A divorce may come after months or years of disagreements, and the process can be ugly. For some people, this is exactly what they want; the competitiveness can be cathartic. However, for others, a less contentious approach is more appropriate. This is particularly the case where there is a child involved and the divorcing spouses will have to maintain some sort of relationship—not only until the child is adult, but throughout the entirety of the child’s life. In this case, mediation can be an incredibly useful tool.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a process in which a neutral third party, called a mediator, facilitates communication and negotiation between parties to help them reach a voluntary agreement to resolve a dispute. The mediator is not the judge in the case, but instead is some other neutral third party.
Illinois Supreme Court Rule 905 requires each court to establish a mediation program for cases involving child custody and visitation disputes. The court can also order mediation on other divorce-related issues, although it is not required to do so. Pro-active parties can seek out mediation if they agree to a mediator without a court order. When it comes to selecting a mediator, the parties can agree on a mediator or the court can refer them to one if an agreement cannot be reached.
Who Does Mediation Work For?
If you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse are still in a place where you can sit down face-to-face and work for the common good, mediation may be a positive experience. If you are seeking an amicable divorce, mediation can provide that while also limiting some of the costs associated with protracted legal battles. An amicable split can make life substantially easier where there are children involved. It can also provide a path for a mediator to figure out exactly what both sides really want and suggest solutions that come as close as possible to satisfying both sides.
There are times when mediation is mandatory; however, it may not work for every couple. For instance, the parties may not be in an emotional state where mediation can be an effective tool if one of the spouses was utterly surprised by the other’s filing for divorce, if cheating was an issue, or if domestic abuse either occurred or has been alleged.
Call Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C.
If you are in a family law dispute in DuPage County, you will need the help of the Illinois divorce attorneys at Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C. Please contact us today at (630) 665-7676. We have acted both as advocates and as mediators in divorce and child custody disputes and have the experience to help you through this difficult situation.