Since the earliest days of the practice of family law, the system has been set up to be adversarial. Each person in a divorce quickly “lawyers up” and digs in to fight for what is their right to have under the law, creating more hostility, animosity and ongoing conflict in an already very difficult time.
Many experts in the legal community, particularly those with backgrounds in social work, working with families, or in counseling and therapy, recognized the damage this type of adversarial system places on families. After all, even though parents may divorce each other they are still parents, and they will have some type of relationship throughout their lives through their children.
The outcome of this was a movement known as collaborative law. Collaborative lawyers in Chicago are trained individuals who work together to create divorce agreements that limit current and ongoing disagreements between the couple.
Typically collaborate law is considered a great option for couples that want to continue to have a positive relationship as co-parents, and who want to have a low conflict, amicable divorce. It is not considered a good option for couples with high levels of conflict, at least initially, but it can be an option if both couples are willing to work together and put past differences aside.
While not all law firms have collaborative lawyers as part of the legal team, there are some very real advantages to considering this option to traditional divorce attorneys.
Some of the most common benefits reported by our clients include:
- Helping to reduce the cost of divorce through faster, mutually agreed upon settlements that don’t include court costs and extensive fees seen in litigation
- Speedier divorces as couples can create agreement, typically through mediation and the collaborative law process, and then just have the agreement approved by the judge. This can reduce the time involved in a divorce by months for some couples.
- More direct impact and influence on the terms of the divorce since you are involved in the actual settlement terms. In a court, the judge sets the terms without your ability to make recommendations or suggestions.
- There is an opportunity for negotiation to allow each person to have the ability for some give and take.
Additionally, through using collaborative lawyers, families in the Chicago area have the ability to limit the conflict and provide a more positive environment for the children, even in these very difficult situations.
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