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Child Custody Mediation FAQ

Why should I try child custody mediation as opposed to just going to court?

There are several very good reasons you should attempt to mediate child support issues before taking them to court. In general, a mediator cannot impose a solution, so there's no harm in trying to mediate. Some of the many advantages of mediation include:

  • Mediation is a non-adversarial approach to problem solving, unlike court, which means that the process is less threatening and parties are typically willing to make more concessions because it is not generally binding. Also, typically nothing you do or say in mediation can ever be used in a potential trial, so parties are allowed to speak more freely than in court (always check that this is the case, though).
  • The mediator is a professional, neutral party, who is not invested in either side.
  • Mediation doesn't involve any lawyers, witnesses or evidence, and correspondingly doesn't come with the high fees charged to conduct a trial.
  • Mediation can offer a solution more quickly than any trial can. Mediation can be conducted in a week or two, whereas the entire trial process could take months or years.
  • Mediation can set the tone for your relationships going forward. Although you and your ex have parted ways, you still need to be able to communicate in some fashion. Numerous studies have shown that children do much better if their divorced parents can cooperate and communicate. Remember, you're setting an example for your child.

My relationship with my ex is so bad, I can't see child custody mediation working; what does child custody mediation offer that could make things work?

Mediation can be done separately, so if you and your ex cannot be in the same room together, mediation can accommodate this. The mediator will go back and forth between the parties and work on an agreement until it gets done. Also keep in mind that mediators do this for a living, and are skilled at dealing with couples that fight. Mediators will stress the importance of putting aside personal issues for the sake of the child, and are very good at redirecting a parent's focus back to the issue that really matters -- the child.

Next Steps
Contact a qualified child custody attorney to make sure
your rights are protected.
(e.g., Chicago, IL or 60611)

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