November 15, 2020

Mediation Attorney Chicago, IL

Mediation Attorney Chicago, ILMediation Attorney Chicago, IL

Many people going through a difficult time with their partner or spouse do not realize the value that a mediation attorney in Chicago, IL relies on from Hurst, Robin & Kay can be. If you and your spouse are on the verge of ending your marriage and are unsure of what next steps to take, going through the mediation process can be extremely beneficial for you both. Even if you believe that your marriage is ending amicably, using an attorney does not mean you are attempting to be aggressive or steamroll them. Instead, it shows you are trying to protect your best interests and want to make sure no detail is forgotten. If you have questions relating to Illinois family mediation and want to know how we can help you, please give our office a call. 

What will mediation do for our relationship? 

If you and your spouse are getting divorced and do not have any children, you are not required to go through the mediation process. That said, our Chicago, Illinois mediation attorney knows that this can still be an incredibly valuable process for you. When you utilize mediation, you and your spouse will be able to sit down with a neutral third party and discuss your situation and what your options are. The mediator will not have any reasons to favor one side over the other and is only there to help both parties come to a decision on important topics. Popular topics covered during the mediation process are:

  • Financial agreements 
  • Parenting decisions and arrangements
  • Who will get which assets and property
  • Any debt that you are both in individually or as a married couple 

If you and your spouse have a child together, you must go through the mediation process before coming in front of a judge. 

See How Mediation Can Help You

The divorce process can be difficult even if you and your spouse are still friendly with one another. However, if you both can’t wait until the divorce goes through and your relationship has been less than amicable, one of the best things you may choose to do is work with your attorney to find a mediator. When you have children involved, going through mediation may be the only way your divorce can remain peaceful. If you would like to learn more about the mediation process and how it can help you with your divorce, please reach out to our office now. We want to help you and your children get through this. 

Benefits of Going Through Mediation

There are many benefits of going through mediation. 

  • You want to keep things private. Going to court when you are getting a divorce can be a nasty, public process. You likely feel like everyone will know your business. However, if you and your spouse can decide on mediation, you may find that much of your business does not have to be aired out publicly. 
  • You can make your own decisions. A difficult part of divorce is that a judge may be the one making the decisions for you and you might not like what they decide. Mediation can allow you and your spouse to make decisions on your own in a reasonable fashion. While a judge will still have to ‘okay’ the end result, you will be much more likely to get what you both want if you can decide things through mediation.  
  • You start things off in good faith. Divorce can be ugly. However, mediation allows you and your spouse to sit down with a neutral third party who will ensure things run smoothly. This can be a good way of starting off your new lives with honesty, openness, and a clean slate. 
  • You know you’re doing everything you can for your kids. Having kids can make divorce even messier. You know you want to do what you can to keep your kids out of the divorce process. A mediator can help ensure your kids are the top priority when it comes to decision-making during mediation.  
  • You may get divorced quicker. When you and your spouse are both willing to go through mediation, you may find that coming to decisions on things come quicker. This can allow the divorce to come faster than it may have if you were both fighting over details. 

Why is it important to have an attorney during this process? 

Mediation may sound like it is a simple process when you have a neutral third-party involved. However, you may be more tempted to give away certain assets to appease your spouse if you think they are vindictive, or if you are ending your marriage amicably you may be tempted to give more than you should. Your attorney will be there to ensure you are getting a fair deal and that your rights and assets are protected. 

Moreover, the presence of a mediation attorney may prevent your spouse from trying to take advantage of you. As much as you may want to be amicable and civil, some people, especially those who are separating, will try to manipulate you and see your civility as weakness. Having an attorney at your side lets your spouse know that you’re serious about protecting your assets and rights.

Along that note, you may want an attorney with you so that you’re fully informed of what your exact rights are. For example, you may not know that you can request spousal support (also known as alimony), even if you’ve only been married for a short time. You may not know whether it’s in your child’s best interest for you to ask for primary custody, joint custody, or another option. You may have questions about whether you’ll need your ex’s permission and to inform her or him if you want to take your child across state lines or out of the country. Did you know that you need parental consent to get your child a passport if she or he is under the age of sixteen?

Marital vs. Separate Property

Illinois law requires that all marital property in a divorce be divided equitably between the parties. Before you can determine what sort of property division proposal is reasonable given the circumstances of your case, you first must classify all property owned by either spouse as marital property or separate property. This distinction is important because only marital property is subject to division in a divorce. Your mediation attorney in Chicago, IL can assist you with this process.

