When a couple decides to divorce, there are a number of issues that the spouses must agree upon before the divorce can be finalized. The spouses will need to determine how the marital estate will be divided, whether or not the lesser earning spouse will receive spousal maintenance (alimony), and how issues related to the allocation of parental responsibility (child custody) and child support will be handled. It can be very hard for divorcing spouses to reach an agreement about these and other terms of the divorce without help. One way that many divorcing couples are able to resolve divorce-related disagreements without the need for court litigation is through mediation.

How Does Mediation Help?

Divorcing spouses may be required to attend family law mediation by the court, or the couple may decide to attend mediation voluntarily. During this process, the spouses meet with a specially trained mediator who helps them identify the unresolved divorce issues, facilitates productive negotiation about these issues, and works with the spouses to find mutually agreeable resolutions. Spouses who reach an agreement about divorce issues through mediation are much more likely to comply with the terms of their final divorce decree than spouses who are subject to divorce terms determined by the court. Furthermore, mediation is much less antagonistic than litigation. Divorcing spouses who share children together often find mediation to be especially useful, because it encourages an amicable co-parenting relationship in the future.

What Happens During Mediation?

Each mediator has his or her own particular style, but Illinois family law mediation typically involves the same general steps. The mediator may meet separately with each spouse before beginning the mediation process to discuss their goals and concerns. The mediator may then hold an initial meeting with both spouses to explain the mediation process and identify the issues that need to be resolved. The mediator will then work with both spouses in a series of meetings with the goal of reaching an agreement about the unresolved issues. In some cases, the spouses may ask to have their attorneys present at some or all of these meetings, but typically, only the spouses and the mediator will be present during mediation sessions. Once the spouses reach a resolution of which they both approve, the mediator provides a Memorandum of Understanding that describes the decisions the spouses have reached. The spouses’ attorneys then prepare a formal settlement agreement containing this information and file it with the court. Once the settlement is approved, the divorce will be finalized, and the couple’s marriage will be dissolved.

Contact a Cook County Divorce Lawyer

Mediation is a great way for spouses to resolve divorce-related issues without the need for expensive and often hostile courtroom litigation. Parents who disagree about the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time as well as divorcing spouses with property or maintenance-related conflicts may be able to reach an agreement about these issues with help from a qualified mediator. To learn more about mediation, contact Botti Marinaccio, LTD. Schedule a confidential consultation with a dedicated Oak Brook divorce mediation attorney from our firm by calling us at 630-575-8585 today.



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