What is Collaborative Divorce?

collaborative divorce, considering divorce, divorce and negotiation, divorce attorney, DuPage County divorce lawyer, forms of divorce, Martoccio & Martoccio, traditional divorce"Collaborative divorce" may sound like an oxymoron. With more and more marriages ending in divorce though, it is no surprise that spouses who find themselves not in love, but not in hate, are looking for different ways to end their unions.

What is collaborative divorce?    

Collaborative divorce is a non-litigated method of ending a marriage. It is non-adversarial, though both parties are represented by counsel. Four characteristics distinguish it from other forms of divorce:

  • The complete and voluntary disclosure of information;
  • An agreement (by both parties and their attorneys) not to litigate, coupled with the mandatory withdrawal of the lawyers and specialists if the parties do resort to litigation;
  • The commitment of all involved to use their best efforts to avoid litigation; and
  • The commitment to respect the goals of both parties.

How does collaborative divorce work?

Collaborative divorce begins with an agreement. The parties and their attorneys all promise to respect each other, to work together, to compromise if necessary, and to avoid litigation, if possible. The agreement is then filed with the court, which can enforce it if necessary.

The parties then begin negotiating the terms of the divorce. Many couples choose to involve other specialists – most commonly financial experts and child psychologists – who can help them make the best possible decision.

Couples and their support teams often meet on a weekly basis to discuss their goals and to work out the terms of their settlement. Typical collaborative divorces require four to seven sessions before a final agreement is crafted.

Once the agreement is reached, the parties give notice to the court. If either spouse fails to uphold the terms of the agreement, the court can enforce it against them.

What are the benefits of collaborative divorce?

Proponents of this method have noted several benefits. These include:

  • A faster solution. As noted above, most couples require four to seven weekly sessions before they can end their marriage. This means that a divorce could be achieved in just over a month.
  • A cheaper solution. Because collaborative divorces do not tend to take as long as traditional divorces, they can be cheaper.
  • A different solution. Collaborative divorces focus everyone's attention on solving problems, not on blaming each other. This often leads to a less rancorous settlement.

What are the drawbacks of collaborative divorce? 

This is not the method for everyone. Collaborative divorce may not be a good option for those who are in abusive relationships, where one or both partners have substance abuse issues, or where one spouse has reason to believe that the other will be dishonest.

What if we start with a collaborative divorce and it does not work?

You will not be forced to continue with a collaborative divorce if you truly believe that it is not working for you. In that event, you may still file for a traditional divorce, though you may not be able to continue working with your original attorney.

Consult an Illinois family law attorney.

If you are considering a divorce, talk to an attorney. Collaborative divorce is just one of the options available to you; an attorney can help you decide which method is best for you. The experienced attorneys at Martoccio & Martoccio are ready to help you. Contact a DuPage County divorce attorney today to set up your free initial consultation.

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