Exiting Divorce as Friends: The Collaborative Divorce Process

collaborative law, Kane County divorce attorneyPeople consistently envision the divorce process as an adversarial affair that pits parties against one another, which culminates with the ultimate goal of walking away with more than the other side. Divorces of this type do exist, but every divorce is not destined to be a series of contentious exchanges. Another approach is available that allows couples to maintain civil, working relationships so they have the ability to remain in contact once the divorce is finalized.

Collaborative divorce is an alternative method of navigating the end of a marriage that is conducted in a supportive environment, and puts the parties in control of the outcome. Parties wishing to co-parent or retain a family business following divorce could benefit from this resolution process. Understanding that an alternative exists to traditional litigation grants divorcing parties greater freedom in working out conflict, which often leads to more cooperation.

What Is Collaborative Divorce?

This process is called “collaborative” because the divorcing parties form a team of various professionals to facilitate the creation of a fair and measured divorce settlement without court intervention. The process is entirely voluntary, and starts with the parties retaining attorneys trained in collaborative law procedure. The role of these attorneys is specifically limited to the collaborative process. If the parties cannot form an agreement and elect to file a divorce petition with the courts, the attorneys are disqualified from continuing as counsel, and new lawyers must be hired.

In addition to the attorneys, the core of a collaborative divorce is the contract between the parties and the team of professionals engaged to facilitate the formation of an agreement. The contract asks the parties to make a good faith effort to reach an agreement, and to provide all pertinent information to the other side. The team of professionals built to assist with this process is typically composed of financial, mental health and child development experts. These individuals advise on financial, emotional and parenting issues in order to help the parties more effectively communicate and resolve any disputed points. The process itself occurs in a series of private meetings, and each party is given an opportunity to voice his/her concerns. The goal of this negotiation process is the formation of divorce agreement wholly crafted according to the priorities and concerns of the parties.

Advantages vs. Traditional Divorce Cases

The largest advantage offered by a collaborative divorce is privacy and confidentiality. Standard divorce petitions are matters of public record, and all proceedings and documents filed in connection with a case are available to the public. Collaborative divorce avoids this invasive aspect, and also allows the parties to set the pace of the process, not a judge. This ability results in a much faster and efficient dissolution since there are fewer schedules to coordinate, and the parties choose when it is necessary to meet. Further, collaborative divorce is less expensive generally, and specifically allows for reduced costs because the parties mutually use one expert instead of retaining experts separately. Most importantly, though, collaborative divorce allows the parties to consider creative solutions to problems that respond to the needs of their unique families. Courts do not have the time or resources to look into the particular circumstances of each case, and must rule in accordance with the law, which may not address legitimate concerns.

Consult a Divorce Attorney Today

Divorce is one of the most stressful life events a person will experience. Knowing about alternative resolution options to traditional divorce litigation permits divorcing couples to make fully-informed decisions about what is the best for them and their families. To learn more about the process, contact an experienced DuPage County collaborative divorce attorney. Call [[phone]] for a confidential consultation at the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. today.




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