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Your Guide to Divorce Mediation in Illinois in 2021

Mediation is one of the dispute resolution options that couples can use to resolve the issues in their divorce, custody dispute or parenting issues. Mediation before litigation is now a requirement in many counties. Couples that need assistance with family law mediation in Chicago can contact Angela Larimer by dialing 773-370-0600.


Issues Addressed During Mediation

In family law mediation, parties are assisted by a neutral mediator to negotiate the terms required to come to a reasonable agreement about issues like:

  • Parental responsibilities and time

  • Spousal maintenance

  • Child support

  • Division of assets and liabilities

Mediators in Illinois have specialized training and certification from the specific county where they practice. They are usually divorce lawyers, mental health professionals, financial planners, or other professionals who have training in mediation, family law matters, parentage and divorce.


Voluntary vs. Mandatory Mediation

In Illinois, mediation can be voluntary or involuntary. The parties involved can initiate mediation at any stage of the family law case, including before filing for judicial intervention on disputed issues. All Illinois circuit courts can order mandatory mediation in cases involving parental responsibilities or parenting time issues. Nevertheless, people can be excused from mandatory mediation if an impediment like domestic violence exists.


Privileged and Confidential Communication

Illinois adopted the Uniform Mediation Act. It provides a privilege against disclosure of the communications that occur during the mediation. Mediators are not allowed to communicate to the court except when communicating whether the mediation took place, the people that attended, and if a final settlement was reached.

There are several exceptions to the confidentiality requirement in mediation. These include mediation communications that involve threats of violence, communications that are used to commit crimes, and communications that are provided to approve or disprove neglect, abuse, or abandonment in cases involving adult or child protective services.


The Illinois Mediation Process

Mediators have a totally different approach than an attorney utilized in the litigation process. They typically follow the stages below to help achieve a positive outcome.


Initial Joint Meeting

The mediator typically starts his or her process with a meeting with both spouses to give an overview of the process and explain his or her role. He or she participates in a joint discussion with the parties involved to identify outstanding issues and potential solutions.


Caucus with Every Party

After the joint meeting, the mediator usually meets with each party privately to clarify the party’s concerns, position, issues, and potential solutions.


Additional Discussions

After the mediator has met with each party individually, a series of individual caucuses and joint meetings may be held until all issues are resolved, or the mediator and parties involved determine that reaching an agreement through mediation is not possible.


MOU

After having all conversations and agreements being reached, the mediator will draft a Memorandum of Understanding outlining the agreements that have been made through mediation. If an agreement cannot be reached on some aspects of a divorce, the issues may be resolved through court litigation.


Please call professional mediator, Angela Larimer of Larimer Law LLC at (773) 370-0600 or email Angela at angela@larimerlawllc.com to discuss mediation options and your unique family law matter.


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