Your marital relationship is over. You and your future former spouse may agree on this point and that you don’t want your children to suffer unnecessarily because of it. For this reason, you and the other parent make the choice to try to work out your custody agreement and parenting plan without going to court.
After all, you have heard numerous times that avoiding a contentious custody battle is better for your children — and you. So, you embark on a quest to resolve these issues through mediation. However, as you get into it, your gut tells you that something isn’t right.
Should you listen to your gut?
Perhaps you think this is normal and that you are just having a more difficult time than other parents in your place did when they went through mediation. You may be right, but you may also need to listen to your gut. If you experience the following during the process, it may not be working for you:
- You end up discussing or arguing about issues unrelated to the children.
- You keep discussing the same issues without ever reaching a resolution.
- Your soon-to-be ex-spouse keeps hurling insults in your direction and keeps attacking you personally.
- You are both attacking each other personally instead of focusing on your custody issues.
- It’s been several hours and you still haven’t reached an agreement on anything relating to your children, which is why you went in the first place.
If you find one or more of the above statements apply to your mediation experience, you may need to seriously consider abandoning mediation and going to court. On the other hand, you may need to take a step back and recommit yourself to the process.
What happens if mediation ends without an agreement?
If you feel confident that you gave mediation the best chance of success possible, but you still can’t reach an agreement, you shouldn’t feel obligated to continue. You could make the situation worse than if you made the decision to go to court.
Like other attorneys across the country, Illinois family law attorneys often support their clients’ desire to try child custody mediation, but make sure to prepare for the possibility that it won’t work. Under these circumstances, making the transition from attending mediation to attending a court hearing should not cause too much disruption in your process.