Karen Covy, a divorce lawyer in Chicago, answers:
Yes! As a matter of fact, using a mediator in a complex case is often the best choice you can make – as long as you choose the right mediator. A mediator can take the time to dive into complex issues; a judge has hundreds (or thousands) of cases on his/her court call and often does not have the luxury of spending a lot of time on one case. A mediator also has the ability to help you and your spouse to think of much more creative ways to resolve complex issues than a judge could.
If you choose to use a mediator in a complex case, you have to be sure you are using a well-qualified mediator. If your complex issues are financial, you should find a mediator who is also a certified divorce financial planner or a CPA. If your complex issues are child–related, you should find a mediator who has a background in mental health and is trained to deal with children’s issues. If you can’t find a mediator who is trained in what you need, then you can hire an experienced mediator who is open to using other professionals (i.e. a financial planner or business evaluator) to help everyone explore and understand whatever complex issue you are facing.
The final thing you want to remember about mediation is that you and your spouse are the ones sitting with a mediator and making an agreement. If either you or your spouse is not able to fully grasp the complex issues, or if you or your spouse is not comfortable negotiating the terms of a complex agreement, then it is best if both of your lawyers also actively participate in the mediation process.
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