Dispute resolution methods for people getting a divorce
When two people choose to dissolve their marriage in Illinois, they will have to reach mutual decisions about property division and sometimes child custody and support. Amicable parties might come to terms quickly and settle their divorce by filing court paperwork themselves, but disagreements frequently arise. To resolve disputes, people have the options of mediation, arbitration and negotiated settlements that might include a judge making the final decisions.
To mediate a divorce, the former partners hire a third-party professional called a mediator. The role of a mediator involves allowing both parties to state their cases and then guiding them toward compromise and a final agreement. Unlike a mediator, an arbitrator can decide issues to break an impasse between the parties. Arbitration might be used to create the bulk of the divorce settlement or only specific issues. People can consult attorneys when engaged in mediation or arbitration.
A negotiated settlement brings attorneys directly into the process. Usually both parties have attorneys who send proposals and counter proposals back and forth until they hammer out a final agreement. This process has the potential to drag on for months or even years if the former spouses have difficulty resolving differences. At some point, the case might have to advance to the courtroom where a judge will determine the final form of the divorce settlement.
When a person pursues a divorce, a case evaluation by an attorney may provide guidance about which approach to take in negotiating the split. A person with substantial assets or concerns about child custody or spousal support may wish to gain an attorney’s insight about how to protect property and maintain parental rights. In addition to advocating for the person’s position, an attorney might draft petitions and other documents for the court to complete the process.