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DuPage County divorce mediation lawyerIn previous blogs, we have discussed the many advantages of divorce mediation. Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method that is much less stressful and expensive than court litigation. When a couple disagrees about child custody, spousal maintenance, or other terms of their divorce, mediation can help them reach an agreement that works for both parties. However, mediation is not right for every divorcing couple. A qualified divorce attorney can help you decide whether or not mediation will be in your best interests while working to protect your rights throughout the divorce process.

Marriages Involving Domestic Violence or Abuse

The main element of any abusive relationship is an imbalance of power. An abusive spouse may use physical violence, threats of harm, intimidation, gaslighting, and other tactics to maintain power and control over his or her victim. It is important to note that domestic violence does not only include physical abuse. It can also involve financial abuse, emotional or verbal abuse, and sexual abuse. If a person is leaving an abusive marriage, divorce mediation is rarely recommended, because the imbalance of power makes a cooperative mediation process virtually impossible.

Divorce Involving Financial Fraud

Many divorce issues discussed during mediation involve finances. In order for spouses to negotiate the terms of their divorce, both spouses must be transparent and honest about the assets they own, the income they earn, and the debts they owe. If a spouse is hiding assets or lying about income, property, or debts, mediation may be a waste of time. Some spouses may even dissipate, or waste, marital assets prior to divorce by spending money on an affair, drug or alcohol addiction, gambling addiction, or for other reasons. If you have reason to believe that your spouse is lying about their finances or has dissipated marital assets, you should contact an attorney right away.

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Wheaton divorce mediation attorneyThe end of a marriage is rarely without conflict, but some divorces involve more contention than others. If divorcing spouses cannot reach an agreement about issues such as asset division, child custodychild support, and spousal maintenance, the court will need to intervene. Courtroom litigation is typically more expensive, time-consuming, and stressful than alternative means of resolution like mediation and collaborative divorce. When spouses are able to put their resentments aside and work cooperatively to resolve divorce issues, they will likely save a great deal of time and money. Read on to learn about two alternative dispute resolution methods available to spouses getting divorced in Illinois.

Negotiating Issues With the Help of a Mediator

It can be nearly impossible for two people who are ending their marriage to remain objective and reasonable when discussing divorce-related concerns. Spouses may understandably have a great deal of pent up anger, sadness, or disappointment about the circumstances that led to the end of the marriage. A mediator can be a huge benefit to spouses who need help staying on track and remaining focused on the goal of resolution during divorce negotiations. The mediator’s job is not to deem either spouse’s ideas and opinions as right or wrong. Instead, the mediator facilitates a productive, cooperative discussion so that spouses can reach an agreement about divorce issues without the need for court intervention. Unlike court litigation, conversations had during mediation are confidential.

The Collaborative Law Process Offers Many Benefits

The collaborative divorce process may be right for couples who have disagreements about the terms of their divorce, but they are not completely opposed to negotiating the terms cooperatively and amicably. During the collaborative law process, both spouses and their respective attorneys hold a series of meetings to discuss divorce issues in a non-combative, constructive way. The spouses, their lawyers, and any other professionals participating in the process, such as child specialists or financial professionals, sign a contract called a “participation agreement.” This contract states that both spouses, their attorneys, and the other professionals involved in the process promise not to go to court. When courtroom litigation is off the table, the spouses and their legal counsel can focus on finding creative ways to reach a resolution. Everyone involved is encouraged to work together to reach a settlement, because if the case does proceed to litigation, the parties’ attorneys will withdraw from the case, and both spouses will need to find new legal representatives.

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DuPage County divorce attorney for mediation and collaborative law

Often, when parents divorce, one of the biggest sources of contention is how they will share the allocation of parental responsibility, or child custody. Parents who get divorced in Illinois are required to submit a parenting agreement or parenting plan to the court which details how they plan to share custody of their children. Parents have the opportunity to formulate a unique parenting plan which works for them, but in some cases, parents cannot agree to a custody or parenting time schedule. When parents disagree about child custody issues, they have several options under Illinois law.

