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If you have already decided to get divorced, you are likely wondering how to move forward. Couples who mutually agree to get a divorce may wonder if they can negotiate everything addressed in a divorce decree without going to trial and fighting out the details in front of a judge.
Fortunately, there are two effective strategies for couples who wish to avoid the hostility, expense, and significant amount of time spent in a courtroom divorce trial: Mediation and collaborative divorce. Although these two methods are not the same, they share some similar strategies and can be great tools for couples who want to be conscientious about their separation.
Mediation is a process in which spouses jointly hire a third-party trained mediator who helps them discuss and resolve current issues and plan for the future. Generally, each spouse will also hire their own attorney, but the attorneys are not present during the mediation sessions.
With the help of the mediator, couples negotiate their priorities regarding allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, spousal support, and division of assets. They can also create parenting plans that address how they will jointly parent in the future. Once a couple has completed the negotiations, they agree to a settlement that is finalized before a judge and becomes legally binding.
Collaborative divorce involves a team of professionals assisting the divorcing couple and tends to be a little more expensive, as both spouses are represented by attorneys who are present throughout the negotiation process. Other specialists, like child counselors, financial advisors, and divorce coaches, are present and help make the negotiations and transitions go more smoothly. Rather than opposing each other in court, the attorneys representing the spouses work together respectfully.
Unlike mediation, if a couple fails to reach a mutually acceptable agreement in a collaborative divorce the attorneys are discharged and the couple must move on to other attorneys or towards a divorce trial. But if an agreement is reached, the attorneys will draft the agreement and present it to a judge for approval and entry, after which it will be legally binding.
If you are considering divorce and have questions about mediation or collaborative divorce, considering speaking with one of the experienced Hinsdale, IL divorce attorneys at Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio. We can help you create a plan for your divorce that prioritizes cooperation and minimizes hostilities. Call us today at 630-920-8855 to schedule your free initial consultation.