IL Divorce lawyerWhen a couple is preparing for divorce and considering their options, many will find that mediation is a much better alternative to a protracted, hostile divorce court battle. Mediation allows couples to have greater control over the entire process, and to settle their differences with a more satisfactory compromise than they might if a judge makes the decisions for them.

However, mediation is still a complex and emotionally exhausting legal process, and it takes some preparation. Important decisions must be made that will have long-term effects on the couples’ lives, as well as those of any children.

Here are a few tips that will help spouses prepare for the process of mediation.

Know Your Priorities

It is not easy to advocate for yourself when you do not really know what you want. Understand that compromise is going to be a crucial part of mediation, and contemplate which things are most important to you and why. If your family has a unique Christmas tradition, then maybe spending Christmas day with your child will be much more important for you than visitation time over Easter.

It may also be helpful to anticipate the things your spouse is likely to request so you can enter mediation prepared to negotiate a solution that is beneficial to you both.

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IL family law attorneyIf you are preparing for a divorce, you may be familiar with the resolution method of mediation. This option is desirable for many divorcing couples, as it allows them to work through their issues peaceably and privately, maintain control over the outcome, and often save time and money. You may be surprised to learn that mediation services are available not just for divorce, but also for several other family law matters.

Family Law Mediation Services in Illinois

As long as both parties are willing to come to the table and negotiate an agreement, mediation can work to resolve many family law disputes that would otherwise have to be addressed in court. Family law mediators are well-versed in a variety of cases, and they have the skills and experience to help spouses, parents, and other parties identify common ground while remaining neutral themselves.

Family law mediation can help you address issues including:

  • Property division - Mediation often helps divorcing couples avoid having to sell or split a large part of their marital assets, and instead allows for more satisfying resolutions in which each spouse can keep certain important properties intact.
  • Spousal support - Including spousal maintenance in your resolution can also allow for a more customized division of assets. You may be able to reach a spousal support agreement through mediation even in cases when the court would not typically order it.
  • Parental responsibilities and parenting time - Mediation can help divorced and unmarried parents create a parenting plan that meets both of their needs, addressing issues including schedules, transportation, communication, and decision-making.
  • Parental relocation - When a single parent wants to move with their children, mediation can help them reach a fair agreement with the other parent rather than having to fight the issue in court.
  • Order modifications - In addition to parenting time modifications in relocation cases, mediation can also help former spouses or co-parents agree on modifications to support orders or other child custody details. If you are struggling to uphold an order, attending mediation could help you avoid enforcement actions.
  • Visitation - In some cases, mediation can help to resolve disputes between parents, grandparents, and other relatives who are seeking visitation rights regarding a child.

Though mediation is a good option in many different situations, it should not be used for cases involving domestic violence or anything else that endangers you or your children. In these cases, it is important to work with an attorney who can help you protect yourself through the court system.

Contact a Kane County Family Law Mediation Attorney

At Shaw Family Law, P.C., we know the benefits of mediation in many divorce and family law cases. Our Attorney Matt Shaw is also a trained mediator, and he can help you decide whether to pursue mediation and what to expect if you do. Contact our St. Charles family law attorney today at 630-584-5550 to schedule a free consultation.

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IL divorce lawyerMany people assume that the decision to end their marriage is the most difficult part of divorce. Unfortunately, many divorcing spouses find that reaching an agreement about the terms of their divorce is just as challenging. When divorcing spouses disagree about child custody, property and debt division, alimony, and other aspects of their divorce, they have several options. One of these options is to attend family law mediation and work with a specially-trained mediator in an effort to reach a resolution. However, mediation is not effective or even appropriate in every case.

What Happens During Mediation?

Reaching an agreement about divorce issues is often the biggest obstacle divorcing spouses must overcome. When a divorcing couple cannot reach a decision on their own, they may choose to go to mediation. Family law mediation may also be ordered by a judge. During mediation, the couple works with a neutral third party called a mediator. The mediator does not choose one spouse’s side over the other or tell the couple how to resolve their differences. The mediator’s role is instead to help guide the conversations and negotiations so that they are as productive as possible. The mediator may help the couple stay focused on the task at hand and avoid arguing about unrelated issues. The mediator may point out any common ground that the spouses share and suggest potential compromises. However, reaching an agreement is ultimately up to the spouses themselves. Many spouses find that this extra assistance is what they need to reach an out-of-court agreement and avoid divorce litigation.

Limitations of Mediation

It is very important to note that mediation is not the appropriate way to resolve divorce issues in every case. If you and your spouse own complex assets such as a business, have an especially high net worth or are in the midst of complicated financial struggles, mediation alone may be insufficient. Mediation may be inappropriate if there has been a history of domestic violence, abuse, or large power discrepancies in the relationship. It is also important to remember that a mediator is not the same thing as a lawyer. Only someone licensed to practice law can provide legal advice or represent you during a legal proceeding. However, there are some lawyers who also act as mediators.

