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Naperville divorce mediation attorneysParents who are getting divorced in Illinois are asked to create a “parenting plan” or parenting agreement which describes the way they plan to share parenting time and responsibilities. There are over a dozen issues which must be addressed in the plan, including when the child will live with each parent, how the child will be transported between homes, how future modifications to the plan will be handled, and more. Family law mediation may be particularly beneficial to divorcing couples with child-related disputes. If you and your spouse are planning to divorce, mediation may enable you to design a parenting plan that benefits you as well as your children.  

Mediation Allows Both Parents to Express Ideas and Concerns

There are only two ways that Illinois parenting plans are created: through an agreement between the parents or through the court. Child custody litigation can be stressful, expensive, and can lead parents to be even more resentful of each other. Furthermore, when the court makes a decision about parental responsibilities and parenting time on the parents’ behalf, the parents have much less direct input. Through mediation, you and your spouse will have the opportunity to express your wishes, ideas, and concerns. The mediator is unbiased and will make sure that each spouse has the opportunity to express his or her opinions.

An Experienced Mediator Will Keep Discussions Focused and Productive

Ineffective communication is often one of the largest sources of conflict in a marriage – or a divorce. If you are like many divorcing couples, you probably struggle to discuss divorce issues like child custody or property division without getting off topic or becoming upset. A family law mediator is specially trained in conflict resolution and negotiation. He or she will guide the conversation and help discussions remain focused, on-topic, and productive.

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Naperville family law attorneysAs form of dispute resolution that is available in virtually every type of civil proceeding, mediation typically allows competing parties the opportunity to hammer out an agreement that reasonably meets the needs of everyone involved. This holds true in a large number of arenas, including personal injury concerns, business disputes, and, of course, divorce and family law. Perhaps the biggest advantage to seeking mediation in your divorce or child-related matter your ability to be clearly heard throughout the process, a luxury not necessarily afforded in many court-handled cases.

Strict Legal Guidelines

While the statutes regarding divorce and family law are constantly being updated to allow for more individual consideration, the fact of the matter is that a court can only do so much. A presiding judge is expected to take into account an ever-growing list of circumstantial considerations, which may include those related to each spouse and the children involved. To truly appreciate a family’s situation, a judge would need to review the case for hours and hours, discussing intimate details with each party, and doing so is clearly not a realistic expectation. Thus, court decisions are often based on a very limited understanding of the facts, and only those that each party remembers to include in presented documents.

You Control the Pace

In family law mediation, however, you and your spouse are not only intimately involved in the process, you also dictate the negotiations. A well-trained mediator, of course, is there to facilitate the discussion and to keep you both on a path toward resolution, but will also ensure that you have every opportunity to be heard. Nobody—not even your attorney—understands your situation as well as you do, and mediation provides you the chance to express your specific needs, desires, and concerns regarding the outcome of your issue. Your spouse will be afforded the same opportunities, allowing your resulting agreement to reflect the actual, nuanced circumstances of your situation.

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mediation, Naperville family lawyerDivorce is a stressful process for everyone involved, but experts recommend divorcing parents do their best to stay focused on the number one priority in their lives; their children. Spouses tend to hire professionals to represent and assist them, be it attorneys, mediators, or other divorce experts, but in many cases, children going through divorce have no voice. Divorcing parents must remember that divorce affects everyone involved. For many children, divorce can mean new living arrangements, time apart from a parent, and a new lifestyle, all changes that can be difficult to process, especially as a child. For parents hoping to protect and prioritize their children during divorce, experts recommend a non-adversarial divorce process known as child-focused mediation.

What Is Child-Focused Mediation?

Child-focused mediation is a type of mediation that originated in New Zealand and Australia, both places where collaborative divorce methods are used frequently by the court systems. The goal of child focused mediation is not to bring a child into the middle of the chaos of a divorce, but rather to ensure that their voice is heard during the process, and that they are advocated for. Mediators may use different methods, but the end goal and result is always the same; to provide a voice for children caught in the middle of divorce and to ensure that divorcing parents are aware that every decision they make can impact their children. Mediators agree that divorce is not an ‘adult-only’ problem, and child focused mediators are trained in a variety of techniques to help divorcing families shift the focus to their children. To do this, experts say parents need to avoid the conflict-focused state of mind that is typical during the divorce process, and instead adopt a child-focused state of mind.

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