The divorce rate is higher than it once was, and court dockets around the country reflect this reality. As such, some couples are seeking other methods by which to settle their divorce quickly and amicably, and mediation has emerged as the most common in recent years. While it is not for everyone, there are multiple advantages over going to court that can benefit many couples, and the process is generally worth some consideration.
Perhaps the most notable advantage to mediation is the ability to begin relatively quickly. Court appearances can drag on or even take a long time to begin depending how crowded a court’s docket may be. To commence mediation, the only thing required is a mediator, though each side may still wish to retain their own attorneys. Illinois mediators are required to adhere to certain standards and practices, as well as to complete training courses totaling at least 40 hours, but there are enough trained mediators in Illinois that it should not be difficult to find one.
The other major advantage for many couples in mediation is that it can be much less intimidating and distressing to all involved, especially children. Divorce court can be hard on children, especially if you and your spouse are not able to communicate amicably, and your marriage’s dirty laundry winds up being aired during proceedings. Mediation allows for longer and more nuanced discussions, which very often results in more solid parenting time agreements and less complex asset division settlements simply because more points get discussed.
Mediation is not for everyone. Most notably, mediation does not lend itself well to couples who cannot sit down and reasonably discuss the various aspects of divorce. There may simply be too much acrimony for the spouses to negotiate on issues like child custody, and if this is the case, mediation may not be successful for you.
Alternatively, if you begin mediation but you simply cannot reach an agreement on certain issues, you do have the right to go to court and pursue a traditional divorce. However, be advised that in Illinois, mediation-related communications are privileged unless specifically waived by all the relevant parties. In other words, if you and your spouse cannot make mediation work, and you decide to handle your divorce in court, none of the communications created during that mediation are admissible in your divorce. If you or your spouse made any kind of adverse admission during mediation, it is privileged and cannot be discussed. This can cause real problems that must then be addressed, which can cost even more time and money than you might have expected.
Illinois Divorce Mediation Professionals
Regardless of which method you choose to obtain your divorce, having an attorney on your side can make a difference in getting through the process more quickly and with less hassle. Our dedicated DuPage County divorce attorneys will do our best to ensure you understand the pros and cons of mediation and other forms of dispute resolution, so you can decide what might work best for you. Contact us to set up an initial appointment.