5 Tips: No-Nonsense Mediation

Divorce mediation in Illinois should be a no-nonsense affair. But that means you need a divorce mediation that not only doesn’t cause nonsense, but can stop you and your spouse from doing so. As a practicing divorce lawyer who is also a divorce mediator, I can help you mediate in a way that makes sense.

Check out these Top 5 tips for a Non-Nonsense Mediation

Tip #1: Determine if mediation is really right

Okay so this step actually starts before the mediation.

As someone who gets paid to mediate divorces, I guess it would be to my financial benefit everybody started divorce mediation without thinking.

But frankly, I have better things to do.

If both people in the mediation are really trying to get things done, then mediation might work.

But there are also other scenarios.

Sometimes if people are already divorced, they have a marital settlement agreement (MSA) that requires them to mediate disputes.

In that case, people might mediate just because they’re required to – even when they know it won’t work. Who knows? They might be surprised.

Tip #2: Choose the right divorce mediator

There are a bunch of mediators out there who are social workers, some type of therapist, and even people with finance degrees who claim to have offices all over the country.

But if your divorce mediator is not a lawyer, you’re going in the wrong direction.

As divorce lawyer, I’ve reviewed agreements that were the produce of a mediation conducted by a non-lawyer mediator. Here are some of the mistakes they often make:

  1. Terms are unenforceable:
  2. Major areas are left out:
  3. Terms don’t make sense:

Tip #3: Develop goals

Mediation is not therapy. People shouldn’t go to mediation just to talk about how they feel.

Divorce mediation in Illinois is meant to help people reach an agreement on all aspects of their divorce. If you mediate before even filing a case, you divorce mediation might lead to an uncontested divorce in Illinois. If you already have a divorce case open – and maybe you’ve even been litigating – divorce mediation is meant to help you settle your case by agreement.

Either way, you should have some clear goals in mind when engaging in mediation. When you have clear goals, your mediation will be more productive.

Does that mean you should start mediation with a long list of “must haves,” and stick to your guns no matter what? No.

But if you go into divorce mediation without any goals, your divorce mediation will probably be less productive than it otherwise could have been.

Tip #4: Think long-term

Oftentimes when people mediate they are involved in some pretty raw feelings.

To some people, it might feel good to lash out, or to insist on achieving absolutely maximum gains no matter the cost to the spouse.

But that’s not really long-term thinking.

Another aspect of long-term thinking is realizing that the terms to which you agree in mediation can have an impact on many years of your life after you divorce has been finalized.

Tip #5: Know how to seal the deal

If your Illinois divorce mediation ends in an agreement, what should you do?

Do you think you should take a deep sigh of relief, then kick back for a while knowing that all the hard work is done?

Heck no!

After a divorce mediation is complete, it is generally best to quickly finalize your Illinois dissolution of marriage case.

That means the following, in most cases:

  1. Have a lawyer review your agreement and draft court documents
  2. Start a court case
  3. Finalize the divorce in court

Getting started with mediation can be the first step to finalizing your divorce in a fast and affordable way. I mediate divorces through Illinois in the counties of Cook, Champaign, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, Sangamon and Will. I’m available in many cities throughout Illinois, including Evanston, Elmnhurst, Schaumburg, Skokie, Wilmette, Northbrook, Chicago, and more.

About the author: David Wolkowitz is an Illinois Divorce mediator and a family law attorney. He mediates divorce, child custody, and child visitation disputes to help spouses and parents reach agreement without litigation.