Saying you want to get divorced is one thing, but as anyone who has successfully finalized their divorce knows, agreeing to the complex terms of a divorce with a soon-to-be ex-spouse is another thing entirely. Divorcing couples are required to negotiate and communicate over very sensitive matters during a time in which they could hardly dislike each other more.
Understandably, therefore, remaining fair and balanced during divorce negotiations is challenging – especially when it feels like so much is at stake. However, couples do not have to manage this process alone. Between their divorce attorneys and other professionals, such as divorce mediators, couples can make it successfully through the divorce process and move on with their lives.
What Does a Mediator Do?
Unlike an attorney who advocates from a very biased perspective for a spouse’s best interests, mediators are neutral third parties who are trained in Illinois divorce law and conflict resolution. Their job is to bring a divorcing couple together and help them identify points of conflict, understand their options under Illinois law, and brainstorm possible resolutions.
Mediators can be very useful for effectively breaking down each spouse’s concerns and preferences, especially when spouses are unable to communicate effectively. Acting as an in-between, mediators seek to understand each spouse’s position and then present it to the other spouse in a fair way. Mediators do not make recommendations to the judge about outcomes in a case and the contents of mediation sessions are private and confidential.
Should We Proactively Hire a Mediator?
If a couple has already filed for divorce and cannot come to an agreement, a judge will usually order the couple to pursue mediation, especially if there are children involved. The cost of court-ordered mediation may be divided by both spouses, paid by just one spouse, or potentially waived if the couple earns less than $75,000 per year.
However, if a couple knows before filing for divorce that they are going to have a hard time agreeing to the terms of a divorce decree, they can hire a mediator whenever they are ready. Private mediation is often more effective than court-ordered mediation and spouses have much more freedom to resolve their differences on their own schedule. While couples often elect not to have their attorneys present during mediation sessions, mediation is not a replacement for effective legal counsel, so even if you choose to retain a private mediator, make sure you both still have your own attorneys.
Call a Chicago Family Lawyer
Resolving difficult disagreements is usually the hardest part of divorce, but it must be done before the divorce can be finalized. At NextLevel Law, P.C. by Daniel R. Hernandez, Esq., we are here to represent your interests and to make sure you have the assistance of whatever professionals you need, including mediators. To learn more about our services and how we can help you achieve your legal goals, call us today at 312-442-2225 to schedule a free consultation with one of our Downtown Chicago divorce attorneys.