An excellent tool to use during the divorce process, mediation can be implemented at virtually any point in the case, but can be especially beneficial in the beginning stages of divorce.
What is It?
Mediation is a process in which individuals come together outside of court to try to arrive at an agreement with the help of a trained third party, the mediator. In divorce cases, the parties are the two divorcing spouses alone with the mediator, both getting time to voice their own concerns and goals regarding certain issues in the divorce. Many couples choose to attend mediation to settle certain issues rather than leaving them up to a judge. In the beginning of a divorce, mediation can be used to settle issues peacefully, before animosity has time to build. If the parties are able to come to an agreement on a particular issue, that agreement will be put in writing by the mediator so that the attorneys can present it to the judge for formal approval.
Mediation can also be court appointed. Many domestic relations judges in Illinois require individuals to attend mediation to settle child custody and financial division issues. Court-appointed mediation has the same goal as voluntary mediation: to solve as many family issues as possible outside of court.
The Main Benefits
Mediation has a few main benefits not available in litigation. Benefits of mediation are as follows:
Privacy – Mediation involves just you, your spouse, and a mediator. The traditional court process, on the other hand, will likely involve a much greater audience. This makes mediation an excellent way to privately discuss your family issues, rather than hashing them out in front of a judge, court clerk, sheriff, other attorneys, and numerous people waiting for their own cases to be called.
Bargaining – Mediation allows you to bargain with your spouse about exactly what you want, rather than having a judge choose whatever he or she wants for your family. An experienced attorney can help you decide what are your main goals are, what issues you may be willing to compromise on, and what your absolute bottom line is. Not only will you have had plenty of time to think and talk through these things with a professional, but you will also have the advantage of understanding how to use these points to get what you want in the session at the direction of your attorney.
Saving Money – The most practical benefit of choosing mediation during your divorce may be the money it can save you. There are, of course, fees associated with attending mediation, but they are generally exceedingly lower than those associated with a full-blown trial. Trial takes time and money. To be fully prepared, your attorney will need to invest significant time planning for the trial, which will add to your existing costs. The ability to decide some of the major issues during mediation may allow you and your attorney to avoid trial entirely or even reduce the issues that have to be determined at trial, both of which could save you money.
How To Get Started
If you are interested in learning more about how you can save time, money, and maintain your privacy throughout a divorce, contact Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. today to discuss the use of mediation. Our experienced DuPage County family law attorneys can help you talk through whether mediation is right for your particular case.