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Collaborative Law

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Experienced Collaborative Attorneys in Chicago

Divorcing spouses don’t necessarily have to be adversaries, consuming their precious time and resources with divisive litigation. A more innovative approach to divorce, known as collaborative law, helps the parties settle their differences and end their marriage with limited court intervention. Although no single process or approach is correct for every divorcing couple, growing numbers of couples are accepting collaborative law as an effective alternative to mediation or litigation.

To begin a collaborative law case, each spouse retains his or her own collaboratively-trained attorney. Both parties and their attorneys then sign a written agreement, reflecting their intent to reach a mutually beneficial settlement without resorting to litigation through the court. During the collaborative divorce process, the parties meet both privately with their attorneys and jointly as a group to discuss the terms of their settlement agreement. Additional experts, such as divorce coaches, neutral financial professionals, and child specialists, may be retained during the process to assist with the settlement. These additional experts, collectively referred to as “team members,” are neutrals, i.e. they do not advocate for either party, but rather provide unbiased advice in their area of expertise to help guide the parties and their attorneys toward a fair and amicable agreement. For example, a financial professional may provide advice to the parties as a property settlement that would result in the most favorable tax implications for each spouse post-divorce. A child specialist may provide advice to the parties regarding the best parenting plan for their particular situation.

What is the Next Step Once A Final Divorce Agreement is Reached?

When both parties reach a final agreement, formal settlement documents will be drafted by the collaborative attorneys, who will follow the parties to the finalization of their case.

Even with the assistance of attorneys and a collaborative team, the parties may be unable to come to an agreement, or one or both parties may decide to proceed with litigation in court. If this occurs, the collaborative agreement terminates. Attorneys and any “team members” utilized during the collaborative portion of the process are disqualified from participating further in the adversarial court proceedings. This encourages the parties and their attorneys to fully commit to the collaborative process through cooperation and problem-solving, reduces the likelihood of unnecessary conflicts arising during the process, and encourages the parties to resolve their disputes more efficiently and amicably. Contact the collaborative law attorneys of WARD FAMILY LAW, LLC, today to schedule a consultation.

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