Mediation Can Help Parents Come to an Agreement About Child Custody

Illinois courts may order parents to undergo mediation in order to help them create a parenting plan to address custody issues, or parents may elect to undergo mediation on their own accord. Mediation involves the parents meeting with a neutral third party mediator to discuss how parental responsibility will be shared. The mediator does not tell the parents what to do, but instead helps facilitate productive conversation between the parents so that they can reach a compromise regarding child custody. It is important to note that mediation may not be an appropriate choice for parents with a history of domestic violence or abuse. Furthermore, if parents cannot negotiate or discuss child custody issues without devolving into arguments or hostility, mediation may prove fruitless.

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Lombard divorce mediation attorneyWhile many people think that all divorces are hostile and aggressive, couples are often able to work together to end their marriage in an amicable manner. Here in the United States, divorce mediation is a commonly used strategy to negotiate a divorce settlement. Mediation is a process in which you and your spouse work with your attorneys and a third-party mediator to resolve the outstanding issues surrounding your divorce. If you believe that mediation is the right decision for you and your family, speak with your legal team regarding your options moving forward. 

The Role of the Mediator 

Many people disregard the option of mediation due to misconceptions they have related to the role of the mediator. During mediation, the mediator will assist you and your spouse through discussions and conflict resolution. It is important to note that the mediator will not make decisions for you and your spouse but will instead work to help you resolve issues in a mutually beneficial manner. Once an agreement has been reached between the two parties, the final agreement will be presented to the judge for approval. 

The Benefits of Mediation 

There are many positive aspects of pursuing mediation. It can expedite the divorce process, save you money, and develop a foundation for you and your spouse to establish a new relationship moving forward. Even more beneficial is the manner in which mediation can impact the nuanced aspects of your divorce. When it comes to financial issues, mediation can allow both parties to reach an agreement that will allow you to meet your ongoing needs. If children are involved, parents can work to reach an amicable child custody agreement that will ensure that the children can maintain a relationship with both parties. If you and your spouse are interested in pursuing mediation, we would be happy to answer any questions you may have about the process. 

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Posted on in Divorce

Lombard divorce attorney avoiding conflictWhile a divorce can represent a new opportunity for two parties to find independent happiness in their lives, most people view divorce as a negative thing. When many people think about the divorce process, they picture lengthy court battles and volatile arguments between former spouses. However, many divorces can be calmly and amicably executed, as long as both parties strive to maintain a working relationship throughout the process. 

Working Towards a Conflict-Free Separation

In 2017 alone, 787,251 American couples chose to get divorced. While some of those divorces may have been aggressive and unhealthy, many divorces can represent a seamless transition into a new chapter of one’s life. Still, in order to ensure a healthy separation, one must work diligently with their partner to avoid conflicts. Here are a few simple steps that you can take to ensure that your divorce goes as smoothly as possible:

  • Trust Each Other: In order to cooperatively navigate the divorce process, both parties must have a certain amount of trust in one another. If your former spouse believes that you are actively compromising their financial future, it will be difficult to work together. Speak with your legal team about the possibility of sitting down with your former partner, addressing the concerns you have, and working together to reach a positive resolution.
  • Share Common Goals: As you go through a divorce, in order to work cooperatively with your former partner, it is critical to have shared goals. This could be a desire for both parties to have sufficient retirement plans, or for both parents to have a role in the custody of children. Regardless of what the goal is, understanding that you both have certain criteria that you want to work together to meet can be helpful in resolving conflicts over other topics.
  • Work Towards a Friendly Relationship: A divorce represents a new chapter in your life, but in many cases, it is not the end of your relationship altogether. If you and your former partner are going to share custody of your children, you will have to continue to work together as a parenting team. For many parties, a mutually beneficial divorce can be the first step towards developing a foundation for a new friendship.

Contact a Wheaton Family Law Attorney

At the Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C., our team fully understands how emotionally challenging the divorce process can be. As you cope with the changes you are experiencing as you separate from your spouse, we can help you ensure a vibrant and stable financial future for you and your family. If you are looking to work cooperatively with your former spouse throughout the divorce process, we are happy to discuss potential options, including divorce mediation. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced DuPage County divorce lawyer, call us today at 630-462-9500.

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