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Chicago Mediation Services For Divorce

In family law cases, the most commonly used service (outside of the hiring of legal counsel in this process) is mediation; perhaps the most attractive aspect of mediation is that it can be tailored to suit the needs of each individual dispute. The mediator can play a low-key and conciliatory role or take on a more proactive role by making suggestions and probing for convergent interests.  At WARD FAMILY LAW, LLC, we can guide you through the process as the neutral, third-party mediator; mediation is often employed after it becomes apparent that direct negotiation between adversaries will not resolve the dispute efficiently.  However, anyone contemplating mediation must also consider the need to secure guidance of legal counsel, as parties are oftentimes not aware of what their rights and responsibilities are, much less what the current laws and trends are in regards to assets, liabilities, maintenance, child support, parental allocation and have difficultly navigating the mediation process without the simultaneous guidance of legal counsel.

Mediation is a confidential process where a neutral third party (the mediator) assists the parties in reaching an agreement regarding any unresolved or contested issues in their case. The mediator’s fundamental role is to facilitate a conversation between the parties and ultimately come to a mutually agreeable resolution of some or all of the issues by:

  1. Assisting the parties in identifying the issues that they hope to resolve through mediation;
  2. Facilitating communication in an effort to reduce misunderstanding between the parties;
  3. Identifying and clarifying each party’s interests, goals, and priorities; and
  4. Brainstorming and exploring possible solutions to the issues addressed in mediation, with the goal of satisfying the interests and goals of both parties and their child(ren).

Mediation for domestic relations cases in Cook County, Illinois is governed by Cook County Circuit Court Rule 13.4:

Pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rules, mediation is required in any case where the allocation of parental responsibilities (either parenting time or decision-making), relocation, or other child-related issues (except child support) are in dispute. Parents may agree to a private mediator or utilize the court’s mediation services, or the court may appoint a mediator from an approved list of local mediators. In Cook County, parents are referred to Family Mediation Services for mediation if they cannot agree.

Mediation may also be utilized for non-child-related issues (such as disagreements over how debts and assets will be divided or maintenance), either by agreement of the parties or by court order. If the parties cannot agree on a mediator to assist in resolving these types of issues, the court will appoint a mediator from an approved list of mediators. Contact WARD FAMILY LAW, LLC, today to learn more about mediation services.

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