In an effort to avoid the contention and drain on financial resources that many divorces entail, some couples attempt to resolve marital dissolution issues through collaborative divorce. The collaborative divorce process encourages couples to work together in an out-of-court setting to come to agreements regarding divorce-related issues, such as property division, child custody, child support, and spousal maintenance. Collaborative divorce is not appropriate or possible for every couple, but when undertaken correctly can save some families a substantial amount of time, money, and stress, so if you are considering filing for divorce, it is crucial to contact an experienced Schaumburg family law attorney who can explain your options and walk you through the process of collaborative divorce.
Collaborative Divorce Defined
Couples who are attempting to resolve marital issues through collaborative divorce are each encouraged to retain their own attorney. The parties must then sign a binding contract, known as a Participation Agreement, which demonstrates each spouse’s legal commitment to resolve disputes according to the collaborative divorce guidelines. Generally, these contracts require the couples to agree to focus on open, honest, and respectful negotiations outside of the courtroom. The parties can then choose to hire a team of professionals whose purpose is to advise the couple on divorce-related issues. Typically, a collaborative divorce team will include some or all of the following individuals:
- Parenting specialists, who help the couple resolve issues related to their children, including questions of visitation and child support;
- Financial experts, who can assist the parties in completing their financial disclosure statements and assigning value to certain assets;
- Divorce coaches, who can help the parties deal with the emotional aspects of divorce by helping the couple set specific goals; and
- Valuation experts, who can help the parties place a value on business interests and personal property, such as collectibles or antiques.
After assembling a collaborative divorce team, the parties can begin attending a series of structured meetings that are non-adversarial in nature and focus on the interests and goals of each party. Collaborative divorces proceed at a pace dictated by the parties, which allows the couple to avoid the stress that comes along with repeatedly appearing in court.
Once the couple has reached an agreement on all necessary issues, including the division of parental responsibilities and spousal maintenance, the parties’ attorneys will draft a document that contains the details of the agreement. Before the divorce can be finalized, the agreement must be submitted to the court for approval. In the event that the parties are unable to reach an agreement on a certain issue, they will need to litigate the case in court. However, neither party is allowed to retain the same attorney who represented them in the earlier proceedings.
Contact us Today to Speak With a Dedicated Schaumburg Family Law Attorney
The process of collaborative divorce has grown in popularity in the last few years, which may partly be due to the Illinois Legislature’s decision to do away with fault-based divorce. In any case, this process of negotiation can help families transition more smoothly to life after divorce, so if you are considering a divorce, please contact experienced family law attorney Susan A. Marks today by calling SAM LAW OFFICE LLC at 847-255-9925.