DuPage County Collaborative Law Divorce
Collaborative Law Divorce is an alternative dispute resolution technique whereby the parties and their attorneys commit to out of court settlement of the issues surrounding their divorce. If the parties negotiate in good faith, Collaborative Law Divorces can often be much less expensive and stressful than a traditional divorce. The first step in a Collaborative Divorce is for each party to hire his or her own attorney. It is very important that your attorney has a background in Collaborative Law Divorces and be committed to the process because Collaborative Divorces require a different skill set and knowledge base than traditional divorces. Once each party has hired an attorney, both parties, and their attorneys will sign a "Participation Agreement," which will typically provide that:
The parties agree to negotiate a settlement agreement for their divorce in good faith out-of-court with the purpose of avoiding the necessity of litigation or trial; The parties agree to openly and honestly exchange information in order to avoid the necessity of written discovery and depositions; and The attorneys agree that if the parties are unable to reach an out-of-court agreement and if litigation should become necessary, the attorneys will not represent their clients in the litigation.
The fact that the attorneys must withdraw from representation of their clients should litigation ensue is a defining feature of Collaborative Divorces. This means that the attorneys cannot credibly use the threat of litigation as a negotiating technique. It also means that the parties and their attorneys are all incentivized to commit to the out-of-court settlement process. Once the Participation Agreement has been fully executed, negotiations will begin. The parties and their attorneys will typically have several "four-way" meetings to resolve issues such as asset division, maintenance payments, child support, and allocation of parenting time and responsibility. It is common for the parties to jointly hire neutral experts such as financial advisers, accountants, and divorce coaches in order to facilitate the process. Although there is typically no third party mediator involved, a mediator may be hired if the parties are unable to reach an agreement on all issues on their own. Once a formal agreement has been signed, the attorneys will file it with the domestic relations court along with a petition for dissolution of marriage and an agreed order. The court will generally enter the agreed order dissolving the marriage and incorporating the terms of the agreement in an expedited process.
Cooperative Divorce in DuPage County
Cooperative Divorce is similar to Collaborative Divorce. In a Cooperative Divorce, as in a Collaborative Divorce, the parties will agree to negotiate in good faith in an attempt to resolve their issues without litigation and to freely exchange complete information. Written discovery and depositions are rarely conducting in Cooperative Divorces. Unlike a Collaborative Divorce, attorneys participating in a Cooperative Divorce do not sign agreements to withdraw from representation of their clients should the parties be unable to reach an agreement through Cooperative Divorce. This means that if the Cooperative Divorce process fails and litigation becomes necessary, the clients do not have to hire new counsel and start from scratch.