What is Pre-Decree Divorce Mediation in Chicago?

In Chicago, once a couple has finalized their divorce, the details of the case are memorialized in a divorce decree.  The divorce decree lays out the division of property, custody and visitation issues, and any other factors that were disputed during the divorce proceeding.  When a Chicago couple uses pre-decree divorce mediation, the goal is often to finalize the details of the divorce case.  Pre-decree divorce mediation has been very successful in Chicago divorce cases, and it is much less stressful for the parties than if they had attended a divorce trial.

Mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution, which means that it encourages the parties to settle their dispute without the assistance of the courts.  Instead of turning the resolution of their case over to a family court judge, the parties work with a mediator to create their own settlement agreement.  Mediation allows the parties to maintain control over the outcome of their case, a benefit that family courts cannot provide.

In Chicago pre-decree divorce mediation, the parties discuss the same issues that would be analyzed during a trial.  These may include dividing the couple’s assets and debts, establishing a custody and visitation plan for their children, and other issues that the couple wishes to discuss.

Although mediation is not nearly as formal as a divorce trial in family court, the parties must still take the process seriously.  The parties may bring documentation that supports their claims, such as retirement accounts, car values, credit card statements, bank records, and other relevant items.  The mediator will review these items and consider them as settlement proposals are discussed.

At the end of a family court trial, the parties may be frustrated with the family court’s ruling.  However, by attending mediation, the parties retain control over the outcome of their case and avoid such unpleasant surprises.