When Illinois couples decide to end an a marriage, it launches a whole process that requires more decisions. Mediation could come up as an alternative to litigation that exposes people to arbitrary court decisions. Mediation brings the estranged spouses together so that they can be heard and negotiate the terms of a divorce settlement. For appropriate candidates, the process could save money on court costs and reduce the adversarial nature of litigation. The benefits do not always emerge, however, and the process might not be a good fit for everyone.
In the experience of one family law attorney, mediation works well when both parties want good outcomes for each other. The two people need to display a willingness to listen to each other. A person considering mediation also needs the ability to advocate for his or her self interest. Someone unable to stand up for important personal issues might give in to demands too easily. A victim of domestic abuse is generally not viewed as a good candidate for these reasons.
Speed is not a strength of mediation. The process requires multiple meetings that can spread over many months. The lengthy timeline might allow emotions to mellow and lead to an equitable settlement that meets the needs of both parties.
Legal advice plays an important role for a person entering mediation. While the sessions are led by an impartial third party, the goal is to reach an agreement on the applicable divorce legal issues. Once an accord has been reached, the agreement will be put in writing. Each party’s separate attorney will review it before it is submitted to the court for its approval.