Mediation: Negotiate on Your Own Schedule
Whenever a case goes to litigation, the involved parties give up great deal of control regarding the situation. While a deal could possibly be brokered by the court, contentiousness and acrimony is much more likely. In addition, court dates are often weeks and months in advance, with very little happening in between. Thus, what could have been a relatively simple divorce has deteriorated into long, drawn-out process causing serious levels of stress and bitterness. For many couples, however, mediation may provide a much more reasonable avenue for reaching a divorce agreement, allowing them to move at their own pace and addressing the issues that matter most.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that involves two—or more, if appropriate—parties and a neutral, third-party facilitator. The parties and the facilitator, known as a mediator, engage in negotiation-oriented discussions aimed at developing a resolution that is agreeable for everyone involved. Mediation is used in a wide variety of legal applications and is very often a part of divorce and family law proceedings. Parties to a mediated divorce may choose to retain their own attorneys, depending on complexity of the case. Some mediators are, in fact, also attorneys, allowing them to address many of the legal issues that may arise during the process.
In addition to the cooperative nature of mediation, the method is also very attractive for many couples due its inherent flexibility. The restrictive scheduling of court dockets often requires both parties to take off work, make childcare arrangements, and spend weeks waiting for the opportunity to be heard. Most mediators, on the other hand, make themselves much more available to meet the needs of a particular couple. Many offer evening or weekend sessions to allow for faster progress and, ultimately, more efficient resolution.
Additionally, your mediator is not likely to take on more cases than he or she can handle in a reasonable amount of time. Thus, it is usually possible to maintain a regular schedule for negotiating sessions over the course of several weeks until an agreement is reached. If additional sessions are needed, they can generally be scheduled within a few days, rather than months later. Most importantly, the final agreement will be based on contributions of both parties rather than the edict of a presiding judge.
If you are considering divorce in Illinois, contact an experienced Kane County divorce attorney. Attorney Doug Warlick is a certified divorce mediation lawyer who can help you navigate the process while avoiding messy litigation. Call 630-232-9700 to learn more about mediation or to schedule your initial consultation.