Divorce is an emotionally taxing time. Both spouses are under duress due to the investment of time, financial burdens, rollercoaster of emotions and intrusions of the divorce lawyers and courts. Divorcing spouses can opt for a collaborative, rather than traditional, divorce to ease the distress.
When a marriage fails, it oftentimes means the spouses are unable to agree on important matters. Upon seeking a divorce, major disagreements are likely to continue. The divorcing spouses may have differing views on child custody, alimony, and property division, for instance.
On the other hand, a marital union may still dissolve, even though the spouses come to agreements on major life decisions. These cooperative couples may proceed with a straightforward divorce and require only minimal legal guidance with filing divorce papers.
Most divorcing couples, however, are somewhere in between full agreement and complete disagreement. These spouses agree on ways to settle some, but not all, issues. They do not necessarily have to go to court to battle. Rather, these spouses can benefit from a collaborative divorce.
What is a collaborative divorce?
Collaborative divorce involves mediation and negotiations to settle a divorce. Instead of fighting to win in a courtroom amongst a team of lawyers and a judge, the divorcing spouses agree to not litigate. The key to a successful collaborative divorce is that both parties must be willing participants.
Some divorce courts may mandate that divorcing couples pursue the route of collaborative divorce and mediation before litigating in court. A spouse who is reluctant to pursue a collaborative divorce, however, will inevitably halt the process of mediation and negotiation.
Prior to filing in court, the divorcing parties agree on matters concerning the dissolution of marriage: child support, custody, property division and alimony. Each party is represented by an attorney who enters them into a collaborative agreement that legally binds them to the collaborative process.
How do a collaborative and traditional divorce differ?
When deciding between a collaborative divorce and a traditional divorce, divorcing couples are advised to factor in the advantages and disadvantages of each process. Most couples, for instance, are familiar with the concept of a traditional divorce and are more willing to pursue that route. When choosing a collaborative divorce, however, the divorcing parties are in full control of the process. By simply agreeing to utilize a collaborative divorce, the spouses put themselves on a positive track. Ultimately, the final outcome of a collaborative divorce considers the best interests of all parties.
A traditional divorce may be advisable if the communication between both parties remains challenged or when hurt feelings, clashing personalities, and opposing values make a collaborative divorce futile. Having the backing of a court system may be best when one spouse (or lawyer) is a bully or cheater.
The honest exchange of information is another area of difference between a collaborative and traditional divorce. In the former, free and informal information is shared. But open collaborations can lead to facts being uncontested in court or omitted entirely. Hiding or misrepresenting facts are likely.
Agreeing on every aspect of the divorce is the final goal of the collaborative process. When full agreements are not reached, the divorce lawyers must withdraw. Both divorcing spouses must then find new legal representation and begin the divorce process again.
In general, a collaborative divorce is less expensive. However, if the collaborative process fails, having to find new divorce attorneys will be an additional financial drain. Even more financially distressing is the possibility that the spouses may have to shell out extra money for new experts.
A traditional divorce, too, comes with heavy financial stresses. Once a court action is filed, the divorce attorneys for both parties will engage in a back-and-forth, which can cause the legal expenses to surge. Even preparing for the trial will have significant financial, and emotional, costs.
Complete transparency is necessary to successfully settle a collaborative divorce. During a traditional divorce, however, the judges and lawyers may confer in the chambers out of the presence of the spouses. This lack of transparency can cause the spouses to feel bullied or uninformed.
During the negotiations in a collaborative divorce, both parties eventually reach a decision that is in the best interests of everyone involved. During a traditional divorce, in contrast, decisions are up to the court—and the judgment may not be the fairest or most appropriate.
A collaborative divorce can work in the favor of cooperative divorcing spouses and limit legal expenses. If both parties are candid and are not embattled in conflict, the negotiations during the collaborative divorce can result in a positive outcome for everyone involved.
Today, a collaborative divorce is becoming the preferred option for divorcing couples. Spouses will need to secure a collaborative law attorney who is trained in interest-based conflict resolution, can identify common ground, avoid unnecessary conflict, apply creative solutions, and maximize outcomes.
Contact Allen Gabe Law, PC
Pursuing a divorce of any type requires securing a competent divorce attorney. Whether you are contemplating a collaborative or traditional divorce, trust the family law attorneys at Allen Gabe Law, PC. We have successfully represented countless divorcing spouses in all matters of divorce.
The divorce attorneys from our highly reputable family law firm bring a vast wealth of experience with Illinois divorce law. Our expertise lays in areas, such as child custody, visitation rights, domestic violence, division of property, alimony, financial arrangements, and pre- and post-nuptial agreements.
Our divorce lawyers remain knowledgeable about all changes to the divorce laws in the state of Illinois. You can be assured that we will skillfully fight for and protect the rights of you and your family while ensuring the divorce process proceeds as smoothly as possible.
When you are anticipating a divorce of any type, consult a divorce lawyer from Allen Gabe Law, PC. We will provide expert legal representation as well as sound legal advice. Residents living in Schaumburg, Illinois, are urged to contact our family law firm for a free initial consultation.