Deciding that it’s time to dissolve a marriage is never easy for either party, even if it’s the best option for you and your family. The stigma surrounding divorce is often one of heated arguments, with each party doing his or her best to make the other party suffer for marital mistakes.
While that is the case in some divorces, it certainly doesn’t have to be the case in yours. Many couples can still interact with one another on an amicable, rational, and co-operative basis, which enables them to pursue non-litigated methods such as divorce mediation.
What Is Divorce Mediation?
Couples who are searching for a more affordable divorce option may consider divorce mediation, a co-operative method that involves hiring a neutral third party mediator to help guide the couple through their areas of disagreement.
Although divorce mediation is sometimes done with just one attorney participating, it’s most common for both parties to retain the services of their own attorney. Then both parties agree on a divorce mediator who is specially trained to help couples negotiate their divorce. The mediator should be impartial, and will have an end goal of developing a final settlement where both sides feel as if they were treated fairly.
What Are the Benefits of Divorce Mediation?
Besides making for a more affordable divorce, there are several other benefits of divorce mediation to consider:
- Peaceful Communication –Divorce mediation maintains a co-operative, non-aggressive approach to divorce negotiations. Being able to sit down with one another to compromise and work through the divorce issues may act as a foundation for future communications.
- Both Parties Feel Heard – Areas of disagreement are worked through with the mediator. This way, both parties can feel satisfied that their concerns were heard and that their needs were considered in the final agreement.
- Maintain Power and Control – Divorce mediation allows the couple to maintain control over their own divorce, rather than leaving major decisions to a judge.
- Ensures the Best Possible Outcome for Couples with Children –Custody, parenting, time sharing, and child support are often the most contentious issues in divorce proceedings. A divorce mediator can help you and your spouse find realistic solutions that are equitable and stability enhancing.
- Less Difficult for the Children to Endure –Divorce is especially difficult on children, as is adjusting to living in a two-family household. A divorce mediator can help you and your ex compromise on these issues and foster a sense of calm and collaboration.
The importance of maintaining the mindset that you and your former spouse are still partners in terms of raising your children is essential not only to reach an effective settlement, but also to ensure that the settlement and co-operation last well into the future.
Mediation is also significantly healthier for your children. The more you two can get along and make a shared parenting plan work, the less vitriol the children will experience in their home lives.
How Does the Divorce Mediation Process Work?
The divorce mediation process generally takes place over several meetings. The times of these meetings are dictated by the availability of all parties involved, including the mediator, both spouses, and any attorneys. As such, scheduling can pose the biggest challenge with respect to how long the entire process takes.
- The First Meeting –The divorce mediator will spend most of the time firmly establishing the issues and goals of each party. The mediator will work with you to rank these issues by importance in order to understand your priorities. After that’s been established, the divorce mediator will detail all the relevant information that needs to be acquired and shared to ensure the parties have what they need to make informed decisions.
- After the First Meeting –Both spouses will be tasked with gathering the necessary information or any required resources, whether they be financial documents, appraisals, insurance information, or other items of importance.
- Subsequent Meetings –The subsequent meetings between you, your mediator, and your attorney (if you have one) will be dedicated to meeting both parties’ divorce settlement goals through compromise and discussion. This is where the mediator’s pragmatism and impartiality are especially important.
Once both parties agree to a negotiated settlement, the mediator will finalize a draft for review by each party’s attorneys. It is essential to have an experienced Chicago divorce lawyer representing you to review the final settlement and ensure your needs are met. Once approved, the agreement will be drafted by one of the parties’ attorneys based upon the mediator’s statement of the settlement terms.
Will Divorce Mediation Work for Your Case?
If you and your spouse are amicable enough to agree on most issues and are willing to sit in the same room together, you may be good candidates for divorce mediation. Not only is mediation an affordable divorce option, but it can help to keep the peace for the benefit of everyone involved.
If you prefer, you can choose to do “shuttle mediation’’ where, instead of you and your spouse being in the same room, the mediator “shuttles” between you and your spouse who are in separate rooms, and works out an agreement between you.
Contact the Family Law Professionals at Conniff Law Offices
Whether you are seeking a divorce lawyer in Oak Park or the greater Chicago area to represent you in your divorce mediation, Conniff Law Offices can help. Contact us today to set up a consultation at our Oak Park or Chicago office. Our helpful, compassionate family law professionals can represent you throughout the mediation process, as well as provide several reputable divorce mediator options for your consideration.