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Mediation: The Cheaper, Friendlier Way to Divorce

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mediation, divorce, Illinois family lawyerIf you are considering filing for divorce or have already done so, know that going to court is not your only option. There are other ways to complete your divorce, such as mediation and collaborative divorce. These methods are collectively known as alternative dispute resolution, which covers a wide range of non-litigative ways to resolve legal issues. In Illinois, the laws related to mediation and mediators are outlined in the Uniform Mediation Act.

There are many benefits that come with choosing mediation for your divorce. Many couples who choose this option report higher levels of satisfaction with their divorce settlements and better relationships with each other following their divorce. These benefits are derived from the greater level of control that couples who choose mediation have over their divorces than those who go through the traditional divorce litigation.

How Mediation Works

The couple works with a mediator to determine a fair divorce settlement. A mediator is a licensed professional who acts as a neutral third party during this process. Topics covered during a couple's mediation session can include everything related to their divorce, such as the division of their property and assets, their child custody plan, and issues related to spousal maintenance. These sessions take place in quiet, private spaces such as the mediator's office or conference room. By eliminating the stress of the courtroom, couples often find it easier to communicate with each other and the mediator about their goals and desires for their divorce settlement.

Once the couple has reached an agreement, their attorneys sign the paperwork attesting to the settlement and file it with the court. Once the court approves the paperwork, the couple is divorced. By working out a divorce settlement privately, rather than in the courtroom, the couple can save a significant amount of money on their divorce.

Circumstances Under Which Mediation is Not Advised

Although mediation has many benefits, it is not suitable for every couple. There are certain circumstances that a couple may face that prevent them from being able to complete the mediation process. These circumstances include:

  • If either spouse has a history of failing to cooperate with the court;
  • If either spouse is suspected of hiding assets from his or her partner; or
  • If there is a history of domestic violence or any other great power imbalance between the couple.
Mediation can only work when the couple's relationship is amicable enough for them to work together to reach their goals. If the couple cannot do this, they can not divorce through mediation. Couples who face these challenges are better suited to litigation.

Illinois Divorce Attorneys

To learn more about whether or not mediation is the right choice for your divorce, contact an experienced Will County divorce attorney at the Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C. Our goal is to provide top quality legal advice and representation for divorcing couples and their families. We can help you understand your options and protect your rights throughout the process
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