Is Divorce Mediation Right for You?
Despite people’s best intentions, many marriages end in divorce. Divorce can be very emotional and can have serious long-term effects. One increasingly common option for couples considering divorce is mediation.
In Illinois, mediation is required pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rules for parents who are in disagreement over custody, visitation, removal and other non-child support related issues. Additionally, couples can agree to mediate a host of other issues including property distribution, spousal support, insurance coverage, and tax implications.
In sum, divorce mediation is a voluntary, non-binding, confidential process by which a neutral third party assists the couple in reaching a mutual agreement. The role of the mediator is to remain neutral at all times. This means that the mediator will never take sides or advocate for either party. The mediator may or may not be a lawyer, but should be experienced in divorce and family law issues. The mediator will meet with the couple together and sometimes separately and assist the couple in determining the issues, facilitating communication, exploring the parties’ interests, and developing possible solutions.
Some benefits to divorce mediation include:
- Mediation is often less expensive than a contested and litigated divorce.
- Mediation helps couples stay in control of their divorce by allowing them to decide their own settlement.
- Mediation is private and confidential.
- Mediation is time efficient.
- Mediation reduces conflict and hostility that may accompany litigation.
Not all couples are appropriate for mediation particularly when domestic violence or substance abuse is present. Mediation also does not guarantee the parties will come to an agreement – there needs to be some level of trust and respect between the parties for mediation to be successful.
If you think divorce mediation might be right for you, please contact our office. All of our attorneys are trained mediators who can assist you through the process.