend mediation. For example, if there is a history of abuse in the relationship, mediation may not only be inappropriate but even dangerous.
Contact our Joliet Child Custody Lawyers
If you are getting divorced and you share children with your ex, or if you are involved in a child custody dispute, our skilled Joliet family law attorneys can help. Call [[title]] at [[phone]] and set up a private consultation to learn more.