FAQ's. Common Questions answered here.
Going through something as difficult as a major legal event can leave you filled with questions about the past, present, and what to expect in the future. Get answers to some of the top questions I receive, to help put your mind at ease. Check back often for even more answers to your legal questions. Better yet, give us a call to see how we can help.
- Page 4
Radon Gas is present in the home we are buying. What should we do?
You've found your dream home and all is well until you learn that the results of your radon inspection are in. The levels are 4.0 or higher, which is considered unsafe. Radon gas is a leading cause of lung cancer and you are understandably frightened. You don't want to live with radon! No one does, which is why there are companies out there whose job it is to remove the radon. Once they fix it ("remediation of radon"), radon levels should go down to almost zero. Home sellers know that nobody is going to buy a house with radon, which is why their attorneys and realtors should be preparing them for the possibility of having to pay for remediation. The reality is that if someone wants to sell their house, they must have it removed! As a buyer, you want to make sure that you have your radon test completed within the contractual time frame, which is usually five days from seller's acceptance of the contract. Extensions of this date may be necessary. If you learn of a radon problem, which is not uncommon, your attorney will ask that it be remediated, before closing, at seller's expense. Your attorney should also be asking that sellers pay for a re-test and present you with evidence that there is no longer a radon problem. This should all happen before closing. In the alternative, if you want to have it done yourself for some reason (usually if there is a time contstraint), you may wish to negotiate a credit of approximately $1,800.00 (Chicago area) so that you can have it taken care of yourself.
Your Realtor has disclosed Dual Agency- do I agree to it?
In the Real Estate world, dual agency means that your Realtor is working both for you and for the person on the other side of the transaction (both buyer and seller). While it is illegal for an attorney to do this in Illinois, it is legal for a Realtor to represent both sides on a real estate deal so long as it is disclosed. Whether or not you should agree to it is really dependent upon your own personal comfort level. You will each have an attorney looking out for your own legal interests, which is not the job of your Realtor. However, some people are uncomfortable knowing that their agent is working both sides of the same transaction because many people tell things to their Realtor in confidence. While in Dual Agency scenarios, the agent owes specific duties to both the buyer and seller, such as not disclosing the confidential information of one party to another- it can create awkward situations and inadvertent mis-steps on the part of the Realtor. The result of dual agency is that the role of the agent may be limited. The agent can no longer help negotiate terms for the sale or the purchase of a home, finding the home seller on their own. In my opinion, this defeats the purpose of having a Realtor. However, if a price was agreed upon before your Realtor comes on the scene or you otherwise have a high level of trust for your Realtor (which you should anyway), you may be more inclined to consent to dual agency.
What is a Memorandum of Understanding?
Once mediation is complete, your mediator will write up everything that was agreed upon. You don’t have to worry about taking notes or remembering everything that was agreed to, that is your mediator’s job. It will be typed up into a report called a “Memorandum of Understanding”. We send a copy of it to the parties (you & your spouse) and a copy to your lawyers, if you have any yet. It will clearly spell out everything that you agreed upon, including partial agreements. For example, if you agree that the house will be sold and the proceeeds divided equally, but are not in agreement as to when the house goes on the market or who will stay in the house in the meantime, as much detail as would be helpful goes into the memoroandum of understanding. It is not filed with the court as it is used by the attorney(s) to put into proper legal format, after (we hope) givng you legal advice overall with respect to the agreement.
I am here to help. Please let us know if you are interested in either learning more about divorce mediation or setting up at time to get started.
I’ve used Mediation in the workplace, with some success. Should I go back to that Mediator for my Divorce?
If in the past, you had a great eye doctor, are you going to return to that doctor for heel pain? Of course not, so why would you consider using a business mediator for your divorce? Divorce is a very complex, emotionally charged area and in my opinion, when searching for a mediator, you should use someone who is highly experienced in dealing with divorcing couples. Given the complete re-write of the divorce laws effective January 2016, this is more important than ever as you definitely want someone who is also well versed in the current laws!
At O'Connor Cadiz Law, we have gone through the 40 hours of mediation specific to divorce, and have been refining our skills every since! We know what it takes not only to have a good outcome in mediation but we also know what issues the judges are going to require be addressed at the time of your divorce. Download our free report to learn more, or give us a call at 630-250-8813. We offer mediation in both Schaumburg and Itasca; thus serving both DuPage and Cook Counties.
How long does Divorce Mediation take?
As long as you need for it to, so long as it is still productive. There really is no typical but a good starting point is to try a few sessions of around 3 hours to see how it is going. If it can be worked out in that time frame, great! If not, but you think it is definitely going somewhere, then you can schedule more time. Look for a mediator who will work with you at your pace. Sometimes people want to schedule a long stretch, others chose to break it up. There really is no science behind it and should be whatever works for your schedule. That being said, remember that this is a process and you should give your first session at least 3 hours. That is my recommendation.
If you think that divorce mediation might be right for you, either download my free report about divorce mediation, or else give us a call to learn more! Ready to jump right in? We can do that too! Divorce mediations can be done in either our Schaumburg or Itasca offices. Call us at 630 250-8813
What if my spouse tries to pressure me into an agreement I don’t want during Divorce Mediation?
A common concern during divorce mediation is that your spouse will pressure you or make you feel like you have to give in. You always have the power to say NO. Do not agree to anything if it is not what you want. Be open-minded, but don’t give in to something that you know is just not going to work for you. A part of mediation involves one-on-one conversations with your mediator when you have concerns. This will be different than the conversations or fights that you and your spouse would have at home on the same topic. Mediation is a controlled environment where bullying is not acceptable. Even calm statements meant to push your buttons can be concerning but remember, your mediator is there to address any problems or perceived threats that may come up. At any time, you can call it a day, as for a break, or talk to your mediator privately.
How much is Divorce Mediation and Who Pays for it?
The cost of mediation is around the same cost per hour as hiring a lawyer, but you are paying one professional for that hour instead of two. For example: your lawyer and your spouse’s lawyer talk for an hour at $300 per hour = $600 total v. one hour of mediation at $300 per hour =$300 total for that hour /2 people= $150.00
If the math makes sense to you, call us, we'd be happy to tell you more about the mediation process. Are you a candidate?
If I go through divorce mediation, do I still need a lawyer?
Mediators do not take the place of lawyers and cannot give you legal advice or represent you, even if your mediator is (like myself) a practicing lawyer. At least one lawyer will also be needed to prepare the legal documents and present them to the court for approval.
I really like how you are mediating my divorce. Can I hire you as my divorce lawyer?
Thanks. Many people who decide to mediate their divorce before they file ask me if they can hire me to also be their divorce lawyer. As much as I would love to help you and appreciate the compliment, once I have started to work with you and your spouse as a mediator, I cannot switch roles and be your legal advocate in your divorce. It would be a conflict of interest. However, I may be able to recommend a few attorneys who I think might be a good fit for you.
Can you guarantee that mediation will settle our divorce completely?
No. Beware of anyone who tries to guarantee a successful outcome. Whether or not all of the terms of your divorce can be settled in mediation is, in large part, dependent on you and your spouse. What I can guarantee is that you will have a trained divorce mediator, that you will be heard, that you will be treated with the utmost respect, and that you will be given a neutral place, conducive to effective communication, working towards a common goals of avoiding litigation of the issues.