When a couple chooses to get a divorce, it can be one of the most difficult decisions to make. However, once this decision is made, spouses quickly learn that they must also decide how to proceed with their divorce. In many cases, they will want to work together to settle their differences rather than pursuing costly litigation in court. Two methods of alternative dispute resolution are mediation and collaborative law. So, which is best for a couple to choose?
During divorce mediation, a couple will work with a qualified mediator. The full mediation process is outlined in the Uniform Mediation Act, found in the Illinois Compiled Statutes. Over the course of several meetings, the mediator will help the couple come to an agreement about the outstanding issues in their divorce. The agreement will include many different terms, including a parenting plan, child support and alimony obligations, and decisions about the division of property and debts.
The mediator will remain neutral throughout the proceedings, and he or she will not make any decisions for the couple. Instead, the spouses will have full control over the decisions made, and the settlement will only be legally binding if both spouses agree on its terms. After an agreement has been reached, the mediator will draft any paperwork that is required. This will include a Memorandum of Understanding that will outline the terms agreed upon....
Divorce may be the best thing for a couple in the long-term, but in the short-term, it tends to release a stream of negative emotions, and bitter Court battles will likely increase the level of conflict. Divorce cases, particularly high-conflict ones, can greatly complicate settling outstanding issues, make it more difficult to move on emotionally and physically, and negatively impact a child’s relationship with one or both parents. While litigation is the traditional way to seek divorce, other options are available that are less confrontational and are designed to help couples find common ground, allowing them to resolve their disagreements privately and without Court intervention.
The newest divorce method endorsed by the Illinois legislature is the collaborative law process, and a law governing how it applies to divorce and family law cases went into effect at the beginning of 2018. This non-adversarial approach allows spouses to preserve a working relationship and implement better communication strategies that they can use going into future interactions after their divorce. The format and process of collaborative divorce is quite different than litigated divorce, and it can be a good option for couples seeking an alternative that promotes compromise when addressing how to resolve differences.
The Collaborative Process
Collaborative divorce is an alternative dispute resolution method that starts with both spouses and their attorneys signing a participation agreement in which they agree to make a good faith effort to settle their divorce without Court intervention and promise to freely share information. In addition, the parties must also recognize that if the collaborative process is terminated for any reason, their collaborative law attorneys will be disqualified from representing either client in future litigation....
Illinois law provides guidelines that the Department of Children and Family Services must follow when placing children in either temporary or permanent homes. The most important qualification is that the placement be in the best interests of each child. However, a new law ensures that family members retain certain rights concerning foster care arrangements.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is given discretion in determining what type of environment is in each child’s best interest and making a placement based on that information; however, DCFS is still required to place a child, when appropriate, in the custody of certain individuals, including:...
On January 1, last year’s changes to the Illinois Adoption Act were implemented across the state. The changes include amendments concerning who is allowed to seek access to personal information about adults who were previously adopted or surrendered to the state. Sometimes, years after an adoption takes place, one or both parties involved are interested in making contact with the other. This can be a difficult and emotional process. Therefore, if you are considering making contact with an adopted biological relative, then contacting an experienced family law attorney who will handle the issue with skill and sensitivity is essential.
The Illinois Adoption Act authorizes the Department of Public Health to establish a registry that allows mutually consenting members of birth and adoptive families to exchange identifying information. Previously, biological grandparents were not permitted to file applications requesting such an exchange. The recent amendments change that and allow birth grandparents to file requests if a birth parent has died. The birth grandparent may file a Registration Identification Form or an Information Exchange Authorization if he or she submits:...