Some things we've learned over the years...
A divorce mediator plays a critical role in helping her clients achieve their goals through this new transition. Here are 5 things your mediator should be able to provide:
1. Legal information. Your mediator should be deeply familiar with Illinois divorce laws and should have a system for remaining up to date on the frequent changes to the statutes. As your mediator, I'm allowed and obligated to give you legal "information". I will share with you the standards the court is looking to uphold, rules about division of property and debt, calculations for child support and spousal maintenance, and best practices for child related agreements. When I am acting as your mediator however, I must remain neutral. I am not permitted to also represent one of you in the role of an advocate and therefore, I cannot give my clients legal "advice". ( I cannot tell you "Oh, that's a great deal, you should take it!" or "I bet you could do better than that.")
2. Ideas for settlement. An experienced mediator will have hundreds or thousands of mediations under her belt and will have seen everything. As an experienced mediator, I will be able to draw on the successful negotiations of past clients to help you think of new and creative ideas for settling a particular issue that you may be stuck on.
3. Encouragement. A good mediator will remind you that you do not have to have everything figured out before beginning the process. Most couples I work with arrive at mediation with no agreements in place. Over 95% of the couples I work with leave mediation with all issues resolved. I'll help you get there!
4. Referrals and a team. A good mediator practices within her skill set. I have developed a complementary team of professionals that we can call upon to assist us through more technical areas of your divorce. If you need a pension valued, we can bring in an actuary. If you're feeling the need for support, we can bring in your attorney. If you need to discuss tax ramifications of your decisions, we can bring in a CPA.
5. Documentation of your agreement. Your mediator should have the skills to prepare a comprehensive documentation of your entire divorce agreement that was reached in mediation. I will provide you with a Memorandum of Understanding within 10 days of leaving mediation. This document will contain your agreements on all of the issues the court will be needing agreements on in order to grant your divorce.