How Do I Know if I Can Mediate my Divorce?

Couple going through divorce mediation.
  • Aug 5 2020

You and your spouse have decided to divorce. Each of you is dreading the time and expense, not to mention the emotional toll and mental anxiety brought about by litigation in Illinois courts.  You may be wondering, “Is there a way I can mediate my divorce in Illinois and avoid courtroom drama and financial ruin?”

Illinois divorce attorneys will tell you yes, there is an alternative to traditional courtroom divorce: mediation. The option of divorce mediation, and any resulting success, merely requires a willingness of both parties to reach a marital settlement agreement and stay out of court.    

What is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce mediation is a process whereby a neutral third party acts as an intermediary to settle all matters of a divorce outside of litigation.  

During mediation, all matters of divorce are resolved by mutual agreement, including but not limited to issues of property division, including retirement accounts, spousal and child support, and child custody matters.

Who Can Act as a Divorce Mediator and What Does a Mediator Do?

In the State of Illinois, any person can act as a divorce mediator, without any special licensing or certification required. However, divorce is a complicated process, even under the best circumstances. 

Mediators act as a neutral third party, guiding parties toward a collaborative agreement for settlement.  A mediator does not tell either party what to decide but instead encourages them to make settlement decisions that will effectuate a final marital settlement agreement and dissolution of marriage.

When selecting a mediator, it is wise to hire a seasoned divorce attorney skilled in mediation to serve as the neutral party and ensure that any agreement is legally enforceable. 

What Are the Benefits of Divorce Mediation

Illinois divorce attorneys witness firsthand the adverse emotional and financial effects of lengthy, drawn-out divorce battles on divorcing couples and their families.  In many cases, settlement can be reached between parties through mediation, preserving some semblance of friendliness and respect between parties. 

Divorce mediation is a more cost-effective, time-saving, and amicable approach to settlement than divorce litigation. 

  • Shorter process
  • Less expensive
  • Less acrimonious

When Divorce Mediation Isn’t a Good Idea

Unfortunately, there are circumstances wherein Illinois divorce attorneys advise that mediation is not a viable alternative to litigation:

  • Failure of parties to disclose hidden assets
  • Unyielding mindsets, i.e., the “all or nothing” approach
  • Restraining orders in effect
  • Domestic abuse situations
  • Aggressive or hostile participant

Do You Need an Illinois Divorce Attorney during Divorce Mediation?

Ending a marriage relationship is an emotional and legally complex process. 

Regardless of whether you are facing a courtroom battle or desire to reach a marriage settlement agreement through mediation, every decision made during your divorce carries a lasting impact on your future. Seeking counsel from an experienced Illinois divorce lawyer regarding your options and legal rights during divorce is a smart decision. 

Contact the Illinois divorce attorneys at the Goodman Law Firm today to learn more about divorce in Illinois and whether mediation will work for you and your spouse.

Posted in: Divorce