During divorces and other family law cases, parents may need to resolve subjects related to child custody, and they may disagree on how to divide or share parental responsibilities and parenting time. Child custody-related disputes can be emotionally draining and difficult for all parties involved. Resolving these disputes through litigation in court can lead to increased hostility between parents, and prolonged legal battles can have negative effects on all members of a family.
Fortunately, there is an alternative method that offers numerous benefits for families who need to address child custody issues: mediation. To determine whether this option may be beneficial in your situation, you should consult with an experienced family law attorney who can provide guidance on the best ways to resolve legal disputes related to your children.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary process where a neutral third party helps parents communicate with each other and negotiate agreements on how to address child custody issues. This process provides a safe environment for parents to discuss their concerns, needs, and desires regarding the custody arrangements regarding their children.
In Illinois, court-ordered mediation may be required in certain family law cases before proceeding to litigation. However, at any point in the case parents may also voluntarily agree to use mediation to negotiate a parenting plan and attempt to resolve child-related disputes.
Benefits of Mediation
Child custody mediation offers several advantages over traditional court proceedings, including:
Cooperation: Unlike litigation, which pits one parent against the other in an adversarial setting, mediation encourages cooperation and collaboration. By working together with the assistance of a skilled mediator, parents can try to find common ground and develop solutions that are mutually beneficial for themselves and their children.
Control over the outcome of a case: During litigation, a judge will ultimately make decisions about custody arrangements based on what they believe is in the best interests of the child. This may result in an outcome that is not satisfactory for either parent. With mediation, however, parents retain control over the decisions about child custody. They can craft agreements that directly address their unique circumstances and provide for their children’s needs.
Communication: Effective communication between co-parents is crucial after a divorce or separation. Mediation fosters open dialogue and better understanding between parents. It allows them to develop essential co-parenting skills and cultivate a more cooperative relationship moving forward.
Reduction of Conflict: Child custody disputes can often lead to conflict between parents, which can be detrimental to the well-being of their children. Mediation aims to minimize conflict by promoting peaceful negotiations and providing an opportunity for parents to address child-related issues in a non-confrontational manner.
Savings: Litigation can drag on for months or even years, resulting in large legal fees and other expenses. In contrast, mediation will often be less time-consuming and costly, as it focuses on resolving conflicts efficiently and cooperatively. Agreements created through mediation may be approved by the court without the need for additional legal proceedings.
Contact Our Hillside Child Custody Attorney
If you need to resolve child custody issues, [[title]] can help you understand all of your legal options. We can provide skilled guidance on whether mediation may be beneficial, and we can ensure that your parenting plan will protect your parental rights, while also providing for your children’s best interests. To learn how our Oak Park child custody lawyer can assist with your case, contact our office at [[phone]] and schedule a free consultation today.