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Collaborative Family Law, Divorce, and Mediation in Illinois

Collaborative divorce and mediation are two options that can be used separately or together to finalize a divorce without unnecessary fighting or animosity. When a couple agrees on most divorce-related issues and the spouses are willing to work together to resolve matters, a collaborative divorce and/or mediation can allow them to have the divorce terms they want while avoiding confrontational posturing.

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What Is Collaborative Law?

Collaborative law in the context of a divorce is a business arrangement in which you and your spouse distribute the assets you once shared after joint disclosure and investigation in a cooperative way. Collaborative divorce relies on a couple working together, along with the experience and know-how of collaborative divorce lawyers, financial planners, and other professionals, to create a sensible agreement both spouses and their children can live with. That agreement is then entered by an Illinois court as a judgment of divorce.

When starting the collaborative law process, a couple must agree in writing not to go to court or even threaten to go to court. They also agree to cooperate, share information openly, use only neutral professionals when needed, and to make a good-faith effort to negotiate, including agreeing to attend all meetings. Most of the work of a collaborative divorce takes place in "four-way" meetings, in which both spouses and each spouse's attorney get together to arrange the details of the divorce.

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What Is Divorce Mediation Like?

Mediation may be used within a collaborative divorce, or a mediated divorce may be done separately. The primary difference between a collaborative divorce and a mediated divorce is that in a collaborative divorce, the spouses work together along with each spouse's attorney, in a cooperative manner, while in a mediated divorce, the spouses work with a single, neutral mediator and attorneys do not generally participate in the mediation sessions.

Mediation may take place in a single meeting or in multiple meetings, depending on the complexity of your situation and the issues involved. Mediation can help alleviate the stress of court appearances and court dates by allowing you and your spouse to schedule mediation when and where it works best for you. Less stress makes the divorce process easier for you and your children.

As with collaborative divorce, you and your spouse still have the option to go to court after mediation if you choose. When mediation is conducted properly, everything said during the mediation session is confidential: the information is not allowed in court. This rule helps prevent a failed mediation from tainting court proceedings.

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Finding a Mediator for Divorce in Chicago

When choosing a collaborative or mediated divorce, choosing the right legal advice is essential. Illinois collaborative divorce lawyers have experience in the unique work of collaborative divorce. They may also have extensive knowledge of mediation, but not all mediators are lawyers. The financial decisions you make during a divorce can affect the rest of your life, making the advice of a skilled attorney crucial during a divorce.

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Resolving Illinois Divorce Cases Peacefully

The Chicago family law attorneys at Nottage and Ward, LLP have wide-ranging experience in both collaborative divorce and mediation. We understand how to put these tools to work in the best interests of our clients. If you and your spouse seek an alternative to courtroom confrontation, contact our Cook County collaborative law lawyers at (312) 332-2915 to see if our skills are right for you.

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Additional Information

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Client Reviews

Five Stars5 Leslie has been the strongest representation I could ask for

Leslie has been the strongest representation I could ask for in a very complicated, emotional matter. She has continuously looked out for my best interest and the best interest of my son. She is always prompt in getting back to me and in keeping me well informed about my case.
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Avvo Top Contributor Family Law - Jeffrey Knipmeyer
Avvo Top Contributor Divorce Law - Jeffrey Knipmeyer