You’ve probably heard horror stories from friends and acquaintances who’ve had expensive, ugly divorces, right? Maybe you’ve also heard from some who feel better about the process because they didn’t go the slash-and-burn route, but used divorce mediation instead.
Divorce mediation is a process in which a neutral third person, called a mediator, sits down for a series of meetings with a divorcing couple to help them reach an agreement about things like property, custody, and support. Most couples arrive at agreements they can live with-which means they don’t have to fight it out in court. Mediation offers many advantages over court battles.
Unless you’re one of those fortunate few divorcing people who can negotiate directly with your spouse with a minimum of acrimony to come to an agreement about dividing property and parenting your children, divorce mediation may be a great option for you.
Generally, mediation is voluntary, although Illinois courts will require you to go to mediation if you can’t agree about child custody. You can go to mediation at any point in your divorce, even if you’ve already hired lawyers. Divorce mediation has an extremely high success rate-the vast majority of cases that go to mediation get settled there.
To find out more about mediation and how to get through a divorce amicably, try reading Divorce Without Court: A Guide to Mediation & Collaborative Divorce, by Attorney-Mediator Katherine E. Stoner (Nolo).