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

630-409-8184

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

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Geneva divorce attorney

The difficulty level of your divorce depends on a variety of factors, but perhaps one of the most important aspects is how much you and your spouse are willing to cooperate with one another throughout the process. If you and your spouse agree to be amicable, your divorce will be much less stressful. It can be frustrating when you are trying to facilitate cooperation while your spouse has made it clear that he or she is refusing to compromise. Dealing with a combative spouse can not only make your divorce much more taxing, but it can also bring about issues that are not typically found in amicable or uncontested divorces. If you are facing a contentious divorce, you may want to take the following steps to ensure that you can resolve your disputes effectively:

Know What Your End Goal Is

In most modern divorces, rather than going to court, many spouses work together with the help of their respective attorneys to settle their divorce issues. However, some couples who simply cannot come to an agreement may end up having to go to court so a judge can make decisions on their behalf. However, it is often best to try to avoid a divorce trial if possible. Even though you and your spouse may not see eye to eye on every issue, resolving your disputes outside the courtroom can save a great deal of time, expense, and emotional anguish.

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Aurora collaborative divorce attorney

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.

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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.

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It’s not uncommon to be concerned about the negative aspects of getting divorced in court, which is why some people start investigating alternatives for dissolving their marriage. One such approach is mediation, where divorcing couples meet with a mediator to discuss issues and come to resolution. This solution can be much less expensive and take less time, but it’s not always the most appropriate avenue for your divorce.

The American Bar Association publishes guidelines for mediators in the field of divorce, stipulating that mediators should increase self-determination among participants to help improve communication, promote the best interests of the children (the same standards judges use to determine child custody), and to decrease both the emotional and economic costs of dispute resolution.  In less contentious divorces, this course may fit the bill well by allowing two spouses to discuss the primary issues in their divorce (such as property division and child custody) without having to go through litigation.

In other situations, however, mediation might not be the best choice. For example, in situations where domestic violence is an issue, mediation might not promote the best interests of the children or reduce the emotional costs associated with dispute resolution. In divorces where the two spouses are at a communication stalemate, talking through their problems with a mediator might not resolve anything- in fact, it could make things worse.

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

630-409-8184

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

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