Finding Solutions That Meet Your Needs

In the realm of family law, many people do not feel that traditional litigation is always the best method for resolving issues between people. Alternative methods of dispute resolution such as collaborative divorce, mediation and arbitration have been gaining in popularity for some time.


At the Steele Law Firm, we understand that family law is about more than just the legal issues. We are committed to representing you in whatever context is best for you overall. Contact us to schedule a FREE initial consultation about your options.

An Agreement to Stay Out of Court

Collaborative divorce is an increasingly popular alternative to both traditional litigation and mediation. The central aspect of collaborative divorce is a formal agreement to resolve the issues without going to court.

This type of divorce has a lot of great benefits for both sides and that’s why this is becoming so popular these days. Of course, there are some situations where the divorce cannot be collaborative and then you have no other choice but to take it to the court. There are even some cases when one person wants to get divorced and the others don’t and then you cannot have a collaborative divorce at all. If you are interested in knowing what the benefits of this type of divorce are, then we suggest you look it up online because there are many great articles that are explaining everything simply.


In collaborative divorce, each party is represented by an attorney, ensuring that they are aware of their rights and giving them the experience of someone who has worked on divorce cases before. It is key to know how to start a collaborative divorce and what are the responsibilities of both parties. That’s why it is a must to hire a professional law firm who will provide an attorney for you. Even though this isn’t a court case, you still need a professional because there are some things that need to be done the right way and you can easily achieve that if you have help from someone who has many years of professional experience. This way, you are avoiding any unnecessary issues from happening.

While the parties have a legal right to fall back on the courts, the attorneys agree to withdraw from the case if it ends up in court. The expectation is that the lawyers will, therefore, use their expertise to find solutions to the issues the parties face, rather than encouraging litigation.

Making Use of Neutral Expertise


Mediation is also a viable alternative procedure, and many Illinois judicial districts will order mediation before a divorce case goes to trial. A mediator is a neutral third person who helps the two parties in a divorce resolve issues such as asset division, child custody and support, and maintenance out of court. Mediation can be particularly useful when only a small number of issues remain to be resolved to reach a divorce settlement. In many judicial districts, mediation is required before a case is allowed to proceed to trial.

The mediator could be a lawyer or another professional. If the issues involve parenting child custody matters, the mediator could be a mental health professional. If the issue is financial, a mediator could be certified, public accountant. A former or retired judge could serve as a mediator. Our lawyers at the Steele Law Firm also serve as mediators or settlement masters.


Mediation is not binding on either party unless a signed agreement is reached, and either party can proceed to litigate the issues in court if no resolution is reached. However, judicial decisions can be unpredictable, so it’s often better to attempt mediation first.  A skillful lawyer can discuss with the party, before and during mediation, the pros, and cons of various settlement options.  The parties frequently have their lawyers attend mediation sessions with them.


Arbitration is a similar procedure, but the decision of an arbitrator is binding, whereas the outcome of mediation is only binding if the parties sign an agreement. Unlike mediation, arbitration is binding as to the issues decided and an arbitration proceeding can be much like a trial, although it does not take place in a courtroom.

At the Steele Law Firm, we can provide you with a mediator, arbitrator or attorney who can represent you in a collaborative divorce, mediation or arbitration.

Contacting an Illinois Collaborative Law Attorney or Mediator

If you are dealing with an Illinois family law matter, you need the advice and assistance of a skilled, experienced family law attorney to help you, your children, and to protect all of your legal rights as time-efficient and cost-effectively as possible.

Contact us or give us a call today at (312) 893-5888 or 1-800-DIVORCE (in Northern Illinois) to learn more about how we can help you or set up a FREE consultation.

We Can Assist You With:

  • Matrimonial Law
  • Family Law
  • Divorce
  • Domestic Relations
  • Dissolution of Marriage and Legal Separation
  • Litigation in Trial Courts
  • Negotiated Settlements
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution, such as Collaborative Law and Mediation
  • Appeals to Reviewing Courts
  • Financial Discovery and Analysis
  • Property Division
  • Retirement Benefits
  • Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs)
  • Paternity
  • Adoption
  • Child Custody, including Joint Custody and Sole Custody
  • Child Visitation
  • Child Support
  • Child Abductions
  • Maintenance, formerly known as Alimony
  • Spousal Support
  • Marital Settlement Agreements
  • Premarital Agreements
  • Postnuptial Agreements
  • Annulments
  • Domestic Violence
  • Post-Decree and Post-Judgment Issues and Modifications
  • Restraining Orders
  • Separation Agreements