If you and your former spouse run into roadblocks about your parenting plan arrangement, mediation may help resolve disputes while reducing anger and stress. Circuit courts in Illinois require mediation for child custody and parenting plan issues. In mediation, you may continue to work closely with your own attorney. In fact, it is a good idea to do so in order to protect your parental rights.
When both parents write down the points to work on, it helps the mediator better understand your goals, and your sessions will go more smoothly. With neutral, third-party guidance, you can develop a parenting plan that works for everyone concerned.
Writing down thoughts
To prepare for child custody mediation and creating a parenting plan that works, write down your ideas and preferences. Committing your thoughts to paper will help you avoid forgetting what you want to say. Your family law attorney can help you understand what is reasonable to request in terms of custody or other parental rights.
What to cover
Here are a few areas to which you should pay special attention:
- Custody details and schedule
- Decision-making rights and responsibilities
- Transitioning between homes
- Dividing holidays and vacation time
- Communication between parents
- Decisions concerning childcare
- Access to the child’s school and medical records
The final parenting plan should contain clear language to avoid misunderstandings. Be as specific as possible, especially about custody and the visitation schedule. Do not forget decision-making responsibilities regarding medical care for your child, including treatment and costs. Remember that unless there is a mutual agreement, the parenting plan can restrict both you and the other parent from traveling out of the state or the country with your children.
A trained mediator offers guidance as you and the other parent work toward establishing a satisfactory parenting plan that protects your child’s best interests. Remember to include the method for managing any future disagreements about your parenting plan. As compared to litigation, mediation represents significant savings in time, expense and stress.
Your attorney can help you prepare for mediation by identifying priorities ahead of time and helping you state them clearly. You will be confident that your requests are reasonable, and you can gain insights on strategies for resolving difficult disputes.