 Defining Marital Property

As a general rule, marital property includes all property obtained by either spouse during the marriage, no matter how that property is titled or purchased. If a spouse acquires property during the parties’ marriage, there is a presumption that the property constitutes marital property, with a few exceptions.

For instance, a gift that another person gives to one spouse usually takes the form of separate property. However, a dispute may arise as to whether the person gave the gift to one spouse, or jointly to both spouses. The resolution of this type of dispute determines whether the gift is marital or separate property.

Another area of dispute that a Chicago, IL mediation attorney can help with is property that one spouse purchases just prior to the marriage, such as real estate, which the spouse may have purchased in anticipation of the marriage. If this is the case, then the real estate may qualify as marital property, despite the fact that one spouse technically purchased it prior to the marriage.

Defining Separate or Non-Marital Property

As a Chicago, IL mediation attorney can explain,  separate or non-marital property includes property that one spouse acquired as a gift or an inheritance, as well as property that one spouse owned prior to the marriage. Any property that a spouse acquires after a court grants a legal separation or after a lengthy but informal separation is also likely to count as separate property. Additionally, property that a spouse exchanged for property that he or she acquired prior to the marriage or as a gift or inheritance also is separate property.

For example, if a husband owned a home prior to the marriage, but sold that home during the marriage and put the proceeds in a bank account separate from all other funds, then the contents of the account, or the proceeds of the sale of the home, typically would qualify as non-marital property. However, this example is not always so clear-cut. Suppose the husband took the proceeds from the sale and used it to jointly purchase a home with his wife, and both spouses contributed to the mortgage payments, property taxes, and insurance premiums for the house thereafter. In this case, the proceeds of the sale, or the newly purchased home, may be commingled with marital assets, thus potentially taking on the character of marital property.

Are you interested in going through the mediation process? Call a trusted mediation attorney in Chicago, Illinois from Hurst, Robin & Kay, LLC now.

Do’s and Don’ts Regarding Mediation

Do Bring Your Divorce Lawyer

Mediation is often a stressful experience. It can be easy to get bogged down in the particulars without seeing the whole picture. Your Hurst, Robin & Kay Law mediation attorney in Chicago, IL, can be there to help you get through mediation relatively unscathed.

Do Offer Something in Exchange for Something Else

If all you do is demand something without offering any concessions, mediation can quickly stall, meaning you’ll have to go to court to get these issues resolved. When you offer something in exchange for something else, you’re showing your commitment to mediation.

Do Be Prepared to Concede on Some Topics

You’re not going to get 100% of what you want in mediation. Decide in advance what you’re willing to concede on to keep the process moving. Your mediation attorney in Chicago, IL, may be able to help you make those decisions.

Do Put Yourself in Your Spouse’s Shoes

If you’re able to put yourself in your spouse’s shoes during mediation, it can be a smoother, easier process. Try to see things from your spouse’s point of view, and imagine what they may be feeling. Empathy can make mediation less stressful.

Do Make It Clear You’re Interested in Resolving Matters Without Litigation

If your spouse knows you want to avoid going to court, they may resolve to see mediation through instead of giving up when things get hard. Your Hurst, Robin & Kay lawyer can help you express this desire. 

Don’t Mediate if Your Spouse Has Been Abusive

If you fear for your well-being, avoid mediation and go to court. If your state requires it as part of the divorce proceedings, ask for shuttle mediation, where you and your lawyer are in one room, your spouse is in another and the mediator goes back and forth between the rooms.

Don’t Try to Avoid Costs by Leaving Your Divorce Lawyer Out

There are better, smarter ways to save money in a divorce. Leaving your attorney out of mediation could be more costly in the long run, when you realize you got less than your fair share of property or more than your share of debt.

Don’t Come Into Mediation With a Closed Mind

What you wind up agreeing to may not have been what you originally had in mind. Creative solutions can only arise when you’re open-minded going into mediation.

Don’t Get In Over Your Head

If you don’t understand all the financials, don’t try to mediate on them. Talk to your attorney or a financial advisor before you go back into mediation.

Common Myths About Mediation

Mediation offers divorcing couples an alternative solution to drawn out court battles. However, there are certain untruths about mediation that make some people hesitant about considering it. Here are some common myths about mediation that you shouldn’t believe.

