If you are getting divorced in Illinois, you and your spouse must resolve several issues before your marriage can be legally dissolved. Depending on your situation, you may need to reach an agreement about how to divide marital property and debt, how to allocate parental responsibilities, whether a spouse will receive spousal maintenance or alimony, and more. If you are unable to reach an agreement about one or more of these issues, your case could go to trial. Divorce litigation is often a stressful, expensive, and combative process. One alternative to divorce litigation that has helped many couples reach an out-of-court settlement is collaborative divorce.
Working With an Attorney Without Being Adversarial
Thanks in large part to movies and TV shows, many people assume that involving lawyers in a divorce automatically means that the case will lead to a contentious courtroom battle. This is not the case with collaborative divorce. As the name implies, a collaborative divorce is rooted in cooperation and respect. Collaborative divorce may be right for you if you want to have legal guidance and support from a lawyer, but you want to avoid a highly adversarial litigation process.
Participants in a Collaborative Divorce Focus on Solutions, Not “Winning”
During a collaborative divorce, each spouse, each spouse’s attorney, and all other participants sign an agreement called a “participation agreement” or “collaborative agreement.” In the agreement, they promise to negotiate the unresolved divorce issues in good faith, freely exchange the necessary documents and information, and keep discussions and negotiations confidential. Perhaps even more importantly, the participants agree to keep the case out of court. In most collaborative divorces, the attorneys are prohibited from representing the spouses during litigation if the spouses cannot reach a settlement through the collaborative process. The goal of a collaborative divorce is to reach a mutually-agreeable resolution so that the spouses can finish the divorce and move on with their lives.
Benefits of Using Collaborative Law to Reach a Divorce Settlement
A collaborative divorce may help you reach an agreement about property and debt distribution, parental responsibilities and parenting time, and more. During the collaborative process, you have the option to work with professionals such as financial planners, business valuation experts, divorce coaches, or child therapists. These participants also sign an agreement promising to work toward solutions in a civilized and cooperative manner. The conversations you have during the collaborative meetings are confidential and will likely take place in a conference room or other informal setting. Many spouses find that a collaborative divorce helps foster a sense of teamwork during the divorce process. Using collaborative law to resolve issues may also help the spouses remain on good terms after the divorce.
Contact Our Wheaton Collaborative Divorce Lawyers
In a collaborative divorce, each spouse retains his or her own attorney, but the attorneys are focused on finding practical solutions rather than “winning” the case. The DuPage County divorce attorneys at the Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C. have seen first-hand how collaborative law can benefit divorcing spouses. To discuss whether collaborative divorce is right for you, call our office at 630-462-9500 and set up your confidential consultation.