As a general rule, there are two standard ways a divorce can be conducted. The first is through a “settlement meeting”, which involves both parties sitting down with a mediator outside a courtroom setting to discuss division of assets. The second is a “legislated” divorce, which of course is governed by the Illinois court system. Some experts say the first option is preferable as it tends to be a faster and more efficient way to complete the process, but even outside a courtroom, it is important for both parties not to get bogged down by avoidable hindrances.

Foremost, many experts agree it is important to limit the influence of emotions on a settlement meeting. Tensions can sometimes run high in a divorce situation, but it is best to leave emotions at the door when sitting down to discuss terms. This can have the added benefit of not only avoiding arguments, but also opening both parties to the possibility of compromise.

Although a settlement meeting is meant to be a faster alternative, that does not mean a divorcing couple should rush through this process. Many experts believe it is important for couples to ask questions if they are unclear on a particular issue. Additionally, asking for “breaks” in the negotiation process can help both parties keep their cools and get through the process more efficiently.

Illinois couples facing divorce can attest that it is not an easy process. However, there are ways to make it easier on both parties. Staying calm, understanding rights and responsibilities and remaining open to compromise can go a long way toward a successful — and relatively smooth — divorce settlement.

Source: The Huffington Post, Divorce Confidential: How to Prepare for a Settlement Meeting, Caroline Choi, Oct. 31, 2013