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Illinois defines collaborative divorce, will it change anything?

The words “collaborative” and “divorce” typically do not go together. With the passing of a new Illinois law, attorneys are thrown for a loop when it comes to breaking down the guidelines for this new legal phenomenon. Collaborative divorce is not for everyone but it can make the process more palatable for those who find it works for their situation.

How collaborative divorce works

Couples who choose this team-based approach to divorce have agreed they do not want to settle in court. Rather they utilize a group of professionals who coach the pair on what should be done with finances, health and childcare needs. A collaborative divorce happens through a series of meetings between you; your soon to be ex and the collaborative team. However, each side is responsible for retaining their own lawyer who needs to have training in collaborative law.

Divorce through meetings

These meetings are used to gather information about your situation, discuss goals and concerns, and ultimately negotiate a settlement that works for both of you. If these meetings cannot resolve the problem, new attorneys will be brought in to assist in the case. Should either party end up in court,   then the attorneys along with the rest of the collaborative team, will be prohibited from continuing to represent you for the duration of the case.

According to NPR Illinois, collaborative divorce has been used in the state since 2002, but other states have employed the model since the 1980s. When entering into a collaborative divorce, essentially the couple is agreeing to work together in a respectful and honest manner to resolve issues within the case. Collaborative divorce puts control over the outcome in the couple’s hands.

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