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IL family lawyerIf you are going through a complicated family law matter and it seems as though it will be difficult or even impossible to resolve the dispute without doing harm to your family, you might want to consider a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). More specifically, family mediation might be able to provide you with the necessary tools to resolve the dispute with your spouse or another family member while helping you to keep costs down. If you have questions or want to learn more about family mediation in DuPage County, you should seek advice from one of the Oakbrook Terrace family law attorneys at Farooqi & Husain Law Office. We are committed to serving the Muslim community and can discuss ADR options for your family law case.

What Is Mediation?

Under Illinois law, mediation is defined as a process in which a mediator facilitates communication between parties to assist them in reaching a voluntary agreement regarding their dispute. A neutral third party known as a mediator is the figure who facilitates dialogue between the parties and helps them to reach a decision that resolves their dispute. Mediation can be helpful in family law cases, but it is not limited to family law matters. To be sure, mediation can be used in an attempt to resolve a wide variety of legal disputes.

It is important to understand some key elements of mediation if you are considering it for your family law case. First, the mediator plays a role that is very different from a judge. Unlike a judge, who hears both parties’ sides and makes a decision, the mediator does not hear the disputing parties’ positions and does not issue any rulings or judgments. Instead, the mediator is there to help the parties engaged in discussion about the dispute, to negotiate, and ultimately to resolve the dispute. Next, and also importantly, if the parties do not reach an agreement in mediation, nothing that has been said or communicated is binding. Mediation only becomes binding if the parties voluntarily agree.

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IL family lawyerAs families that have newly gone through a divorce in DuPage County know, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) was amended relatively recently to do away with the terms of “ child custody” and “visitation.” Amendments to the law changed those terms to “parental responsibilities” and “parenting time,” which reflect the human relationships that exist between parents and their kids and the differences in family structures.

With those changes to the law, Illinois legislators recognized the need for flexibility in allocating important decision-making tasks about a child’s upbringing, as well as flexibility in terms of regular parenting time or spending time with the child and providing caretaking functions. Currently, the IMDMA says the court can take into account a number of different factors in allocating parental responsibilities, which include parenting time.

However, a proposed bill aims to change the presumptions about parenting time in the state. If House Bill 4113 were to pass, courts would have to begin from the presumption that equal parenting time is the best option for all families. We will say more about the potential effects of this bill and what it could mean for different families in DuPage County.

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