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For years, there were only two ways you could end a marriage -- by settling the divorce through the use of two different attorneys or by taking the case to court to hash out the issues before a judge. In recent years, the use of alternative dispute resolution has become a more popular form of divorce, rather than the traditional litigated route. There are two main forms of alternative dispute resolution: collaboration and mediation. Both ways of divorcing allow couples to settle divorce issues on their own terms, rather than leaving them to a judge to decide. Many people have a false notion that collaborative divorce and mediation are the same thing, but they are different, and each method has its own unique benefits.

Divorce Mediation

In a mediated divorce, the couple works with a neutral party, called a mediator, who helps them make decisions about their divorce. The mediator does not have to be an attorney, but it should be a person who is trained in mediation and knows divorce and family law. The mediator should be a completely neutral third party to the divorce, and they will not advocate for either spouse. Both spouses may still need to retain their own attorneys to help them understand their rights and legal options throughout the mediation process. An attorney can also go over the divorce settlement and identify any issues that should be addressed prior to finalizing the divorce.


DuPage County divorce litigation lawyerContrary to what many people think, there is more than one way to get a divorce. Traditionally, divorces have been negotiated and issues decided between the two spouses and their attorneys. Occasionally, the court system would be involved if the spouses could not come to an agreement on certain issues. In recent years, alternative forms of dispute resolution, such as mediation or collaborative law, have become popular ways of completing a divorce. While it is true that divorces are often less stressful and much less expensive if you choose one of those alternative forms of divorce, they are not for everyone. Mediation and collaboration may be preferable, but when is it necessary to skip over the niceties and head straight for litigation? Here are a few signs that indicate a litigated divorce could be your best option:

  1. You and Your Spouse Have Trouble Communicating

It is usually agreed upon by divorcing couples that either mediation or collaboration is ideal when it comes to divorce. Even many divorce lawyers will attest to the fact that mediated or collaborative divorces typically produce more satisfactory results. The thing to keep in mind is that those types of divorces are usually only successful if the spouses are in agreement about getting a divorce and they can communicate effectively with one another. If you cannot talk to your spouse without arguing, you may want to consider the litigated divorce option


DuPage County collaborative divorce lawyerMaking the decision to get a divorce is never easy. For many people, it takes months or even years to come to the conclusion that a divorce is their best option. Once a couple has accepted the idea of ending their union, they do not want to regress by going through a contentious and drawn-out divorce. For some couples, a collaborative divorce is a solution that works best for them. A collaborative divorce is a dispute resolution process that takes place in conference rooms or lawyers’ offices, rather than in the courtroom. The collaborative divorce process offers many benefits that the traditional divorce process cannot offer, including:

Less Hostility

One of the benefits that a collaborative divorce offers is the possibility of a more civil, less hostile divorce process. In a litigated divorce, you and your spouse are likely to have much more contention and may not be able to come to an agreement on issues. This does not mean that you and your spouse will not disagree with one another or that the negotiations will be simple in the collaborative process. However, you and your spouse are working together to create solutions that will benefit everyone in a collaborative divorce.

Better Support System

In a traditional litigated divorce, the only people involved in the divorce process are typically you, your spouse, and each of your attorneys. In a collaborative divorce, you may have a more rounded and complete team of professionals who are there to guide you and your spouse through the proceedings. In addition to your attorneys and based on the needs of your family, you can also have assistance from specialists like a forensic accountant, a property appraiser, an estate planning individual, a divorce coach, a family wellness counselor, or a child psychologist.


DuPage County collaborative divorce attorneyIn recent years, divorcing by means of alternative dispute resolution has become rather popular. Both mediated and collaborative divorces have been the choice of many couples who are looking to get a divorce, rather than using the traditional litigation process. While each type of divorce has its advantages and disadvantages, collaborative divorce can be the answer to many people’s problems when it comes to settling issues and getting the results they want out of the divorce.

What Is a Collaborative Divorce?

