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How Mediation Could Help Your Divorce

Posted on in Mediation and Collaborative Law

Naperville divorce attorneysDivorce is not a time during which one is usually inclined to focus on much besides the legal proceedings you will have to undergo. However, many couples today are choosing to eschew the standard courtroom divorce case in favor of alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation. There can be advantages and disadvantages to each approach.

Advantages of Mediation

The primary motivation many couples cite as a reason for their involvement in mediation is that mediation can be far quicker than a courtroom proceeding. The Illinois court system can be very slow, with some couples waiting as long as five or six months for a court date. By comparison, mediation is available as soon as you and your spouse find a mediator who works well with you. While mediations do require a court appearance to finalize the agreement between you and your spouse, on the whole, the experience is tailored to your timeline rather than the court’s.

It is also a significant advantage to choose mediation if you have young children. While many children do recover reasonably well after the initial trauma of a divorce, studies do show that a significant minority suffer lifelong effects, especially those who witness significant parental conflict before the divorce. Mediation allows the spouses to sit down in a lower pressure environment than a courtroom and often will result in a parenting time agreement that is better balanced and less likely to cause conflict in the future.

Possible Disadvantages of Mediation

The major disadvantage of mediation is its enforced focus on collaborative problem solving. While being able to talk problems over and negotiate settlements is obviously a positive trait, it happens (especially with divorce and other high-stress situations) where one or both spouses may simply not be able to do so. Marital misconduct may have occurred, and while this is not to be taken into account in division of property, it may still understandably affect one or both parties’ ability to mediate. Alternatively, domestic violence may be a concern, in which case mediation is not likely to be feasible.

Mediation may also cost more in the short term, though often the costs wind up fairly equal to those involved with a courtroom divorce. This can still be a significant issue, however, especially if there is income inequality in the marriage. If only one spouse can afford their own attorney, for example, both sides are not approaching the proceeding from equal footing, which could a recipe for failure. Also, since mediation is strictly a voluntary undertaking, many Illinois mediators ask for their fee, or at least part of it, up front, so they are still compensated for their time even if the mediation fails.

Contact a Divorce Attorney

What many do not realize is that if there is anything significant at issue between you and your spouse, you may require the services of an attorney even if you choose to mediate your divorce. The dedicated Naperville divorce attorneys at Pesce Law Group, P.C., understand that your first priority is getting through with a fair settlement, and we will work hard toward that goal for you. Contact us today by calling 630-352-2240 to set up a free initial appointment.


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