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What are the advantages of divorce mediation?

Illinois residents who are preparing to divorce may be curious about the benefits of mediation rather than litigation. While it is still necessary for couples to file an action in court in order to legally dissolve their unions, it is not required that they go through a trial or have a judge divide their assets. Mediation is on the rise among many couples as a lower-stress alternative to the traditional antagonistic divorce proceedings. The limited stress of mediation is one reason many family court judges routinely order mediation in cases involving child custody disputes.

There are three primary goals to divorce mediation. The first is to minimize hostility between the spouses and avoid controversy after the divorce is finalized. The second is avoid the emotional strain and financial stress that often accompany taking a case to trial. The third goal is to help the spouses create a divorce agreement that benefits all persons involved. In addition to achieving those three goals, some couples choose divorce mediation because the court system is overburdened. Delays getting to trial and the increased costs that sometimes develop as a result can be frustrating.

While there are many benefits to mediation, it may not work for everyone. For example, if one spouse refuses to be reasonable when negotiating, attempting to reach an agreement may not be a productive use of the involved parties' time. Similarly, if one spouse is afraid of the other and unwilling to speak freely, mediation may not work.

Whether going through a traditional divorce or via mediation, a divorce attorney may be able to help one party negotiate a settlement. The attorney could represent a client in meetings with the other party and keep the client's interests in mind during negotiations and hearings.

Source: Findlaw, "Divorce Mediation - Overview," Aug. 4, 2014

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