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Reasons to use mediation in child custody decisions

There are a number of reasons Illinois parents who are going through a divorce might want to work out an agreement for child custody using mediation instead of going to court. Divorce is an adversarial process that might heighten the tension between parents, and this in turn is not good for their children.

In custody battles, even parents who feel they are fighting for their children's best interests may be damaging them in some way. If parents are not abusive, it is generally considered best for them to both have time with their children. A mediator is a neutral party who shifts the focus away from blame and toward the future and the best interests of the children. The process may also teach parents skills that can help them resolve co-parenting conflicts that may arise in the years ahead.

Conflicts over child custody can be stressful for both parents and children, and mediation can reduce that. Mediation can also be less expensive compared to a custody battle. The ultimate aim of mediation is to work out a solution that is satisfactory for everyone.

Mediation might also be a way for couples to reach an agreement on property division in a divorce. With both child custody and property division, they may have the opportunity to respond with creative solutions that suit their particular situation. For example, some parents have kept the family home and taken turns living there while their children remain there full time. Other unusual custody arrangements might take unreliable work schedules or frequent business travel into account. If they go to court instead and are unhappy with the judge's decision, there might be little they can do to get it changed.

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