For many couples, deciding to end their marriage is among the most difficult choices they will ever have to make. Divorce inevitably brings with it a wide variety of emotions and the process itself may be wrought with challenges. An increasing number of couples, however, are finding that there may be alternatives to a hotly-contested divorce played out over several months in litigation, especially for those who may be able to work together. Often, mediation can provide the opportunity to reduce the stress of divorce, while meeting the needs of all parties involved.
What is Mediation?
Couples who seek mediation in their divorce typically do so based on a commitment of cooperation to provide the best post-divorce situation for themselves and their family. During mediation, both spouses meet with neutral third party, or mediator, to work out the details of their divorce. In certain situations, spouses may choose to hire their own legal counsel for the mediation process, but many cases are negotiated without separate attorneys. Once an agreement is reached with the help of the mediator, it is turned over to the court for approval and completion of the divorce.
How Can Mediation Help?
By choosing mediation, a couple can find a number of advantages over a litigated divorce. Among the most common are:
Individualized Attention: Each spouse is better able to be heard and to have his or her needs directly addressed. Specific issues of importance to each party can be discussed thoroughly and incorporated into the agreement.
Cost Effectiveness: Mediation is often less expensive than litigation, which includes court costs and separate lawyers. By hiring a single mediator, couples often find efficient dispute resolution without incurring additional unnecessary expenses.
Convenience: Unlike the courts, a mediator can offer evening and weekend appointments to allow for family considerations. This can help further reduce stresses on home and work-life for the spouses, allowing for more constructive mediation sessions.
Reduced Post-Divorce Conflict: An agreement based on active cooperation between spouses is much more likely to be continually honored by both partners in the future. Court-issued orders can often make one spouse feel targeted, which potentially leads to tension and animosity. A personally negotiated agreement is much less apt to create similar emotions.
Qualifed Mediation Services
If you and your spouse are considering divorce, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney for a consultation today. At Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, we are prepared to help you understand the benefits that mediation can offer and to work with you and your spouse through every step of the process.