The Advantages of Co-Mediation for the Divorce Process

The Advantages of Co-Mediation for the Divorce Process by Ellen Barron Feldman

Gain control of your divorce with co-mediation.

A typical divorce scenario: A family with two young children with 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. 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 of the parents and the children.

In divorce co-mediation, an alternative to traditional divorce litigation and mediation, there are two mediators in the room, a man and a woman. Together, the co-mediators are able to get both parents to see new roles that result from the divorce. The divorce co-mediators work as a team, listening to what each party says and offering both female and male perspectives on the divorce scenario.

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

What is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce Mediation provides the opportunity for resolution of all of 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 their best interests. One benefit is financial, since the money saved by participating in mediation can be used for children’s activities, schooling and to fund college accounts. In addition, parenting schedules, sharing of holiday observance, choice of activities and custody arrangements decided in mediation are generally upheld and observed. When couples learn how to communicate with each other, they stand a better chance of honoring those decisions and being the best parents they can be for their children.

What is Divorce Co-Mediation?

NorthShore LAW member Ellen Barron Feldman and her partner, Brian James, offer a divorce co-mediation service 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.

Feldman and James 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. They enhance the mediation process by providing multiple advantages.

The Advantages of Divorce Co-Mediation

There are many advantages of co-mediation for the divorce process. Feldman and James’ 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?

Divorce Co-mediation Advantage: Multiple Perspectives

As an attorney with fifteen years of commercial litigation experience, Feldman understands the expense, time and emotional burden of resolving disputes in court.

James’ background includes the mediation of cases for victims of domestic violence in the criminal justice system for ten years and a private mediation practice.

Their different professional backgrounds enable them to hear and understand the clients in different ways.

Divorce Co-mediation Advantage: Cost and Value

Feldman and James are both with their clients at every stage of the process, even though they charge only one hourly rate. This affords divorcing couples the benefit of receiving input from two experienced professionals for the price of one.

Divorce Co-mediation Advantage: Effective Communication

As a man and a woman, James and Feldman set an example of effective communication for the couple. They listen to each other present creative ways to handle each issue and respond with respect. This dynamic encourages the couple to do the same.

Divorce Co-Mediation Advantage: Focus on Children in Divorce

“When our clients have children, our goal is to help the parties be the best parents they can be as they move into their new lives,” says Ellen Feldman. “Effective communication means that there will be less fighting in front of the children and more time to focus on the children and their needs.” Happier children are those who see their parents getting along, even though they are going through the divorce process and ultimately living separately. Feldman and James’ goals as mediators are to help the couple focus on the future instead of the past and to direct their energy toward the best interests of their children.

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