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Co-parenting court aims to involve dads in their kids' lives

In Belleville or anywhere else in Illinois, when a former couple is dealing with a child support matter, they may expect that they will have to appear in front of a family law judge in order to resolve the issue. Sometimes a dispute can be settled without stepping foot in the courtroom through mediation and other negotiation techniques. Other times, going to court may not be avoided, though there may be alternatives available to the traditional approach of arguing a case before a judge. In one county in Minnesota, an alternate court system is drawing attention for its relatively new approach for handling child support and custody issues.

Hennepin County’s co-parenting court was developed after a family court judge wanted to do something to help the many young people who came into his courtroom for paternity matters. If a man was found to be the biological father of a child, he was ordered to pay child support and then shown the door. In lieu of such an approach, the co-parenting court offers classes that teach both parents crucial skills that may help them bond with their children. The co-parenting program intends to encourage fathers to remain involved in their children’s lives. The program, which has only been in existence for three years, requires that the parents agree on a parenting plan that covers everything from how much television the child will watch to who will take the child to the doctor.

If you need assistance with establishing paternity, you may want to contact an attorney who specializes in family law matters to learn about all your options.

Source: Star Tribune, “Three years in, co-parenting court claims success,” Rochelle Olson, Dec. 13, 2013

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