Divorce Mediation In Chicago, Illinois in Cook County
In many divorce matters, couples may take matters to court to seek a resolution. Each side has an attorney. With each day, the fighting and back and forth continues. The lawyers spend more time on the case, and the stress levels of the parties involved continue to rise. In many situations, the animosity increases. The parties then ultimately end up putting their future, and that of their children, in the hands of a judge.
In many cases, there are alternatives for people to consider. One option that many choose to consider is mediation. In mediation, the parties try to reach an amicable settlement outside of court. While mediation can be a great option, it is important to remember that mediation cannot force the parties to settle.
What Is Divorce and Family Law Mediation?
In mediation, the divorcing parties sit together with a neutral mediator. Unlike collaborative divorce cases, there is usually no attorney present with them in the mediation sessions. A mediator tries to facilitate communication between the parties such that they are able to reach an agreement. In many circumstances, multiple sessions as part of an in-depth process are needed for parties to reach an agreement privately outside of court.
If an agreement is able to be reached, the mediator generally puts this agreement in writing. The parties then hire separate legal representation to file settlement paperwork in court and obtain the approval of a judge. The reality is that mediators cannot divorce parties. They also cannot present the settlement paperwork in court to get it approved by the judge. A judge also has the discretion to accept or reject a settlement agreement if they find it unconscionable.
There is also voluntary and court-ordered mediation. It is important that parties understand the difference. In voluntary mediation, the parties decide willingly to go to mediation. They also agree on the mediator they are utilizing. In court-ordered mediation, the court chooses the mediator for the parties.
The types of issues that can often be addressed in mediation are comprehensive and include:
- Marital property and debt division;
- Child custody, visitation, parenting time, and allocation of parental responsibilities;
- Child support and other expenses for the children;
- Spousal support (a/k/a maintenance or alimony);
- Tax-related issues; and
- Payment of attorneys’ fees.
In some cases, the parties might be able to agree on issues that are being disputed in mediation. In other cases, the parties might be unable to enter an agreement. There are also scenarios where some issues are resolved in mediation, but other issues of dispute remain unsettled such that the court still has to decide those matters.
If you are interested in mediation, contact us today. Stange Law Firm, PC has multiple mediators who can help you, including Kirk Stange, Kelly Davidzuk, Antony Jones, and others.
What is The Difference Between Court-Mediation and Voluntary Mediation in Chicago, Illinois?
Court mediation means that the divorce or family law matter has already been filed in court. Thereafter, the court enters an order that requires the opposing parties to enter mediation. Generally, the court order selects the given mediator.
The mediation order will establish how the costs will be allocated and set the minimum duration of time that the opposing parties will attempt mediation efforts. Some courts (like Missouri) can only require mediation for two hours, but other jurisdictions have their own rules.
Voluntary mediation tends to occur before the family law matter and/or the divorce has been officially filed. The opposing parties are working towards coming to an agreement, and then are able to hire a mediator of their choice. The opposing parties also usually agree on how the payments will be taken care of and they can also participate for however long they desire.
With both approaches, the results and successes can vary. All things being equal, however, mediation can lead to more positive results in the opinion of many when mediation is voluntary and the parties both desire to participate in the efforts. When mediation takes place prior to litigation being filed, it can also lead to lessened tensions that can help further the spirit of the settlement.
What Does Divorce Mediation Cost in Chicago, Illinois in Cook County?
Because mediation seeks to eliminate prolonged courtroom litigation, it can often be a less expensive option than traditional divorce proceedings for many divorcing parties. But this is not always the case in every circumstance. It just depends on how many sessions are needed for an agreement to be reached. Some matters can settle quickly. Other parties might require many sessions to reach an agreement. In some situations, the parties might try mediation and be unable to reach a mutual agreement.
Because any such agreement that is approved by the court is legally binding, it is still smart to have legal representation on your side to ensure that your interests remain protected throughout the process of your case. It is also important to understand the pros and cons of entering into any settlement. The truth is that a mediator does not represent either party and cannot render legal advice, nor can they present a settlement agreement in court.
Schedule An Initial Consultation Today to Learn More About Alternatives to Traditional Divorce in Chicago, Illinois in Cook County and Nearby
Are you looking to hire a diligent family law attorney to help you with your divorce mediation? If so, schedule a confidential appointment with one of our attorneys by contacting us online.
Cook County (Rolling Meadows), Illinois Office (773-453-9390) | 1600 Golf Road, Suite 1264, Rolling Meadows, Illinois 60008.