Collaboration: An Agreeable Divorce

collaborative law, Illinois divorce, Aurora Family Law AttorneyGoing through a divorce can be a long, sometimes ugly, process, and, while most cases are eventually settled, the process can often add unnecessary expenses and negatively affect family members, particularly young children. In recent years, many divorcing couples, attorneys, and courts have begun popularizing a resolution method known as “collaborative law,” which focuses intently on cooperative negotiation.

Potential Advantages

Collaborative law attorneys look to offer a civilized alternative to litigation; produce solutions that address the needs of both parties; reduce costs; and increase their clients control over the proceedings. Privacy and confidentiality are also concerns that are better able to be addressed in collaborative law situations. In collaborative law, both parties retain qualified lawyers who exclusively focus on negotiation from the outset of the case. Under a written agreement, all involved parties and legal counsel expressly commit to avoiding litigation. The required personal investment in the process often leads better compliance with and enforcement of the resulting agreement.

Collaborative Law vs. Mediation

Unlike mediation, in which a third-party facilitator is required to “mediate” discussions, collaborative law provides each party with an attorney equipped to offer legal advice and advocacy that a mediator is not able to provide. As advocates, collaborative lawyers are not expected to remain neutral and, thus, can strongly present their clients’ interests and positions, compensating for clients’ challenges in doing so. Although each lawyer serves as an advocate, the commitment remains to avoid courtroom litigation and to reach a workable and mutually acceptable agreement. This usually creates incentives for the attorneys to meet their clients’ expectations through effective negotiation. As such, collaborative law clients may benefit both from sound legal advice and cooperative, problem-solving conciliation.

Serving Best Interests

While you may believe that, in order for a lawyer to be an effective advocate he must push for inequitable advantages that benefit his or her client, attorneys more often best serve their clients by developing agreements designed to satisfy important needs of the other parties. This may be especially true in divorce situations involving minor children, as both parties are likely to have strong interests in ongoing cooperation. If either party seeks to maximize advantages by pursuing personal gain over mutual best interests, the effect could undermine the potential for future cooperative parenting. Thus, an agreement that satisfies both parties may truly be in the best interest of each individual party as well.

If you live in Illinois and are considering divorce, or you are currently experiencing a divorce, and you are interested in reducing stress and unnecessary delays, consider collaborative law. To learn more, contact an experienced Aurora family law attorney at the Law Offices of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. today.

 

Sources:

http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2013/08/19/why-a-collaborative-divorce-makes-financial-sense

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/karen-covy/how-to-negotiate-your-div_b_8056402.html

https://www.isba.org/committees/women/newsletter/2008/01/collaborativedivorce

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/divorced-moms/10-legal-mistakes-people-_b_7818992.html

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