Divorce mediation can be a way to speed up you divorce and avoid animosity. As a Chicago divorce lawyer, I write about many contentious topics on this site, including child custody, child support, and dividing marital assets.
But I want to make sure that people know about divorce mediation and some of what I see as the main benefits.
Mediation = Vegas?
What happens there, stays there.
What happens in mediation stays in mediation. In other words, mediation is confidential – for the most part.
Allow me to compare mediation to litigation in regards to privacy.
As a lawyer, many of my clients are surprised to find out that everything they file in court is a matter of public record. Sure, certain sensitive documents can be sealed, but that’s the exception. People put a lot of personal stuff in the documents they file through the course of a divorce. And they don’t like the idea of everyone else being able to view it upon request.
On the other hand, what happens in mediation is not part of the public record. In fact, in my opinion, mediation is a settlement discussion, and settlement discussions are not admissible in court (they cannot be put on the record, used as evidence, etc). While there may be some odd and extraordinarily rare cases were a judge could force a mediator to testify, there is no doubt in my mind that mediation is generally much more private than litigation
The privacy aspect of mediation is especially attractive to people involved in a high-net-worth divorce. By the way, if you would like some tips on high-net-worth divorce, please view my article BLAH.
Mediators are neutral third parties
In mediation, both spouses are the clients, and the mediator is neutral. In litigation, my job as a lawyer is to help my client win. As a divorce mediator, my job is to help both spouses reach an agreeable solution that will facilitate an uncontested divorce in Illinois.
It can be a lot faster
People contact me and ask “How long does a divorce take?”
They usually don’t like the answer.
For example, if spouses disagree on matters and litigate, what you might think is very simple can take many months. For example, it could take three or four months just to deal with a simple matter like forcing a spouse to supply financial records as required by the court. While we’re on the topic, you may want to check out my article, “How long does a Chicago divorce take? Divorce time FAQ.”
Does that sound fun? I doubt it. And it’s also very expensive.
Divorce mediation can be quicker because a mediator can schedule mediation sessions much more quickly than the court. Also, the mediator has more time available than a judge. As a divorce lawyer, I know that my clients are often surprised by the scarcity of time in court. Sometimes, simply because a judge does not have the time, a matter is delayed for months. That type of delay would be highly unlikely in mediation.
It can be more affordable
Mediation can be an affordable way to get divorced in Illinois.
You surely heard the saying “time is money.” If you are paying a lawyer to fight in court, then that saying is especially true. The more delays there are, the more your divorce will cost.
Mediation can be more efficient than litigation because it can decrease delays and can be more effective at reaching amicable solutions.
Can’t we all just get along?
You may hate your spouse. Or, you may like your spouse, but just want to move on because the magic is gone. Either way, I believe mediation is more effective than litigation at keeping the peace.
Mediation: path to uncontested divorce
I am a major proponent of uncontested divorce in Illinois. When you and your spouse agree on the terms of the divorce, you are not at the court’s mercy, as both of you would be should you choose to litigate. Don’t get me wrong – sometimes litigation is in order – like when someone is using kids as a weapon or is a danger to children.
But many people want an uncontested divorce in Illinois – they just can’t figure out how to get there.
Divorce mediation can be the path to uncontested divorce in Illinois. If you want a bit more info about uncontested divorce in Illinois, check out my article titled “Uncontested Divorce: One-stop Shop.”
How to get started with divorce mediation.
I’m a divorce mediator in Chicago, and also elsewhere in the Illinois counties of Cook, Lake, Will, DuPage, Kendall and Kane.
I believe in divorce mediation so much that I created a website devoted to it – www.divorcemediationinillinois.com.