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The Process of Divorce Mediation in Illinois

Even when parting spouses disagree, a divorce doesn’t always have to be a big fight. Divorce mediation is a way of finding solutions to issues such as child custody and spousal support. It acts as an alternative to the formal process of litigation in divorce court.

In Illinois, divorce mediation is mandated by the court for couples disputing child custody and parental allocation plans.  Divorce mediation is also helpful when seeking to settle financial matters. Many family law attorneys in Illinois and across the United States provide divorce mediation services to help clients reach a fair divorce settlement, as quickly and cost-efficiently as possible.

In fact, Illinois family law courts actually require that couples attempt divorce mediation before their case can be scheduled for litigation in court. If you’re considering the mediation route with your ex-spouse, here’s a couple tips on how to find the right Divorce Mediator in Illinois.

Mediation and How it works

Mediation is considered an alternative dispute resolution process where an impartial or neutral mediator helps guide you and your spouse in settlement efforts – hopefully helping you reach a final agreement.  Unlike judges, a mediator has no authority to make decisions for you or your spouse. Their job is to keep you and your spouse’s focus on your needs and interests instead of fault and rights.

When a couple begins divorce mediation, they either choose the mediator in advance or one may be appointed by the court, with the court deciding how to split the costs.  Both spouses provide documentation to support their viewpoint regarding disputed issues, while the mediator works with both sides to find a resolution. The goal of the mediator is to reach an agreement between the two parties, therefore it is critically important to work with your divorce mediator attorney to ensure that the proposed solution is truly fair and equitable to you.

The Upsides of Mediation

There are many benefits to resolving your differences through the divorce mediation process.  Mediation can often save you time and money by leading to resolution and avoiding the costs associated with litigation. Divorce mediation is usually less adversarial than battling issues in court and is, therefore, less stressful. 

Mediation provides a means to reach an agreement on all issues quicker than litigating in court and is, therefore, less costly. Both parties are typically satisfied with the agreements since they both had input to the resolution. For parents, the process lays the foundation for cooperation in making important parenting decisions for their beloved children. If mediation is right for you, our lawyers develop a strategy for negotiating the best settlement possible.

Mediation Drawbacks

There are some disadvantages with mediation that you should also keep in mind. Divorce mediation can be a pointless exercise, if the parties are entrenched in a position and refuse to negotiate; a mediation will only be successful if the parties are committed to a resolution. What’s more, if the case is more about the principal than the recovery of money, mediation will not provide the desired resolution. If there are unresolved issues both parties will have to take on further costs and spend more time trying to finally get everything settled.

In addition to understanding the pros and cons of mediation, it’s helpful to understand when mediation is the best choice for the particular situation you are faced with. Some of the kinds of cases that are suitable for mediation include:

  • Business disputes
  • Partnership disagreements
  • Contract issues
  • Leases
  • Will contests
  • Employment issues
  • Divorce and Allocation of Child Responsibilities

Divorce Mediation with Masters Law Group

Fortunately, there are many ways to deal with family disputes that lead to much happier, healthier results. At Masters Law Group, we provide an array of family law services including Divorce Mediation for our clients. Erin E. Masters has been approved as a Mediator for the Cook County Domestic Relations Division and offers private mediation services.

Whether you’re in need of mediation services or representation involved in mediation, our highly experienced family law attorneys offer skillful legal representation and negotiation throughout the divorce process. Get in touch with us here today to discuss and execute the best plan of action for you and your family.

 

What is Divorce Mediation?

Talking to your partner about the practicalities of separation or divorce can be extremely difficult. Divorce Mediators work with a couples involved in family break-ups to make arrangements, either to plan for a separation or divorce, or after the split has taken place.  

Mediation is one of the most frequently used methods of negotiating a divorce settlement. In mediation, you and your spouse meet with a neutral third party, the mediator, and with their help, you work through the issues you need to resolve so the two of you can end your marriage as amicably and cost effective as possible. Topics covered in Divorce Mediation include:

  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Property/Asset division
  • Retirement accounts
  • Taxes

While mediation sounds like an ideal solution for separating, there are pros and cons to consider first.

Pros of Divorce Mediation

There are several key benefits to using mediation for your divorce that have contributed to its growing popularity:

  • Speed: Because you do not need to wait for a court date, it is usually much faster to get divorced using mediation than by going to court. By getting you and your ex-partner in one place, it can also speed up communications between you.
  • Voluntary: Mediation is a voluntary process, so there is absolutely nothing forcing you to agree to anything that you find unacceptable during the mediation process. The fact that mediation is voluntary allows many divorcing spouses the sense of ownership and independence they need to feel comfortable making important compromises and decisions.
  • Control: Mediation allows you to keep control of your divorce, rather than leaving the final decision in the hands of a judge.
  • Privacy: When you go to court, the proceedings are held in public, meaning the details of your divorce, including any financial settlement will be made public. Mediation allows you to keep your divorce private, meaning the details will only be known to your and your spouse.
  • Cost: Mediation is generally much less expensive that court action because of the lower legal fees involved.

Cons of Divorce Mediation

Mediation is not the right answer for every divorcing couple, and there are some important elements of mediation that can be disadvantages:

  • Disputes: Mediation is not useful if the parties cannot engage in open dialogue with each other or if your spouse is more aggressive than you.
  • Hiding Assets: If your spouse is hiding assets, the mediator may not ever find out. If you have an attorney representing you, the attorney can use the discovery process and independent investigation to determine whether your spouse is hiding assets.
  • Fairness: Mediation does not guarantee a fair outcome.
  • Not for Complicated Matters: Mediation is not appropriate for certain cases, such as those involving domestic abuse and addictions.

Contact an Illinois Divorce Lawyer to Help with Your Mediation

Masters Law Group have many years of experience helping people to get divorced quickly, cost-effectively and with minimal conflict using mediation and other non-confrontational methods. With a sensitive but practical approach, we aim to make getting divorced as straightforward as possible.

Erin E. Masters has been approved as a Mediator for the Cook County Domestic Relations Division and offers private mediation services. If you are looking to settle your family law matter without court intervention, contact Masters Law Group to schedule a mediation appointment.

We look forward to learning more about you and how we can assist as your Divorce Mediators.