The idea of collaborative divorce has existed since the 1980s, although it was only practiced in Illinois beginning around 2002. The Collaborative Process Act was signed into law in Illinois in 2018, and this formally recognized the collaborative process as a means to divorce. When a couple begins the collaborative process, they agree to cooperate in order to resolve the outstanding issues in their divorce. The collaborative divorce process takes place outside of the courtroom, in multiple private meetings. Avoiding litigation is one of the main goals of this process, and a collaborative divorce will often follow several methodical steps:

  1. Make a commitment to avoid litigation. In order to proceed with a collaborative divorce, you must first find a lawyer who is certified to practice collaborative law. That attorney will answer any questions you might have and prepare you for the collaborative divorce process. Once you and your ex-spouse have each found a collaborative divorce lawyer, you will sign an agreement stating that you will do everything in your power to settle any issues outside of the courtroom. This agreement will also state that you will provide each other with full disclosure of financial information, and you will answer any queries or requests honestly and completely. If you are unable to complete the collaborative process successfully, your respective attorneys will withdraw from representing you, and each party will need to find new counsel to represent them in court.


DuPage County divorce lawyerDivorce is stressful for many reasons. Not only do you have various emotions running through your head, but you also have to deal with the financial aspect of the divorce. It has been estimated that a typical divorce can cost anywhere from $8,500 up to $100,000. The actual cost of your divorce will depend on a variety of factors, with some of the most influential factors being where you live, whether or not you have children, and your attorney’s hourly rate. With a price tag of at least a couple thousand dollars, it is not uncommon for some couples to have sticker shock when it comes to paying for their divorce. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to reduce the cost of your Illinois divorce.

Figure Out Which Process You Want to Use

Before you even begin, you should know which type of divorce you want to use. Contrary to what many people may believe, traditional litigation is not the only way to get a divorce. You can also choose to go with a mediated divorce or a collaborative divorce. Each method of divorce has its advantages and disadvantages, but depending on your situation, a mediated or collaborative divorce may be able to save you both time and money.

Be Prepared With Organized Financial Records

Before you meet with your attorney to begin dividing your marital property, you should be sure you have all of your financial records organized and ready to go. Make sure your records are in order so your legal team can better understand your financial picture. Organizing your records yourself before a meeting saves you precious time for more important matters.


Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer,Making the decision to get divorced is not one that comes easily to most people. A marriage does not break down overnight -- it takes months or even years to reach the point of no return for most divorcing couples. Once you have made the decision to get a divorce, the first step in what is often a long process is figuring out how you will go about the divorce and which divorce lawyer is right for you. Shopping for a divorce lawyer is a lot like shopping for a car -- they are not cheap, so it is important that you make your decision with care and thorough knowledge. If you are beginning the process of finding a divorce lawyer that would be a good fit for your family, here are a few tips that can help guide you:

Determine What You Need

Before you even contact any lawyers, you should figure out what exactly you are looking for in a divorce attorney. Which specific needs do you have? Is your divorce contested or is it straightforward? Do you need an attorney who especially experienced in certain parts of family law, such as child custody? Are you looking for an attorney with experience dealing with collaborative divorces, mediation or traditional divorces? Determining your needs can help determine what kind of lawyer you need.


Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois collaborative divorce lawyerIt is no secret that divorce is difficult. What some people do not know is that there is more than one way you can get a divorce. From DIY divorces to mediated divorces, there is a process that fits almost everyone’s situation. One type of divorce -- a collaborative divorce -- can be beneficial to the entire family. A collaborative divorce is one in which both spouses sign an agreement stating that neither of them will go to court and will instead determine solutions to their problems through meetings with attorneys, financial advisers, child specialists, and other professionals. There are many reasons to choose a collaborative divorce over a traditional litigated divorce, but here are just a few:

  1. You can actually end up saving money with a collaborative divorce. Traditional litigated divorces can end up costing you four times as much as a collaborative divorce would cost. While you do end up hiring more people to help you complete your divorce, the trained specialists actually help you complete your divorce quicker and with less arguing. Plus, you are saving on countless hours of lawyers fees and court costs.
  2. You get to complete the divorce on your own timeline. When you are going through a collaborative divorce, you are settling your issues in multiple meetings -- not in court. You can pick and choose when you want to have the meetings and how quickly you settle on certain subjects. A collaborative divorce typically takes an average of 18 weeks to complete, which is a quarter of the time a litigated divorce takes.
  3. It can be easier on both you and your family. The goal of collaborative divorce is for the divorce process to be as efficient, positive and painless as possible. There is typically less stress during a collaborative divorce, because as the name suggests, collaborative divorce requires collaboration between spouses. Less fighting and arguing between mom and dad makes for a happier and less stressful family.
  4. You get to make your own solutions to your problems. One of the main reasons to consider getting a collaborative divorce is the ability you have to create your own destiny. Because you are settling issues outside of the courtroom, you have the ability to make your own decisions and not have a judge make them for you. You get to work with your spouse and your team of professionals to come up with solutions to your problems that are custom tailored to your family.

