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What is Mediation?

Naperville Divorce Attorney

Naperville divorce AttorneyMediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that is popular among divorcing couples. Unlike divorcing through litigation, which means that the couple's divorce is determined in the courtroom by a judge, divorcing through mediation allows a couple to work through the items of their divorce settlement with the guidance of a mediator, a trained third party who can act as a neutral resource for the couple. Mediation is similar to collaborative divorce in that it grants divorcing couples a greater level of control over their divorces than they would have through litigation divorces. The mediator guides the couple's settlement discussions and helps them determine the right settlement terms for them based on applicable laws, their rights, and their individual needs. There are many ways you and your family can benefit from mediation, should it be the right fit for you.

How Does Mediation Work?

When a couple decides to divorce through mediation, each partner retains his or her own lawyer. The process begins with each partner providing the mediator with background information about the marriage, such as their income and assets and the issues at play in the divorce. This may be done in person or over the phone.

Next, the couple will attend their first meeting with the mediator, which their lawyers may or may not attend. This often occurs at the mediator's office or another neutral, low-key setting. During this meeting, each spouse makes his or her statement to the mediator about their goals for the divorce. Together, the group determines the areas in which the couple is in agreement and which will need negotiation to reach a fair settlement. Sometimes, reaching a fair agreement requires the couple or their lawyers to provide further information.

During the negotiation process, a couple will talk through the issues on which they cannot agree. In this crucial conversation, the mediator guides the couple toward agreements that feel fair. This can be simple and straightforward, or it can be a bit more difficult, particularly regarding residential care issues such as the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. The mediator's job is to provide options and scenarios to the couple and help them hash through these to reach an agreement. Once all the necessary agreements are made, the mediator or one of the attorneys involved drafts a divorce agreement. The couple and their attorneys then signs this agreement, and it is filed with the court to end the marriage.

The Benefits of Mediation

Mediation can provide a greater level of control over the divorce process, which often leads to a greater sense of satisfaction among the couple after their divorce is finalized. For many couples, this translates to a much better relationship after the divorce and an easier time co-parenting effectively.

Another important benefit of divorce through mediation is the money that a couple can save. Litigation can be expensive. Court fees and multiple lawyer meetings can add up quickly, putting individuals in debt simply to end their marriages. By removing these costs, choosing mediation removes a considerable amount of the financial stress that can often accompany a divorce.

Mediation records are completely confidential. Court records are not. Choosing mediation is a way for a couple to protect their privacy throughout the divorce process and in the years to come.

Despite these benefits, mediation is not ideal for every couple. With couples where there is a significant imbalance in power or any amount of fear or coercion, mediation generally is not a good idea. This is because the couple has to be comfortable working together for a mediation to be successful. If there is a history of domestic violence in a marriage, mediation is generally not a viable option. Couples who are not honest with each other or have a history of refusing to cooperate with the court are also not ideal candidates for mediation, because mediation requires all parties involved to be proactive and follow directions.

Work With an Experienced Naperville Divorce Attorney

If you are considering ending your marriage, consider divorcing through mediation. There are many benefits to choosing mediation for a divorcing couple. There are also many downsides to mediation, so be sure to discuss the process in detail with an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney before deciding how to end your marriage. To learn more about mediation and the divorce process, schedule a free legal consultation with a member of Pesce Law Group, P.C. Attorney Don Pesce is Court-approved in DuPage County to serve as a Mediator to resolve residential care and parenting-related matters. Call our firm today at 630-352-2240 to determine if mediation is a viable option for your divorce.

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