Divorcing couples typically look to mediation when they feel that they can reach an agreement but want help thinking through the issues. Because they are on the same page in a sense, they may think that the services of a mediator will cut down on friction and reduce the cost of getting a divorce.
Although mediation can help divorcing couples to make decisions regarding issues surrounding a divorce, it is important to remember that a mediator does not care what either side is getting. His or her job is to help you and your spouse reach an agreement, which sometimes results in one spouse getting the short end of the stick in many regards.
A divorce lawyer’s role, on the other hand, is to achieve a favorable outcome for their client. He or she will help you to understand the process, what issues must be decided and enter into respectful negotiations with your spouse and his or her attorney on your behalf.
The goal is to reach a fair divorce settlement and an experienced Illinois Family Law attorney will have in-depth knowledge and experience to achieve an equitable division of marital property, secure spousal maintenance if applicable, work out parenting time and parental responsibility issues beneficial to your children and address other concerns that are unique to your case.
Mediation companies will often position themselves as a less expensive alternative to securing legal representation, which can misleading. If you and your spouse are poised to work together in an uncontested divorce, your attorneys should be able to reach a fair settlement cost effectively and expediently, all without making any mistakes due to lack of expertise. Divorce lawyers not only have thorough knowledge of the law in Illinois, but also experience working with clients in and out of court so often times they are a better value overall.
As with any approach, if couples find that they are not able to agree on everything after all and the case becomes contested, only then will a case escalate to a family court proceeding. In this event, when mediation fails, you will have to secure an attorney to represent you. If you have a relationship with a divorce attorney already, he or she can continue to represent your best interests in court.
If you and your spouse do decide to work with a mediator, it is important to at least have your own attorney review the agreement before signing it. This precaution is a must, especially if you did not hire the mediator (your spouse did) or, in cases where your spouse has given you an agreement that their attorney has written into the right language from an outline of your mediation. Even though you and your spouse may have the best intentions, it is important to have someone look things over from your point of view to make sure you get a fair shake.
If you are considering divorce and are seeking a knowledgeable, experienced and compassionate divorce lawyer to assist you, contact Libertyville Illinois Family Law attorney Ronald L. Bell. With over 30 years of experience helping clients in and around Lake county Illinois, attorney Bell can help guide you through the process, answer any questions you may have, and provide representation that is in your best interests so that you can move forward confidently after your divorce. Call 847-495-6000 or contact us online to schedule your strategy session.