Mediation is generally a voluntary, confidential, non-binding forum for parties to attempt to resolve disputed issues with the leadership of a neutral, experienced professional. You will obtain a faster, less stressful, less expensive, more detailed, and dignified resolution of your disputed issues if you make a good-faith attempt to mediate them. (In a custody case, some jurisdictions require that mediation be attempted.)
There are four basic parts to the mediation process. First, the parties are introduced to the ground rules of mediation. Second, information is gathered (e.g. disclosure of finances and/or facts concerning minor children) so that issues may be defined. Third, the parties' concerns are heard and issues are negotiated. Fourth, a written agreement is prepared and signed.
The mediator does not assess blame or dictate a solution. To facilitate the parties' candidness during meditation, the mediator cannot be called upon to testify for or against either party. The mediator is not the attorney of either party, therefore you may retain your own attorney during and after the mediation process to finalize and present your mediated agreement to the court.
There often exists a power or information inbalance between parties. Ruggiero & Associates, P.C. has vast experience in this regard and knows how to balance the situation. In certain cases, sessions with the mediator may be with the parties separately to avoid conflict. Further, because your attorney is included during and after the mediation process, your attorney should verify through formal discovery all of the assets and debts in the control of your spouse.
Admitted to the Illinois Bar in 1984, Mr. Ruggiero's practice is concentrated in all aspects of divorce law, including divorce mediation. He is also a registered Certified Public Accountant, and his professional mediation training has been approved by The Academy of Family Mediation and the DuPage County Bar Association.