Get in Touch With a Trained DuPage County Collaborative Divorce Attorney

If you think that a collaborative divorce may be right for you, the first thing you need to do is to meet with an experienced Aurora, IL collaborative divorce lawyer. At the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C., we understand that a divorce is not easy, no matter what the method of divorce is. By choosing us to help you complete your collaborative divorce, you can have peace of mind knowing we have experience with multiple collaborative divorce cases. Call our office today at 630-409-8184 to schedule a consultation.


mediationWhen you think of divorce, you might think of litigation in a courtroom with a judge handing down decisions, or a couple in a lawyer’s office arguing with each other, voices raised, about who gets to keep the family home. While popular culture would lead you to believe this is how divorce is, in reality, it does not have to be that way. When you think of getting a divorce, you do not have to go the traditional litigated route - you have options. One of those options is to go with a collaborative divorce, or one in which you both work together to settle your disputes outside of the courtroom. This has turned out to be beneficial for many couples for many reasons. Here are a couple of reasons why you should consider going with a collaborative divorce:

The Process Can Be More Affordable

Because you are settling issues in various meetings, rather than in the courtroom, you are not having to pay court costs and fees every time you try to settle something. Rather, you can make it a point to come to a decision about certain things during each meeting, cutting down on the number of meetings you will actually need to have.

You Have More Control Over Your Outcomes

One of the main benefits of collaborative divorce is the ability to actually control what happens to you and your family’s futures. In a collaborative divorce, both you and your spouse work with your separate attorneys to come to a decision on certain topics that will most benefit your family. In a litigated divorce, the judge will make decisions for you in accordance with state laws if you and your spouse cannot come to a decision on your own. Often times, the decision that the judge makes is not necessarily in you or your family’s best interest. Collaborative divorce allows you to do what is best for your situation.

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child custody lawyer,It has often been said that breaking up is hard to do. This can be especially true if you are getting a divorce, which has emotional and financial impacts, not to mention the life upheaval it brings. Not all divorces have to be full-on feuds, though. A form of alternative dispute resolutions, a collaborative divorce is designed to keep the peace between separating spouses and come out on the other side with a settlement that is mutually agreeable. What Is Collaborative Divorce?

The theory behind a collaborative divorce is that both spouses will work together (or collaborate) to come to an agreement that they can both be satisfied with. Both spouses have their own lawyers, much like a traditional litigated divorce. Rather than deciding issues in court, the collaborative process takes place in private meetings between the two spouses and their lawyers where the group negotiates their issues, rather than having a judge decide their outcomes. Collaborative divorce begins with both spouses sign an agreement stating that they will:

  • Not go to court;
  • Be honest with one another and foster communication; and
  • Take a problem-solving approach to their divorce.
Collaborative Law Professionals

In addition to their separate attorneys, couples who are using the collaborative model for divorce also have a team of trained professionals to guide them through the different issues that a divorce comes with. These professionals might include:

  • A financial planner;
  • A child psychologist;
  • A family therapist;
  • A real estate broker; and
  • A parenting coordinator.
Financial Benefits of Collaborative Divorce There are many benefits of a collaborative divorce, such as increased control over your outcomes, a speedier timeline and much less stress and anxiety than a litigated divorce. One benefit that not many people think about is that it can be financially smart, too. Litigated divorces often add up in costs very quickly. In a litigated divorce, you are responsible for all court costs and fees every time you appear in court to decide an issue. With collaborative law, you decide all of your issues before you step foot in a courtroom. Contact a Trained Naperville Collaborative Divorce Lawyer

Collaborative divorce can greatly reduce the strain and emotional impact that divorce has on a person. Because of the nature of collaborative divorce, spouses are required to work together to solve their issues--not fight about them. This creates a more communicative nature between the spouses, which increases the likelihood of successful post-divorce outcomes. Your first step in beginning the collaborative divorce process is finding a Kendall County collaborative divorce attorney. The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. can help you take the first steps toward a fair divorce. To set up a consultation, call 630-409-8184.


divorce, DuPage County divorce attorney, The Advantages of Collaborative Law, collaborative law, family law, child custodyWhen spouses are considering pursuing a divorce one of the primary considerations that must be made is how much money is it going to cost. From the cost of lawyers themselves to the various professionals that may need to be used in a divorce, the entire process can seem relentlessly expensive. However, there are options to avoid a potentially lengthy and costly divorce. One of those options is choosing collaborative law.

