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Collaborative law and issue resolution in Illinois divorces

Collaborative law is a fairly new term. It signifies a new approach to resolving divorce cases, one what emphasizes seeking win-win solutions and using the insights of professionals such as financial planners and child psychologists.

Attorneys play important roles as well. But collaborative law does not cast them primarily as litigators who battle the opposing party on behalf of a client. Instead, there is supposed to be a common goal to facilitate a process that works to the benefit of all concerned.

In Illinois and across many parts of the nation, this collaborative approach has struck a chord with couples who would like to try to resolve the issues at hand through cooperation rather than conflict.

Keep in mind, however, that the specifics of collaborative law as a formal process vary from state to state. In Illinois, it is a fairly new procedure that has its own specific process.

In many respects, collaborative law is similar to mediation. After all, collaborative law, like mediation, seeks to encourage divorcing spouses to find common ground in setting the terms of a divorce.

But collaborative law is also different from mediation. The collaborative procedure does not just rely on one mediator who seeks to bring the parties together. Instead, collaborative law involves a common commitment among the divorcing spouses to act in good faith and abide by the steps required by the collaborative process.

Of course, all of this is often easier said than done. Even with the best intentions in the world, couples have struggle in the collaborative process, just as they can in traditional litigation. That is why it is important for both parties, and the professionals working with them, to recognize the depth of the emotions and the challenge of practical issues involved in ending a marriage.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Do Feelings Matter in Mediation?" Mark Baer, July 17, 2013

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