Deciding on a child custody agreement is a challenging endeavor for some divorcing parents. Things can quickly become contentious if they only focus on what they want.
A court will decide on child custody if the parents are unable to come to an agreement, but this takes the control out of the parents’ hands. Mediation is a popular method that helps the decision-making go smoother.
Benefits of using mediation for child custody
FindLaw discusses that mediation is a good option for parents who are able to communicate and want to do what is best for the child. In mediation, a mediator guides the process and helps both sides communicate and work together to come up with an equitable agreement. This process is much shorter than litigation, which also means it is less expensive. Additional advantages of using mediation in regard to child custody decisions include:
- Collaborative process in which the parents are able to talk freely and honestly
- Less stressful environment, which allows for better problem solving
- The mediator has dispute resolution skills to help the parents work through challenging discussions
- Better communication between the parents after the divorce, which allows for better co-parenting
How a child’s best interest comes into play
One of the biggest advantages of mediation is that it allows space for the parents to examine what situation would be best for the child. According to the Illinois General Assembly, parents consider the child’s needs, the child’s adjustment ability, each party’s schedule, the health of each parent and child, the ability of the parents to make decisions together and each parent’s participation in past decision making for the child. When the child is older and mature enough, his or her wishes should also be a consideration.