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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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DuPage County family law attorneysWhen it becomes evident that you are headed for divorce, it is important to start planning for the process. You will need to have a good understanding of your current financial situation and what constitutes your ideal post-divorce scenario. Depending upon the circumstances of your relationship with your spouse, you may be able to begin negotiating the terms of your divorce agreement. At first, of course, such discussions would need to be relatively informal, but you and your spouse can at least start talking about the future. The conversation is even more important if you have a child or children together, so that you can both better understand the role you are to play in your child’s upbringing.

Determine a Primary Residence

Among your first child-related concerns should be which parent will assume responsibility for a majority of the parenting time. This is an important consideration in determining where the child will attend school. The parent who does not have the majority of the parenting time will most likely be responsible for paying child support. Just because one of you has less parenting time than the other is not considered to be a reflection on your parental rights; rather it is more of a logistical determination.

Significant Decision-Making

You and your spouse will also need to discuss how you will make significant decisions regarding your child’s life. You may agree to cooperate and make each decision together, or you may determine that each of you should have separate but complementary responsibilities for decisions about your child’s education, medical care, or religious training. You and your spouse may have particular areas of strength or strong feelings about a specific area of your child’s life that make one of you better equipped to handle related decisions.

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Naperville child custody attorneysIf you are a parent who is considering ending your marriage, you probably have many concerns related to your children. You may worry about how you children will take the news of the divorce or how you and your spouse will share custody of the children after the split. If you and your soon-to-be-ex spouse plan to have joint custody of your children, you will need to learn how to share parental responsibilities in a way that prioritizes your children’s best interests. It can take hard work and humility, but the good news is that effective co-parenting after divorce is possible.

There Is Not Just One “Right” Way to Co-Parent

Just as every marriage is unique, every divorce is unique. Sometimes, a married couple breaks up and there are almost no feelings of bitterness or hostility between the former spouses. Other times, a divorce is wrought with conflict and spite. The way you co-parent will largely be determined by the relationship you have with your children’s other parent. If you and the other parent are able to easily communicate about child-related plans and concerns, you may be able to have a more casual co-parenting arrangement. However, if you and your children’s other parent struggle with productive communication, you may want to make firm parenting plans and decisions in advance.

Divorcing parents in Illinois are required to complete a parenting agreement or parenting plan which addresses how they plan to share parental responsibilities and parenting time. The creation of this agreement can be a valuable opportunity for parents to discuss in detail how they plan to share custody of their children and to put their co-parenting plans in writing.

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