You've decided to seek a divorce. Your nerves are frayed, the in-laws are asking pointed questions, the children are beginning to act up in all-too-transparent ways and your calm demeanor is fading fast. What can you do? Where do you begin? What follows is a checklist of reasons why working with a Divorce Mediator may take some of the “sting” out of your divorce and make the process a peaceful one:
- It costs less -When you meet with a Chicago Divorce Mediator, you can share the cost with your spouse, which is typically somewhere between $2,000 - $3,000 from start to finish. However, when you litigate and retain separate attorneys to represent you in the divorce, you each pay retainers of at least $5,000 just to get the process started.
- You have control - With Chicago Divorce Mediation, you control how quickly or slowly decisions are made, when the divorce Petition is filed and what agreements go into the Allocation Judgment and Marital Settlement Agreement. You control every part of the divorce process, in contrast to the adversarial process in which attorneys set court dates and judges make decisions with very limited time and information about your family.
- Paperwork done for you - Many people try to handle their own divorces these days. Unfortunately, they ultimately run into difficulty trying to understand the laws and the complex paperwork involved. A Chicago Divorce Mediator will write a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) detailing your parenting and financial agreements. This MOU will be taken to either 1 attorney or 2 attorneys, who will then convert it into the Allocation Judgment, Marital Settlement Agreement and file it with the court as part of the divorce proceedings, thus saving a lot of money on legal fees, time and unnecessary frustration.
- Easier on the children - The worst aspect of a divorce for children is the conflict between the parents and the possibility of them having to testify in court and/or be evaluated by a Custody Evaluator. No matter how amicable and peaceful your divorce is, your children will be affected in some way However, when working with a Chicago Divorce Mediator, one who focuses on what is best for your children moving forward, your children will heal more quickly knowing that you and the other parenting are working together to keep their best interests at the forefront of the process, keep them out of court and limiting any negativity associated with divorce. Good Divorce Mediators are trained in keeping you focused on what is best for your children though all aspects of the mediation process.
- Easier on you - The way your marriage ends, amicable or acrimonious, will significantly impact the way you approach your future relationships and your ex-spouse. When you use a Chicago Divorce Mediator to assist you and your soon to be ex with positive communication between the two of you, empathizing with each other and keeping the focus on the future vs. what led to the divorce, it can be easier to move forward and move on from the past, rather than turning hurt and anger into an expensive court battle.
- You can still go to court -When you mediate your divorce in Chicago, you do not give up their right to go to court. If you are not satisfied with how the mediation process is going, you can stop at any time, retain separate attorneys and have the judge decide the issues. What has occurred in mediation will remain confidential, so the parties can start fresh. The only information that leaves mediation are the agreements you reach.
- You get legal information - In Chicago Divorce Mediation, you are encouraged to consult with an attorney for legal advice, especially before signing the Allocation Judgment and Marital Settlement Agreement. Divorce Mediators do not give legal advice nor do they tell you if the mediated agreements are good for you specifically. However, a good Chicago Divorce Mediator should be able to provide you with a list of “mediation friendly” attorneys who will assist you with your specific legal questions, rights and concerns.
- Emotions can be managed - Many people simply want to be heard and understood in the divorce process. However, without assistance, this can get out of control, as “being heard” may cause anger and resentment between you and your spouse. A good Chicago Divorce Mediator, trained in conflict resolution, will work with you in acknowledging feelings in a productive way, and at the same time, not allowing those feelings to control the decision-making process.
- It is confidential - In private Chicago Divorce Mediation, all discussions and tentative agreements are confidential. This confidentiality gives you a safe environment to make suggestions and propose settlement options that you may not have been able to do in the adversarial divorce process. This open communication can lead to new solutions and agreements neither of you had previously considered. Remember, nothing you say in mediation can be used against you in court.
- It builds on the positive - In Chicago Divorce Mediation, both parties are encouraged to recognize the positive in the other person, find common ground for agreement, empathize and work together as co-parents. When you litigate, you emphasize the negative about each other, “go for the throat” and try to win at all costs. Whatever goodwill there is between the parties, when they start the divorce process, should be preserved, and not destroyed. Mediation also reduces the likelihood of post-divorce conflict and repeated court hearings, being that you and your spouse have created agreements that you reached together and have a mutual buy-in toward. Mediation will help both of you to communicate and work together as co-parents for many years to come.
Chicago Divorce Mediation gives you the best chance of reaching equitable agreements, keep the costs down, limit negativity and keep your children’s best interests at the forefront of the process.
Since mediation is an attempt to bring people together, mediation may not only resolve the underlying dispute, but it can create a foundation for the parties to have a friendly and working relationship with each other, even after the dispute is resolved. If the parties have children, having a good working relationship is important because the parties are forever connected to each other through their children.
Chicago Divorce Mediation can also bring peace of mind, because a friendly, working relationship between parties' means that there is less of a chance that one party will commit an adverse action upon the other in the future.
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Chicago Family, Divorce Mediators
Divorce mediation services can be arranged during all phases of the divorce process. Contact our Chicago Family, Divorce Mediators at C.E.L. & Associates, Inc. for a consultation.