Fighting is for courtrooms and mediation is for staying out of courtrooms.
As divorce lawyers in DuPage County, IL, we often receive telephone calls from prospective clients who begin the conversation by saying something like, “My wife and I have decided to divorce, and we want to use mediation. Our decision is mutual; we have a house and two kids, and we have agreed on everything.”
This situation does not call for mediation. Mediation is not for those who have already reached an agreement on the various items that present themselves in divorce – issues involving parenting, support, and property division.
Divorce mediation is for those that cannot resolve their issues without bumping heads and wish to use a mediator to get their point across to their soon-to-be ex in a way that will be listened to. It is for those that need help getting through to their partners.
The parties referred to in the phone call above do not need a mediator because they have resolved everything that needs to be resolved. They have already achieved the best that mediation has to offer – a settlement of their issues. All they really need is a lawyer that will walk them through the legal system and get their settlement approved and their divorce finalized. This is a relatively inexpensive process. Whereas, and what many people do not realize, is that the parties that use mediation should still have lawyers to review their settlement and to process it properly.
Mediation is assisted negotiation. It helps disputants put their best foot forward when they are trying to persuade their partner to agree to something that their partner does not want to agree to.
Divorce mediation is like a negotiation seeing-eye dog that guides you towards settlement and away from divorce court. It walks you safely through a minefield of sensitivity with many unseen detonators that can easily destroy your chances of ever reaching an out of court settlement.
Most of us are challenged when it comes discussing a divorce settlement with our soon-to-be exes. No one can press our buttons like our spouse can. If we want them to hear our side and to comprehend why our settlement position is what it is, we must open their ears and their thinking. Primarily, this involves not aggravating them, and this is what mediation makes possible.
Mediation makes it possible for us to say what we have to say without stirring up our partner. Why is not aggravating them so important? Because angry people do not settle, they fight. Fighting is for courtrooms and mediation is for staying out of courtrooms.