Mediation as an Alternative to Divorce Litigation
The “happily ever after” promise of fairy tales often create a view of marriage as a series of elegant candlelight dinners and a conflict-free relationship. Conversely, many people may have a romanticized view of divorce, believing that it will mean the end of burdensome relationships and the beginning of a carefree life. Anyone who has ever been married or divorced would probably dispute these ideas.
It is also not uncommon for a person to have a romanticized view of divorce litigation, often fueled by movies and television shows that depict gripping courtroom dramas. In many cases, the reality is far different; the emotional and financial costs pile up and result in a protracted legal battle that takes its toll on both spouses and their children. For some couples, mediation may provide an alternative to a courtroom standoff.
One of the biggest advantages of mediation is that the parties have a tremendous amount of input into the final product. Instead of a judge who dictates terms, the husband and wife make most or all of the decisions concerning their family.
Research indicates that the increased control leads to better compliance and fewer trips back to court to enforce or modify the decree, thus saving money in the long term. This element is particularly important if either spouse has problems accepting authority.
Divorce litigation generally requires a great deal of attorney time. There is an extended discovery period, followed by a trial that can easily last several days. Additionally, there may be a number of preliminary hearings and pretrial motions. Sometimes, a litigated proceeding can take months or years to finalize, with expenses continuing to accrue.
The mediation process, by comparison, is streamlined. The parties will exchange some documents, but the discovery is usually not nearly as complex. The mediation itself usually takes place over just a few sessions, and could even be completed in a single day. Less legal work can mean a substantially lower legal bill.
Perhaps most importantly, a mediation is not nearly as emotionally charged as a courtroom showdown. The parties spend most of the time working toward a solution while the mediator facilitates the discussions regarding child custody, property division, and other issues.
Because of these advantages, many courts may order the parties to try mediation. It is important to use a professional mediator who is experienced in Illinois family law matters, because a less qualified individual may not understand or appreciate all the legal nuances.
Let Us Help
Mediation is not always successful, but it is nearly always worth a try. If you are looking for an alternative to costly litigation, contact an experienced Geneva divorce attorney. Call 630-232-9700 for a confidential consultation at The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates today.