If you anticipate that your divorce will be both complicated and contentious — perhaps due to parenting style differences, children with special needs, or substantial income and assets to be divided — consider which of these two options sounds better:
You and your spouse each choose an aggressive lawyer who will fight out your issues in one-to-one negotiation or in court, if necessary. Consider which of you has more money to spend and is more likely to drag out the legal process out of spite.
You and your spouse agree to resolve your divorce without going to court, working cooperatively with a team of professionals who will provide a neutral perspective and recommendations on both financial and parenting issues with a focus on the best interests of your family as a whole.
If the latter approach sounds better to you, then the collaborative divorce process might be right for you.
In the collaborative divorce process, you and your spouse are each represented by an attorney but your divorce team also includes specialists in particular areas.
For example, high-net-worth couples can benefit from having a financial specialist conduct an independent analysis of the family’s finances and make recommendations from a neutral perspective. The alternative is for each spouse to pay their own lawyer to do that analysis and then to fight over which side “wins.”
A mental health specialist or divorce coach will assist with the “soft” issues of divorce. Their primary role is to help the spouses learn to communicate their desires and concerns in a productive manner. They may also help spouses manage stress and deal with emotional issues related to their marriage and divorce. The ultimate goal is to help the spouses develop a more positive working relationship, particularly when they will be co-parenting or must have ongoing interaction due to their work, friendships, or community-group ties.
A child specialist will help by interviewing each parent and the children, and sometimes even extended family members. The child specialist can then make recommendations for a parenting plan based on what is most important to each family member and what will be in the best interest of the children.
The Illinois Collaborative Process Act, which took effect January 1, 2018, spells out the basic procedures for a collaborative divorce:
If the collaborative divorce process sounds right for you, talk to our DuPage County divorce attorneys who are experienced in a variety of methods for alternative dispute resolution. Call Mevorah Law Offices LLC at 630-932-9100 for a free initial consultation.
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