Mediation is the process where parties to a dispute meet with a neutral third party called a mediator. The mediator helps the parties agree upon a mutually acceptable resolution. According to Cook County Rules 13.4(e)(i)(b)(4), “The role of the mediator is to assist in identifying the issues, reducing misunderstandings, exploring and clarifying the parties’ respective interests and priorities, and identifying and exploring possible solutions that will satisfy the interests of all parties and thereby facilitate resolution of some or all of the issues in dispute.”
The agreement reached in mediation is non-binding. Usually, after an agreement is reached in mediation and attorney will draft up the agreement in legal format (as an order or judgment), the parties will sign it, and then it will be entered by the judge.
Unless there is an impediment, such as domestic violence, Cook County Rules require the parties to attend mediation in cases involving the following:
- initial determinations of allocation of parental responsibilities;
- modification of allocation of parental responsibilities;
- relocation of the child;
- non-parent visitation and third party allocation of parental responsibilities.
The Cook County Family Mediation Services provides free mediation services to parties litigating a dispute involving children in the Domestic Relations Division. Mediation may be ordered by order of court or by agreement of the parties for any other issue arising out of a divorce or parentage action. However, Family Mediation Services does not provide free services for non-child-custody related issues.(13.4(d)(iii)(a))
Sometimes, a couple may choose to forego the free mediation services of Family Mediation Services because it takes too long to schedule an appointment (sometimes you have to wait up to 4 months) or because the parents believe that a private mediator may be best suited to their needs.
At Fahnert LLC, our attorneys are trained to work as family law mediators. We can facilitate a resolution between you and your spouse on all the issues of your divorce or a limited issue, such as child-custody, child-support, maintenance, or division of property. Because mediators need to be neutral we cannot represent you in your divorce proceeding and mediate your case. Thus, we can only work as mediators if neither you nor your spouse has hired us as attorneys.
If you have hired us as your attorneys and need a mediator, we have the skills and knowledge to find a mediator that is particularly well suited for your case.
Many of our clients reach a full resolution to their case through mediation.