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The Advantages of Co-Mediation for the Divorce Process

Ellen Barron Feldman, Family and Chicago Divorce Mediator / Collaborative Law Fellow

Gain control of your divorce with Co-Mediation - A typical divorce scenario: A family with two young children and a stay-at-home mom. Mom thinks Dad won't be able to take care of the kids properly. Dad thinks he will lose his connection to his kids because he will only see them every other weekend and a couple of evenings a week and that he will have to give all his money to Mom. He won't be tucking the kids into bed. He won't be part of their lives. The ensuing negotiation is emotional and traumatic for both the parents and the children.

In Co-Mediation, an alternative to traditional litigation and mediation, there are two mediators in the room. Together, the Co-Mediators can get both parents to see their new roles, roles that are a direct result of living in separate residences. The Wilmette Co-Mediators work as a team, listening to what each party says and offering both female and male perspectives.

With a Co-Mediation approach to divorce, emotional issues are resolved more quickly, more creatively, and at a lower cost than with traditional litigation.

What is Divorce Mediation?

Traditional divorce mediation provides the opportunity for resolution of all the required issues under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution Act in a neutral setting, with the assistance of an objective, impartial mediator. Once the couple has come to agreement, their attorneys draft and file required documents with the divorce court. With divorce mediation, spouses are more inclined to honor their obligations than if a judge had imposed a parenting plan, division of assets and financial commitments. Couples who participate in mediation during the divorce process are less likely to experience post-decree conflict as new issues arise, leading to fewer court appearances and reduced attorneys' fees.

When the couple has children, mediation keeps parties focused on the children's best interests. This provides a financial benefit, since the money saved by participating in mediation can be used for children's activities, schooling and to fund college accounts.

In addition, agreements on parenting schedules, sharing of holidays, decision making, etc., during mediation, are generally upheld and observed. When couples learn how to communicate, they stand a better chance of honoring those decisions and being the best co-parents they can be for their children.

What is Divorce Co-Mediation?

North Shore LAW member Ellen Barron Feldman and her partner, Brian James, offer a Co-Mediation service in Wilmette, featuring two divorce mediators rather than just one. This Co-Mediation process provides both male and female perspectives, giving it an advantage over both traditional divorce litigation and single-mediator situations.

Ellen and Brian work together as a team, reviewing the clients' documents, attending every mediation session and providing guidance as each of the issues surrounding the divorce is addressed. Though they are not the first Co-Mediation team, they are one of the first male-female teams in the Chicagoland area and have been working together since 2007.

The Advantages of Divorce Co-Mediation

There are many advantages of Co-Mediation for the divorce process. Ellen and Brian's different professional backgrounds, efficient and focused process, two-for-one hourly rate and effective male-female communication, all make divorce a more positive experience. At this intense emotional time in their lives, shouldn't people have every possible advantage?

Ellen Barron Feldman completed Family and Divorce Mediation Training through DePaul University Center for Conflict Resolution in May, 2005 and Advanced Family Mediation in June, 2005. She has been appointed to the 19th Judicial Circuit Family Mediation Program list of court-approved mediators for Lake County, Illinois.

She can be contacted by phone at (312)524-5829 or
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