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Understanding Court-Ordered Mediation in an Illinois Child Custody Case

Posted on in Child Custody

IL divorce lawyerAny family law issue can become hostile and non-productive. When a family law concern involving children becomes contentious, both the adults and the children involved in the dispute can suffer. In order to reduce contention and promote out-of-court resolutions to child custody issues, many Illinois courts require parents to attend mediation.

Why Are We Being Forced to Go to Mediation?

Child custody disputes are often some of the most difficult family law cases to resolve. Parents understandably have strong beliefs about their children and what is best for them. When parents cannot reach an agreement about the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, the court may have to intervene. However, Illinois courts try to avoid child custody trials whenever possible. These trials can place a great strain on children and their parents. The adversarial nature of a court trial also pits parents against each other, making it even harder for them to build a cooperative co-parenting relationship in the future.

That being said, there are some situations in which mediation is not a viable solution. For example, mediation is not required or even recommended in cases involving domestic violence or child abuse.

What Happens During Mediation?

Divorcing parents can have a difficult time discussing child custody disagreements productively. They may let old hurts or resentments cloud their judgment or focus too much on “winning” the case. This can lead to emotion-based accusations and blame instead of constructive, fact-based conversation.

During mediation, both parents sit down with a specially trained mediator. Family law mediators are skilled in conflict resolution techniques, negotiation, and communication. They help parents discuss the unresolved issues in a way that works toward a solution. The mediator does not decide anything for the parents. His or her job is to help guide the conversation so that it is beneficial and non-hostile.

The mediator will help the couple find common ground and identify issues on which they already agree. Once the unresolved issues are understood, the mediator helps the parties explore possible solutions.

What If Mediation Does Not Work?

Ideally, every child custody case could be resolved through mediation. However, this is sometimes not possible. If a child custody dispute cannot be solved through mediation, negotiation, or another alternative resolution method like collaborative law, the case may be litigated. Ultimately, the decision may be left up to the judge overseeing the case. The judge will listen to each party’s arguments, evaluate the evidence presented, and then make a decision that is in the child’s best interests.

Contact a Naperville Child Custody Lawyer

For skilled legal guidance during your child custody issue, contact the DuPage County family law attorneys at Pesce Law Group, P.C. Call us at 630-352-2240 for a free consultation.

 

Source:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2489&ChapterID=51

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