  • Mediation is only couples who agree on everything. It’s easy to assume that you must agree on every divorce-related issue for mediation to work. However, you may be pleased to find out that you actually don’t have to agree on every little thing. The purpose of mediation is to help disagreeing couples come to a compromise. Even if you and your spouse disagree on several matters, you may still want to give mediation a chance.
  • If I go to meditation, I lose my right to go to court. Some people are reluctant to try meditation because they think they must give up their right to go to court. This couldn’t be further from the truth. If you and your spouse can’t come to an agreement during mediation, you still have the option to go to trial.
  • I don’t need a lawyer for mediation. Just because you’re not going to court, doesn’t mean it’s not necessary to work with a mediation attorney in Chicago, IL. He or she can explain all of your options to you and advise you on what to say during mediation.
  • Mediation isn’t intended for high-net worth couples. High net worth couples have more substantial assets than other couples, so they have more decisions to make. However, that doesn’t mean high net worth couples can’t go through mediation. A mediator can still help them come to a resolution that works for both parties.
  • Mediation means I have to settle for less. Another reason why some people avoid mediation is because they assume they must settle for less. However, just because you go to court, doesn’t mean that you’ll get everything. In fact, the judge will likely split assets equitably. 
  • Mediators make all the decisions. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Mediators actually don’t have the power to make decisions in divorce cases. Instead, they simply facilitate divorcing couples who want to reach an agreement.
  • Mediation prolongs the divorce process. The opposite is actually true. If you and your spouse go to mediation, you can finalize your divorce faster than if you were to go to court.

Frequently asked questions about mediation in divorce cases

Mediation is going to allow you to separate and is going to give you more power over how everything is divided up in your divorce. And you can take into account financial difficulties, decisions about the future and more, and mediation is less traumatic for children if you are dealing with child custody in your divorce. However mediation is not for everyone, and you might not even know what a mediator does. We’re going to discuss out below.

What does the mediator do?

When it comes to family law, I mediator is going to be a third-party person that isn’t specially trained to help you dispute and resolve your dispute. They are often going to be a retired judge or Commissioner but they can also be a divorce lawyer, or perhaps do not even licensed to practice law at all. The mediator is going to help you by resolving issues in the divorce through doing certain tasks:

  • Ensuring communication between the parties, this is often done by ensuring the old people involved in the mediation and divorce have there’s moment to talk about a subject. This might be done by providing a time limit, or it might be done by simply giving somebody the time to talk and and giving someone else the time to respond. It may even differ between mediators.
  • The mediator is also going to ask you to restate and explain if somebody in the room did not understand what you were saying. If you are trying to mediate with somebody and ask you to reexplain you might become frustrated, however having a neutral third party due to is going to lead to less frustration because you are not dealing directly with the person you are working with or against.
  • The mediator is also going to ask questions to make communication clearer for both parties.
  • They are going to provide information about the legal system and if the used to work in the legal system than they are going to be able to give you specifics however you need them.
  • They are going to describe all issues could be viewed by lawyers or judges if you do decide to divorce and go to court to figure out the division of assets in custody. Your mediator is going to be able to paint a picture.
  • Your mediator is going to be able to facilitate discussions on financial difficulties and decisions such as spousal support or child support. These are both touchy topics and you often have to go before court to get these things, however both topics to tend to favor one spouse over the other.
  • They are going to identify issues in alternative ways to solve those issues.
  • They are also going to refer you to third-party experts such as appraisals, lawyers and more.

How does the mediation process work?

The mediation process adapts to the needs of the couple who were getting the divorce, so in some instances a mediator might have a couple who were court ordered to try mediation to resolve the case before they continue the trial. Often times it means that the parties are going to have attorneys and the information available is already required for the court mandated mediation. This means that you are likely only going to have one meeting with a couple that has been court ordered to try mediation, usually they will come ready for the entire day and you will just work through it in one day.

However mediators can also deal with couples who really consult the mediator on their own and will help without consulting attorneys. Lawyers can be very expensive, and it can be sometimes cheaper to have someone mediate your divorce. Furthermore if you are not in a court mandated mediation case, you are often going to have sessions about two hours long and multiple sessions over the course of however long the couple needs.

The first meeting is going to be with the couple and the mediator going to talk about the issues in the divorce case that they need to discuss. They are also going to set forth the order in which those topics will come up, so essentially you’re setting up your syllabus for your mediation meetings. Furthermore the mediator will tell you what information needs to be gathered and shared between everyone, such as financial data, experts of appraisers or accountants, and more.

In later meetings the couple and the mediator are discussing compromise and the issues in the order that picked out originally. They are trying to meet the needs of both parties, and the mediator is going to continue providing information about the court system and how divorce issues are resolved in a divorce settlement when you go to the system.

When the mediator has reached an agreement with all couples on all issues, the mediator is going to give you an agreement for review by both parties and their attorneys and then you will sign if your lawyers do not have any issues with the agreement.