blog home Mediation How to Choose a Mediation Attorney for Your Illinois Divorce

How to Choose a Mediation Attorney for Your Illinois Divorce

By Nottage and Ward on May 3, 2011

The decision to divorce is a difficult one, and has many extensive consequences. While every situation is different, the process can become very complex and time-consuming, leaving those involved exhausted and stressed. Rather than face the strains of courtroom litigation, many couples going through an Illinois divorce opt to settle matters through mediation.

Mediation in Illinois is an option for divorcing couples to consult with a highly trained professional and discuss the situation in a reasonable manner. As discussed in a recent Huffington Post article, the mediator does not have a bias in the outcome and is there to assist a couple to determine the details of their divorce. Typically, during mediation, issues such as property division, child custody and visitation agreements, and more are decided. It is essential, then, for you to select an attorney with experience in mediation, whom you can trust since they are protecting your legal rights during the mediation process.

First, be sure you hire a “mediation-friendly” lawyer—someone who has experience in mediation and comes highly recommended. During your initial meeting with the attorney, ask them whether they have experience in mediation, or if they have only litigated divorce settlements. It is very important that the lawyer you chose have real-world experience so you can know what to expect during mediation and be sure they can provide the guidance you need. You shouldn’t be afraid to ask them specifics about their experience, though you should realize they won’t be able to provide you with every detail due to client confidentiality. It is important for you to learn whether you are comfortable around the attorney and whether you feel they fully grasp the details of your situation.

You should also make sure that you feel they will respect the decisions you make during the mediation process, even if your decisions go against what they feel is best. You likely have good reasons for your decisions, even if you intentionally settle for less in some areas, and ultimately, the decisions made during the process are yours to make. Lastly, you should be sure that although they are compassionate and knowledgeable, the mediation attorney is not overbearing and won’t push their personal views regarding the best outcome. It is important for the decisions made to meet your needs, and not theirs.

At Nottage and Ward, our Chicago mediation lawyers have practiced family law exclusively for over 20 years. To learn whether our experience fits your situation, call 312-332-2915 to schedule an appointment today.

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