Mediation In Chicago
Until only a few years ago, most people were unclear about what mediation was and how it worked. While mediation is not suitable for all couples, it is certainly suitable for most families. In fact, Judges in Illinois are required to send couples to mediation regarding their children if they cannot agree upon custody and visitation issues. Unfortunately, the requirement does not apply to financial related issues.
What is mediation? Mediation is the couple meeting with a trained professional who helps guide the parties toward a settlement of the issues that need to be decided in a divorce. The mediator does not impose solutions, but rather helps couples come to reasonable agreements.
Most people getting divorced have difficulty communicating, and it is common for them to feel that mediation “won’t work for them.” However, a trained mediator can often focus couples on their immediate problems and needs. Although divorce is often accompanied by anger, distrust, and feelings of hurt, most (but not all) people do not want to spend a large amount of time and money in divorce litigation. They instinctively understand that compromises will need to be made, and that there is a substantial risk to having their divorce issues resolved by a Judge.
One advantage of mediation is that the parties can devise creative and workable solutions to their problems in ways that a Judge will not. For example, both parties initially may claim in the divorce that they each want full custody of the children. If that issue is presented at trial to a Judge, the Judge is required to rule in favor of one party and against the other. However, the parties in mediation may discover that their reasons for requesting full custody of the children are not necessarily incompatible. How? Often, one party is pursuing full custody because they are concerned that their access to their children will be limited and that person will have no say in the upbringing of their children after the divorce. Alternatively, a party may request full custody because they fear for their financial future, and they cannot imagine life without child support. Mediation allows the parties to explore these concerns, and we have often seen how a mediated settlement can take into account everyone’s needs and concerns.
Another advantage of mediation is that it allows the parties to “open up” with the other spouse in a controlled environment. Most mediators will have the parties sign a mediation agreement, which should include a clause, which makes the mediation sessions confidential and where each party agrees not to call the mediator as a witness at any court proceeding. This is very important because it allows the parties to discuss possible settlement options openly without being concerned that these discussions will later be used against them if a mediated settlement is not obtained.
If you’re looking for an experienced lawyer who understands the importance of finding a resolution with your family’s best interests in mind, please email Chicago Mediation Lawyer M. Scott Gordon or call 312.360.0250 or 847.329.0101 today.