Considering a Mediated Divorce Settlement
Divorce stories are much like war stories, only funnier—when it involves our neighbors instead of us and our soon-to-be ex. Mediation, the process of an expert guiding divorcing parties, makes a great deal of emotional sense. Compared to hostile negotiations and potential litigation, mediation makes tremendous financial sense, too. Consider the value of a trustworthy, experienced mediator that has the ability to isolate difficult issues and help couples work collaboratively without animosity toward a successful conclusion.
One step removed from mediation is the collaborative divorce. While each party retains his or her own counsel, everyone involved agrees to participate in the negotiation and settlement process. The parties themselves, attorneys and possibly a team of therapists and/or other professionals work together to help reach an amicable resolution.
Mediation or a collaborative divorce are not right for everyone, but every divorcing couple should consider the benefits. It is private, with no public record; maintenance, support, visitation and division of assets and debts are all included in a central pot that can be resolved piece-by-piece or with some give-and-take that keeps both partners involved and focused on managing issues both big and small; plus, the couple maintains total control, with no unfavorable impositions by a judge.
Parenting decisions are in the agreement, so the interests of the children come first. The case is not filed until a resolution is reached, so the parties do not have to worry about the stress of litigation and trial. Also, they are more likely to abide by the agreement after the final dissolution, and that means a greater likelihood of open discussion when future parenting concerns come up.
All of these reasons make it better to stay focused on the end result and work through a collaborative or mediated divorce to avoid the stress of being stuck in a lawyer’s office over who gets what in the household. Perhaps the biggest benefit is that without protracted haggling and court time, these options are far more cost-efficient.
Cindy K. Campbell is an attorney who focuses on mediation, collaborative family law, adoption, guardianship, wills and trusts at 208 S. Jefferson, Ste. 204, in Chicago, and 1001 E. Chicago Ave., Ste. 121, in Naperville. For more information, call 866-566-9494 or visit CKCampbell.com. See ad in the Community Resource Guide.