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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
630-472-9700Available 24/7

Illinois mediation attorneyMost people who divorce choose to go through standard divorce proceedings, in family court. However, many are unaware that this is not the only option, especially if you and your spouse have a good working relationship. Mediation or another form of alternative dispute resolution can often be quicker and less involved, which means that less time and money will be spent on hashing out minutiae.

The Strengths

The main strength of mediation, as opposed to a courtroom divorce, is that much more agency is left in your hands, and many legal decisions will be entirely yours and your spouse’s - indeed, unless your mediator is an attorney, they are prohibited from offering legal advice at all. That said, it can be highly advantageous to use a mediator that is an attorney, because then they will know the law and can offer guidance on more small details of the process. Even if your mediator has a law license, they cannot demand you or your spouse do anything; they can simply advise you as to the legality of any idea you may have.

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Illinois divorce attorneyMediation is not the ideal way for every couple to divorce. Couples who cannot communicate effectively and those who do not trust each other are not suited to this method of ending a marriage.

You might need a slight perspective adjustment to make yourself a good candidate for mediation. Mediation works for couples who are willing to put in the effort to make it work. If you are not sure how to conduct yourself at your divorce mediation sessions, discuss your concerns with your lawyer and keep the following tips in mind.

Do Not Talk Over your Spouse or the Mediator

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alternative dispute resolutionToday, many divorces in the United States are settled out of court. This can be done through mediation or through collaborative divorce, both of which are forms of alternative dispute resolution. Many couples who choose this type of divorce report higher levels of satisfaction with their settlements than those who choose to end their marriages through traditional litigation.

However, alternative dispute resolution is not always the best choice. Some divorcing couples' circumstances make it impossible for them to amicably work through their issues outside of court. For these couples, litigation is the only option. Before you begin the divorce process, talk to your attorney about whether alternative dispute resolution would be appropriate for your case. He or she will be able to examine your unique circumstances and advise whether litigation, collaborative divorce, or mediation would be best for you and your spouse.

When One Partner is Hiding Assets

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dupage divorce attorneyWhen you are beginning the divorce process, everything can seem convoluted and confusing. It can be overwhelming to decide on one divorce attorney over another in the sea of seemingly thousands of attorneys who are eager to take your case. How can you know which attorney will help you reach the divorce settlement you are looking for rather than spending your time and money with little to show for it? There is a lot to consider when you're looking to hire a divorce attorney, so we put together a checklist to help you through this process.

What Are His or Her Credentials?

Credentials are key for a successful divorce attorney. Does the attorney you're considering hiring have a history of misconduct, unprofessional or unethical behavior, or a record of losing cases and unsatisfied clients? Word-of-mouth references can give you some insight to an attorney's career, but the best information is the information you will find through speaking with each candidate individually. Do not be afraid to ask a prospective attorney about his or her professional history. Can he or she explain any past difficulties and how he or she overcame them? Without becoming too personal about previous clients, ask your prospective attorney about his or her strengths and weaknesses when advocating for clients and how he or she plans to minimize those weaknesses.

Professionalism is Key

Your attorney is providing a service, and like with any other occupation, good customer service is key to building a good relationship with clients. Ask yourself, does your prospective attorney return your phone calls and emails in a timely manner? After a meeting with him or her, do you feel like you are a valued client, or do you feel like you are just a number? These things are important and indicate the level of dedication an attorney will give to your case.

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illinois divorce mediation lawyerIf you have been contemplating filing for divorce, you have probably heard the term "Alternative Dispute Resolution" mentioned, but may be unclear of exactly what it means. In the divorce law context, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) refers to a quasi-legal process of settling your divorce outside of a courtroom. ADR may take place in a variety of forms such as collaborative divorce or mediation. Collaborative divorce, the process of working with the other spouse or her attorney collaboratively and positively to arrive at an out-of-court solution, is a topic covered in prior posts.

Mediation, the other common form of ADR, is the process of sitting down with a trained, neutral party to resolve legal issues and possibly social and emotional issues associated with the divorce. To some experts, the mediation process is better designed to address the social and emotional difficulties couples face when going through a divorce and the life changes that accompany it.

The core of the mediation process is legal mediation. In these proceedings, couples come together to solve disputes that arise during divorce, such as those concerning property division, child custody, child support, and alimony. Though it is advisable that couples still retain the services of a divorce attorney during the divorce process to help them strategize and protect their legal rights, parties can choose whether or not to have lawyers present at all or some of the mediation sessions. Overall, the goal of mediation is not to win or lose against an estranged spouse but to reach the arrangement that best satisfies both parties.

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