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Do I Need to Go Through Mediation to Get a Divorce in Illinois?

No. But it still may be a good idea in many cases.

Before you jump into it, it’s best to talk to a qualified family law attorney to find out what your rights are and what to expect. 

Mediation is a process that helps divorcing couples or those facing custody disputes resolve their differences with an impartial third-party.

In the state of Illinois, mediation is required in custody matters when there are disagreements relating to either parenting time or decision-making. In contested matters, the court requires parties to try mediation before having contested hearings in front of the judge.

Mediation can be less stressful than attending a court hearing and many divorcing couples choose to go through this process voluntarily.

What do Mediators do?

Mediators help determine a party’s wants and needs and present those to the opposing side. They can help the parties come to mutually beneficial agreements—especially in child custody cases.

How Many Mediation Sessions are Necessary?

When mediation is voluntary, sessions can occur before filing anything in court.

In Illinois, if mediation is ordered by the judge, parties will need to attend their first mediation session within 90 days of filing their case. The number of mediation sessions can vary—depending on the specific rules of the court and the circumstances of the case.

Could a Therapist or Accountant Attend Mediation?

When parties need more than just their lawyers to add clarity to the facts of their case, they may bring experts to mediation.

Experts can include financial advisors that can help mediators understand the assets involved in a divorce case, as well as a therapist, who can help advocate for the emotional and mental health needs of involved parties and their children.

Experts must be jointly retained and neutral. This means that one party’s personal accountant or therapist would not be considered an appropriate expert.

What are the Benefits of Family Mediation in Illinois?

There are a number of reasons to use mediation during a divorce.

For example:

  • Mediation can help promote civility throughout the divorce process
  • The process can ensure that all parties have a chance to advocate for their best interests
  • The time spent in court can be reduced

Another major advantage to family mediation is that it can save money. Mediation allows divorcing parties a chance to come to agreement without expensive legal fees.

Every hour spent in court costs a significant amount of money.

Legal fees can take a toll on the division of assets during a divorce, leaving couples with far less wealth once their divorce is finalized.

Another beneficial aspect to family mediation is the fact that these meetings are kept confidential. This keeps private family information protected from the public record. Particularly contentious divorces and custody battles can be devastating for couples and their children when proceedings are a matter of public record.

Family mediation is a less formal procedure than attending a court hearing. Many times there is a relaxed atmosphere. This relaxed environment is a great alternative to the stressful and formal nature of court proceedings.

Relaxed environments may also produce more civil interactions between parties, too.

Contact our Team at Diamond Divorce Law to Learn More About Mediation During Family Law Cases

If you are facing divorce, we invite you to contact our McHenry, Illinois firm Diamond Divorce Law at (815) 322-8403 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys. We provide compassionate representation in divorce cases and in child custody matters.

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