Stages of Illinois Family Mediation

Posted by Erin Birt | Jan 31, 2012 | 0 Comments

In Illinois, divorce and/or custody cases often include mediation. Parties will likely attend mediation to assist in the resolution of disputes involving custody, parenting time, visitation, and requests to remove the child/ren from Illinois. Parties can also attend mediation, with any qualified mediator, to address any family issue on a voluntary basis and prior to court involvement. This post will focus on the Stages of Illinois Family Mediation.

Family Mediation, while less formal than litigation, is not without structure. An experienced mediator will develop a clear plan that keeps the parties focused and able to effectively communicate.

The mediation process has many elements.  Below is a description of the various stages that occur during a typical mediation session.

Stages of Illinois Family Mediation:

1. Introduction.

2. Mediator Opening Statement: Discuss mediator role, office billing and policies, and mediation ground rules.

3. Client's Opening Statements: Comments and remarks.

4. Information Gathering: Establish what and how information will be gathered and disclosed, identify goals.

5. Identify Issues: May have been disclosed in Opening Statement or in pending pleadings; determine that all parties understand the issues; prioritize issues: immediate need vs. long term need, children's needs, spouse's needs or parent's needs, financial needs; and reevaluate goals if needed.

6. Discussion: Discuss options or alternatives; discuss the strengths or weaknesses of options.

7. Negotiation.

8. Summary of Agreement: Determine who will reduce agreement to writing (the mediator or parties' attorneys); discuss the preparation of a summary of the agreement and obtain authority to disclose to attorney; review agreement or summary; revise agreement or summary; determine a plan for future disputes.

The mediation division of The Law Firm of Erin N. Birt, P.C. will provide its mediation clients with an agenda during the mediation process which follows the Stages of Illinois Family Mediation.  The agenda facilitates a successful mediation session as the parties are more likely to remain focused and they are able to personally monitor the progress being made in mediation.

For a productive and cost efficient mediation program, please contact The Law Firm of Erin N. Birt, P.C. at (630) 891-2478, a firm experienced in family mediation for custody, parenting time/visitation, requests for removal of children from Illinois, and related parenting and financial issues.

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About the Author

Erin Birt

Since 2003, Erin N. Birt, J.D., CADC has focused her practice on parenting time, divorce, mediation, and substance abuse issues. Ms. Birt's unique background in both family law and addictions counseling help her clients successfully navigate the complex issues of coparenting and divorce. Ms. Birt also devotes her time to presenting at continuing education seminars for attorneys, mediators, and counselors.


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