When you think about the legal process of divorce, do you picture a wood-trimmed courtroom with a spouse on either side and judge in the center to facilitate the standoff? This mental picture may not be exactly accurate, but it would probably be similar to the image of a divorce that most people would conjure.
What you might not know, however, is that the overwhelming majority of all civil cases—which include divorces—are not decided by a judge or jury in a courtroom. Rather, they are resolved through negotiations between the parties, and the judge’s primary role is to approve the agreement the parties have reached. One of the most common ways in which a divorcing couple reaches an agreement is through mediation. Divorce mediation offers several benefits compared to a litigated divorce, including time and money savings, scheduling flexibility, and a higher level of participation from both spouses. There is also the often-forgotten advantage of substantially increased privacy and personal security.
Virtually any time that you are inside a courtroom for a formal proceeding, there is a court reporter present. The court reporter’s job is to take down every word that is spoken—as well as meaningful gestures—so that a permanent transcript of the proceedings can be created. The transcript and the proceeding itself automatically become public record unless a judge specifically orders that they should not.
This means that anything that is brought up during your divorce proceedings could become available to anyone who may wish to access it for any reason. “Anything” includes your income details, your business holdings, your parenting beliefs, and any mistakes you may have made over the course of your marriage. Even if you do not feel that you have anything to hide, you still might not want all of your business entered into the public record.
Privacy in Mediation
When you choose mediation for your divorce, you and your spouse will meet under the supervision of a neutral, third-party mediator to work out the details of your divorce. The mediator may take notes during each mediation session, but anything that is talked about stays between the parties and the mediator. There are very few exceptions.
Presuming that you eventually reach an agreement and the judge approves it, the resulting divorce judgment becomes public record. The information that is exchanged and discussed to reach the settlement—including any arguments, disagreements, or accusations—remains confidential. This allows both parties to be more open and honest during the mediation process without concerns that personal information will get out to the public.
Call Us for Help
If you are considering a divorce and would like to know more about the potential benefits of mediation, contact a DuPage County divorce mediation lawyer. Call 630-871-1002 for a free consultation at Andrew Cores Family Law Group today. We will help you and your family find the solution that best fits your needs.