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What Are the Options When Divorcing Parents Disagree About Child Custody?

Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County divorce attorney for mediation and collaborative law

Often, when parents divorce, one of the biggest sources of contention is how they will share the allocation of parental responsibility, or child custody. Parents who get divorced in Illinois are required to submit a parenting agreement or parenting plan to the court which details how they plan to share custody of their children. Parents have the opportunity to formulate a unique parenting plan which works for them, but in some cases, parents cannot agree to a custody or parenting time schedule. When parents disagree about child custody issues, they have several options under Illinois law.

Mediation Can Help Parents Come to an Agreement About Child Custody

Illinois courts may order parents to undergo mediation in order to help them create a parenting plan to address custody issues, or parents may elect to undergo mediation on their own accord. Mediation involves the parents meeting with a neutral third party mediator to discuss how parental responsibility will be shared. The mediator does not tell the parents what to do, but instead helps facilitate productive conversation between the parents so that they can reach a compromise regarding child custody. It is important to note that mediation may not be an appropriate choice for parents with a history of domestic violence or abuse. Furthermore, if parents cannot negotiate or discuss child custody issues without devolving into arguments or hostility, mediation may prove fruitless.

Collaborative Law Offers an Alternative to Court Intervention

Another option Illinois parents have when they cannot agree on a parenting plan is collaborative law. The collaborative process involves the parents and their specially-certified attorneys meeting to discuss child custody issues. Child experts such as child development specialists, mental health professionals, and doctors may also provide input during these conferences. The aim of collaborative law is similar to that of mediation: reaching a resolution to child-related disagreements without going to court. Because of this, if parents cannot reach an agreement through collaborative law, their attorneys will withdraw from the case, and they will need to secure new attorneys to represent them in court.

Litigation May Be Necessary When Parents Cannot Reach a Child Custody Agreement

While mediation and collaborative law offer alternatives to divorce litigation, these approaches do not always work. If parents cannot come to an agreement through negotiation, mediation, or collaborative law, they will need to take their case to trial. It is imperative to have an experienced litigation attorney by your side if your case cannot be resolved through other means.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer

The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C. is qualified to help divorcing parents resolve child custody disagreements through mediation, collaborative law, or litigation. Whatever route you choose, we will be by your side every step of the way. To schedule a confidential consultation with an experienced Wheaton family law attorney, call us at 630-462-9500 today.



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