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Oak Brook divorce settlement attorneyIf you are like many people thinking about divorce, you probably have little to no experience dealing with the Illinois court system. However, it is important to remember that marriage is a legal union, and undoing that union can be a considerable legal undertaking. Do-it-yourself divorce may initially seem like a good idea. You may be worried about attorneys’ fees, or you may assume that hiring a lawyer will automatically make your situation more contentious. However, many people who decide to take on their divorce without legal assistance soon realize that DIY divorce often causes more problems than it solves. One-size-fits-all solutions are often extremely shortsighted, and they can lead to avoidable financial losses and needless stress.

Divorce Cases Change and Evolve Over Time

Many divorcing spouses still care about their soon-to-be ex and wish to minimize contention as much as possible during the divorce. They may assume that they do not need a lawyer to represent them during the divorce because they are still on good terms with their spouse. Unfortunately, as many divorced people can tell you, the process of ending a marriage can bring out the worst in some people. You are not guaranteed a problem-free divorce simply because the split began amicably. 

By hiring a divorce lawyer, you ensure that you have an advocate on your side should circumstances change. Your lawyer will protect your rights and guide you through the divorce process from beginning to end. If you are worried that hiring an attorney will create unnecessary tension between you and your spouse, it is important to hire an attorney who takes a cooperative approach to divorce cases rather than an aggressive approach. During a “collaborative divorce,” divorcing spouses and their attorneys work together instead of against each other in pursuit of a mutually-agreeable settlement.

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Elmhurst collaborative divorce attorneyTo be granted a divorce in Illinois, you and your spouse must decide how to resolve issues like property division, spousal maintenance, child support, and child custody. If you are unable to reach a settlement, your divorce case will go to trial. During divorce litigation, spouses and their respective attorneys present arguments and evidence to the judge. The judge then makes a decision about the unresolved issues on the parties’ behalf. Collaborative divorce, or using collaborative law to settle a divorce, is a relatively new form of alternative dispute resolution. Through collaborative law, you may be able to resolve divorce issues without taking your divorce to trial.

How Can Collaborative Law Help Me Resolve Divorce Issues?

During a collaborative divorce, the spouses each retain their own attorney. Next, the spouses and their respective attorneys hold a series of meetings to discuss the unresolved divorce issues. Accountants, real estate agents, child experts, and other professionals may also participate in these meetings. Every participant – including the spouses - agrees to negotiate in good faith and to fully disclose relevant information and documents. The parties also typically agree that if the case cannot be resolved and goes to trial, the lawyers must withdraw from the case. This so-called “no court” agreement ensures that the participants are motivated to resolve the issues during the collaborative meetings and avoid going to trial.

Why Choose Collaborative Divorce Over Litigation?

The litigation process is often contentious by its very nature. The fundamental difference between collaborative divorce and traditional divorce litigation is that collaborative law is cooperative rather than antagonistic. The spouses and their attorneys are not trying to win or lose. Instead, the objective is to reach a mutually-agreeable solution so that the spouses can resolve the situation and move on with their lives. Litigation is also usually more expensive and time-consuming than alternative resolution methods like collaborative divorce.

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Wheaton asset division attorney for financial restraining ordersYou have worked hard for the assets you own, so it is understandable that you would want to protect those assets from being misused or wasted. Protecting property during divorce is something that many spouses do not think about until it is too late. Although remedies are available for spouses who have suffered financial harm due to the other spouse’s financial recklessness during divorce, preventing wasteful spending is a better strategy than mitigating it after the fact. One way to protect funds and other property during divorce is to get a financial restraining order.

Stop Wasteful Spending or Intentional Destruction of Property

As most divorced people can tell you, the process of ending a marriage can sometimes bring out the worst side of people. If you are getting divorced, you may have concerns about your spouse’s financial decisions. You may be worried that he or she will carelessly spend money, sell property to finance an addiction, or otherwise make ill-informed financial decisions. You may even worry that your spouse will destroy your property or intentionally waste money to “get back at you.” A financial restraining order can help prevent this from happening.

A Temporary Financial Restraining Order Can Protect Your Assets

When most people hear “restraining order” they assume that the order is intended to prevent domestic violence or stalking. However, a financial restraining order has nothing to do with physical abuse. A temporary financial restraining order is used to prevent spouses from reckless spending or wasting marital assets during divorce. When spouses are subject to a temporary restraining order, they are prohibited from transferring, hiding, borrowing against assets, or otherwise disposing of property outside of typical financial transactions needed for everyday life. A financial restraining order will not prevent spouses from buying groceries or paying their bills, but it can prevent them from making large, unusual purchases, selling marital assets, or making other atypical financial decisions.

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