Tips to Prepare for Divorce Mediation in IL
Mediation can be an easier, faster, and cheaper alternative to traditional litigation. Mediation is a collaborative, cooperative process, overseen by a neutral party whose goal is to help you and your spouse find common ground. If you can resolve all of your divorce-related issues in mediation, you can potentially avoid the courtroom entirely. Effective mediation requires proper preparation. Below, we offer a few tips on how you can prepare for your Illinois divorce mediation. If you are facing the prospect of divorce, or if you are dealing with any other issues involving Illinois family law, reach out to a seasoned Chicago divorce and family law attorney for advice and assistance.
Prepare to Cooperate and Compromise
Unlike litigation, mediation is not meant to be adversarial. The goal of mediation is not to win, but to walk away with a compromise that is acceptable for all parties. If you go into mediation with a combative or competitive mindset, you are much more likely to reach a standstill. Consider which issues you’re willing to compromise about–certain pieces of property, for example, that you know matter to your spouse and hold less subjective value for you.
Remaining cordial and cooperative can be difficult if you’re dealing with a high-conflict spouse, but if you’re able to keep it professional and polite, do your best. If you and your spouse can reach agreement on all issues, you can avoid the courtroom, speed up the process, and save yourself a lot of time, money, and emotional energy.
Know Your Goals, Priorities
Although mediation is about compromise, it’s important to identify the things you are willing to fight for, the things that matter to you most. It’ll help you reach a compromise if you know, for example, that you care about taking the couch, but you do not care as much about the family car. You can offer to give up the car in exchange for the couch (and an equivalent amount of other assets to make up for the value of the car).
The same applies to other issues such as child custody. Consider your bottom-line needs–such as keeping at least partial custody. You’re in a stronger bargaining position if you know which issues matter most to you.
Prepare and Organize Your Documents, Records
You’ll be discussing a lot of specific issues in mediation concerning child custody, finances, and other issues. The more well-organized you are, the more streamlined the process can be. Have your financial documents ready, your schedule and your children’s schedules prepared, lists of assets that you wish to discuss on hand, and other documents and records suggested by your family law attorney. Being prepared not only makes the process run more smoothly–it can actually give you a stronger bargaining position. If you’re organized and prepared, you can control the conversation and the negotiation.
Consult With Your Chicago Family Lawyer
Having a seasoned divorce mediation lawyer on your team is essential. Your attorney will help you identify issues that need to be addressed and resolved, documents that need to be collected and prepared, and arguments that need to be made. Consult with your lawyer in advance of the mediation so that they can guide you through what to expect, how to prepare, and how you can best protect your interests, your assets, and your family.
Call Today for Help With an Illinois Family Law Matter
If you are considering divorce or dealing with divorce mediation, child custody, allocation of parental responsibilities, spousal support, or any other family law issue in Illinois, contact the skilled and passionate Carol Stream family law attorneys at Johnson, Westra, Broecker, Whittaker & Newitt for a consultation on your case at 630-665-9600.