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DuPage County collaborative divorce attorney

If you are planning to divorce, you may have questions about how you can protect your rights and reach a divorce settlement that is reasonable and fair. You may want the legal protection and support that comes with hiring a lawyer but are worried that bringing lawyers into the equation could make your divorce more adversarial. Whether your worries are accurate or not, there is an option in Illinois that allows divorcing couples to work with attorneys under a non-adversarial process. Collaborative divorce, or a divorce resolved by means of collaborative law, is an alternative resolution method that has helped many couples settle divorce issues without resorting to stressful and often antagonistic litigation.

What Happens During a Collaborative Divorce?

During a collaborative divorce, each spouse retains his or her own lawyer who provides legal guidance throughout the collaborative process. The spouses and their respective lawyers will work together to negotiate unresolved divorce issues during a series of informal meetings. The purpose of these meetings is not to “win” or “lose,” but instead to reach mutually agreeable solutions regarding the division of marital property and debt, spousal maintenance, child custody, and other divorce-related disputes. Once an agreement has been reached, the lawyers submit the necessary paperwork to the court and the agreements are written into the final divorce decree.

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DuPage County collaborative divorce attorneysMaking the decision to get a divorce is rarely easy but divorcing with children can be especially taxing. If you and your spouse have come to the conclusion that your marriage is beyond saving, you may be researching your options for how to resolve divorce issues with minimal conflict for the sake of your children. Divorces involving parenting issues is often much different from a divorce with no children because divorcing parents typically remain at least somewhat involved in each other’s lives. One way some parents are able reach an agreement about child-related issues is through a collaborative divorce.

Why Choose Collaborative Divorce?

Many divorcing spouses have trouble reaching an agreement about the terms of their divorce. When parents cannot agree on how to share parental responsibilities, formerly called child custody, or parenting time, formerly called visitation, they have several options. They can negotiate an agreement with help from their lawyers, work with a qualified mediator, resolve the issues using collaborative law, or litigate in court. Courtroom litigation is a time-consuming, expensive, and often adversarial process. Being in a courtroom can make parents feel like they are fighting against each other instead of working together for the benefit of their children. Collaborative divorce is an approach that is cooperative and non-hostile in nature. It gives parents an opportunity to work with lawyers and other professionals to reach a resolution to divorce issues that they both agree to. Furthermore, unlike during litigation, the conversations had during a collaborative divorce are confidential.

What is Involved in an Illinois Collaborative Divorce?

During a collaborative divorce, each spouse retains a lawyer qualified to practice collaborative law. The spouses and their lawyers hold a series of meetings in which they discuss solutions to unresolved divorce issues. Child development specialists and other experts may also attend these meetings and offer their professional guidance. Spouses, lawyers, and other participants in the collaborative process sign a “participation agreement.” In the agreement, the participants agree to be honest, remain cooperative, and not go to court. Attorneys offer legal guidance and ideas that the spouses may not have considered and facilitate productive negotiations. Many parents find that collaborative divorce allows them to discuss divorce issues in a way that does not further degrade their already rocky relationship. Parents are typically better suited to be effective co-parents when they make decisions about child-related matters together instead of through the court.

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DuPage County family law attorneysIn television shows and movies, divorce is often portrayed as a highly-combative legal process involving more accusation and confrontation than actual problem solving. In reality, a successful divorce settlement that both parties can agree to can often be reached without the need for dramatic courtroom litigation – even when the couple disagrees about the terms of their divorce. If you are planning to divorce and you and your spouse do not agree about property distribution, parental responsibilities, or other divorce-related matters, one option that may help you reach an agreement is collaborative divorce.

Finding Creative Solutions to Divorce Disputes

Litigation can be expensive and stressful. Many individuals getting a divorce wish to resolve conflicts without adversarial court proceedings but still want a legal advocate on their side who will look out for their best interests. One way to accomplish this is through collaborative family law. In a collaborative divorce, each spouse and his or her lawyer work together to reach resolutions about family law issues in a professional and cooperative way. The parties and their lawyers will sign a “collaborative agreement” or “participation agreement” that states that all signatories will commit to finding a fair, workable divorce settlement and will abstain from bringing the case to litigation. This agreement may require the spouses and their attorneys to agree to provisions such as:

  • The parties agree to settle disputes in a non-adversarial manner through negotiation and constructive dialogue
  • The parties agree to fully disclose relevant financial information
  • The parties will act in their child’s best interests

In a collaborative divorce, your attorney will protect your rights while simultaneously facilitating productive discussion and negotiation about divorce issues with the other participants. The process may also include collaborating with other professionals such as accountants or child specialists. If an agreement about the disputed divorce issues is reached, the agreement is transcribed into legally enforceable documents which are then filed with the court.

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Wheaton collaborative divorce attorneys, collaborative divorce, collaborative divorce lawWhen 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.

The Agreement

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.

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collaborative divorce, Illinois Divorce AttorneyDivorce is often considered to be an adversarial battle. However, this does not have to be the case. While it is not appropriate for everyone, the process of collaborative divorce can work very well for certain couples. If the parties in a divorce can set aside their differences and cooperate with one another, a collaborative divorce may be a more efficient and less contentious alternative to the traditional divorce process.

What is Collaborative Divorce?

During a divorce, issues such as property distribution and child custody must be resolved. Under a collaborative divorce, a couple cooperates to make these important determinations. Both parties retain their own attorneys who are specially trained in collaborative divorce. All four people come together regularly in an attempt to arrive at an agreement. The focus of a collaborative divorce is to resolve the issues in a civil manner, without placing blame on anyone.

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From our law office in Wheaton, IL the family law and civil litigation law attorneys of Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick and Mirabella, represent businesses and individual clients throughout the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois including Wheaton, Naperville, Oak Brook, Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream, Lombard, Downers Grove, Burr Ridge, Lisle, Elmhurst, Oakbrook Terrace, Winfield, Woodridge, Warrenville and throughout DuPage, Kane and Kendall Counties.

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In honor of the passing of our founder, Joseph F. Mirabella, Jr., our offices are closed Friday, January 31, 2020.I Agree