Divorce is an emotionally challenging and often legally complex process, but there are some ways to streamline and simplify it. Exploring alternative dispute resolution for divorce, such as mediation, can ultimately lead to retaining more control over one’s divorce proceedings than strict legal statutes would typically allow. Across the United States, the majority of couples filing for divorce prefer alternative dispute resolution to conventional divorce litigation. Learn the benefits of this route and what the divorce mediation process entails for a Bloomington, IL divorce.
What Are the Benefits of Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation is a fairly straightforward concept. Instead of litigating their divorce in court, divorcing spouses meet with a neutral mediator to privately negotiate their divorce. Mediation allows divorcing spouses to address all their concerns in a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere. This method of resolving divorce also offers several other significant advantages, including:
- Privacy. When you mediate your divorce, everything said during your mediation sessions is kept strictly confidential. Only you, your spouse, your respective attorneys, and the mediator will know what is said during mediation. By comparison, all court proceedings become public record, so if you litigate your divorce, anyone can easily find out everything that was said during your divorce case.
- Cost-effectiveness. Divorce litigation is notoriously expensive, and mediation usually costs a small fraction of what it would cost to litigate the same divorce case. Ending a marriage entails substantial financial changes for the divorcing couple, so saving money on legal fees whenever possible is an important part of a successful divorce process.
- Expediency. Divorce mediation also only requires a fraction of the time typically spent on divorce litigation. The divorcing spouses only require enough mediation sessions to fully negotiate all relevant issues in their divorce. Depending on how efficiently the couple can negotiate the terms of their divorce and the availability of the mediator, it’s possible
- Control. When you litigate your divorce, the judge has the final say in your divorce decree and the elements, terms, and conditions contained therein. Divorce mediation allows a divorcing couple to maintain more control over the outcome of their divorce. While some things will still require court approval, such as child custody, the couple can negotiate asset division and spousal support on their own terms.
- Ease. Ultimately, divorce mediation is a much easier, less stressful process than any kind of divorce litigation. Couples that would prefer to swiftly and efficiently separate must be willing to compromise for mediation to work, but once they recognize how smoothly their negotiations can proceed with their cooperation, the mediation process tends to proceed rapidly.
This is not an exhaustive list of all the advantages divorce mediation can provide. Ultimately, every divorce case is entirely unique, and divorcing spouses must decide which path toward solving their divorce works best for them. While it may not be possible for every divorcing couple, the savings, privacy, control, and peace of mind that divorce mediation offers make mediation the most attractive form of alternative dispute resolution for divorce in Bloomington, IL and throughout the US.
How Does Divorce Mediation Work?
The mediation process only requires the services of a mediator. Many family law attorneys offer mediation services, and either spouse may locate a mediator and coordinate mediation sessions between the two of them. Mediators must ensure they hold no conflicts of interest that would favor either spouse. It is the mediator’s duty to act as a neutral overseer, guiding the conversation and ensuring it remains productive. The mediator can also clarify laws and legal statutes, ensuring the couple’s negotiated terms align with state laws. Finally, the mediator will assist the divorcing couple and their respective attorneys in drafting their divorce agreement.
Mediation significantly cuts down the time and money required to see a divorce through to completion. Instead of battling out their divorce in a courtroom and leaving the final decisions about their divorce in the hands of a judge, a divorcing couple can use the divorce mediation process to secure their divorce agreement with far less hassle and maintain more control over the entire process.
What Can’t Be Resolved Through Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation is ideal when it comes to ensuring fair rests in terms of asset division, spousal maintenance, and the financial issues that divorce creates. However, a divorcing couple cannot mediate matters of child custody and child support. They can negotiate a parenting plan, and their mediator will help to ensure this plan aligns with state statutes. The divorcing couple can submit their proposal to a Bloomington, IL family court judge for approval. A judge may require modifications to the proposal, approve it, or reject it if it fails to satisfy their interpretation of ensuring the best interests of the couple’s children.
Some very complicated financial matters may require litigation to resolve. It is also possible for high net worth divorce cases to lead to additional legal actions, even criminal ones in some cases. It may also be impossible to mediate a divorce brought about by spousal abuse or domestic violence.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
Divorce mediation is an alternative to litigation, but this does not mean you should attempt to navigate the process alone without legal counsel. An experienced Bloomington, IL divorce attorney can help their client prepare for divorce mediation. Gathering evidence and documentation, consulting relevant experts for detailed insights into complex areas of the case, and ultimately guiding their client toward a favorable outcome from their mediation sessions is some of the ways they can help.
Hiring the right attorney ensures you can enter every mediation session with confidence. You will have a reliable legal advocate on your side in the event mediation does not work out for your divorce case and you are forced to litigate. Your legal team can also assist in the future if you must renegotiate a mediated divorce order in light of recent life changes. Speak with an experienced Bloomington, IL divorce attorney as soon as possible to gain a clearer understanding of the potential divorce mediation could hold for your situation.