Illinois parents who are getting a divorce might be concerned about its effect on their young children. It is usually in their best interests for children to spend time with both parents, and it is also better for children if parents can negotiate an arrangement rather than fighting one another in court.

Parents may want to use mediation or other alternative dispute resolution methods if they cannot reach an agreement. This gives parents and sometimes even children, depending on their ages, the opportunity to talk about what they want and why. For example, both parents might feel that the children should be with them more than half the time. They might be able to resolve these conflicts in mediation.

Talking about the reasons behind what each person creates a much healthier situation for children than contentious litigation. The points of view of all parties are taken into consideration as an agreement is reached.

Parents should keep in mind there are many different custody arrangements that might work for them and their children. For example, the children might live with one parent one week and the other parent the following week. Some parents might spend a year or two after the divorce taking turns living in the family home while the children remain there. This can help children with the transition of divorce although it usually does not work as a long-term arrangement. Parents may also want to consider putting together an agreement that can address any major concerns they may have. Extracurricular activities, vacations, homework, bedtimes and other issues may also be addressed in this agreement.