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Katz & Stefani

Collaborative Divorce Lawyer Chicago

What constitutes a collaborative divorce?

Illinois recently adopted the Uniform Collaborative Practice Act which sets forth the parameters of a collaborative matter. A collaborative divorce is one in which the parties agree to mediate the issues related to their dissolution of marriage through a team approach to mediation rather than to litigate their issues before a Judge. A collaborative team consists not only of each party and their respective Chicago collaborative divorce attorneys but includes other professionals that have all been trained in collaborative matters to assist in the collaborative divorce. The collaborative process is directed by the parties and is concluded when they have signed a Marital Settlement Agreement which is then incorporated into a Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage and entered in Court.

What is the difference between a collaborative divorce and a regular divorce?

The difference between a collaborative divorce and what people refer to as a ‘regular divorce’ (which settlement terms are negotiated amongst the parties through their Chicago collaborative divorce attorneys and/or litigated in a Court proceeding) is substantial. In a regular divorce, the parties file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and their respective Chicago collaborative divorce lawyers guide them through the case. However, ultimately, if the parties cannot reach an agreement with the help of their attorneys, a third party ~ the Judge ~ who knows nothing about either party or their family will order how their marital assets will be divided and how they will parent and allocate parenting time with their children. A collaborative divorce is directed by the clients with the assistance of their attorneys and other professionals, such as financial experts and mental health professionals who are referred to as ‘mental health coaches.’ The financial neutrals work with parties so that each fully understands all the financial aspects of their marital estate and help to create options for resolution of the financial issues. The mental health coaches are not therapists in their role in the process; they are present to help the parties and their attorneys work through the emotional issues that are present in any dissolution of marriage. Parties in a collaborative process are free to create their own agreements that work best for the specific circumstances of their family. Because the collaborative divorce is directed by the clients and they are fully involved throughout the process, the resolution and creation of final agreements results in less or no post-decree issues. In addition, collaborative divorce cases are historically two-thirds faster and two-thirds less expensive than a regular divorce case.

Why is a Chicago collaborative divorce lawyer necessary if the couple isn’t going to Court?

It is extremely important for each party in the collaborative process to have a Chicago collaborative divorce  attorney to fully advise them of their rights and to help them create options for resolving their case. This resolution would not be considered a collaborative effort under the Statute if either or both parties did not choose to reach an agreement with the consultation of a Chicago collaborative divorce lawyer.

Why would you choose your Chicago collaborative divorce firm to help you with a collaborative divorce?

It is extremely important to select collaborative professionals who are dedicated to and trained in the process. Our firm’s Chicago collaborative attorneys have extensive experience and passion in the collaborative divorce process. Because we have experience and a great understanding of the collaborative divorce, we have been successful in fully completing cases through the collaborative process and obtaining favorable results that are in the best interests of our clients and their families.

During a collaborative divorce, if parties come to an impasse on any issues, can they then seek Court intervention?

Parties who seek a collaborative divorce are required by Statute to enter into a Collaborative Participation Agreement. This Agreement outlines the roles of the professionals and provides that if either party wished to end the process, all of the professionals involved would be disqualified from participating in litigation thereafter. Either party is free to end the collaborative divorce process at any time, with the caveats set out in the Collaborative Participation Agreement. Most collaborative cases are successfully completed because the collaborative divorce process usually provides a more satisfactory outcome for both parties than would litigation.

What factors should parties consider first before deciding to work with a collaborative divorce attorney?

Any party who is contemplating a dissolution of marriage should educate themselves on all of the available processes. Almost universally, clients state that they wish to utilize a process that will protect their children and be cost effective. It is our experience, which is supported by empirical studies, that the collaborative divorce process is usually the best method to achieve those goals. When choosing a Chicago collaborative divorce attorney and other collaboratively-trained professionals, a party should consider those who: they feel comfortable with; are dedicated and competent; have completed all of the necessary training and continuing education requirements; and have successfully completed various collaborative cases. Our Chicago family law attorney possess the highest degree of these qualities.

Katz & Stefani

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Chicago

Katz & Stefani, LLC
222 North LaSalle Street
Suite 2150, Chicago, Illinois 60601

Bannockburn

Katz & Stefani, LLC
2201 Waukegan Road
Suite 160, Bannockburn, Illinois 60015
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