If you are facing divorce, you are also facing the issue of child custody. Developing a mutually acceptable co-parenting plan is no doubt high on your agenda.
You can avoid contentious, emotionally-draining litigation if you and your soon-to-be ex can find your way to satisfactory custody arrangements through the process of negotiation.
In the state of Illinois, the allocation of parental responsibilities includes decision-making on behalf of your child in the areas of medical issues, education, religious upbringing and extracurricular activities. There is also the parenting time or visitation aspect, fathers’ rights and issues related to out-of-state relocation. The daily routine you took for granted as a family must be reworked to accommodate individual schedules, including those of children.
Preparing for mediation
If you would rather not head to court, mediation is a viable option for achieving a workable parenting plan. Perhaps you and the other parent have already agreed on certain aspects of the plan you want to present to the court but are stuck on other issues you consider important. An attorney who is also an experienced mediator can help you over the rough spots so that you can negotiate effectively with each other. To facilitate discussion, you could find it helpful to provide the mediator with a list of issues that you are trying to work through.
Partnering for success
An attorney who has worked with many divorcing couples will be glad to explain the mediation process so that you will understand the benefit to you and your child. For example, studies have shown that mediation is much easier on children than a drawn-out courtroom battle. Your goal is to help your child adjust to the divorce and face the future confidently, knowing that he or she still has loving parents who only want the best for their child. Be aware that if you and your spouse fail to reach agreement through the mediation process, a trial will be the next step in arranging for child custody and achieving a workable co-parenting plan.