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Divorce Mediation: Is It For You?

Posted on in Mediation and Collaborative Law

Naperville mediation lawyersWhen two people decide to get a divorce, the process is likely to be stressful and difficult. However, more and more couples are turning to mediation as a way to potentially avoid costly court battles. It is not the right option for every couple, but it is generally worth investigating to see if it might be right for you and your spouse.

Benefits of Mediation

Divorce mediation is a process in which you and your spouse engage the services of a neutral, third-party mediator in an attempt to work out a divorce agreement without resorting to litigation. It has several advantages, but may also have drawbacks depending on the situation. Anything from parental responsibilities (child custody) to spousal support may be mediated if the spouses agree. Illinois law does not mandate certain elements of a divorce to be decided by a judge, but a judge will review any agreements related to your children to ensure you have their best interests in mind.

The advantages to choosing mediation over going to court can be significant. Mediators are engaged privately, meaning that they are not on a strict court schedule. Discussions and negotiations may go on for as long as they need to so that a problem can be resolved instead of simply reserved for later. The process also allows for certain unique considerations. For example, Illinois law prevents the court from taking marital misconduct—such as infidelity—into account when deciding on property disposition or maintenance. Mediation, however, allows the parties to talk and work out a solution that can accommodate healing and apologies when appropriate.

Mediation also offers increased privacy. By complying with the Illinois Uniform Mediation Act, your communications offered as part of the mediation are almost all privileged (that is, not available for public disclosure), though there are exceptions. A litigated divorce, by comparison, is largely a matter of public record.

Possible Disadvantages

One major drawback of mediation is that many mediators are not attorneys and are not qualified to advise on specific points of law. Some couples will not be affected by this, but couples who are in need of legal advice may encounter problems.

Mediation will also be a poor choice if you or your spouse are prone to anger. Successful mediation depends on being able to negotiate civilly, so if you are unable to do so, nothing will be accomplished. A spouse who refuses to negotiate out of sheer stubbornness or ill will effectively eliminates mediation as a feasible way to reach a divorce agreement.

Contact an Experienced Attorney

At Pesce Law Group, our experienced DuPage County divorce lawyers understand the value of mediation, and we have helped many clients through the dispute resolution process. Contact our office to learn more. Call 630-352-2240 for a free consultation at any of our four convenient locations.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=59

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2489&ChapterID=51

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