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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.

 

First 5 Steps to Getting Divorced in Illinois.

After a lot of reflecting, you’re considering the major decision to get a divorce. Because each state’s laws vary, you need to know how to best protect yourself as you begin this extremely daunting journey.

In Illinois, a divorce is called a dissolution of marriage, which will always accomplish two things:

1: Severing the marital relationship.

2: Dividing assets and debts.

If one person is unable to be self-supporting post- divorce, the issue of alimony may also arise. If there are children involved, child custody, support and parenting time will need to be resolved.

Knowing how to get divorced isn’t something most of us know how to do until we absolutely have to do it. If you’re considering a split, knowledge is power. To that end, we’ve laid out the process of getting divorced in Illinois, one step at a time.

Step 1: Do you NEED to get a divorce?

The first step is to try everything else possible. Including couples counseling, therapy groups, mediation, even a getaway together to truly decide if the separation is what you both want. While everything in the heat of the moment seems unfixable, you should explore every other possible option before deciding on ending a marriage.

You may think that things have deteriorated too far in your marriage to be able to save it, and that a divorce is your only option. Asides for cases involving physical or emotional abuse, there could be hope.

Step 2: Educate Yourself

So, you’ve decided separation is the only option. Not only should you emotionally prepare for what is to come, a smart move is to get the right legal advice right away.

Choosing a knowledgeable end experienced family law attorney will help you determine the full scope of your marital estate, search for hidden assets, and develop your settlement strategy before you pull the trigger. Your attorney can also walk you through different settlement approaches.

Step 3: Choose a Separation Process

Many individuals considering divorce are not aware of the fact that there are different approaches or processes to obtaining a divorce.  In Illinois the main types of separation include:

  • Contested Divorce: The “contested divorce” is the type in which the spouses cannot arrive at an agreement on one or more key issues in order to conclusively terminate their marriage.
  • Uncontested Divorce: this is where both spouses agree on all issues concerning the divorce, including but not limited to the division of marital property and debts, (parental allocation) child custody, child support, and spousal support (“maintenance”).
  • Divorce Mediation: this is where 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.
  • Legal separation: For individuals with religious concerns or insurance issues who may be discourage from seeking a formal divorce a legal separation could be the preferred course of action.

Step 4: Start Obtaining Paperwork

Divorce = paperwork. And a lot of it. At the same time, collecting, sorting, and organizing financial documents is nothing short of hell for most people. The sooner you can start collecting and organizing your financial paperwork, the more smoothly your divorce process is likely to go.

It’s also worth noting your ex-partner could begin hiding assets at this stage through bitterness and resentment. Therefore, obtaining all the information as quickly as possible is highly recommended.

Step 5: File the Paperwork

In order to file for dissolution of marriage in Illinois, either you or your spouse must be a resident of Illinois for at least 90 days. You and your spouse also need to have been separated for at least two years. You may file in the Circuit Court in the county where either of you live.

Work closely with your family law attorney during this stage. As well as the divorce filing, you may have to issue temporary orders such as temporary spousal and child support and custody orders. This will all depend on the facts of your case, as each case presents a unique set of facts for the court to consider.

Next Steps

After stages 1-5 are complete, your petition will either go to trial, or reach a settlement out of a court, depending on your individual case details and whether you and your ex were able to reach such an agreement.

Final Thoughts

Divorce is frightening and can be overwhelming. But when you break it down into small, manageable steps, like those outlined above, it becomes somewhat “do-able”.

Sometimes the length of the Illinois divorce process simply comes down to how well you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse communicate, but by knowing how divorce works – and what you’ll need to do first – can help you move forward with confidence.

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Divorce Services from Masters Law Group

Masters Law Group understands that divorce is a stressful situation and that our clients want to move on with their lives. As such, we move through settlement negotiations, mediation or litigation with our clients assurance and wellbeing in mind.

Whether you are facing a contested divorce, uncontested divorce, or civil union divorce, our firm’s attorneys are ready to skillfully advocate for your position and provide your voice when you need it most.

Divorce cases involving substantial assets or complex estates require specialized knowledge.  Masters Law Group is skilled at identifying and valuing assets and wealth, including real estate, securities, business interests, retirement funds, pension plans, tax shelters (domestic and foreign), overseas accounts, stock options, trusts and other actual or potential sources of wealth.

Contact us here today to set up a consultation.