-If you or someone you know is about to go through a separation and/or a divorce, there’s something Chicago mediator Brian James wants you to know: “If your main goal is to keep your children’s best interests at the forefront, and you have a desire to be amicable, you need to give mediation a try,” he says. “You have absolutely nothing to lose — and everything to gain. I have yet to work with a couple who hasn't benefited from mediation in some way."
Brian should know — prior to becoming a mediator with C.E.L. and Associates, Inc., he worked within the court system helping domestic violence families resolve parenting and financial disputes. After 12 years of witnessing the physical, emotional, psychological, and financial drain caused by litigation, he went into private practice and focused his energy on keeping his clients out of court and limiting the pain of divorce. Brian has the skills and experience to help his clients avoid the bitter and emotional pain that can accompany divorce and assists them with moving on with their lives in a positive way.
With offices conveniently located throughout the Chicagoland area and Southeast Wisconsin, he makes a policy of scheduling sessions that are as convenient as possible for his clients. “Divorce is hard enough without worrying about price, location and scheduling“ he says.
Brian takes a streamlined approach to the mediation process. He will ask for an opening statement from both spouses, in an effort to determine up front where they are in the process, what they’ve tried to talk about, what they’ve agreed to and what problems may exist. He asks questions throughout the process too, including: "What's most important to you? What do you think you want to do first? What gives you angst? What keeps you up at night?" Based on their answers, Brian is able to help predict where the challenges will be as the case proceeds and circumvent problems before they arise.
This ability to “read” people is a skill Brian uses daily as a mediator. “It allows me to ‘reality-test’ my clients,” he says, admitting that he can be blunt at times. “Some mediators might hold back. However, I found that being upfront and direct with my clients, and not beating around the bush, is the best policy.” Based on his past experiences in the court system, Brian can quickly ascertain if one of his clients is saying something in front of the other out of spite, is lying and/or is not being up front. He confronts them and asks them to explain their reasoning. Though he is direct, he does not directly call them out and embarrass them, but wants them to know that what they are doing is inappropriate. This approach allows clients to realize that he is functioning as a neutral third party and that he will immediately point out when someone is being rude, disrespectful and not acting in good faith. “I don't need to know the reasons why a couple is divorcing," he explains. "I'm here to assist them in working out an equitable divorce agreement, no matter who is to "blame" for the divorce.”
Brian’s candor also helps make mediation less stressful in the long run, along with tremendous costs savings for his clients. “I tell my clients that, if you just want to bicker back and forth, it's a waste of your time and money to come to me,” he says. If counseling or therapy is in order, Brian can refer couples to therapists and coaches. He can also provide resources for financial experts and divorce attorneys, if necessary. Through mediation, Brian helps his clients find a peaceful resolution to their divorce. He also gives them important skills they’ll need for future conflicts. “If they’re able to refer back to what they learn in mediation, I will have achieved my objective,” he says.
For more information, or to book an appointment, please contact Brian at (312) 997-5464.
Divorce Mediator and Parenting Coordinator
Illinois Offices: Chicago Loop, Crystal Lake, Libertyville, Naperville, Rolling Meadows, and Wilmette
Wisconsin Offices: Kenosha and Paddock Lake
Brian James has written the following articles:
Business Valuators / CPAs
Certified Divorce Financial Analyst