Illinois parents whose marriages are coming to an end may readily agree to work together in order to resolve their issues in order to spare the family the stress and conflict of a traditional courtroom divorce. They may make this agreement in order to make sure their children have as easy a transition as possible. However, they may be nervous to negotiate a child custody agreement and parenting plan without some structure, which is where mediation could prove invaluable.

Working with a mediator, who is a neutral third party, gives the parties a buffer and someone to help keep them on track if any conflict arises during the process. Since mediation removes blame about the past and instead looks toward the future, it gives parents the opportunity to have open and honest discussions without concerns that past “wrongs” between them will take over the discussions. Parents who use mediation tend to believe that each of them is a good parent and a vital part of the children’s lives, just not a good marital partner. This view keeps the focus on the children — which is where it should be.

Other than the monetary savings that usually comes with using mediation, the parents can also take the opportunity to build a foundation of communication, which they will need post-divorce. Parenting is not always a pleasant experience, and co-parenting will have its ups and downs as well. Knowing how to deal with those times by implementing a way to resolve conflicts may actually give co-parents an edge.

With all of the benefits that child custody mediation can offer, Illinois parents going through a divorce may want to do more research into using this process. One thing that both parties need to remember is that even though they are willing to cooperate and compromise, they need to make sure they do not give up their respective rights. An experienced family law attorney can sit down with them and address any questions and concerns.