Choosing a Mediator for Your Illinois Divorce

 Posted on November 22, 2016 in Divorce

mediator, DuPage County divorce lawyersChoosing the right mediator for your divorce mediation can be a crucial factor in whether your mediation is ultimately successful. If you are going through a divorce or considering mediation, your family law attorney in DuPage County can advise you regarding whether mediation could benefit your case, and what considerations are important when choosing a mediator.

Who Selects the Mediator?

Either the parties or the court can select your divorce mediator, and the choice may depend on whether the mediation is voluntary or court-ordered. It is also common for the court to give parties the opportunity to agree upon a mediator of their own choosing (from a list of court-approved mediators), and to only assign a particular mediator if the parties cannot reach an agreement.

Since mediation is required by Illinois law for all divorcing parents who have a point of disagreement regarding parenting responsibilities and rights, there are many DuPage County court-certified mediators to choose from to serve as a neutral party in parenting plan disputes.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Divorce Mediator

There are several important factors to consider when selecting a divorce mediator, including:

  • The type of disputes that are to be addressed in mediation, since not every mediator is experienced in serving as a neutral party for both parenting plan disputes and high-wealth asset division, for instance;
  • The number of similar cases the mediator has handled, since this gives insight into how the court may view any agreements the parties reach;
  • The mediator's willingness to consider outside-the-box, innovative, and flexible solutions that stray from default arrangements;
  • The mediator's training and certification - mediators in DuPage County are required to complete at least 40 hours of family law mediation training, though there are many additional available continuing education opportunities and advanced courses available for mediators;
  • The mediator's flexibility in structuring mediation process for parties' needs, including individual and joint sessions;
  • The mediator's ability to ascertain when mediation is not likely to be successful and should be referred for alternatives or proceed to trial before the court;
  • The mediator's ability to screen participants for possible impediments to mediation, such as mental health issues, substance abuse, domestic violence, or significant cognitive impairment;
  • Whether the mediator may have any conflicts of interest with the case.

Consult an Experienced Divorce Mediation Attorney in Illinois

Whether you are selecting a mediator for your parenting plan dispute, or another type of family law dispute, one of our passionate DuPage County divorce attorneys can work with you to make sure your rights are protected throughout the mediation process. By law, your mediator will not be able to give you legal advice and can only serve as a neutral party. For this reason, it is critical that you have an experienced family law attorney on your side.


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