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Chicago Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Divorce > Mediating A Divorce Case 101: What Is A Divorce Mediator And What Do They Do?

Mediating A Divorce Case 101: What Is A Divorce Mediator And What Do They Do?


When people think about divorce, images of heated court battles in front of a judge, screaming matches in a courtroom, and divided families marching down courtroom steps after tense, controversial hearings may flood the imagination. Indeed, from the entertainment world we often get a taste of the divorce process through these courtroom displays, which can make it seem like an intense and protracted court battle is the only path to ending a marriage. However, just like in almost every, if not every area in law, duking it out in court is not the only path to resolution. In Chicago divorces, mediation is a popular form of divorce dispute resolution that is utilized frequently by divorcing parties. Because mediation is an important element of the Chicago divorce process, it is, accordingly, important for those seeking a divorce in Chicago to understand the basics of the mediation process. One of the essential elements in any mediation is a skilled and experienced mediator who facilitates the mediation.

The Mediator’s Role in a Chicago Divorce Mediation

A mediator is simply a person who helps parties who are engaged in a dispute or conflict to come to an agreement or resolution of that dispute. Typically, a mediator is a retired judge or a lawyer who has skills and experience in the underlying subject matter, such as family law, personal injury, or intellectual property, and is also an expert in the negotiation process. In the divorce context, a mediator is, most importantly, a neutral third-party to the divorce proceedings, and has no interest in the terms or ultimate resolution of the case. In other words, the mediator is on neither party’s side. Accordingly, the role of a mediator is to understand the facts of the unique case before them and to work with the parties to see if the matter can be resolved without further court intervention. A mediator is not a judge and does not render a decision in the case. If the case is resolved with the mediator’s help at mediation, the parties ratify their decision in written agreement.

How A Mediator is Selected and Which Mediator is Right for You?

Unless ordered by a court or otherwise legally required, mediation is a voluntary process and the parties select a mediator by agreeing to one. Both sides have an opportunity to research mediators that they might want to use for the case, and can suggest their top preferred mediators to the other side. It is important to select a mediator who has skill and experience in both the area of law relevant to the case and in mediating cases. Some mediators are very well-known in their jurisdiction and practice area, and the selection is easy because both sides want to use that mediator. When the parties disagree on a mediator, they must discuss reasons why they want to use their preferred mediator, and ultimately must decide together who to use.

Help with Chicago Divorce Mediation

Whether to engage in the mediation process during a pending Chicago divorce depends on the facts and circumstances of each individual case. Which mediator to pick also depends on many factors, such as the facts of the case, the mediator’s availability, and the parties’ preferences. When considering mediation in a Chicago divorce case, it is important to have a skilled and experienced advocate on your side. The skilled and experienced Chicago divorce lawyers at Birnbaum Gelfman Sharma & Arnoux, LLC offer a confidential consultation to learn about your Chicago divorce and to see if they can help you. Contact Birnbaum Gelfman Sharma & Arnoux, LLC today and speak to a lawyer about your Chicago divorce.

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