Oct 11, 2018 | Family Law

As previous posts have explained, there is a trend right now to encourage parents to resolve divorces, child custody disputes and other family law matters outside a formal court hearing. While this does not work for all cases, many have found that resolving family law problems in this manner, as opposed to duking it out in court not only saves both parents a lot of time, money and emotional stress, it also helps the children deal with what may be an already traumatic time in their lives.

It is important, however, that Rockford, Illinois, parents understand the difference between the types of alternative dispute resolution, particularly when it comes to child custody and parenting time issues. For example, in mediation, the couple will sit down, possibly in separate rooms, and work with a third party, called a mediator, who will try to lead the couple through whatever outstanding disagreements they have.

The mediator is someone who has no personal interest in the outcome of the case and, usually, is someone who has a lot of experience with family law. The process is confidential, and neither side is compelled to agree on anything. If the mediation fails, the parties simply go to court; if it succeeds, they put their agreement in writing. Each party may have their own attorney, although some mediators prefer that attorneys not attend mediation in person.

On the other hand, collaborative law entails that the couple agree to take a more cooperative approach to their divorce or custody matter. While each attorney continues to represent their own client, information is supposed to flow freely between the two sides, and the goal is to reach a solution that works for everyone. Either party is free to withdraw from collaborative approach at any time, but, if that happens, both sides must find new attorneys.