Gary Bement is a Court Approved Family Court Mediator in most Southern Illinois counties. He mediates Family cases in Swansea and Mt. Vernon offices for the First, Second, Third, Fourth, and Twentieth Circuits. He also performs mediated divorces in most counties.
A mediated divorce is one in which the divorcing couple attends sessions with a trained mediator who facilitates their decision making. The mediator is a neutral third party who structures the mediation sessions, facilitates communications between the parties, helps parties identify and clarify the issues, and keeps the participants moving toward settlement. The mediator does not “decide the case”. The parties make their own decisions. Documents reflecting these decisions is drawn up by the mediator and reviewed by the parties. At least one party must hire an outside attorney to draft the Petition and file the documents prepared in mediation. The other party has the option of hiring an attorney to review the documents as well. Cost are usually substantially lower in mediated cases than traditional contested divorces.
Mediation moves at a client’s pace and usually takes about two months to complete with 4 or 5 sessions, instead of 1 to 2 years of fighting in court.
Mediation is substantially less expensive than traditional contested divorces. It is estimated that the average cost of a divorce in the United States ranges from $5000-$30,000, and a two day trial alone can cost as much at $10,000. A typical mediation, however costs between $2000 and $5000 total.
Mediation protects the emotional well-being of the children by keeping them out of the middle. Parents learn not to fight in front of the children or make them choose sides. They learn how to problem solve and make good joint decision about the children, even though they don’t love each other anymore. Parents learn to distinguish the differences they may have had as husband and wife from the roles they play as mother and father. This helps stop the fighting, which benefits the entire family.