How to Find the Best Divorce Mediator in Chicago

How to Find the Best Divorce Mediator in Chicago

By: Gordon & Perlut, LLC

Most divorcing couples feel that mediation would be a waste of time. The reason is that if they could talk through their problems, they would not disagree about financial and emotional issues, to begin with. Yet once the process starts, the benefits become apparent. That’s largely why family law mediation is about 90 percent successful.

An experienced divorce mediator in Chicago maximizes the chances of success. Experienced meditators are familiar with family law cases. They know when to apply gentle pressure to a reluctant party and when to back off. That level of expertise is difficult to find. Just because a Chicago divorce mediator is on a judge’s approved list, that doesn’t mean the mediator is the right one for your family.

Benefits and Timing of Mediation

Divorce trials are necessary in a few cases, typically because the parties are too far apart to resolve the case on their own. But mostly, they are unnecessary emotional showdowns that leave lasting wounds. In contrast, family law mediation has some concrete benefits, as follows:

  • Cost: According to the Department of Justice, mediation reduces legal fees by millions of dollars every year. Mediation is easier to prepare for, and it ends the case early. Furthermore, mediation reduces stress and other non-financial costs of divorce.
  • Control: Mediation gives the parties more control over the outcome. This factor looms especially large if one or both spouses have problems with authority. Additionally, the added control makes subsequent modification proceedings easier. More on that below.
  • Civility: If the spouses have children, this might be the most important one. Former spouses don’t have to be friends, but they do have to work together for the benefit of their children. Mediation sets the stage for that level of cooperation.

As for the timing, mediation can occur at the beginning of the case, or later, once financial discovery is complete. If you use mediation later in your case, it gives the parties more time to resolve the case on their own. It also ensures that all financial evidence is available.

Sometimes, however, early mediation, or even pre-filing mediation, is best. Early mediation is a high-risk/high-reward affair. Since discovery hasn’t happened yet, there is less evidence available, although parties can still agree to exchange documents. But the cost savings are much more significant. Pre-filing mediation often happens prior to modification actions. If the parties just disagree over a few minor points, a mediator can bring them together, so they can present an agreed order to the judge.

Finding the Right Mediator

As mentioned, experience is usually the most important factor to consider. Family law mediation is quite unlike contract or other forms of mediation. Unless the mediator is experienced in this area, the settlement agreement might not withstand judicial scrutiny or further reflection of the parties.

Furthermore, as mentioned above, experienced mediators often have something of a sixth sense. They know when to be more assertive and when to let parties negotiate with a softer approach.

Accessibility is important as well. If a mediator is not very busy and can supervise a session on short notice, that’s probably a bad sign. On the other hand, if the mediator is so busy that it takes several months to schedule a date, that’s probably a bad sign too. No one is worth that kind of wait.

Reach Out to a Hard-Working Cook County Lawyer and Mediator

Mediation usually works. For a free consultation with an experienced Chicago divorce mediator, contact Gordon & Perlut, LLC at 312-360-0250. After-hours and virtual visits are available.