Collaborative law is a type of dispute resolution. It is a decidedly useful tool for spouses considering divorce. Collaborative law includes both spouses through their attorneys to cooperatively develop and acquiesce to the terms of the settlement.

Does Collaborative Law Always Work?


Posted on in Divorce

The Cost of Divorce, divorce, child custody, child support, collaborative divorce, mediation, property divisionGetting a divorce can be very emotionally taxing. Divorce can also be monumentally expensive. There are seemingly cost that come out of nowhere, especially in cases where the divorce is contested, or there are children involved. More and more people are trending towards collaborative law as a means to keep the financial burden of getting a divorce minimized.

How Expensive Can Divorce Be?

That depends largely on the type of issues that need to be resolved. There is no universal cost for a contested or uncontested divorce. The average divorce in Illinois cost roughly $13,800. More than half of that figure will likely be allocated towards fees for your lawyer. The average hourly rate for a divorce attorney is $260.


collaborative law, Kane County divorce attorneyPeople consistently envision the divorce process as an adversarial affair that pits parties against one another, which culminates with the ultimate goal of walking away with more than the other side. Divorces of this type do exist, but every divorce is not destined to be a series of contentious exchanges. Another approach is available that allows couples to maintain civil, working relationships so they have the ability to remain in contact once the divorce is finalized.

Collaborative divorce is an alternative method of navigating the end of a marriage that is conducted in a supportive environment and puts the parties in control of the outcome. Parties wishing to co-parent or retain a family business following divorce could benefit from this resolution process. Understanding that an alternative exists to traditional litigation grants divorcing parties greater freedom in working out conflict, which often leads to more cooperation.

What Is Collaborative Divorce?


collaborative law, DuPage County divorce lawyerFor most people, the word divorce brings to mind images of a husband and wife waging war against each other, fighting over who will get custody of the children, the house, and even the family dog. Divorce, however, does not always have to be so acrimonious, as many couples who decided to go the route of collaborative law instead of traditional litigation have found.

In collaborative law, a couple will work together to mutually decide how all issues will be settled within the parameters of a dispute resolution process. The couple, along with a team of professionals, have complete control over how their marriage will end and all of the inherent considerations. They make the final decisions regarding child custody (parental responsibilities), asset and property divisions, and whatever other issues each individual couple may have to settle.

Reestablishing Important Skills


collaborative divorce, DuPage County family law attorneySupermarket tabloids and social media feeds are frequently full of divorce horror stories—usually involving celebrities—in which the proceedings drag on for months because the parties cannot see eye-to-eye on virtually anything. You probably even know someone personally whose spouse refused to cooperate, leading to expensive delays and long-term uncertainty. In addition to the added costs, the emotional strain on a family in such a situation can be tremendous, and in some case, almost unbearable. There is, however, no reason to subject yourself and your family to the dangers of that type of divorce, especially when a collaborative divorce may be an option.

The Collaborative Process

A collaborative divorce is a team-oriented approach to ending a marriage that looks to avoid taking the matter into the courtroom. In fact, as part of the agreement to collaborate, the attorneys for you and your spouse contractually agree to withdraw as your representation should you decide that collaborative divorce is not working, and litigation is necessary. This creates an incentive of sorts to reach a resolution without spending additional money on new lawyers.


collaborative divorce, illinois divorce, dupage county family law attorneyThe term “collaborative divorce” has been popping up more often in recent years, with many more lawyers claiming collaborative divorce as one of their practice areas. What is collaborative divorce? It can mean several different things, but usually it means the two sides work together to find a settlement instead of having a contested divorce and hurling accusations at each other.

How Does Collaborative Divorce Work?

Most of the time a collaborative divorce starts before any paperwork is ever filed with the court. Instead, the lawyer from one side sends a friendly letter explaining that his or her client has chosen to pursue a collaborative divorce where the sides work together to settle all the issues.


special needs, collaborative law, DuPage County Divorce AttorneyThe divorce process is challenging for any couple, and especially so for parents. However, parents of special needs children face even more complicated issues during divorce, as the impact to their child can be particular upsetting and stressful. Many parents with special needs children may often it preferable to keep divorce proceedings free from contentiousness and acrimony as much as possible by turning to collaborative law in an effort to negotiate the end to the marriage.

