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What Is a Collaborative Divorce?

 Posted on January 21, 2021 in Mediation and Collaborative Law

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.

However, it is important to note that there are some situations in which litigation may be the best way to resolve divorce issues. Collaborative law requires spouses to be willing and able to openly discuss issues, make compromises, and negotiate in good faith. If one or both spouses insists on terms that are unreasonable, conceals information, or lies, resolving the divorce through collaborative law may be impractical.

Contact a Naperville Collaborative Divorce Lawyer

Spouses who use collaborative law to resolve divorce issues gain valuable legal advice, support, and representation from their attorneys during settlement negotiations, and they can save time and money by avoiding litigation. If you would like to learn more about what divorce strategy may be right for you, contact a DuPage County divorce attorney from Pesce Law Group, P.C. Call us at 630-352-2240 for a free consultation today.


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