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Collaborative law: proposed bill would change divorce proceedings in Illinois

Illinois lawmakers are looking at changing how couples can get divorced or separated in the state. The two proposed bills would create the Uniform Collaborative Law Act, which allows couples to use collaborative practice during their divorce proceedings.

What is collaborative practice? Collaborative practice allows couples to resolve their disputes outside of court. Many couples may try collaborative law during their divorce in an effort to prevent litigation as well as address any disputes in a different atmosphere that doesn't involve a court and a judge.

The proposed bills would have divorce attorneys explain all of the options available to their clients and if collaboration is chosen, the client could assemble a team of family law attorneys, financial advisers and health professionals to help during the divorce proceedings. One of the main distinctions of the law is that if the divorce attorneys do not reach a settlement with their clients during the divorce, the client will then use a different divorce attorney.

Sponsors of the bill said that this forces divorce attorneys to focus on finding a resolution and settlement instead of going to court.

The bills were proposed to help couples getting divorced and offer them a different choice when going through proceedings. In addition to collaborative law keeping couples out of court, supporters of the bill said it can help ease the stress of divorce as well as reduce the costs associated with contested divorce.

Supporters say that one of the main benefits of the bill and using collaborative law during a divorce is the impact it has on how the time it takes to finalize the divorce. Supporters say that the bill will help many couples because it is not as time-consuming and it would reduce the number of divorce cases being heard in the Illinois court system.

If the bills are passed in Illinois, divorce proceedings could significantly change for some couples getting divorced or separated.

Source: Northwest Harold, "Pending legislation aims to ease stress involved with divorce, separation," Lawrence Synett, March 29, 2013

1 Comment

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