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How does collaborative divorce work?

How does collaborative divorce work?

As many Illinois residents may already know, when a couple brings their divorce before a judge, the outcome will be based on standard formulas and may not accurately reflect an individual family's needs and wishes. In rare cases, couples may be able to agree on all the terms of their divorce and may only require help with their paperwork. In others, couples cannot agree on a single issue and will need to have the case litigated to settle their divorce.

However, many couples will fall into a middle ground in which they can agree on most things, but will need guidance to settle the remaining issues. These couples may be ideal candidates for collaborative divorce. Some of the benefits of collaborative divorce are that they may be less expensive than litigation and couples have the opportunity to create a divorce agreement that suits their unique needs.

How does collaborative divorce work? Essentially, a collaborative divorce seeks to use negotiation and mediation to settle differences. In fact, some courts now require couples to try collaboration before they litigate in court. Most collaborative divorces proceed with each spouse hiring his or her own lawyer. It is important to find a lawyer who has a background in collaborative divorce or mediation. Spouses will meet with their lawyers individually and then together to begin negotiations.

Depending on the circumstances, other professionals may become involved, such as accountants, child custody specialists or professional mediators. A professional mediator may become necessary if both parties are having trouble reaching agreements on some issues. Once a full agreement has been reached, the divorce papers will be filed with a domestic relations or family court. Since the divorce is uncontested, the filing will be a simple procedure. It is important to note that each situation is unique; therefore, the contents of this article cannot be construed as legal advice.

Source: Findlaw, "How Collaborative Divorce Works: FAQs", August 13, 2014

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