Some Chicago residents who are considering divorce may wonder whether they would benefit from using a mediator rather than going to court. Many people have misconceptions regarding the mediation process. By improving their understanding of what mediators do, people who are planning to divorce can make an informed decision.
One common misconception is that couples that are using divorce mediation cannot consult with a lawyer. Lawyers can often help with the mediation process and are allowed to represent people. There is also a misconception that the mediator will provide legal advice. That is not the case. Mediators provide information, but cannot advise either spouse. Some people believe that the first step in any divorce is to file divorce papers and serve the other spouse. However spouses may also choose to resolve all issues regarding separation of marital assets, child or spousal support and custody, and then file the paperwork together.
Some people choose not to go to mediation because not every issue can be resolved at once. The mediator can resolve some issues and the spouses can have a trial on the remaining issues. That way, there is a more narrow and focused trial and the spouses do not spend time litigating issues that could have been resolved. Unlike a trial, it is possible to conduct mediation using a go-between so that the spouses never have to set foot in the same room together.
A local family law attorney may be able to help a person contemplating divorce determine whether mediation or trial is the best option. In some cases, an attorney can help narrow the issues for mediation and can also attend the mediation to fight for the client.
Source: Huffington Post Divorce, "Mediation Myths and Misunderstandings That May Affect Your Decisions in Divorce", Diane L. Danois, May 10, 2013