With courts backlogged because of Covid 19, out-of-court procedures to work out a divorce settlement agreement are picking up steam, among the choices: collaborative divorce, divorce mediation, and traditional divorce.
Collaborative divorce is one such alternative to traditional litigation that allows both parties and their attorneys to negotiate a mutually beneficial resolution in a divorce, tackling issues such as property division, parenting agreements, spousal maintenance and more.
For divorcing couples who are in general agreement but have some issues they do not see eye to eye on, collaborative divorce allows couples to work through those issues outside of a courtroom with the help of an experienced attorney who will act as their legal advocate and protect their rights.
Collaborative lawyers are there to asset their client, working with the other party and his or her attorney to work out differences in the interests of their client. Collaborative divorce can involve a series of meetings so that clients have time to consider the issues before making what could be a consequential decision regarding property or the payment of spousal maintenance.
If all goes well, collaborative divorce may prove less costly than a traditional divorce and keep parties out of court other than to sign the final agreement, however, there are a number of downsides to a collaborative divorce.
The Cons of Collaborative Divorce
If the negotiations break down during the collaboration process or litigation is threatened, the respective attorneys must withdraw from the case and the clients must start over again with new counsel.
The collaborative approach may not be in the best interests of clients who have significant or complicated financial assets, where hiding assets could be made easier when relying on voluntary disclosure of income assets and liabilities.
Collaborative attorneys often hire other neutral professionals such as financial planners or therapists to help you work through child custody or other emotionally charged issues. Your experience will rely on the ability (knowledge, experience, relationships) of a collaborative attorney to connect you with skilled resources.
Collaborative divorce makes sense in situations where both parties are truly committed to full cooperation and disclosure, who have few assets to divide. Sometimes the process can be quicker if everyone is on the same page, which may result in fewer expenses overall. However, for the vast majority of cases, traditional divorce is the gold standard.
If you are considering divorce and would like more information regarding traditional divorce versus collaborative divorce or mediation, contact the Illinois family law offices of Ronald L Bell for more information at 847-495-6000.