As of 2018, Illinois is the 12th state to adopt a collaborative practice law under the Illinois Collaborative Process Act. In a collaborative divorce, spouses hire attorneys to facilitate their equitable distribution negotiations outside of court. Since implementing the law in January, it has become increasingly common for divorcing couples to utilize the collaborative process as an alternative to traditional divorce.
How Does the Process Work?
In a traditional Illinois divorce, spouses file for dissolution of marriage and hire lawyers to represent their individual interests in court. Divorce can be a stressful and highly emotional process, and court negotiations may become adversarial if spouses start fighting over asset division.
A collaborative divorce is a unique alternative because it requires all parties—spouses and attorneys—to sign an agreement stating that all negotiations will take place outside the courtroom. Under this pledge, divorce lawyers are responsible for facilitating communication between both parties until a settlement is mutually agreed upon. Lawyers also have the duty of ensuring that all participants are fully and honestly disclosing any requested and required information.
The intention of the collaborative divorce process is to keep negotiations as amicable as possible. Collaborative divorces are reportedly very successful in easing the stress and emotional anxieties of separating spouses. They also make the overall divorce process easier for children.
What If the Collaboration Fails?
Sometimes, even the best of intentions don’t always work out. Despite the initial agreement, a couple can still request to settle their contested issues in court. However, the lawyers who signed the original agreement must withdraw their legal representation because they failed to help their clients complete the collaborative divorce process.
Call for a Free Consultation
As a firm, Wakenight & Associates, P.C. is exclusively focused on practicing family and divorce law. Our attorneys are remarkably knowledgeable about courtroom strategies and negotiation tactics, and can offer you the legal representation you deserve. Contact us today to learn more about your divorce options.
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