Illinois Collaborative Divorce

Avoid the courts, control the process, end your marriage amicably.

IL collaborative divorce process

Not every divorce needs to turn into a fight. In traditional litigation, there may be a sense that both sides are out for blood, and the only way to get what’s yours is by slugging it out with the other side. A Collaborative divorce throws this dynamic out the window.If you and your spouse are on relatively good terms, why turn your divorce into a battle?

In a collaborative divorce, you and your spouse can each hire a lawyer to help negotiate a settlement agreement together while avoiding the personal and legal complications that come from going to court. This means you get to hold several meetings in an informal setting, not a courtroom, and at your own pace to reach an amicable agreement, which will then be submitted to the court for approval. If deemed necessary, other experts like accountants, psychiatrist or child care specialists may be brought in to assist or mediate. This results in a better deal for both sides while being less expensive and less stressful than going to trial.

This is right for you if…
…you’d like the advice of an attorney, are on good speaking terms with your spouse but are struggling to come to an agreement.Collaborative divorces are especially desirable for families with children who want to keep the divorce proceedings as pleasant as possible.

What hiring Sterling Law Offices means for you:

  • Clarity. We will walk you through the process step-by-step and your rights under the law.
  • Direction. You will get clear direction from your attorney and guidance based on what you are asking the court to give you.
  • Support. Divorce is never easy and handling the emotions that rise up in a divorce can be a daunting task. We will be there to support and help you better face the challenges ahead.
  • Privacy. You will get the security of attorney-client privilege so all information shared is protected.
  • Everything Else:
    • Preparing your petition for divorce (court filing fee included)
    • Completing all necessary forms with your help
    • Drafting settlement agreements
    • Filing all forms and documents
    • Completing your final divorce decree

What are the benefits of a collaborative divorce?

  1. Collaborative divorce is cheaper and less complicated, both legally and emotionally, from a traditional litigious divorce.
  2. Meetings happen outside of a courtroom, in a comfortable and informal setting.
  3. Both parties voluntarily exchange information.
  4. No surprises – both parties will mutually negotiate a settlement before it goes to court.
  5. Decide how to handle post-settlement disputes early.
  6. You’ll save time. A 2010 IACP study show 58% of collaborative divorces concluded in 8 months compared to 12-18 months for a traditional divorce.
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Why Collaborative Divorce Works in Illinois

Written Pledge NOT to go to Court

Once you find a collaborative divorce attorney, the first signed agreement (Participation Agreement) that you and your spouse will sign is one that guarantees that you both will not go to court. This signifies a dedication that you and your spouse are committed to solving your problems together instead of through litigation. Depending on the details of your divorce, a team of professionals, such as financial experts or child specialists, may be called upon to jointly resolve and clarify issues relating to your case.

Both Attorneys Will STOP Representing Clients if the Written Pledge is Broken

Professionals brought into the Participation Agreement, including your attorneys, therapists, financial advisors, and anyone else all sign the initial agreement to not go to court or threaten to go to court. This means that should the agreement be broken everyone involved in the case must stop representing both clients. This ensures that should the pledge to not go to court be broken, you and your spouse will have to start from square one with new representation. This aspect of the Collaborative Divorce agreement is absolute, and an important part of maintaining the integrity of these types of divorce cases.

Open Exchange of Information between Parties

The common conception of a divorce case is where one side “collects dirt” on the other, or of one side trying to withhold or hide information from the other. More often than not, this results in an attorney conducting discovery or seeking a written deposition to get the facts that are necessary to move a case forward. In other words, finding out information from the other spouse becomes a battle, not an open and good faith process.

A big advantage of the collaborative process is that both parties agree to a mutual and open exchange of information, be it financial or otherwise. Instead of retaining a “hired gun” to represent one side’s interests, and “go after” the other side, the professionals will jointly, and in good faith, help work towards a final agreement.

Because the information is being exchanged voluntarily, formal litigation tactics like discovery, written interrogations and depositions are not needed. Most importantly, it means your attorneys aren’t working antagonistically, making the process less stressful while saving time and money as well.

Best Interests of ALL Family Members at the Center

“Joe” and “Molly”, who have one daughter, make the difficult decision to get a divorce. If they can’t agree and end up going to trial, they immediately take the ultimate decision of child support and parenting schedule out of their own hands and into the hands of a judge. Once a couple shows that they won’t come to an agreement, a judge may step in and make a decision for them that surprises them both.

It’s always best to avoid the surprise. By coming to an agreement through a Collaborative Divorce, Joe and Molly know every detail from child support to parenting responsibilities and schedule before it ever gets near a courtroom.

With everyone being brought to the same table, the objective of a collaborative divorce is to keep the best interests of the family at the forefront. For families with children, this means having an open discussion about child support and schedule in a way that is to their benefit taking into account all the personal details that only you and your spouse would know.

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