It is no secret that getting a divorce is a difficult process that is often fraught with conflict. But even divorcing spouses who get along relatively well may still be interested in keeping the process as peaceful as possible. Whether you anticipate a hostile divorce or are on good terms with your spouse, alternative dispute resolution strategies can be helpful. In fact, very few divorces in Illinois go to court because alternative dispute resolution is so successful that it is often ordered by judges before a case can proceed to trial.
There are two major types of alternative dispute resolution when it comes to divorce: Mediation and collaborative divorce. While they share some similarities, knowing the difference between these two strategies can help you decide which one is right for you.
A Mediator is Not Necessarily an Attorney
During the mediation process, a mediator will help spouses prioritize, stay focused, and remain results-oriented. Mediators are trained professionals who are intimately familiar with Illinois divorce laws, and they are often but not always attorneys. Conversations during mediation meetings are confidential and have the goal of moving a couple closer towards divorce by creating a divorce agreement that both spouses find fair and which is likely to be approved by an Illinois judge.
A Mediator Does Not Represent You
Mediators are neutral parties who cannot advocate for one side or the other. While they may work hard to help spouses hear each others’ perspectives or clarify issues so spouses can reach an understanding, a mediator is not representing either spouse. Each spouse’s attorney can be present during mediation sessions, but as this can make the experience more contentious, many spouses choose not to have their attorneys present.
In contrast, in a collaborative divorce, you do have your attorney there with you throughout the negotiations. Collaborative divorce is still inherently conflict-averse, but spouses are actively represented by their attorneys throughout the entire process.
During Collaborative Divorce, Other Professionals May Be Present
One of the things that many people find most useful about collaborative divorce is the opportunity to have an array of professionals available for assistance. These include child psychologists, financial professionals, divorce coaches, and anyone else who can help streamline the transition through the divorce process. Everybody involved signs a statement agreeing not to go to court, and if the collaborative process is ultimately unsuccessful, the agreement is dissolved and each spouse’s attorney cannot represent them in court. This incentivizes everybody to act collaboratively towards a positive resolution.
Schedule a Free Consultation with an Experienced DuPage County Divorce Lawyer
If you are interested in exploring alternative dispute resolutions in your Illinois divorce, the skilled Wheaton, IL divorce attorneys with Andrew Cores Family Law Group can walk you through your options. We recognize that avoiding conflict in your divorce is often the quickest path to ensuring a favorable outcome and will work hard to represent you and your rights. Call us today to schedule your free initial consultation at 630-871-1002.