Divorce is an emotional and stressful time, one when you are likely to be worried about your future, your finances, and the impact on your children. If you and your divorcing spouse can get past the turbulence, defensiveness and friction that are normally present when trying to reach a settlement, you may benefit from divorce mediation. This is a structured process that provides an out-of-court dispute-resolution tool that can help you settle your differences in a sensible manner.
The experienced and compassionate Illinois divorce lawyers at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. offer a free consultation to help find the path to the best possible outcome in divorce and related family law issues. Our seasoned staff includes trained mediators, as well as trial lawyers to deal with issues not settled by mediation. We know that divorce is a sensitive time for all parties and understand the importance of thorough preparation and aggressive representation. We are here for you and will walk you through the process and stand by your side.
The state of Illinois encourages divorcing couples to resolve as many of their differences as possible in advance, and mediation is an effective way to do so. The purpose of mediation is to provide a neutral third party to help couples who are not able to resolve their differences on their own. If you already agree to all terms on issues that include alimony payments, division of jointly-owned property, child custody, child support payments, and visitation rights, you do not need a mediator.
During mediation only you, your spouse, and the mediator will be in the room. The setup is designed to minimize conflict, so you and your spouse will be encouraged to sit on the same side of the table. The mediation process can take one meeting or more, depending on how willing you both are to continue negotiating. If you and your spouse do not live close to one another, you may do the mediation through a phone conference.
The mediator tries to help you work out your issues, but can not make a decision or force you to accept a settlement. To ensure that both parties speak freely, nothing is submitted to the court until there is a final written agreement. Couples may decide to undergo mediation before filing a joint petition for divorce or at any time before their court date.
It is best to solve as many issues as possible through mediation. Mediation is beneficial because it:
It may be beneficial to choose certain issues to mediate and leave the rest to be worked out with your attorney. Issues which are most often covered in mediation include:
For mediation to work, both spouses must be reasonable and willing to negotiate. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, especially during the emotional early stages of divorce or if only one party wants the divorce. Mediation will also not work if one or both parties are unable to control their anger at their spouse.
In addition, mediation does not provide spouses with legal advice and does not usually eliminate the need for an attorney. Even after mediation, it is often better to have your own attorney to consult with before formalizing any agreement, and an attorney should process the divorce through the legal system.
When choosing a mediator, make sure the individual has proper credentials and is knowledgeable about Illinois laws. Interview the mediator to make sure the person is compassionate and understanding and that you have good rapport together, as you will be discussing personal and intimate details of your life.
Illinois divorce law is complicated and changing, and the facts and circumstances of each case are different. So whether or not you are going to utilize mediation, it makes sense to seek legal counsel to represent your interests. The skilled Illinois family-law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., can advise and guide you through every step in both the mediation and divorce processes.
We offer a free consultation to discuss your individual divorce issues and answer your questions. For a free initial consultation with an experienced and compassionate DuPage County divorce lawyer, contact us online or call 630-305-0222. We handle cases throughout Illinois and have offices in Woodridge.