As a divorce mediator and Illinois divorce lawyer, I know that former-spouses may have disagreements even after a divorce is finalized. That;s not surprising. Parents are often married for a shorter period of time than exists from their divorce to the time their youngest child turns 18. In other words, time as a divorced parent of a child can exceed the time as a married parent of a child.
Parties can mediate disputes that occur after divorce, known as the “post-decree” time period (because it is after the divorce “decree”, or judgment).
What is Post-Decree Mediation?
Post-decree mediation occurs when ex-spouses disagree on one or more issues related to their divorce.
The most common issues are parenting-related, including child custody arrangement, child support or alimony adjustments, changes in education or healthcare costs, and so forth. If one spouse is paying spousal maintenance (formerly known as “alimony”), that can also be an issue for mediation.
The need for for Mediation after Divorce
Sometimes, post-decree mediation is required. For example, your marital settlement agreement (MSA) may require it.
You may need to mediate disputes relating to the following:
- Changes to the existing divorce settlement
- Changes to the parenting plan, such as child custody or visitation schedule
- Child support modifications
- Spousal support adjustments
- Relocation of the custodial parent and children
Benefits of post-decree mediation
Below are many of the common benefits of mediation.
- Issues are kept confidential, not made public in court
- Less disruptive to younger children’s post-divorce routine
- Helps avoid stirring up old arguments and opening emotional wounds
- Encourages both parties to work together while focusing on the future, not the past
Process of Post-Divorce Mediation
Mediation after divorce is similar to pre-divorce mediation. As a mediator, I help parties identify the sources of conflict, encourage the development of solutions, and facilitate productive negotiation to reach a resolution.
Post-decree mediation, like pre-divorce mediation, can be much more amicable and cost-effective way to resolve differences than having to duke it out in court.
While each situation is unique, in general post-divorce mediation involves the following steps:
- Preliminary session during which all of the issues that are in dispute are brought up and discussed
- Several possible solutions are proposed and discussed
- An agreement is reached and a revised order is drafted up accordingly
- Modification is then filed with the court to be finalized
Starting mediation after divorce
I am available for mediation in the Illinois counties of Cook, Lake, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, and McHenry. Cities in which I am available include Chicago, Evanston, Skokie, Schaumburg, Oak Park, Naperville, Downers Grove, Oak Brook, Joliet, Rolling Meadows, Highland Park.