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What Is the Difference Between Mediation and Collaborative Law in Illinois?

Posted on in Divorce

Wheaton divorce attorneysMost people do not go into a marriage thinking it will end. However, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), approximately 40 to 50 percent of matrimonial unions do not last “until death do us part.” Once a couple decides to separate, the divorce process can be intimidating. Mediation and collaborative law are two forms of alternate dispute resolution for dealing with the divorce process. One option might be better depending on the circumstances of the divorce, but both can be beneficial and help achieve the best outcome for everyone involved. 

Benefits to Mediation 

Divorce mediation involves spouses meeting with a neutral third party called a mediator to help them resolve any issues within the divorce. The majority of mediations end in a settlement if all parties are agreeable to the terms. It is important to know the mediator does not make decisions for either spouse. The mediator serves as a facilitator to help the spouses work out the best solution on their own regarding property division, spousal support, or child-related issues.

Mediation can provide many benefits including: 

  • It is less expensive than a court trial or hearings.
  • It typically ends in a settlement of most divorce issues.
  • Sessions are confidential.
  • Spouses can come to a resolution customized to their unique situation as opposed to having a solution imposed on them by a judge.
  • A couple can still receive legal advice from an attorney if they want it.
  • The spouses control the process.
  • The process can improve communication between spouses, helping to avoid future conflicts.

Benefits to Collaborative Law 

Collaborative divorce is sometimes referred to as collaborative law or collaborative practice. It is similar to mediation in that the ultimate goal is to avoid a lengthy court battle; however, the process differs from mediation in certain ways. With collaborative law, each spouse hires a specially trained collaborative lawyer who advises and assists in resolving divorce-related issues. Typically, each spouse meets separately with his or her own attorney and then all four also meet on a regular basis.

Some of the benefits to collaborative law include: 

  • Each party can voice an opinion with more control over the final outcome compared to litigation. 
  • Spouses can agree to a settlement based on compromise instead of having a judge make decisions for them. 
  • It is cheaper than litigation. Court fees can be costly. 
  • This process takes less time than litigation because you select the time and place you meet instead of trying to schedule around busy divorce courts.
  • Less stress and anxiety since the spouses are playing more active roles in the divorce.

The ultimate goal of collaborating is reaching a settlement instead of going to divorce court. Upon coming to an agreement, a legally binding document is signed by both parties and the papers are filed in court, which a judge must approve. A resolution that is appropriate for everyone is possible. 

Contact an Oak Brook Family Law Attorney

A divorce can be one of the most volatile periods in one’s life. Mediation and collaborative law are two alternative ways to resolve disputes during the proceedings. A knowledgeable Naperville alternate dispute resolution lawyer at Anderson & Associates, P.C. can help guide you through the often complicated divorce process. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-653-9400 today.





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