Contact a Kane County Mediation Lawyer

If you are ready to end your marriage and you want to learn more about the best way to do so, contact a St. Charles divorce attorney from Shaw Family Law P.C. Attorney Matt Shaw has served as a mediator and a Guardian ad Litem and is qualified to assist with a wide range of family law matters. Call our office at 630-584-5550 and set up your confidential consultation today.

 

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IL divorce lawyerDivorce can sometimes make individuals much more stubborn and argumentative than they would normally be. If you are considering divorce, you may have concerns about how you and your spouse will reach an agreement about how to divide your property, share custody of your children, or how to handle other divorce issues. Family law mediation is a process during which a divorcing couple meets with a mediator to discuss unresolved divorce issues. If you are thinking about mediation, you may have many questions about what the process entails or how the mediator will actually help.

A Mediator Helps Facilitate Productive Conversation

Mediators receive special training in conflict resolution and family law. They know how to help couples discuss issues without getting caught up in arguments, irrelevant details, or off-topic conversations. The purpose of a mediator is not to tell you how to handle your divorce or to favor one spouse over the other. The mediator will simply guide the conversation, help ensure that both spouses are given the opportunity to speak and facilitate productive negotiations. He or she may point out common ground and help the spouses find solutions that they can both agree to. If the conversation begins to get heated, the mediator may suggest a quick break or change of subject until the spouses cool down and are able to discuss the issues with a clear head. Many couples find that mediation allows them to reach a resolution about the allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, division of assets and debts, and other divorce concerns without needing to go to trial.

Mediators are Bound to Confidentiality

Many people are hesitant to reach out to a mediator for help resolving their divorce issues because they are worried about confidentiality. After all, it is likely that you will be discussing private financial information and matters that are very personal in nature. You may worry that the mediator will share this private information with others or that what you say will be used against you if the case does end up going to litigation. Fortunately, mediation is a confidential process. The mediator does not share what is said during mediation – even if you are unable to reach a resolution about divorce issues and the case goes to trial. The only exceptions to the confidentiality requirement occur when a parent makes a serious allegation of child abuse or threatens to commit a crime.

Contact a St. Charles Family Law Attorney

Mediation may help you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse reach an agreement about the allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, property division, and more. However, mediation is not appropriate in every divorce case. If you would like to learn more about mediation, contact Shaw Family Law, P.C. Illinois divorce lawyer Matt Shaw is also qualified to serve as a mediator and has helped many couples successfully negotiate divorce issues. Schedule a free, confidential consultation by calling our office today at 630-584-5550.

 

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IL divorce lawyerIf you are a parent getting divorced in Illinois, you will be required to submit a “parenting plan” or parenting agreement regarding how you intend to care for your children after the divorce. The plan must contain directions for the allocation of parental responsibilities as well as parenting time, or visitation. While some parents take on all of the parental responsibilities, sometimes called having “sole custody,” a shared parenting arrangement is more common. Parents who wish to share parental responsibilities will need to include a parenting time schedule and directions for how child-related duties will be divided between the parents in their Illinois parenting plan. If you and your child’s other parent are struggling to come to an agreement about how to share parental responsibilities and parenting time, mediation may be a way to reach a resolution.

The Benefits of Mediation For Divorcing Parents Who Cannot Agree

Understandably, many parents getting a divorce are overwhelmed with emotions. They may worry that they will not get to spend enough time with their child after the divorce or they might have concerns about how their spouse will handle post-divorce parenting obligations. It can be challenging to remain objective and calm when discussing the provisions of a parenting plan with a soon-to-be ex-spouse. If you and your spouse have found yourselves in this situation, mediation may help you effectively negotiate parenting issues so that you can reach an agreement without the need for expensive litigation.

A Qualified Mediator May Help Parents Reach a Resolution Regarding Parental Responsibilities

Parents may be ordered to attend mediation if they cannot reach an agreement about child-related issues or they may choose to attend mediation voluntarily. During the mediation process, a credentialed mediator acts as a neutral third-party facilitator. The mediator’s job is not to make decisions for the parents or choose one parent’s parenting plan over the other’s. The mediator simply helps the couple discuss parenting issues in a meaningful, productive, amicable way. Both parents will have an opportunity to share their points of view regarding the provisions of the parenting plan and then parents will negotiate until they can reach a solution. Unlike courtroom litigation, anything you say in mediation is confidential and not part of the public record. If parents cannot reach an agreement about the allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, or the other issues addressed by their Illinois parenting plan, they may require court intervention.

Contact a Kane County Mediation Lawyer

If you want to learn more about how mediation can benefit you and your children, contact Shaw Family Law, P.C. Schedule a free, confidential consultation with an accomplished St. Charles mediator by calling our office today at 630-584-5550.

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