Benefits and Limitations of Divorce Mediation in Chicago

Benefits and Limitations of Divorce Mediation in Chicago

By: Gordon & Perlut, LLC

When you are thinking about filing for divorce in the Chicago region, the prospect of going to court and having details of your private marital life out in the open can feel daunting. While an experienced Chicago area divorce attorney can represent you zealously in the courtroom and can advocate for your rights, you may still be wondering whether there are alternative options available. One possible solution is divorce mediation.

Mediation can be a great option if both sides are willing to negotiate with one another and potentially reach a solution without initially involving the court. There are also several other benefits to mediation. However, mediation is usually not the best option for parties expecting an extremely contentious divorce, or in divorce situations involving domestic violence.

What is Divorce Mediation?

In Illinois and the Chicago region, divorce mediation is governed by our state’s version of the Uniform Mediation Act (710 ILCS 35/). According to the Illinois statute, it is defined as “a process in which a mediator facilitates communication and negotiation between the parties to assist them in reaching a voluntary agreement regarding their dispute.” Communication does not necessarily have to mean a verbal communication with your spouse. To be sure, mediation communication can mean “a state, whether oral or in a record or verbal or nonverbal, that occurs during a mediation or is made for purposes of considering, conducting, participating in, initiating, continuing, or reconvening a mediation or retaining a mediator.”

A mediator is the person who conducts the mediation and it is always a neutral third party. Each party in the mediation can and should have his/her own divorce attorney with them during the process. If the parties involved in the mediation are unable to reach an agreement, then the divorce can proceed in the courtroom. We want to tell you more about some of the pros and cons, or benefits and limitations, of divorce mediation.

Benefits of Divorce Mediation in Chicago
There are many benefits to divorce mediation, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Costs usually are much lower than the costs associated with a contested divorce, which involves courtroom hearings;
  • Communicating and negotiating with the help of a neutral third party can allow the spouses to have a better working relationship and more respect for one another at the end of the divorce process;
  • Mediation typically allows for a quicker process than a contested divorce, which necessitates setting dates for hearings and courtroom appearances; and
  • Private matters from the marriage can largely be kept private.

Limitations of Divorce Mediation in the Chicago Area

While mediation can be extremely helpful for some couples, there also are limitations to mediation. The following are some cons associated with mediation for a Chicago area divorce:

  • Communication can be retraumatizing for spouses involved in marriages with a history of domestic violence;
  • Mediation can feel like a waste of time if the parties are unwilling to communicate or negotiate; and
  • Locating hidden marital assets can be much more complicated.

Contact a Divorce Mediation Attorney in the Chicago Area

Do you have questions about going through divorce mediation? An experienced divorce mediation attorney in Chicago can speak with you today about the mediation process and whether it is appropriate for your case. Contact Gordon & Perlut, LLC to learn more about how we can assist with divorce mediation and other divorce matters in Illinois.