The Role of a Divorce Mediator in Chicago vs. a Judge

For most individuals, their divorce is the first experience they have in the court system, aside from a speeding ticket or two.  The process can be scary and overwhelming, especially when the division of one’s property and making decisions about and time with one’s children is at stake.  Therefore, it is important to understand the roles of individuals who may be involved in the case.  Two major players in divorce cases are the family court judge and the divorce mediator in Chicago.  Both of these individuals may finalize a divorce case, but the manner in which they do so is different.  A divorce mediator in Chicago collaborates with the parties, whereas a family court judge makes decisions for them.

During divorce mediation, the parties disclose their positions in the case to the mediator, who serves as a third party neutral.  The mediator then works with the parties to help them compromise and reach a settlement.  The mediator does not decide how any issue in the case will be resolved but facilitates resolution of issues.  Instead, the parties with the mediator’s guidance and suggestions, determine how they will settle each issue in the case.  Therefore, using a divorce mediator provides the parties with a significant amount of control over the outcome of their case.

In contrast, a family court judge is a decision-maker.  After a hearing or trial, the family court judge issues a ruling based upon the evidence that was presented and the testimony that was heard.  The parties are bound by the judge’s decision, as family court rulings may only be appealed in limited circumstances.  Unfortunately, in many cases, the parties are not happy with how the judge ruled.

Though both family court judges and divorce mediators have an important role in the divorce process, only a mediator can help the parties create their own settlement agreement