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What Are the Benefits and Limitations of Divorce Mediation in Illinois?

Posted on in Mediation and Collaborative Law

Oak Brook family law mediation attorneyGetting divorced involves much more than deciding not to be married anymore. Most divorcing couples will need to address several issues before they can finalize their divorce and officially end their marriage. Spouses will need to decide how to divide their jointly held property and debts. Parents must create a parenting plan that describes the parenting time schedule and other important child-related concerns. Some couples will need to address spousal maintenance or alimony. One option for reaching an agreement about divorce issues such as these is family law mediation.

Advantages of Using Mediation to Resolve Your Divorce

Some couples voluntarily attend family law mediation to discuss divorce issues. Other couples are required to attend mediation by the court. During mediation, the mediator helps the couple negotiate the unresolved divorce issues and find common ground. The mediator uses his or her dispute resolution skills to deescalate emotional conversations and help the couple discuss difficult topics calmly and productively. The mediator’s ultimate goal is to help the couple reach a mutually beneficial agreement on the terms of their divorce so that they can avoid taking the case to litigation.

Limitations of Using Mediation to Resolve Divorce Issues

Mediation can be a great way to discuss divorce issues and reach an agreement. However, mediation is not without its limitations. Mediation alone may be insufficient if a divorcing couple is contending with:

  • Complex financial or legal situations - Some mediators are also attorneys, but mediators are not required to have a law degree, and they may not be able to give legal advice. If a couple is dealing with complicated legal or financial issues, mediation alone may be insufficient. The couple may also need to work with divorce attorneys, accountants, or other professionals to resolve their divorce.

  • A high degree of hostility - Mediation requires cooperation and a willingness to work together. If a couple cannot discuss divorce issues productively, mediation may not be successful.

  • Domestic violence – If either of the spouses has been physically, emotionally, or financially abused by the other spouse, mediation is not recommended. This is because the power imbalance in the relationship can make it impossible for the couple to reach an equitable resolution.

  • Hidden assets or deceit – Mediation requires a free and honest exchange of information. If a spouse is withholding financial information or lying about critical financial issues, it may be in the other spouse’s best interests to skip mediation and work directly with an attorney.

Contact a Naperville Divorce Lawyer

At Pesce Law Group, P.C., we know that each divorce case is unique. What works for one couple may not work for the next. To discuss your options for resolving divorce issues, contact one of our skilled DuPage County divorce attorneys today. Call 630-352-2240 for a free consultation.


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