Most people that contact me for an uncontested divorce in Illinois do no need mediation because they have everything worked out. However, there are some people who don’t quite agree, but might be able to come to an agreement after mediation. As an uncontested divorce lawyer in Illinois, and a divorce mediator, I think that mediation conducted by trained attorney-mediators can sometimes be useful. That’s why I wrote this article about divorce mediation in Illinois.
What is divorce mediation?
Divorce mediation a process by which a third-party “neutral,” the divorce mediator, helps spouses come to an agreement outside of court. To have legal effect, the agreement still must be entered as a court order.
I am an attorney and a divorce mediator in Chicago.
Must divorce mediators be attorneys?
In Illinois, anyone can mediate a divorce case. There is no license or certification that a person must get to be legally allowed to mediate a divorce. Considering that divorce can impact the rest of your life, that’s unfortunate.
In my opinion, there is no reason to hire a mediator that is not also an attorney. In my experience, non-attorney mediators are not familiar enough with the law or the legal process. To be honest, I think it should be illegal for non-attorneys to mediate a divorce, and I cannot imagine how doing so is no considered practicing law without a license.
If my views seem harsh, consider what I witnessed when I attended a mediation training program at Northwestern University. The group was half attorneys, and the other half was social workers and therapists.
The social workers and therapists routinely asked questions that demonstrated a scary lack of understanding of divorce law. That’s a problem since mediators often purport to develop agreements between mediating spouses.
It’s sad that non-attorney mediators are so often unaware that the agreements they “help” clients are so wrong from a legal standpoint.
It is a waste of time and money to pay a mediator to help you develop an agreement that is nonsensical or unenforceable.
Do I need to mediate?
No one needs to mediate. Many people contact me to represent them as a lawyer in an uncontested divorce in Illinois. Sometimes, even though my client has not come to a full agreement with his or her spouse, with a little in put from me, they are able to do so on their own.
However, sometime spouses have a problem communicating, or the areas of disagreement are to many or too severe. In that case, divorce mediation can be useful – it can help save time and money.
Can my divorce lawyer mediator my divorce?
A divorce mediator is a neutral third-party. That means that if I am representing someone as a lawyer, I cannot mediate a dispute for the same person – that would be a conflict of interest.
The divorce mediator cannot also be a lawyer for one of the parties.
How much does divorce mediation cost?
Divorce mediators charge by the hour, for the most part. They might charge around $150 to $300+ per hour. In fact, many attorney-mediators charge the the same or less than many non-attorney mediators. That’s interesting, isn’t it?
What can mediation accomplish?
Mediation can help you reach an agreement without litigation.
Litigation can be very expensive, and it takes longer than you might imagine.
Do I need an attorney if we mediate?