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Winfield divorce mediation lawyerDivorce can be intimidating--there are many different types of divorce and many ways you can create a divorce settlement. It can be overwhelming to figure out which type of divorce is right for you. A traditional litigated divorce can carry a lot of stress and can take a long time; a collaborative divorce can become expensive, but fosters a healthy cooperative environment; and a mediated divorce brings its own advantages and is becoming an increasingly popular choice for divorcees. It is important to choose the right type of divorce for your family so you can get the most out of a less-than-happy experience.

If you are able and willing to cooperatively work with your spouse to come to an agreement on your outstanding divorce issues, mediation may be the best option for you. Along with the peaceful nature of the process and the lower cost than other methods, there are many advantages to a mediated divorce, including:

1. It Is Easier on Your Children

In traditional, litigated divorces, there is often a lot of stress and tension in the household during the process. Children are very receptive and can sense the conflict between their parents. Divorce mediation is, by nature, a more peaceful process, because your mediator helps facilitate cooperation and meaningful conversation between you and your spouse. This will help you build a foundation for working together to raise your children after your divorce has been finalized. 

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West Chicago divorce mediation lawyerPreparing for divorce is not easy. In some ways, preparing for divorce mediation can be even more difficult. Because of the cooperative nature of mediation, you have to put aside your differences to an extent and work together with your spouse to achieve an outcome you are both okay with. With all of the benefits of divorce mediation, you should try to prepare yourself as much as possible to facilitate a successful mediation process. Here are some ways to get ready for divorce mediation:

1. Come With Copies of Important Documents

You should come to your mediation sessions with copies of all of the important documents that you and your spouse have accumulated while you were married. These documents should include assets and liabilities such as:

  • Bank accounts
  • Retirement funds
  • Real estate
  • Vehicles
  • Stocks
  • Businesses
  • Mortgages
  • Credit cards
  • Loans

2. Prepare to Negotiate Rather Than Argue

Arguing is probably one of the things that got you into the divorce process, and you should realize that it will likely not help you resolve anything. Negotiating is what divorce mediation is all about. Once you realize that the past is the past, you can focus on looking at the bigger picture and what really matters. The mediator is there to help minimize arguing and promote collaboration, but you have to do your part to be in the mindset to work together.

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Posted on in Mediation

Warrenville divorce mediation lawyerStatistics can be a little fuzzy when it comes to the divorce rate. Depending on the source, the divorce rate is reported to be anywhere from 33 to 50 percent. But the one thing that professionals are noticing to have been changing about divorce in the United States is the increasing rate of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). More couples are choosing to settle their divorce through ADR methods like collaborative law and mediation, rather than the traditional litigation method. Some couples may be wary of divorce mediation, but by debunking the myths you may have heard about mediation, you can make an informed decision about whether it is right for you.

1. Mediation Will Not Work if There Is a Lot of Conflict Between Spouses

One of the most common thoughts that people have about divorce mediation is that it only works if both spouses are friendly toward each other. This is not necessarily true. While it may be easier for couples who are amicable toward each other to come to an agreement, it is not impossible for high-conflict couples to reach a settlement. Divorce mediators are trained to handle high-conflict situations, and if necessary, another professional, such as a family therapist or psychologist, can be hired to attend mediation sessions to teach couples how to communicate better.

2. Mediation Means You Will Settle for Less

If you litigate your divorce in court, the judge is required to abide by Illinois law when it comes to deciding things like property division, spousal maintenance, child support, and parental responsibilities. When you participate in divorce mediation, you and your spouse are able to consider other factors that a judge may not. The mediator serves as an uninterested third party who is there to direct your attention to the issues that need to be resolved.

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Wheaton divorce mediation lawyerWhile divorce is often portrayed as inherently acrimonious in television, film, and literature, the truth is that it need not be so. Not every divorce is the result of infidelity or abuse. Sometimes, spouses realize that they are unhappy and not getting along despite repeated efforts over a long period of time, or it becomes apparent that they rushed into the marriage without a shared vision of the future. In such completely common and understandable circumstances, it is possible to end the marriage amicably and cooperatively through the process of mediation. Unlike litigation, which is inherently adversarial, mediation is a more harmonious means of resolving the family and financial issues that must be addressed during the dissolution of a marriage.

Mediation Is a Form of Alternative Dispute Resolution

Mediation occurs out of court. This change of venue is symbolic of the non-adversarial nature of the process, in which parties sit across the table rather than on opposing sides of the courtroom. The issues addressed are the same as those in a contentious or contested divorce, and they include: 

  • The fair and equitable division of marital assets and liabilities.
  • Whether and in what amount spousal maintenance (alimony) will be paid by one spouse to the other.
  • Whether and in what amount each parent will pay child support.
  • How parental responsibility (child custody) and parenting time (visitation) will be allocated between each parent.

So, then, the difference between adversarial divorce and mediated, non-adversarial divorce is one of disposition, or attitude. Moreover, obviously, the family law-related issues of child support and the allocation of parental responsibility are only applicable to spouses who have children. For divorcing spouses who are not parents, the process of a mediated divorce is often even more straightforward. 

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DuPage County divorce mediation lawyerDivorce is a difficult matter. If you have gone through a divorce or are currently in the midst of the divorce process, you know this truth all too well. Besides the emotional toll of a divorce, there are numerous complexities associated with the dissolution of a marriage. If there are dependent children involved, the issue of parental responsibilities and parenting time is of primary importance and one that becomes challenging to solve if one parent has moved or intends to move to a different state or country. Courts, as they should, consider the best interests of the child when crafting an order to allocate parental responsibilities – a calculus that can drastically alter parenting plans.

Whether or not the responsibility for dependent children is an issue in your divorce, property division almost certainly will be. Your primary residence, any secondary properties, vehicles, personal belongings, and items of sentimental value will likely be at issue as you and your spouse cease to live under the same roof. Dividing this property can be difficult, especially with regard to items that cannot easily be split in half. When division gets difficult, a certified Illinois mediator can prove invaluable in helping divorcing spouses to make difficult decisions and reach resolutions that are fair and agreeable to both parties.

Not All Property Is Equally Divisible During the Dissolution of a Marriage

Some pieces of property are easy to divide. Matching dressers?  No problem – each spouse can take one. But what about the family dog? Or a family heirloom, such as a collection of rare coins? Or an oil painting? How does one divide such items, especially if neither spouse wants to sell the item in question and split the proceeds?  These are difficult questions with difficult answers. Yet, one must ask and answer them. Here, a certified Illinois mediator can be of great assistance, overseeing even the most challenging aspects of property division.  

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