On behalf of Janet Boyle of Boyle Feinberg Sharma posted in Divorce Mediation on Wednesday, April 1, 2015.
Illinois parents are increasingly turning to child custody mediation to work out details of custody and visitation in a safe, neutral space. This method of resolving differences confers a number of advantages to both parents and children, including less stress and strife for all parties and the presence of a neutral third party who can intervene with suggestions and advice when and where necessary for the benefit of everyone concerned.
Approaching mediation properly requires a mindset on the part of both parents to be willing to discuss their differences, needs and wishes in a calm, non-confrontational manner. This means listening and trying to understand the point of view of both sides, as well as taking the children’s desires and best interests into account. During mediation, it is important to remember the focus should always be on the children, not the issues between the parents.
Each parent should be prepared to present several options for consideration and to listen with an open mind to the options presented by the other. Equally importantly, the children should also feel like they have a voice and say in the outcome of the mediation, because the decisions made there will generally have the greatest emotional and personal impact on them. Including them in the process will help them feel some control over the situation.
A divorce mediator will consider the family dynamics in play, such as whether the spouses can negotiate civilly or if there is a history of domestic violence. If the couple decides that mediation is appropriate, a mediator may be selected by the parents or recommended by an attorney. Once mediation is complete, the couple may present the final terms to a judge for entry as a court decree of divorce.