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Collaborative divorce offers couples more control and lower costs

Collaborative divorce offers couples more control and lower costs

Divorcing couples in Illinois are taking note of an emerging trend known as collaborative divorce that offers them an unconventional new way to dissolve their marriage. Instead of the traditional combative divorce model, couples who divorce using the collaborative law approach actually work together to decide the terms of their divorce.

Even though both parties in a collaborative divorce still hire an attorney, instead of acrimoniously filing motions or attempting to highlight each other's faults in a divorce court, the couple and their legal representatives meet together on a regular basis to negotiate acceptable terms for their divorce. Although the process of negotiating a final settlement can be quite contentious, couples taking the collaborative approach ultimately have more control over the final outcome in areas like child custody and alimony payments than couples who allow a judge to decide.

Divorce mediation is another option many divorcing couples are considering. Companies that specialize in divorce mediation assemble a team of experts to assist couples who want to end their marriage reach an amicable final settlement. Depending on the couple's unique needs, the divorce mediation team could include a variety of professionals, including attorneys, therapists and financial advisors. Couples choosing to work collaboratively to end their marriage can reap many rewards, including a shorter divorce process and lower costs. Despite the many benefits, experts caution that collaboration may not be effective in highly contentious divorces, since cooperation is required.

Individuals who are thinking about ending their marriage may feel overwhelmed by all of the uncertainty and changes they will face. Attorneys working in the area of family law could help their clients navigate through the legal process and reach a fair settlement.

Source: U.S.News & World Report, "Why a Collaborative Divorce Makes Financial Sense", Geoff Williams, August 19, 2013

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