Getting divorced has traditionally been a rather messy process that pits two people who were once in love against each other to fight over a myriad of different divorce-related issues. However, some family law attorneys are now helping clients work out their issues by engaging in a relatively new divorce method called “collaborative practice”. When a couple decides to have a collaborative divorce they sign a binding contract (known as a Participation Agreement) in which they promise to share information and collaboratively work together, outside of court, to reach a mutually agreeable divorce settlement. Because collaborative divorce is a relatively new concept, some frequently asked questions have been answered below in order to help shed light on this area of family law.
After you and your spouse have signed a Participation Agreement, the next step is typically to hire a “collaborative divorce team”. Your divorce lawyers will help you choose a team of professionals who will help you and your spouse negotiate different aspects of your divorce settlement. Each collaborative divorce is unique, but a collaborative divorce team often includes a parenting specialist, a financial expert, a divorce coach, and a valuation expert. Next, you and your spouse will attend a series of meetings aimed at collaborative dispute resolution. Once the two of you have reached an agreement on all of your divorce-related issues, your attorneys will draft a settlement agreement containing these agreements and present it to the court for approval.
A collaborative divorce may be right for you if you are looking to:
However, it should be noted that collaborative divorces are not beneficial for every divorcing couple. For example, if you believe that your spouse is hiding assets, then a collaborative divorce is likely not a good option for you as a hallmark of this process is voluntary disclosure.
Furthermore, a collaborative divorce can be highly beneficial for couples with a large estate, as it can be used to save money throughout the divorce process. That being said, it may not always be the most cost-effective solution for those couples with fewer assets.
It is important to note that not all couples are able to collaboratively reach a settlement agreement. When this happens, the couple will often litigate their remaining issues in court. However, if this is the case, then neither spouse will be permitted to retain the same divorce lawyer who represented them in the collaborative divorce proceedings.
If you are considering filing for divorce in Illinois, and are interested in learning more about your legal options, contact the SAM LAW OFFICE LLC today. One of our experienced family law attorneys would be happy to explain your options and advise whether or not a collaborative divorce may be right for you during a free initial consultation. To get started, give our Rolling Meadows office a call at (847) 255-9925.
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