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New Illinois program aims to help reduce legal fights among divorcing parents | Illinois


(The Center Square) – A new program in Illinois aims to help reduce legal fights among divorcing parents who don’t get along.   

Established by the Illinois Supreme Court, the program allows local circuit courts to establish a program permitting judges to appoint a “parenting coordinator” to resolve minor disputes between parents who cannot come to agreement with each other. 

“Parenting coordination” is defined under the rule as a child-focused alternative dispute resolution process conducted by a licensed mental health or family law professional appointed by the court to assist parents who are unable or unwilling to cooperate in making parenting decisions or complying with parenting agreements.

“They can help resolve these disputes and mediate disputes between people after a parenting order is entered and thereby steering a lot of people away from the courts and streamlining resolutions for families,” family law attorney Raiford Palmer, author of the book “I Just Want This Done,” said.

If parenting coordinators are unable to resolve the conflict, one or both parties may petition the court for a review of the parenting coordinator’s recommendations.

Palmer said the program began in Cook County, but expects it to expand around Illinois. 

“The Illinois Supreme Court has put its stamp on approving this statewide and recommending this for all the circuit courts in the state of Illinois. Not mandatory but gives them guidelines on how to establish it,” Palmer said. 

Parenting coordinators are available in at least 10 states around the country.

“Divorce is a deeply intense and personal issue for couples, touching on everything from their finances to how to raise their kids,” Palmer added. “Anything that a couple can do to keep that out of a courtroom and resolve their disputes privately can only help.”

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Caleb Alexander

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