The Rock Counseling Group - Champaign IL
Below is a list of the most common questions regarding mediation


How long does mediation take to complete?


A: There is no predetermined number of sessions. Progress will depend on the complexity of the divorce, the pace the parties want to set, the ability of the parties to communicate and how easily you each make decisions. For instance, if there is a jointly owned house, it will take longer to discuss that than if the couple lived in an apartment. If there are children involved, there are many decision to be made. These just take more time to go through all the details.In general, most mediations last 2 to 12 hours in 2 to 6 sessions over a few days, weeks or months. My sessions generally go about 1½-2 hours, although this can be adjusted shorter if one of the parties wants to stop a session early or extend if we are making significant progress. Mediation is by and large far quicker than going through litigation.

What if mediation doesn't work and there is no settlement reached?


A: If mediation fails, you always retain the right to go through attorneys or to court and have your case settled by a judge. Keep in mind that only 2-4% of cases are settled by a judge in the end. The other 96-98% of cases are settled by the parties, but at a much greater expense than if it was mediated.


What happens after mediation is completed?


A: The final outcome of the mediation session is a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This is a detailed listing of all the items that were agreed to by the parties during mediation, generally about 10-15 pages in length. The parties then take the MOU to their attorneys to review and one of the attorneys will convert this into a Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA). It is the MSA that is filed with the court in order to grant the final divorce order. 

Won't an attorney make a better mediator?


A: Not necessarily.  First, an attorney who is a mediator cannot give advice to either party.  An attorney who does will end up being perceived as favoring one party and might run afoul of the Court’s Rules of Professional Conduct (representing adversaries in the same case).


Second, an attorney is trained in and practices being an advocate for one party.  A mediator is trained in and practices being a facilitator to bring the parties to a resolution.  They are different skills and often incompatible.  

Third, mediation of a divorce involves skills beyond just knowledge of the law.  Divorce mediation will involve items such as equitable distribution, child support and alimony, which are number intensive.  A skilled mediator will also know how to deal with the parties’ emotions and to break any impasses that may arise. Mediation is a skill that is seperate and distinct from those of law, mental health, accounting and others.

Participants in a mediation should have representation by an attorney (other than the mediator).  A mediator should be chosen based on their mediation skills and experience as a mediator.

Is mediation right for everyone?


A: No. If there is physical abuse or significant emotional or verbal abuse by one spouse against the other, mediation will not be appropriate. If a restraining order is in place against one party by the other, mediation is not permitted under law (though the court has a domestic violence mediation trial program underway). The parties in a mediation need to be able to make decisions freely without fear or coercion. Parties also need to be able to talk openly with their soon-to-be-ex sitting in the same room. If abuse or the intent to harm the other party is present, this becomes very difficult.Further, since mediation is voluntary on behalf of both parties, both parties must be willing to participate. This means both parties are committed to being open and honest about all of the marital assets.

On the opposite side, most people think that if there is a lot of anger or feelings of betrayal that this type of divorce cannot be mediated. In fact, the opposite is true. Lawyers and litigation tend to increase anger levels, which makes going forward even more difficult — not to mention expensive. Mediation allows the parties to address the anger.

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