News + Insights
Collaborative law can take some of the “sting” out of divorce
By: Feinberg Sharma
Splitting couples who can agree to respectfully resolve differences may benefit from the collaborative divorce process.
Divorce can sometimes be ugly. It can be bitter. It could last for years, with a couple appearing in court dozens of times to accomplish very little. There could be tens of thousands of dollars of legal fees while the parties fight back and forth, and their ability to co-parent their children moving forward could be significantly impacted by all the animosity. It could, at the very end, come down to an Illinois family court judge having to make virtually every decision on behalf of the couple, because they simply cannot set aside their anger long enough to accomplish anything.
Thankfully, divorce doesn’t have to be that way. Believe it or not, it actually is possible to end your marriage without getting trapped in the cycle of bitterness and bickering. How, you may ask? Through the process of collaborative divorce.
What is collaborative divorce?
Collaborative divorce is, in short, a non-adversarial way to dissolve a marriage. It involves parties who, together with their attorneys, commit to finding solutions and reaching settlement in an open and honest environment. The parties resolve to work together in a respectful way to address their issues and reach resolution without resorting to litigation. The process has a high success rate in part because both spouses must agree beforehand that, if they fail to reach a settlement and must proceed to court, they will hire new counsel and must start from scratch; this gives everyone involved a real stake in the outcome and a determination to make it work.
The guidance of experts
The collaborative process involves not only the spouses and their individual attorneys, but also a panel of experts there to facilitate agreement. The experts engaged can vary from case to case, but may include:
- Financial specialists/experts there to analyze the couple’s economic situation, determine whether property is marital or separate in nature and propose various property division options
- Divorce coaches who not only facilitate the process, but help the couple develop emotional skills necessary to move forward with their lives afterward
- Child custody and parenting time specialists who make recommendations based upon what would be in the children’s best interests and propose methods that will guide the parents toward respectful co-parenting in the future
- Religious advisors to ensure that, if necessary, dictates are followed with regard to the religious aspects of divorce
In addition to being less contentious than traditional divorce, the collaborative method is typically more cost-effective and quicker. You also remain in charge of the decision-making at all times, without ceding control to a judge who, though impartial, doesn’t know your family and how his or her decisions will impact you.
All other benefits aside, of most import to some couples, however, is the fact that the process is private in nature. Your family’s proverbial “dirty laundry” won’t be aired in public court, and information you disclose throughout won’t be part of the public record.
Interested in learning more?
Are you thinking of ending your Illinois marriage? Do you want to remain in control of the decisions involved? Can you commit to working with your spouse to find creative solutions? If so, contact Feinberg Sharma today.