Many Rockford, Illinois, parents are probably willing to try to work out their child custody and parenting time issues out with each other without going to court. Not only does doing so save time, stress and money, it also, we are consistently reminded, an important component of making sure that one’s children are able to heal more completely after a divorce.
But let’s say that a couple has tried either mediation or collaborative divorce, and they simply could not come to an agreement. Or, we can suppose there are situations when the relationship between the two parents is such that they simply will not be able to agree in an informal setting, at least not without some court intervention.
In such cases, there are still some techniques a court can try, if parents are reasonably willing, that may help resolve custody issues, or, at least, make them easier to handle when they do arrive in front of the judge’s bench.
For example, a judge can appoint a guardian ad litem for the children. The guardian ad litem’s job is to represent the interests of the children before the court as a party who isn’t connected to either parent. They have the responsibility for gathering information about the children’s wishes and their overall living situation and then reporting that information to the court, along with the guardian’s recommendations. The recommendations are not binding on the court, and either parent can challenge them.
For particularly contentious custody fights, a court may elect to appoint a parenting coordinator. Unlike other people who get involved in resolving custody cases, the parenting coordinator’s role is ongoing. Their job is to help solve minor issues with custody before they explode into serious disputes, and they also work with couples so they can get better at making their own decisions.
Parenting coordinators also can report custody and parenting time recommendations to the judge based on their observations and expertise.
Aside from going to court, there are many ways parents can resolve child custody issues, and the various ways each have their own advantages and disadvantages. A parent should discuss the available options with their family attorney.