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Can I Sue My Spouse in a Collaborative Divorce?

 Posted on May 26, 2024 in Family Law

Bloomingdale, IL divorce lawyerFighting a divorce out in court — also known as litigation — can be costly and emotionally taxing. That is why litigation is usually a last resort in divorces. When a couple files for divorce and cannot agree on certain issues, the court will often order the parties to attend alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation.

Another form of alternative dispute resolution is collaborative law. A collaborative divorce is a private divorce process in which the spouses hire a team led by an attorney to work out the issues they disagree on. Depending on what those issues are, your team may consist of:

  • A child specialist

  • A divorce coach

  • A forensic accountant

The goal is to reach a settlement out of court so that the divorce can be finalized by a judge.

How Does Collaborative Divorce Work?

In a collaborative divorce, your attorney works with your spouse’s attorney to negotiate a settlement. They have a series of meetings in which they try to work out the different issues and protect the interests of their respective clients. When necessary, the lawyer will bring in team members to assist. Unlike the attorneys, the team specialists are neutral parties.

The key element in collaborative law is that the process is based on mutual respect and good faith. That is why the parties first sign a Participation Agreement.

What Is a Participation Agreement?

A Participation Agreement is a document that outlines the parameters of the collaborative process. In the agreement, the parties agree that:

  • They will not sue each other during the process and will do their best to resolve their disagreements through negotiation.

  • If they decide to go to court, they need to find new attorneys.

  • They cannot subpoena any of the team members if the case goes to court.

  • There will be reasonable transparency and any relevant discovery documents will be shared between the parties.

Is Collaborative Divorce for Me?

Collaborative divorce is not for everyone. Because it is based on cooperation, communication, respect, and problem-solving, it may not be relevant for divorces that are exceedingly hostile. To have a collaborative divorce, you must at least have the will to sit down at the negotiating table. Couples who are bitter and disagree out of spite may not be a good fit for the collaborative process.

Keep in mind that the collaborative process is costly (although not as costly as courtroom litigation). Your attorney and the other specialists need to be paid. So, make sure you and your spouse are truly ready to negotiate in good faith before you jump into a collaborative divorce.

Contact a Lombard, IL Collaborative Divorce Attorney

The best way to gauge whether collaborative divorce is right for you is to consult a Bloomingdale, Illinois collaborative divorce lawyer. We will explain each step of the process and ask you the right questions to determine if it is the best path for you. 

At Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices, we have extensive experience with the collaborative process. Our attorneys have successfully negotiated collaborative divorces for many satisfied clients. Bring us your case and we will aggressively fight for your interests throughout the process. Call 630-932-9100 for a free consultation today.

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