What is Divorce Mediation?
Mediation is where you and your spouse conduct your own settlement talks but you do so in the presence of someone who is trained to help you to avoid derailment. The mediator doesn’t try to sell anybody on anything but does make certain time-tested procedural suggestions to help you and spouse decide on how you might want to proceed.
SPOUSES IN LITIGATION WISH THEY WEREN’T.
Whatever happens in mediation is confidential and cannot be used later in court. The mediator is not a judge and does not have the power to decide anything. The mediator is only there to help the two of you in creating a tailor-made settlement of your choosing. The presence of a neutral and impartial third party creates a dynamic that should help achieve a level of communication with your spouse that you would most likely not be able to reach on your own. This is because techniques are used to get your spouse (perhaps for the first time) to actually listen to what you are saying. Prior to mediation, most people just keep going around and around in the same verbal cul de sac and continuously debate the same issues. The fact is that those very issues are part of what brought you into conflict in the first place. You weren’t going to change that party’s mind then and you aren’t going to change that party’s mind now — unless something happens to make that person realize that it just might benefit him/her to consider alternatives. That’s where the mediator comes in.
BOTH MEDIATION & COLLABORATIVE LAW PERSONALIZE AN IMPERSONAL PROCESS
Participants are given the ability to say everything that they feel needs to be said. That’s very important because divorce is about feelings. A judge only considers the facts and law and is not allowed to hear testimony about feelings. We all need to be heard and validated, and mediation provides a place where that can happen. In a courtroom, parties are rarely (if ever) allowed to speak their piece. There is no downside to mediation. You cannot lose. The worst that could happen is that you spend a few more hours trying to get through to your spouse (which is something you probably would have done anyway).
DON’T ALLOW A BAD MARRIAGE TO BE FOLLOWED BY A BAD DIVORCE
Aside from saving money and time, mediation produces impressive psychological benefits to the family. Studies indicate that children recover more quickly from the stress of divorce when the parents use mediation and that the number of couples who return to court after mediation is less than one-third of the number who obtained litigated settlements. People rarely leave the courtroom smiling. People rarely leave mediation without smiling.
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Richard and Kari are staunch advocates of the non-court approach to divorce, and are also active and seasoned litigators with over 60 years of combined trial experience in the Illinois divorce courts of Cook, DuPage, and Will counties.
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