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Ways to Resolve Parenting Time Disputes (Other Than Court)

Posted in Divorce, Family Law, Visitation on Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

It is no secret that family law proceedings can be expensive, and even more so when the parties involved do not see eye to eye. The more parties disagree with one another on various issues, he more matters pertinent to the case (such as parenting times, parenting roles, and property division) will need to turn to the courts to resolve these issues.

Parenting time – that is, the amount of time that each party is permitted to spend in the physical presence of the child and the schedule according to which such visits are to occur – is one of the most frequently-contested issues in Illinois family law proceedings. Even when the parenting time schedule has been set, parties frequently return to court either when one party wants to adjust the schedule or the other party does not follow the schedule as set by the court.

Alternatives to Court in Parenting Time Disputes

Returning to court frequently in order to resolve parenting time disputes is costly and time-consuming. What is more, it is uncommon for courts to make major adjustments to the parenting plan absent some immediate threat to the child’s wellbeing. If the parties are willing, one or more of the following alternative resolution methods may provide better results with less expense:

  • Informal modifications: You and the other party can agree to modify the parenting time plan and, so long as the modification appears to be consensual and in the best interests of the child, the court will usually grant such modifications. This can be helpful if the nonresidential parent wants an extra week of parenting time so he or she can take your child on an extended vacation (for example).
  • Mediation: In mediation, you and the other parent sit down with a third-party mediator who helps facilitate a discussion between the two of you with the goal of helping you and the other parent reach an agreed-upon resolution to your dispute. Having a third party who can provide honest feedback about your respective legal positions and/or offer additional ways in which your parenting time dispute can be resolved can be quite helpful. While a mediator may suggest possible resolutions, you and the other party must agree to any proposed resolution before it will be accepted by the court.
  • Arbitration: Arbitration is similar to mediation in that your parenting time dispute is put before a third party; however, in arbitration the third party is enabled to enter enforceable orders that become binding on the parties (subject, of course, to the parties’ right to appeal certain orders to a court).

Helping You Resolve Your Parenting Time Dispute

Sabuco, Beck, Hansen, Massino, & Pollack, P.C., is your Joliet family law firm and is committed to helping your resolve your parenting time dispute in an efficient and expedient manner. Contact us today or reach out to the firm online and enlist our help in achieving your parenting time goals.

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