Most people who have experienced divorce report that the process was one of the most challenging and emotionally stressful events of their lives. If you are planning to end your marriage in the Metro East, IL area, it is natural to have doubts and concerns about how the process will unfold. Your divorce is likely to influence your life for years to come, and it is essential to know your legal options for handling the process effectively. One of the best options available to anyone facing a Metro East, IL divorce is alternative dispute resolution.

Alternative dispute resolution, especially mediation, has quickly become the preferred method for handling divorce in the United States. Taking full advantage of alternative dispute resolution benefits both spouses in a divorce. The process allows them to save significant amounts of time and money while enabling them to reach more personalized outcomes for their divorce cases.

What Are the Requirements for Divorce Mediation?

There are only two prerequisites for divorce mediation in Metro East, IL. First, both spouses must be willing to undergo the mediation process and negotiate their divorce settlement. Second, they must retain a mediator who holds no conflicts of interest favoring either of them. Most divorce mediators working in the Metro East area are current or former divorce lawyers who have years of experience guiding clients through Illinois divorce proceedings.

Many divorcing couples have significant personal issues that may prevent effective communication and negotiation. If you and your spouse are ready to end your marriage and cannot stand the sight of one another, this does not mean you must eliminate mediation as a potential option for handling your divorce case. Even when divorcing spouses are seemingly incapable of having a civil discussion, their respective attorneys can act as proxies and handle negotiations on their behalf.

Do I Still Need to Hire a Divorce Attorney?

It’s common for divorcing spouses to assume that their chosen mediators replace the need to hire separate legal counsel, but this is not the case. Your divorce mediator’s job is to guide negotiations and ensure your discussions remain civil and productive. The mediator cannot offer legal advice to either spouse. They can answer general legal questions and clarify state laws that pertain to the divorce case, but they cannot provide any direct counsel.

If you plan to take advantage of alternative dispute resolution in Metro East, IL, call our firm. It is essential to have an attorney on your side. While mediation is a streamlined alternative to litigation, it is still vital to have reliable legal counsel to guide you through the process. Your attorney can help you ensure your mediated agreement aligns with your best interests.

What Can I Settle in Divorce Mediation?

Mediation offers divorcing spouses an easier method of settling almost every aspect of divorce in a fraction of the time required for litigation. You and your spouse can settle many issues, including property division, spousal support, and prenuptial contract review if the two of you have a prenuptial agreement in place. As you and your spouse complete negotiations for these matters, your mediator assists in drafting a divorce order that includes your mediated resolutions.

While mediation is a streamlined alternative to divorce litigation, there are some limitations to the process. For example, if you and your spouse have children together, you cannot reach a final decision regarding child custody and child support through mediation. The Illinois family court has a legal duty to ensure every custody and support agreement suits the best interests of the children it will affect. You and your spouse can draft a proposal for your parenting plan during mediation, but this must be reviewed and approved by a Metro East family court judge to become valid.

How Long Does Divorce Mediation Take?

Most couples who choose divorce mediation can complete their divorces in a fraction of the time litigation would require. Your mediator will likely divide the process into face-to-face negotiation sessions between both parties as well as individual sessions with the mediator and each of the spouses.

When a couple takes their divorce to court, their proceedings could take several months or even more than a year to complete, depending on the complexity of their case. By comparison, it’s possible to complete the mediation process in a few months depending on the amenability of the spouses and the availability of their chosen mediator. If you and your spouse can negotiate effectively, you could potentially settle one aspect of your divorce in just a few mediation sessions before moving on to the next matter.

How Do I Prepare for Divorce Mediation?

The mediation process allows a divorcing couple to settle the various aspects of their divorce through private negotiation, effectively allowing them to avoid a stressful courtroom experience. Mediation allows the couple to address each facet of their divorce and reach agreeable terms for their divorce settlement. Preparing for mediation is virtually identical to the process of preparing for divorce litigation without the need to conduct courtroom proceedings.

Your Metro East, IL divorce attorney will help you gather all the materials you will need to complete mediation, including your financial disclosure paperwork and any other physical evidence you will need for the process. Your attorney can also help you develop a list of reasonable expectations for each aspect of your divorce so you can rehearse your negotiation points before each mediation session.

Find Your Legal Counsel

Perhaps the most important preparatory step to effective divorce mediation is securing legal counsel. The right Metro East, IL divorce attorney is an asset for any divorce case, including those that unfold through mediation. Your chosen attorney will be instrumental in guiding you through mediation effectively. Your attorney will help you reach a suitable conclusion to your divorce case.

If you’re facing a divorce in Metro East, IL, secure representation before mediation begins. Contact an experienced Metro East, IL divorce lawyer as soon as possible to learn more about the benefits of divorce mediation and what you can expect as your divorce case unfolds.