Collaborative Divorce in Illinois
When a couple decides to divorce, often the process can become convoluted and ugly. Disagreements can occur over everything from parenting time to property division, and many find that there is a more convenient way to go about the process. Collaborative divorce is a relatively new phenomenon, but if the parties are able to work together, the conflict can be minimized.
When beginning a collaborative divorce proceeding, you, your spouse, and your attorneys will sign a collaborative agreement. The agreement will state that all signatories will work together to arrive at a settlement, eschewing litigation. One might wonder what stops someone from agreeing to commit to the process, and then making an end run, so to speak, and filing suit. The answer is that an agreement of this nature in Illinois usually contains provisions barring the attorneys from going to court. A collaborative proceeding also involves several people, many of them neutral parties (such as child specialists, financial advisors and the like), all of whom would be inconvenienced and possibly injured by a spouse's decision to file suit.
The agreement can be effective, especially in divorces where money is at a premium, because it is standard to stipulate that if an agreement cannot be reached and the parties elect to go to trial, new attorneys must be hired. The rationale is that an attorney who has seen all the twists and turns of the collaborative process, which are not generally admissible during a divorce proceeding, cannot be objective if they represent you in court.
Pros and Cons
With such a strict set of rules, one might wonder why anyone would choose collaborative divorce; however, there are very real advantages if the process turns out to be right for you. Unlike standard litigation, there is ample time for the parties to discuss their wants based on their situation, rather than a judge having mere minutes to read a hastily prepared memo. Also, while it is not always the case, collaborative proceedings tend to be less expensive than litigated divorces.
Still, the collaborative process is not for everyone; the specific rules and regulations may not fit the situation of some couples. The process is still unknown and unfamiliar to many, with only 7 percent of couples opting for collaborative divorce in 2008, and the rate only increasing approximately 1 or 2 percentage points each year. Also, like mediation, the process of collaborative law is too hands-on for many spouses who deal with issues such as domestic violence or child abduction. Collaborative law requires a degree of trust and civility. Therefore, it is best avoided if one or both spouses cannot commit.
Contact a Family Lawyer
While collaborative divorce is still a fairly new process for many, it may be the tool you need to work out an amicable divorce much more quickly and easily than you would in a courtroom. The experienced Wheaton, Illinois collaborative divorce attorneys at MKFM Law stand ready, willing, and able to assist you in navigating what can be a difficult time in your life. Contact us today at 630-665-7300 to set up an appointment.