Mediation is a cooperative, problem-solving process that gives couples the opportunity to control the decisions that will affect their future. Mediation allows couples to deal with their separation or divorce outside of a courtroom setting, and usually is less costly- both financially and emotionally-than litigation. A mediator helps you identify the points on which you already agree, then works with you and your spouse to create practical, informed solutions to the others.
Your mediator, who is an impartial professional, should create a safe environment that won't allow either of you to get "ripped off". Mediation can build your knowledge and self-esteem. If you mediate your divorce, both parties can be empowered. The mediator will listen to both sides, and then he/she will help you create a fair plan that's in your family's best interest. Mediation is good training for dealing with your ex-spouse when the divorce is over.
No mater how long you've been together, divorce is the death of a dream shared. Despite the anger and fear that accompanies divorce, many couples find that the conflict can be minimized by the use of a neutral third party (a mediator) who helps couples work out the terms of their own separation and divorce agreements.
Parents are more knowledgeable than anyone else about their own children's needs. Therefore, you and the courts prefer that parents make the decisions on those issues effecting parent-child relationships. Mediation provides the parents a structured setting so both parents can work together to maintain these relationships.
Mediation is for couples who want to retain control over important legal decisions that affect their lives and the lives of their children. A trained mediator helps the husband and wife work out alternatives and solutions geared to the specific needs of the family. Mediation is NOT a substitute for the services of an attorney. Instead it puts decisions-making in the hands of the couple and the legal implementation of those decisions in the hands of an attorney.
Mediation is never binding by itself. Only a properly executed settlement agreement which is the outcome of the mediation is binding.
One of the advantages of mediation is that it is confidential. The emotional and perhaps embarrassing issues that are raised in divorce and child custody difficulties will be kept private, as opposed to a trial where all of the proceedings are part of the public record.
Mediation is successful in a majority of cases. If you have a lawyer, the mediator will notify your lawyer of the terms of your agreement. Your lawyer will provide advice and counsel and present the final agreement tot he Court. The court will then enter an order, reflecting the joint decision reached by you and your spouse. If you do not have a lawyer, the mediator can daft the mediation agreements. You can choose to have an independent lawyer review the agreements, and a good mediator will advise you to do this.
If you don't reach an agreement, you can still go to court. You do not give up your right to litigate your dispute. What has occurred in mediation is confidential and is not admissible in court or through discovery, so you have the luxury of starting fresh as if the mediation had never taken place. In a court ordered mediation, the case will return to the court for a decision by the judge if the two parties cannot come to an agreement.
Please note that while I can answer general questions about the process, I cannot discuss case facts with only one of the parties, without the other party being present. Please use the contact form to the left, or, have each party complete my Mediation Questionnaire here. If you live or work in Chicago, elsewhere in Cook County, in DuPage County or in Lake County, we can meet in person.