FAQ: Divorce Mediation in DuPage County

As a DuPage County divorce lawyer, sometimes I get calls from people who don’t know if they’re ready for a divorce – even a divorce by agreement. Sure, they know an uncontested divorce is the most affordable and quickest way to get divorce. But sometimes, they can’t quite tell if they’re ready for it.

That’s why I wrote these tips about preparing for a quick and affordable uncontested divorce in DuPage County.

Mediation can help people get divorced quickly and affordably. I hope this article can help you understand divorce mediation. If you are interested in divorce mediation in DuPage County, you might visit this site [link] that has a bunch of information about mediation in Illinois.

What is a mediator?

A divorce mediator is a neutral party that helps people resolve the issues in their divorce.

What does a mediator do?

The mediator facilitates communication by allowing each party to speak and explain themselves clearly.

The mediator can also explain the legal system to the parties. However, a mediator who is not an attorney will not be able to properly explain divorce laws.

The mediator sometimes makes referrals to third-parties, such as appraisers or financial analysts when more information is needed to help make the mediation successful.

How Does the Process Work?

There are usually several mediation sessions that might be from one to two hours long.

The first meeting often is often centered on identifying the issues needed to be discussed and the order in which they will be discussed, then determine what additional information might be needed.

Sometime after the first session, but before the second, the parties should gather the information they’ve identified as necessary. They might have sough appraisals of real estate, for example.

Additional meetings would focus on the needs of both parties an the development of an agreement that each party finds acceptable.

When an agreement is reached, the mediator will often produce what is referred to a a “mediation agreement.” The mediation agreement should cover the terms agreed to in the mediation in enough details that the parties can avoid misunderstandings in the future.

Are mediation agreements enforceable?

Mediation agreements are not enforceable. In other words, you can’t go to court and ask a judge to enforce the provision of a mediation agreement – it won’t happen.

As a divorce lawyer and divorce mediator in DuPage Coutny, I’ve reviewed mediation agreements prepared by other divorce mediators.

What I’ve fond is that many people who have mediated a divorce think the mediation agreement is enforceable. And if they do, it’s because the divorce mediator didn’t do a good job of explaining what a mediation agreement is.

A mediation agreement is just an outline for a marital settlement agreement that will be part of a judgment for dissolution of marriage (the judgment is what’s often referred to as a “divorce decree”).

Does mediation require a court appearance?

Mediation does not require a court appearance. But in Illinois, an uncontested divorce does require one court appearance by the petitioner (the person who filed the case).

How Long Does Mediation Take?

The length of mediation depends upon the complexity of issues and the parties’ and mediator’s schedule. In my option, divorce mediation should not take more than a couple months, and it could be as quick as one week.

If people truly want to come to agreement, there’s not reason it should take forever.

Is Mediation Cheaper Than Using Lawyers to Handle a Divorce?

Whether or not mediation is cheaper than hiring a lawyer depends on the issues involved, and the particular lawyer and mediators used.

I do offer representation for an uncontested divorce for a flat fee – so that can be pretty affordable. But if people are not in agreement, then they would have to pay me by the hour to represent them – and that can get expensive.

My Spouse is Very Powerful – How Can I Hope to Be Successful in Mediation?

One job of the divorce mediator is to prevent one party from overpowering the other. If that is impossible to do, then the mediator should stop the mediation.

Keep in mind that mediation is not like the rest of marriage. In mediation, there is a structure and a mediator to help make sure both people can express themselves.

Should I See a Lawyer During Mediation?

There are some unscrupulous mediators out there – and a big one in the Chicago area – that make the claim that their services are a substitute for a divorce lawyer.

Let me make this very clear: mediators are not a substitute for lawyers. Mediators – particularly those who are not also divorce lawyers – do not give legal advice.

A person who has reached a mediation agreement should still consult a divorce lawyer make the the agreement is actually understood. Sometimes small changes in agreements can have long lasting effects. Consulting a divorce lawyer can help a person understand what problems might arise in the future.

What if My Case is Too Complicated for Mediation?

There isn’t any case that is too complicated for mediation. In fact, the more complicated a case is, the more the parties can benefit from mediation. Litigating a complicated case can be very expenses. In contrast, mediation can be affordable.

What if We Can’t Agree on All Issues?

Ideally mediation would solve all the issues in a divorce. If that happens, then an uncontested divorce in DuPage County isn’t too far away.

But in the case that the spouses cannot agree to all issues, mediation can narrow down the issues that need to be litigated in court. Simply taking agreed-upon issues of the table will make any necessary litigation quicker and more affordable.

Can we mediation if we don’t get along?

Yes, you can. People aren’t usually getting divorced because they get along. Usually it’s because they don’t like each other as much as they did when they got married.