Collaborative Divorce

Illinois Collaborative Law: Cutting Edge “No-Court Divorce”

We have one of the pioneering Illinois collaborative law practices. Michael Roe has embraced the collaborative process because it affords clients an opportunity to resolve issues using a process that involves four-way meetings between lawyers and clients, an open approach to sharing of information, a commitment to honesty, and a shared goal of completing the divorce with a lesser of pain, controversy, and cost. Collaborative divorce, however, is not well suited to high conflict cases or cases with toxic psychological or behavioral issues.

Collaborative divorce is this in a nutshell: each party in the divorce hires their own collaborative lawyer. The lawyers and the husband and wife agree that they will not litigate in court. The parties and their lawyers then meet regularly to work out issues, problem solve, and negotiate resolution to the contested issues in the divorce. Once the issues are resolved, using the negotiation process, and relying on outside experts like financial planners and child psychologists for property and custody plans, the case is reduced to an agreement that the court then enters as a judgment of divorce.

The collaborative approach requires a commitment between the parties to find common ground and problem solve without the threat of court battling. Because divorce disputes such as custody issues and dividing of assets and debts are resolved without litigation, and because the costs of appraising marital assets are shared, my clients using the collaborative model for divorce spend less than they would in a case litigated before the court. In addition, we regularly work with neutral financial professionals who can work up the property issues.

When necessary, child psychologists, therapists, and counselors can be brought in to address issues within their expertise. We work with talented and experienced professionals familiar with the collaborative law process and dedicated to making it work for the divorcing parties.

What Are the Major Differences Between Collaborative Divorce and a Litigated Divorce?

Collaborative Divorce is a process oriented private alternative to the combative litigation model. The risk that you will be dragged into court or deposed and your private matters exposed during your divorce is mitigated in a agreed collaborative environment. When collaborating, you have some measure of control of the process and the outcome.

Does My Spouse Have to Have a Lawyer Too?

Yes. Not only must you each hire a lawyer, but the most effective collaboration involves a professional team. Because every divorce involves emotional, financial, and legal issues, the most effective teams include two lawyers, a neutral financial professional such as a divorce financial planner, and possibly a mental health professional to weigh in on child custody issues. The neutrals act as built-in reality checks for the couple much like a mediator. The collaborative approach also creates a forum where you can custom design agreements that address your kid’s specific needs.

If you would like to explore collaborative law and feel your case would benefit from this cutting edge model of low conflict divorce, contact Michael Roe to discuss an experienced approach to Illinois collaborative law.

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