Countless articles and research papers have been written on the current divorce rate in the United States. While many suggest the rate is actually lower than the commonly accepted “half of all marriages end in divorce,” it is fairly difficult to establish for sure. Married parents of children with special needs, however, are far more likely to divorce. According to some estimates, couples with special needs children may face divorce rates of up to 90 percent.

Collaborative Law Can Help


Illinois family lawyer, Illinois divoce laws, Illinois divorce attorney,Divorce is not an easy process for anyone. It involves serious life changes, and you may need to relocate, join a new social circle, and possibly spend less time with your children.

Because of the emotional hardship of divorce, many people find it difficult to focus on the legal aspects of the divorce process. Make no mistake: Divorce is a legal procedure, which is why it is so important that you consult an attorney who can demystify the legal requirements.

Although every divorce is unique, there are a few steps that are common in most cases. Here is a step-by-step preview of divorce:


collaborative divorce, mediation, alternative dispute resolution, divorce, Illinois divorce lawyerCan the words “good” and “divorce” inhabit the same sentence? A nasty divorce proceeding can harm children; within that process, they suffer decline in math and social ability, returning to normal skill level only when divorce is final. So, divorce without drama, also known as collaborative divorce, can minimize the negative effect, not to mention the cost savings of avoiding courtroom interaction.

As retired Judge Michele Lowrance presents in her book, “The Good Karma Divorce”, the process is to separate from bargaining from a hard position and to move to interest-based negotiation with a “win-win” outcome. After all, this type of diligence follows logically from the path most take today: 80% of couples now live together before marriage, and 80% have reached the 10-year milestone in wedlock. So, if parting is decided upon, a “conscious uncoupling” using creative problem-solving minimizes confrontation and maximizes a positive feeling for both parents and their children.

Collaboration between spouses avoids the use of children as messengers between parents, and encourages them to love both, regardless of where they may go in life.Per the Collaborative Law Institute, costs average half that of courtroom litigation .The need to work around attorney schedules is totally avoided, and solutions are customized; any strict-guideline judicial decision-making is rendered moot.


Collaborative DivorcePerhaps you’re having nightmares or anxiety over your impending divorce. Maybe you and your soon to be ex-spouse are on decent terms, but you’re worried about how that might change in the courtroom, and possibly even how that might affect your children. The typical legal approach to divorce is not always the best one for your situation, and collaborative divorce is a new avenue that couples are using to resolve the pressing divorce issues without any of the disadvantages of going to court.

Collaborative family law can be thought of like a problem-solving process: divorcing individuals and their lawyers work together to create an effective strategy for resolving issues outside of court. This involves a pledge not to go to court, a promise to exchange information promptly and in good faith without formal discovery, and a commitment to stay focused on reaching a solution that is best for the parties and their children.

To get started with a collaborative divorce, you need to identify an attorney who is experienced in this field of the law. Lawyers who practice collaborative law are future-focused: rather than getting involved in legal arguments over what happened in the past, collaborative attorneys are committed to creating workable solutions for the future.


Collaborative Divorce May Be BetterNot all divorces have to be the ugly blow-up they’re stereotyped as. In many cases, even if you’re not on good terms with your soon-to-be ex spouse, it’s possible to make it through the divorce on good terms as the last amicable thing you’ll do together. If you don’t share children this is easier, but it’s possible in any circumstance. This is what’s known as a collaborative divorce. While it may seem too optimistic, many couples opt for collaborative law in an effort to stave off the extreme cost of divorce and keep things simpler and happier. After all, you managed to agree that you both wanted to split. Why not make an effort to agree on the terms of said split?

According to US News and World Report, a collaborative divorce is based on the “concept that you were partners—even if not good ones—throughout your marriage and you should be able to end it together as well.” This applies to all aspects of the divorce, including property division, division of assets, and determining child custody. “Most people can agree that litigation is a terrible process for a family to endure,” one lawyer told US News and World Report. “The collaborative process if one of the most productive ways to divorce when it works.”

Yet the publication is quick to remind readers that even a collaborative divorce doesn’t guarantee a happy one. Chances are, even if you opt for mediation, working together with your spouse in the one last process you’ll undertake together won’t be easy. This could be one reason that the number of people who opt for collaborative divorces is still low. “For instance, according to the Wisconsin Law Journal, Waukesha County had 3,862 divorces from 2010 to 2012; during that period, there were only 62 collaborative divorce cases filed,” reports US News and World Report.

The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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