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Collaborative Divorce is a Great Choice for Parents

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Collaborative Divorce is a Great Choice for Parents

Collaborative Divorce is a Great Choice for Parents

It is not uncommon nowadays for spouses to recognize that while their marriage was a significant part of their life in the past, it should not continue to be a significant part of their future. The recognition brings a lot of different emotions to the forefront, sadness, shame, guilt, and anger are all a part of letting go of the dream you once shared. Now, you are afraid that a protracted period of divorce will harm your children and destroy your family. But not all divorces follow the same trajectory, and adversarial proceedings do not work for everyone.

Legal Concepts Overview

In the U.S., we practice adversarial law. You have one person on one side and another person on the other side. They both argue different if not altogether opposing viewpoints, and a judge or jury decides whose argument is correct. That is the foundation of adversarial law and it pervades every aspect of our legal system from criminal justice, to tort claims, to divorce, but it is not the only approach.

Collaborative law takes a completely different angle and it too can be employed in any area of the law. Instead of adversaries on each side of the courtroom, two parties in a dispute attempt to resolve their differences collaboratively. What does that mean?

Collaborative law is based on contract law. Instead of two adversaries tearing each other down, each party signs an agreement to commit to the collaborative process. Those who have ever been in drug court understand how collaborative law works. The worst thing that could happen is that one party violates the terms of the contract and the matter ends up being resolved in a more traditional adversarial manner. For instance, those who come to drug court with a dirty tox-screen can find themselves facing charges that were suspended pending their successful completion of the program.

Collaborative Divorce in Illinois

So, how can collaborative law be employed in an Illinois divorce? It’s actually quite similar to drug court. Both parties in the divorce sign a contract agreeing to commit to the collaborative divorce process. In most situations, any threat to sue the other individual or derail the collaborative process as leverage to get their way automatically nullifies the collaborative divorce contract, and the case heads into litigation.

How Does Collaborative Divorce Work in Illinois?

When we describe collaborative divorce, many folks ask, “Isn’t that just mediation?” No. Mediation involves one neutral third party acting as the mediator between two spouses. In a collaborative divorce, both spouses have their own attorneys who guide the process toward resolution while maintaining their clients’ interests. Instead of accusing the other spouse, experts such as accountants, child psychologists, and others are called in to help resolve the matter. 

Collaborative divorce is a great option for parents who have failed to reach common ground in litigation. While collaborative divorces will not be recommended in abuse situations or in cases in which one parent is unfit, it does fill a void between adversarial approaches and mediation.

Are You a Parent Who is Afraid of What a Contested Divorce Could Mean?

While collaborative divorces are a form of contested divorces, they are handled differently than litigated divorces. If you would rather work out the dissolution of your marriage as a team instead of as adversaries, SAM LAW OFFICE LLC can help. Call today to learn more about collaborative divorces and whether collaborative divorce is right for you.

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