Helping You and Your Spouse Achieve a Peaceful Resolution
Before you decide to move forward with a divorce, make sure you are aware of all the options available to you. You could go through litigation, but you could also opt for a collaborative divorce or choose divorce mediation in Chicago.
Are you and your spouse in agreement about getting a divorce? If so, then divorce mediation may be the best option for you. Call our Chicago divorce mediation attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C. today! Managing Partner Melissa Caballero is a certified divorce mediator and can help you peacefully dissolve your marriage so that you can avoid a nasty courtroom drama.
He was very professional, knowledgeable, approachable, and he explained the process very clearlyFaruk
Mediation involves the divorcing spouses and a mediator. A divorce mediator does not advocate for either party; instead, the mediator’s job is to help facilitate negotiations until a couple reaches a mutually agreeable settlement. This is why it would also be wise to have an attorney on your side. Unlike litigation, the mediation process is far less contentious and an effective approach for spouses to forego the heartache and hostility that is often part and parcel of this inherently adversarial method.
The Purpose of Mediation
Mediation is a non-binding and confidential process that can take place with a private mediator whom the parties agree upon, or through Family Mediation Services, which is free of charge to the parties.
The purpose of mediation is to provide parties with an opportunity to sit together outside of court, with a neutral party (the mediator), and work towards identifying the existing issues and trying to find common ground. Parties are encouraged to engage in mediation with an open-mind and with an idea of what he or she hopes to ultimately get out of the process.
The Benefits of Divorce Mediation
In Chicago, divorce mediation can do more than simply provide a more amicable means of dissolving a marriage.
- It takes less time: No one wants to spend more time than they have to when it comes to ending their marriage. Since you will not be at the mercy of the court’s schedule, you and your spouse can complete the mediation process in a few sessions.
- It costs less: A divorce that takes less time also comes with a much smaller price tag.
- It is better for your kids: If you and your spouse have children, then you have even more reason to divorce amicably. Divorce mediation will help you work on your ability to cooperate, compromise, and negotiate custody and visitation with your co-parent as you move forward. Since you will continue to be in each other’s lives as you raise your children, these will be vital tools.
- It is confidential: When you go through divorce litigation, the details of why your marriage failed will be accessible to the public, which can be an uncomfortable position for couples. Divorce mediation keeps these details private.
- Your resolution is customized: If you leave your divorce up to a judge, you and your spouse might not be happy with the outcome. You are far more likely to be pleased with your divorce settlement if you have a hand in it.
How Does Mediation Work?
As mediation is a confidential process, the mediator does not provide any feedback to either party’s attorneys’ (if applicable) or testify in court if the case goes to trial. What happens in mediation stays in mediation, unless information is provided during a mediation session, which leads the mediator to believe that a child may be in danger; however, if the parties are able to come to an agreement during mediation, then they may choose to memorialize that agreement in a court order to make it binding on both parties.
Parties are not always able to reach an agreement in mediation; however, it can help provide a forum for recognizing each parties’ respective interests and positions. At the Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C., we have experience in guiding our clients through the mediation process and moving beyond the mediation process in court if parties’ are unable to reach an agreement. Contact us today!
Child Custody Mediation
If you are in the Cook County Court system and cannot agree with your spouse or the parent of your minor child(ren) regarding custody of the minor child(ren) and issues related to visitation and removal of the child(ren) from Illinois, you may be facing a long road ahead of you.
In cases where custody of a minor child is at issue, or parents cannot agree to visitation, or when as issue exists as to removal of a minor child from the state, Cook County Circuit Court Rule 13.4(e) requires parents to attend mediation.
How to Prepare for Mediation
Regardless of whether you will be participating in mediation on a voluntary basis or through a court order, it is important to maximize your time to achieve the most desirable outcome. Even though mediation is a collaborative effort intended to bestow mutual accord, this does not mean it will be smooth sailing, or even that any agreements will be made. Successful mediation requires a lot more than two opposing sides sitting in a room, here’s how to get the most out of it:
Come to mediation with a plan.
Regardless of the pending issues in your family law matter, it is helpful to come prepared to your mediation session with a list of what you are looking for and hope to get out of the process. This will provide you with something to refer back to throughout the process of mediation. For example, if you have court ordered mediation for child visitation, it may be helpful to outline the specific holidays that are important to you, what your ideal parenting schedule would look like, etc.
Entering mediation without a plan is like going on a road trip without directions. You might end up where you want but it’s going to take you a lot longer to get there.
Be open and honest during mediation.
The role of the mediator is not to give advice, but rather to assist the parties in identifying the issues that often prevent parties from being able to come to an agreement, reducing misunderstandings, and helping to elucidate each party’s interests and priorities in the matter. By providing parties with an opportunity to have an open discussion and begin a dialogue about what they are each hoping to get out of the process, as well as eventually explore possible solutions that may satisfy the interests of all parties involved, the mediation process helps to facilitate resolution of contested issues outside of the courtroom.
Be ready to compromise in mediation.
The dreaded compromise, who wants that anyway? Typically, the people who want to save money, time, and tears are the ones who may be willing to compromise. They may not even actually want to compromise, but they do it because they can see the bigger picture and understand it is more advantageous in the long run.
Compromise is not to be confused with being weak or giving in on issues you really stand for. Going back to step 1, if you properly identified what you want and why, it makes the compromising go a lot smoother. If you are able to communicate to your ex your reasons–whether emotional, financial or even personal attachments—to whatever is in question, your success rate of obtaining it will be higher.
It’s important to remember that you are NOT obligated to agree to anything during mediation. If a proposal is discussed during mediation and you are unsure about something, or something doesn’t sound quite right, you can always say you need some time to think about it, and you want to discuss it with your attorney (that is what we are here for) and bring it back to us for discussion. It is much easier, and better, to do that, opposed to agreeing to something during mediation and reneging on it later.
At the Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C., we provide a vast array of options for divorcing spouses, including mediation. You and your spouse do not have to go through a contentious divorce process to achieve a resolution. Our Chicago divorce mediation lawyers can provide the guidance you need to achieve an amicable resolution. Our law firm has handled countless divorce and family law cases in Chicago since it was founded in 2009. You can rely on us to effectively handle your case.
Contact us today at (312) 487-2795 to set up a consultation with a member of our team.
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