With the recent passage of the Illinois Collaborative Process Act, our state has both recognized collaborative divorce and set standards that will benefit couples seeking an alternative to a traditional litigated divorce. Now that we understand some of the benefits of collaborative divorce, let’s look a little more closely at just what happens during the process.
The main element of a collaborative divorce is both spouses, and both of their attorneys, sitting down together with the goal of negotiating an agreement. All parties participate proactively — the discussion must be open and constructive. As challenging issues arise, they may choose to enlist other professionals in the negotiation. Financial issues, property division, and child custody are common examples.
Sometimes, to help reach an agreement, a mediator will be brought in. The mediator will be someone who has legal knowledge and experience in this field, and who is not biased toward either partner. A collaborative divorce may or may not involve a mediator — in this way it is different from alternative dispute resolution, which does require a third party.
Ultimately, if an agreement cannot be reached or if one partner gives up and the divorce does go to litigation, both of the attorneys will need to remove themselves and both partners seek out new legal representation. This is to help ensure the attorneys’ good-faith commitment to the collaborative law process.
With the Illinois Collaborative Process Act taking effect next year, Rockford spouses considering divorce a more likely to hear about this option. A legal professional can help determine whether it is the right move for them.
Source: Findlaw.com, “Collaborative Divorce: Overview,” accessed on Oct. 20, 2017