Effective Chicago Divorce Mediation
Veteran mediation attorneys serving the Cook County, Lake County and DuPage County
Mediation and other alternatives to litigation are often faster and more cost-effective than courtroom litigation. M. Scott Gordon & Associates offer mediation and conflict resolution services in family law matters. Our attorneys also provide legal assistance and advice to clients using third-party mediators as they proceed through the process.
Divorce alternatives: mediation, conflict resolution and collaborative law
Our divorce mediation attorneys offer mediation, conflict resolution and collaborative law services.
Mediation involves assisting clients with resolving their divorces or other family law disputes in a cooperative manner. When we are hired as the mediator, we do not represent either party and act as trained neutrals to assist the parties in resolving their conflict. Often, the individuals will have outside attorneys they can consult for advice during the negotiation and mediation process.
When each party hires a divorce lawyer to resolve a family law dispute through negotiation without resorting to courtroom litigation, it is called collaborative law. In some cases, this may be appropriate.
We often represent one party who has agreed with the spouse to use the services of a mediator. Even in these situations, the parties can benefit from having mediation attorneys representing their interests and providing advice as they seek to negotiate a peaceful resolution to their case..
The benefits of pursuing Mediation
Until only a few years ago, most people were unclear regarding 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 allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly known as custody) and visitation issues. Unfortunately, the requirement does not apply to financial issues.
What is mediation? Mediation involves the couple meeting with a trained professional who guides them toward a settlement of the issues that need to be decided in a divorce. The mediator does not impose solutions but instead helps couples come to reasonable agreements. The couples may be assisted by a mediation attorney throughout the process.
Most people getting a divorce 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 need to be made and that there is a substantial risk to having their divorce issues resolved by a judge.
One advantage of Chicago divorce mediation is that the parties can devise creative and workable solutions to their problems in ways that a judge won’t. For example, both parties initially may claim in the divorce that they want sole allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly known as sole custody) of the children. If that issue is presented at trial, 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, parties pursue full allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly known as child custody) because they are concerned about having limited access to their children and cannot have a say in his or her upbringing after the divorce. Alternatively, parties may request full custody because they fear for their financial future and cannot imagine life without child support. Mediation allows both parties to explore their concerns regarding allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly known as child custody), child support and property division, and we have seen often how a mediated settlement can take into account everyone’s needs and concerns.
Another advantage of divorce 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 that the mediation sessions are confidential and that each party agrees not to call the mediator as a witness at any court proceeding. This agreement allows the parties to discuss possible settlement options openly without being concerned that the discussions will be used against them later if a mediated settlement is not obtained.
Put Mediation to Work for You
An experienced mediation attorney can make your divorce process easier. Contact Mediation Lawyer M. Scott Gordon online or call 312.360.0250 for our Chicago office or 847.329.0101 for our Skokie office.