Wheaton collaborative divorce lawyerMaking the decision to file for divorce does not have to lead to a future involving long, stressful hours spent in court. In fact, many couples do not even set foot in a courtroom to create their divorce agreement. Resolving your divorce through a trial is a process known as divorce litigation, and it is typically reserved for those with an especially contentious relationship who are unable to come to an agreement on their own. If you foresee that you and your spouse will argue over every little detail, divorce litigation may be your only option. If, however, you and your spouse are ending things amicably, a collaborative divorce may help you reach a resolution more quickly and on a more positive note.

What is a Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative divorce is a process in which you and your spouse negotiate the terms of your divorce, rather than having a judge make these decisions for you. This includes determinations regarding spousal support or maintenance, the division of assets, child custody, child support, and more. In a collaborative divorce, you and your spouse can each hire your own specially certified divorce attorney to act as your legal representative and help guide you through the divorce process. You will likely meet one-on-one with your attorney for advice on how you should proceed, as well as in conferences with your spouse and his or her attorney to negotiate the details of your divorce agreement. You may also seek advice from other professionals, such as financial advisors, child custody specialists, and more. Once you and your spouse have come to an agreement on each matter, you will have contact with a family court judge who will sign your prepared agreement, making it legally enforceable moving forward.

What are the Benefits of a Collaborative Divorce?

It is no secret that a divorce can get expensive the longer the process goes on. If you and your spouse are willing and able to come to an agreement on the different aspects of your divorce, you can save a significant amount of time and money. Litigation costs additional money due to the court fees, and it may take extra time depending on how quickly the judge comes to a decision. Collaborative divorce allows you and your spouse to voluntarily exchange the necessary information, agree on legal procedures that can often cut down on expenses, and make the process much simpler. Another important benefit of collaborative divorce procedures is the ability to make your parenting plan as a couple. You and your spouse usually know your children best, and if you can work together, you can likely create a much more effective parenting plan than a judge can. This can also strengthen your co-parenting relationship moving forward.

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DuPage County divorce attorney for collaborative lawIf you are thinking about ending your marriage, you may have already started researching the ways you can resolve divorce issues such as child custody, property division, and spousal maintenance. You may know for sure that you want to avoid divorce litigation, but you may still be uncertain as to what type of alternative resolution method is right for your particular circumstances. Collaborative divorce is a process during which divorcing spouses work with their attorneys to reach a settlement on unresolved divorce issues using cooperative discussions and negotiations. This process takes place outside of the courtroom and is typically much less stressful and antagonistic than litigation. There are several situations in which using collaborative law to resolve divorce issues can be especially beneficial.

Circumstances in Which Collaborative Divorce May Be Advantageous

When determining what type of divorce strategy to pursue, begin by taking stock of your divorce-related goals. Also consider the particular obstacles, challenges, or special circumstances that may complicate your divorce. Collaborative law may be a good fit for you if:

  1. You want legal support and protection from an attorney but do not wish to go to trial. If you or your spouse own complex assets, have a high income, own a business, or have other complicated financial issues, quality legal representation during divorce is crucial. A divorce lawyer is also a valuable resource during child-related disputes.

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Wheaton divorce lawyer for collaborative lawWith so many Illinois residents out of work or working from home due to the pandemic — and no real end in the immediate future — many couples are delaying divorce plans simply because of the expense. While it is true that the legal fees involved in a divorce can add up to thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars once the divorce is finalized, this should not be prohibitive to either of you, especially if you both know a divorce will help you and your family during this time of reduced/lost incomes and staying at home together more often than usual.

Collaborative Law as a Potential Cost-Saver

There are plenty of ways to make a divorce more affordable, including pursuing an uncontested divorce or determining whether the court may require the wealthier spouse to cover the other spouse’s attorney’s fees in a more fiercely litigated contested divorce or an otherwise complex divorce. In many cases, collaborative divorce can be more affordable than a divorce that involves litigation.

In a collaborative divorce, both spouses and their attorneys agree to cooperatively negotiate a divorce settlement without resorting to litigation, while also making the commitment to be open and honest with each other at all times. Collaborative divorces allow both parties to work together outside of court through this increasingly popular alternative dispute resolution (ADR) method to reach a more agreeable resolution to the issues in their divorce. In addition to securing the terms of a divorce decree that benefits both sides fairly and equitably, collaborative divorce can also foster and maintain civility throughout the divorce process, helping spouses ensure that they can have a more amicable divorce.

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collaborative divorce, Wheaton family law attorneyIllinois allows spouses going through a divorce to utilize a system called collaborative law, rather than the adversarial judicial process. If you are interested in learning more about whether a collaborative divorce is right for you, consult an experienced family law attorney in Illinois.

What Is the Collaborative Divorce Process?

Instead of going to trial and having a judge decide the matters that you and your spouse may not be able to resolve alone, the collaborative law process allows you to make the decisions about your divorce together, with the help of your attorneys. A collaborative divorce may also include other professionals such as therapists, financial advisors, or child psychologists.

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