Our skilled Downers Grove collaborative divorce and cooperative divorce attorneys will assist you in reaching a cost-effective and comprehensive favorable negotiated agreement dealing with all of the issues in your divorce matter, without the cost and stress of litigation.
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Downers Grove Collaborative Divorce & Cooperative Divorce Attorneys
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Kevin O'Flaherty oversees all legal matters and is actively involved in making sure every client's case, big or small, is handled with excellence and attention to detail. He is available to contact through phone and email and his rates are available upon request.
Cooperative divorce attorney Kevin O'Flaherty discusses the changes in 2016 to Illinois Divorce Law.
Collaborative Law Divorce is a form of alternative dispute resolution that may potentially make your divorce more affordable and less stressful. In a Collaborative Divorce, the parties and each of their attorneys will sign a document called a "Participation Agreement" at the outset of the case.
In the "Participation Agreement," the parties will agree to attempt to negotiate all of the issues arising from the divorce out of court in good faith and to freely and openly exchange information without formal discovery.
Importantly, the Participation Agreement will provide that if all issues are not able to be resolved through out-of-court negotiation, the attorneys for both parties must withdraw their representation. If the case goes to litigation, the parties will both be required to retain new attorneys for the litigation. The purpose of this clause in the Participation Agreement is to make the parties and their attorneys less likely to use litigation or threats of litigation as a negotiating tool, and to encourage everyone involved to resolve difficult issues out of court.
The Participation Agreement will also provide for the circumstances under which the Collaborative Divorce negotiations may be terminated and issues can be tried in court.
After the Participation Agreement has been executed by everyone involved, the parties and their attorneys will engage in a series of four-way meetings during which they will attempt to negotiate marital settlement agreements and joint parenting agreements that will resolve the issues of asset division, maintenance, parenting time and responsibility, and child support. The parties will often jointly retain neutral experts such as accountants, financial advisors, divorce coaches, or behavioral experts in order to accomplish this goal. Although there is typically no mediator in a Collaborative Divorce, one may be hired by the parties if negotiations without mediation are unsuccessful.
Once an agreement is reached, the attorneys will file it with the circuit court of the appropriate county along with a petition for dissolution of marriage. The court will approve and enter the agreement as part of the order of dissolution in a simplified and expedited proceeding.
In this Learn About Law episode, Downers Grove attorney Kevin O'Flaherty discusses court ordered parenting andwhen it is applicable and what purpose it serves.
A Cooperative Divorce is similar to a Collaborative Law Divorce in that the parties agree to negotiate in good faith out of court, exchange information openly. As in a Collaborative Divorce, attorneys in a Cooperative Divorce will typically not conduct formal written discovery or depositions.
A Cooperative Divorce differs from a Collaborative Law Divorce in that the attorneys do not agree to withdraw from representing their clients should litigation become necessary. This means that if negotiations fail, the parties do not have to start over with new attorneys, but instead can transition smoothly and cost-effectively from out-of-court negotiations into court proceedings to resolve issues that they were unable to resolve out of court.
Cooperative divorce attorney Kevin O'Flaherty of O'Flaherty Law discusses the differences between Collaborative and Cooperative Divorce.
Collaborative Divorce and Cooperative Divorce have the potential to prevent in-court litigation of the issues that must be resolved in a divorce case, such as asset division, maintenance awards, allocation of parenting time and responsibility, and child support payments. If successful, this will make your divorce significantly more cost-effective. It will prevent the stress to everyone in the family that can arise from contentious litigation.
Agreements reached out of court through the Collaborative Divorce or Cooperative Divorce process tend to be more comprehensive than those reached as a result of trial. These agreements are also less likely to lead to post-divorce litigation between the parties.
Collaborative Divorces place greater incentives on the parties than Cooperative Divorces to settle their case out of court rather than allowing the process to fail and result in litigation. If negotiations fail in a Collaborative Divorce process, the parties must seek new attorneys to proceed with a traditional divorce. None of the previous attorneys' work product is usable by the new attorneys. The parties will also have to hire new experts. On the other hand, in a Cooperative Divorce, the original attorneys can continue to represent their clients. This means that, although a Collaborative Divorce is more likely to be successful than a Cooperative Divorce, if a Collaborative Divorce fails it will ultimately be more expensive than failed negotiations in a Cooperative Divorce.
Both Collaborative Divorce and Cooperative Divorce are highly dependent on the actual good faith of the parties. Parties that feel that they cannot trust one another to negotiate and reveal information honestly are not good candidates for Collaborative Divorce or Cooperative Divorce. Couples in which one spouse tends to emotionally dominate the other are also poor candidates for this process, as the adversarial process and the court in a traditional divorce tend to shield the best interests of one spouse from the other's emotional dominance.
Our Downers Grove divorce attorneys have extensive experience in Collaborative Divorce, Cooperative Divorce, mediation, and traditional divorce. We will work with you to find the solution that will be most cost-effective and also put you in the best position to achieve an efficient and favorable result.