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.
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.
It was quick and easy and those are two words I did not think I would say about my divorce. We are still friendly too. We just were not meant to be together anymore. Ward Family Law made sure to draft the documents with the terms that we agreed on which kept us on good terms and there was no fighting. I cannot recommend them enough if you are looking for a clean, honest, quick, easy divorce.
We were set to get married in a little over a month and my family insisted on a premarital agreement. On my very first call Jennifer explained the entire process and timing. They hit the ground running and got everything completed and signed well before our wedding date. That made everything much less stressful so I thank them so much for their professionalism and timeliness.
Our plan was to get married after the baby was born and then a year later we still were not married and we were going our separate ways. I had no idea that the birth certificate alone did not make me the legal parent of our baby in Illinois. Luckily, Ward Family Law handles these cases and established paternity through a DNA test and submitted the results to the court. We now have an agreement on time with our kids and support too.
Cannot recommend Jennifer, Emily and the entire team at Ward Family Law enough. If you have a divorce, custody or other family law matter then stop looking. They will have your back until the end. While my case was messy, they kept it on track and brought it through to the end. It was the best that I could have hoped for.
We already split up all our accounts and had no debt. We just needed the paperwork for the divorce. We started it on our own and then realized just how complicated it all was and needed to make sure it would get accepted by the divorce court. In came Jennifer and she explained the "friendly" divorce process that they oftentimes do and that allowed us to get it all done on our terms and fast.
When our child graduated high school I needed a lawyer to file papers to stop my child support payments and to figure out how we were going to pay for college. Jennifer at Ward Family Law got everything together and filed with the court. From start to finish it was smooth and by filing at the right time my child support payments did not continue for months and months. That saved me so much money - enough to cover the retainer in the first place. Well worth it to do it right
My kid was graduating high school and I needed to end my child support obligation and also needed to get money for college costs and expenses. While these are two different things, the attorneys at Ward Family Law handled the court filings and had the right order entered by the Judge terminating my child support obligation and then also got a contribution order entered for college costs and expenses. What a relief and I cannot say enough good things about the family law team.
I wanted a legal team that could do it all since I didn't know which way it would go. I was unsure about mediation, settlement, or litigation and my research showed that they could do it all. They did. Mediation was guided by my attorney, Jennifer, at Ward Family Law and although it was not a great outcome it was because the other side would not compromise. No problem. Jennifer transitioned the case to litigation to push for what I knew was right and what I knew I needed to fight for. We fought the good fight for my kids…
I am already a very anxious person. Ward Family Law walked me through the process and was with me every step of the way. Emily is patient and communicative. She would call or email me back the same day and made sure I was comfortable. The divorce was a difficult time but she made it so much better and I couldn't be happier about the outcome.
We were getting married in a month and needed to get our premarital agreement done quickly but also done right. Ward Family Law got us a list of talking points for me and my fiance to figure out what we wanted included and they walked me through the financial disclosures and other things that have to get done to make sure the premarital agreement is valid. Otherwise, what is the point, right? They did the draft of the premarital agreement and since we had talked through it with their guidance prior it made the entire process so easy. Highly recommend!!
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