How Divorce Mediation Works in the State of Illinois
By Chicago Divorce Attorney Patrick Markey, P.C.
“Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser – in fees, expenses, and waste of time.” – Abraham Lincoln
Collaborative Divorce process in Illinois
This method uses specially trained lawyers and other sometimes other professionals such as child and financial specialists to help the parties reach and out-of court agreement with privacy and respect. In the Collaborative Divorce both spouses commit to:
– A written pledge not to go to court
– A full and honest exchange of financial information
– A solutions based approach that addresses the issues of both spouses and their children
The goal is to jointly settle the case and prevent an expensive and emotional court battle. There is also a focus on the children and for them to be a priority rather than a casualty. Both parties sign a binding contract not to go to court, which contract disqualifies both attorneys if the parties later choose to litigate their case in court. The Collaborative approach provides face-to-face meetings with you, your spouse, your lawyers and any other professional that the group chooses to bring in to assist in reaching an agreement. You and your spouse stay in control of the case instead of an unfamiliar judge. This method promotes open communication and uses a problem-solving approach to create agreements more likely to be adhered to by both spouses.
Divorce Mediation in Chicago and Illinois
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution. The mediator is an impartial third party who facilitates the resolution of disputes through assisting in communication, encouraging understanding and focusing on the parties individual and common needs and interests. Mediation allows both parties to negotiate and control the outcome of their settlement rather than have the outcome of their divorce imposed on them by a court or judge. It can save the parties the cost of litigation and the time delays that the formal court process causes.
The mediator does not decide the case for the parties. The mediator’s role is not to give advice or take sides/positions, but to be a neutral and facilitate communication between the parties which is usually severely lacking when parties are going through a divorce. A divorce mediator can provide some initial basic information on divorce law for the parties. During mediation, each spouse learns to communicate his or her desires and feelings with the assistance of the mediator which can ultimately lead to parties coming to an agreement on how to resolve their divorce case.
Mediation is not a good idea when one spouse has been a victim of domestic violence, if either party refuses to negotiate in good faith or it becomes apparent that one spouse is hiding assets or income.