For divorcing couples interested in resolving their divorce amicably and with minimal involvement of the court, mediation is often a viable method of alternative dispute resolution. Even in a contested divorce, the court will sometimes order the spouses to attempt mediation to resolve some of their agreements. Whether you are preparing for mediation voluntarily or by court order, it is important to know what to expect, including whether it is a good idea to hire an attorney for the process.
Mediators and Attorneys Play Different Roles
In mediation, you and your spouse will meet with a trained mediator who will help you reach an agreement on the various aspects of your divorce resolution, including property division, spousal support, child support, and the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. Many mediators are also licensed attorneys who have a thorough understanding of the laws governing divorce proceedings in Illinois. However, their role in the mediation process is not to provide legal advice or advocate on behalf of either party. Rather, they must remain neutral and impartial, helping the parties identify common ground and make progress toward an agreement on their own terms.
A divorce attorney, on the other hand, is a representative for one of the parties. If you hire an attorney, they represent you alone. Their role is to advocate for you and your interests throughout the divorce process, whether in amicable negotiations or contested litigation. Your attorney can also provide you with qualified legal advice and help you fulfill all legal requirements to finalize your divorce. Importantly, an attorney cannot represent both spouses even in an uncontested divorce, as this would create a conflict of interest....