Types of Divorce Mediation

An uncontested divorce is one where the parties agree on all issues. But sometimes they need help reaching that agreement – and that’s where divorce mediation comes in. As a divorce mediator in Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois, I thought it would be useful to outline the various types of mediation available. Also, people interested in divorce mediation might check out a website showcasing various mediators [link to website].

Comprehensive mediation

Comprehensive mediation is mediation the covers virtually all aspects of the divorce.

As a mentioned above, an uncontested divorce happens only when both parties agree on all issues.

Below are just some of the issues that must be agreed upon, depending upon your situation.

  1. Dividing property
  2. Dividing debt
  3. Child support and other child-related expenses
  4. Spousal maintenance (formerly known as alimony)
  5. How to handle real estate [see this article]
  6. Decision-making with the kids
  7. Where the kids will have their primary residence
  8. What parenting time will be

Oftentimes, people are perhaps 75% of the way towards agreeing on all issues. So comprehensive mediation can help to finish up the “last mile” on the various issues before reaching a comprehensive agreement.

Narrow-scope mediation

Narrow-scope mediation is divorce mediation where the focus is on only a couple issues. For example, perhaps a couple has worked out all child-related issues, but still cannot agree on what to do with the house. As a divorce mediator, I could describe different options then help the mediating parties reach an agreement that would be to their mutual satisfaction.

For an example, here are a few things that could be done with a house:

  1. Sell the house before divorce
  2. Award the house to one party, who buys out the other party’s share
  3. Short-sell the house
  4. Keep the house after the divorce, with both parties living in it

In-person mediation

Mediation is most often in-person. I offer mediation in my office, or other places, such as in one of the mediating party’s homes. In-person mediation can be best for comprehensive, wide-ranging mediation. On some issues it is easier to hash things out if everyone is sitting in the same room together.

If in-person mediation is appropriate, I would expect mediation to last for 3-4 sessions. But it could be quicker, or longer.

Virtual mediation

I also offer virtual mediation. Virtual mediation is often best for narrow-scope mediation. If there are only one or two issues on the table, virtually mediation can be a quick and effective way to figure things out. For example, maybe both parties really want to come to an agreement, but they simply can’t determine all the options available. That’s when virtual mediation might be appropriate.

Virtual mediation can be appropriate when a couple is trying to determine what to do with a house. Handling real estate can be complicated, and people are often not aware of all the options. By conducting a virtual mediation, the parties can quickly get up to speed on the options, and maybe even hash out the main points in one virtual mediation session.

Getting started with mediation

If a couple calls me and has only one small area of disagreement, I can often help my client through that with a short phone call, then just move straight to a fast and affordable uncontested divorce. ┬áBut if there’s more than that, and the couple is interested in mediation, I would help both parties determine what is the best type of divorce mediation to use going forward.