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Roles mental health professionals may play in divorce

Some couples in Illinois that decide to divorce have many issues to sort through before the agreement becomes final. One or both parties have the option of selecting mental health professionals to help them make the transition and negotiate effective compromises, especially with custody issues.

Four mental health professional specialties offer services that assist people going through divorce. Depending on the circumstances, a person might choose a therapist/counselor, custody mediator, parenting coordinator or custody evaluator. A therapist or counselor will focus on helping the client manage stress and expectations as well as improve relationship skills that will be useful going forward.

In a divorce involving children, a custody mediator can work with both parents and offer support and insight as custody details are decided. This professional is best suited to less hostile couples that are willing to compromise. A parenting coordinator is another type of professional who advises parents who may be having trouble agreeing to details about holidays with the kids and how to set up co-parenting communication.

When parents have disputes about how to arrange custody, a custody evaluator can look at the family and make an impartial written recommendation for a parenting plan and custody arrangement. This document may be provided to the court.

One or both people in a divorce might benefit from selecting mental health professionals to support them, especially if they choose divorce mediation. Legal costs might be kept under control by using a court-approved mediator. For this to work, the couple must reach a divorce agreement with the mediator and then give it to their attorneys for filing with the court. Sometimes counselors and other specialists can aid the process of making compromises amid strong emotions.

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