Collaborative law, mediation and other methods of alternative dispute resolution continue to become more popular for couples seeking a divorce. While it may not be appropriate for every situation, it is important to understand the option of collaborative divorce before choosing how to proceed in achieving your goals. Lawrence S. Manassa is a fellow with the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois.
Why Collaborative Divorce in Illinois?
Divorce arises when the relationship between spouses is broken. This is a very difficult thing to deal with and, by nature, litigation is an adversarial process. Many people prefer to find a solution through a collaborative process, allowing them to resolve their issues without adding any more acrimony to the process. This is ideal for divorces where children are involved as it is important for parents to maintain an amicable relationship as they continue to raise their children.
Collaborative divorce is also more conducive to bringing in experts other than lawyers to address issues involving children, finance, and property. The process takes a holistic approach to preparing all parties for life after divorce. Additionally, due to the cooperative nature, collaborative divorce usually costs significantly less than a litigated divorce.
Lawrence talks about divorce and the impact of children in a divorce:
A Process That Will Protect Your Interests
The easiest way to explain why collaborative divorce works for many couples is that it empowers you to work out a solution that protects your legal rights and interests. Additionally:
- It will save you a great amount of money and time compared to traditional litigation, because you will be sharing experts and not making nearly as many court visits.
- It will allow you and your spouse to maintain control over the process, instead of leaving crucial decisions in the hands of a judge.
- By working together now, you will be able to work together more effectively in the future, which will be necessary if you have children.
For couples who have children, nasty, bitter child custody disputes can leave children with conflicting emotions about their parents. By working together and realizing how important both of your relationships are with your children, there will be a better chance that they will be able to adjust to their new circumstances more easily.
What Happens In A Collaborative Divorce
Instead of you and your spouse (and your attorneys) taking adversarial sides, in a collaborative divorce, everyone works together toward reaching a final settlement that protects everyone’s interests.
You and your spouse will sign an agreement promising to work together in good faith to negotiate a settlement. You will then work with your attorneys and other experts, including accountants, child specialists and counselors, to negotiate agreements related to:
• Child custody, visitation and support
• Property division of all your assets and debts
• Spousal maintenance payments
During the collaborative process, you will work on a settlement that not only takes your current needs into account, but your future needs as well. Once everything is agreed to, your lawyers will draft the paperwork together and submit it to a judge. With partner Lawrence S. Manassa serving as a fellow with the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois, you can be sure that you will be working with a lawyer who has the proper training for this unique area of the law.
Even if you and your spouse can work together during this time, it is still important to work with experienced attorneys so that you can be sure you do not agree to anything that is not in your best interests. We are ready to help you and your spouse get through your divorce and move on to the next chapter in your lives with confidence.
Is Collaborative Divorce in Illinois Right For You?
For answers to your questions about collaborative divorce, contact our Barrington collaborative divorce attorneys for a free consultation.
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