Custody mediation is typically required in all cases in Illinois where parents cannot agree on an allocation of parenting time and significant decision-making authority for their children. Mediation is a cooperative process for resolving conflict. A mediator is a trained professional (typically an attorney or mental health care professional) that has undergone additional training in mediation and conflict resolution and has been approved to mediate by a family law court.
Unlike litigation, mediation is a cooperative and informal process. In appropriate cases, it can lead to a quick and relatively inexpensive method for resolving disputes about decision-making authority or parenting time. It is not, however, a substitute for legal advice. Mediators are prohibited from giving legal advice during the course of mediation. It is beneficial to have your own attorney represent you during mediation so you are aware of your rights and options and can make educated and informed decisions.
In the context of child custody litigation, the mediator’s goal is to help parents reach an agreement on the allocation of significant decision-making authority and the allocation of parenting time so they may submit an agreed Allocation Judgment (parenting plan) to the court for approval thereby resolving their custody dispute. (Financial issues such as property division, maintenance and child support are not addressed in court-ordered mediation for child custody).
The mediator will help each parent identify and prioritize their needs and interests with respect to their children. The mediator will also discuss with each parent when they desire to have parenting time with their children. By identifying areas of agreement and disagreement, the mediator can help the parents generate options that will hopefully lead to a resolution of the parenting dispute.
The mediator may submit a report to the family law court judge regarding the outcome of the mediation. If the parents were able to reach an agreement during mediation, that agreement will form the basis of a Parenting Plan. If the parents were unable to reach an agreement, the family law court judge will likely appoint a guardian ad litum or child’s representative.
At Goodman Law Firm we routinely advise men and women throughout Chicago about their parenting (custody) rights in Illinois. Attorney Cameron H. Goodman holds a Certificate in Divorce Mediation from Northwestern University and a Certificate in Mediation & Alternative Dispute Resolution from Chicago-Kent College of Law. Mr. Goodman understands how beneficial the process is to his clients.
If you are looking for a custody mediator or an experienced child custody litigator, contact us today to request a custody mediation consultation.
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