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What to know about mediating your Illinois divorce

Divorce is a difficult life event, but there are options to make the process less painful and a little more cooperative. This can be an attractive possibility for parties who are divorcing but don't want a contentious, lengthy courtroom split.

One route to a more amicable divorce is to pursue mediation. Below are a few important pieces of information you should know if you are considering mediation, or if you have prematurely decided against it.

There are numerous benefits

Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process where two parties work together and with the help of a mediator to reach agreements on a variety of issues, from child custody to property division. This approach allows divorcing spouses to avoid or minimize time in litigation, which can be costly and contentious.

Other benefits to mediation can include swifter decisions, greater flexibility in resolutions and a more peaceful approach that can ultimately leave parties on better footing.

It is not all or nothing

You may not resolve everything through mediation. Some issues are too combative, too painful or too complex to resolve cooperatively. You may need more help than a mediator can provide, or you could be at an impasse where the only party who can make a decision is a judge.

This does not mean you cannot pursue mediation. You can reach agreements together on one or more issues and litigate any remaining issues.

It is not for everyone

While mediating a divorce has numerous benefits, the fact is that it is not right or feasible for every case. If your divorce involves a history of violence or abuse, mediation can be unwise. If one party refuses to participate, mediation can be unproductive. If you have complex assets or cannot agree on any issues, litigation may be inevitable.

Before you decide for or against mediation, it is important to discuss your case and your goals with your attorney. With legal guidance, you can make informed decisions that allow you to pursue a satisfactory outcome to a difficult situation.

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