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The Role of Attorneys in Illinois Divorce and Custody Mediation

DATE POSTED: February 23, 2023 3:47 am

The Role of Attorneys in Illinois Divorce and Custody Mediation

According to the National Center for State Courts, more than one million divorces are processed in the U.S. each year.

In Illinois, divorce and custody mediation is a necessary process that helps couples find conflict resolution with the assistance of attorneys.

In this blog post , we will define divorce and custody mediation and discuss the role of attorneys in the mediation process.

What Is Mediation?

During mediation, a trained mediator acts as a neutral third party  helping two parties resolve their differences.

The goal of  mediation is to helpboth sides resolve conflicted or contested issues such as child custody, asset division, and spousal support without going to court.

The Benefits of Mediation for Divorce and Custody Cases

Mediation offers many benefits for divorce and custody cases compared to traditional court proceedings.

1 Mediation helps reduce costs by avoiding expensive litigation fees associated with going through a trial in court.

2. Mediation sessions are often shorter than court proceedings since each side can work together to resolve their dispute quickly and amicably without having to wait for long periods between hearings or trials. This saves money on legal fees when mediated sessions are shorter.

3. Couples who choose mediation often find that it can lead to better outcomes because they have more influence over decisions made about their future instead of leaving it up to judges or juries who may not know all the details of their situation. 

4. Mediation offers couples privacy which litigated court procedures do not do.  Couples can also move at the pace that is comfortable for them versus depending on the schedule of the court system in their jurisdiction.

5. Thanks to the privacy that mediation offers couples there can be less overall stress and harm to the family since the couples, with their professional advisors, control the process versus an external judge.

Differences Between Mediation and Traditional Court Proceedings

Differences Between Mediation and Traditional Court Proceedings

The Role of Attorneys in Mediation

The Role of Attorneys in Mediation

Attorneys play a significant role in the mediation process. They provide legal advice, represent their clients’ interests, negotiate the final agreement, and draft the mediation agreement.

Providing Legal Advice

Attorneys offer their clients professional legal advice to help them understand their options before, during, and after the mediation process. They help educate their clients on the law that applies to their situation and advise them on the potential risks or rewards of taking a specific course of action.

Representing The Client’s Interests

During the mediation process, attorneys advocate for their clients. They are tasked with understanding their client’s desired outcome and goals, then representing those interests in negotiations with opposing parties and mediators.

Attorneys can use negotiation tactics to protect their client’s rights and obtain favorable outcomes from the mediation process.

Negotiating The Final Agreement

One of an attorney’s primary responsibilities is negotiating a final fair agreement between all parties involved in the dispute resolution process. This includes ensuring that all sides are represented fairly while protecting each party’s interests as best they can. Therefore, negotiations carried out by attorneys must be conducted ethically according to applicable laws and regulations.

Drafting The Mediation Agreement

Once an agreement has been reached through negotiations, attorneys will be responsible for drafting a binding contract based on the terms of that agreement.

This encompasses reviewing any relevant statutes or laws applicable to ensure that these issues are dealt with adequately within the document drafted by the attorney for approval by all parties involved in the dispute resolution process.

Attorneys As Advocates in Mediation

Attorneys play a vital role in helping clients reach an agreeable and fair resolution in mediation. They help to protect the client’s rights, assets, and interests by evaluating the legal implications of each proposal brought to the table.

Protecting The Client’s Rights and Assets

Attorneys help protect their client’s rights and assets in mediation by ensuring both parties are coming to the table with clear expectations.

For example, they may negotiate a settlement agreement that sets forth the terms under which each party will abide during the process and outcome of their dispute.

Attorneys also ensure that all relevant information is disclosed and work to keep negotiations amicable while pursuing their clients’ best interests.

Assisting The Client in Reaching a Fair Agreement

In mediation, attorneys provide impartiality for both parties. They advise on each side’s bargaining position and can work to develop common ground between the two sides. Attorneys are skilled negotiators and can work with clients to ensure they receive a fair agreement.

Advising The Client On The Legal Consequences Of The Agreement

Attorneys help clients understand the legal consequences of the agreement reached in mediation. They can explain all applicable laws, discuss the implications of any stipulations included in the agreement, and advise on their client’s best course of action.

This ensures that all parties understand their agreement before agreeing to it. By providing this kind of guidance, attorneys can ensure that all parties agree with their eyes wide open.

Preparing For Mediation

When preparing for mediation, attorneys have a vital role to play. Their knowledge of the legal process and the law can help the client make informed decisions on how best to move forward with their case before and during any negotiations.

The Role of Attorneys in Preparing the Client

Attorneys can assist clients in several ways when preparing for mediation. First, they can assess the chances of success, advise what evidence will be most relevant, identify facts that could potentially be used against them, and suggest points that should be made to strengthen their position.

They can also prepare a checklist of essential documents, such as corporate records or financial statements, that must be ready ahead of time. This helps ensure the client has the information necessary to present their case effectively.

Gathering And Presenting Evidence

Attorneys are well-versed in gathering and presenting evidence clearly and legally soundly. In addition, they will collaborate closely with the client to compile any relevant documentation or data so that it is easily understood by all parties involved in the mediation proceedings.

Once this material has been prepared, attorneys will also assist in organizing it for presentation purposes. This may include explaining complex concepts in simple terms so all parties understand what is being presented and why.

Identifying And Addressing Potential Roadblocks

Finally, attorneys can help anticipate potential roadblocks that may arise during negotiations and address them proactively with both parties involved.

By thoroughly understanding all relevant laws, they can develop strategies that allow clients to reach an agreement while staying within legal limits and avoiding costly disputes.

The Role of Attorneys in The Mediation Session

Attorneys play many important roles during a mediation session.

The Role of Attorneys in The Mediation Session

Facilitating Communication and Negotiation

Attorneys can also serve as mediators, helping facilitate communication between parties and conduct productive negotiations. They understand how best to frame proposals to get positive results and will use their knowledge of law and experience with negotiation tactics to help move the process along swiftly, efficiently, and fairly.

The Mediation Agreement

Once the agreement is reached, attorneys will review it to ensure all terms are clear and legally sound.

The Role of Attorneys in Finalizing the Agreement

When finalizing the agreement, attorneys have one last role to play. They help all parties understand the ramifications of signing such a document and point out potential pitfalls or implications.

The Role of The Court in Enforcing the Agreement

Once the agreement is in place, attorneys ensure it is correctly filed with the court.

This helps to protect all parties involved, making the agreement legally binding and enforceable under applicable laws.

The court can then step in if either party violates its terms or fails to comply with its obligations.


Mediation is an effective and cost-efficient way to resolve divorce and custody cases in Illinois.

Having an experienced attorney by your side is paramount in the process, as they provide invaluable guidance and expertise in laws, regulations, evidence gathering, communication facilitation, negotiation tactics, and more.

Ultimately, their work will ensure both sides’ needs are met while staying within legal requirements.  Couples should explore the value and benefits of a mediated divorce approach for divorce.