Use of Collaborative Law in Illinois Child Custody Cases
As discussed previously, collaborative law is a form of alternative dispute resolution that allows parties going through a divorce or child custody issue to attempt to come to a mutually agreeable solution. It sounds similar to mediation, but the two are not exactly the same.
In mediation, the parties meet outside of Court in an attempt to reach a mutually agreeable resolution of the contested issues, just as in the collaborative law process. The difference is that in mediation, pleadings, motions and other filings have been submitted to the Court, the parties have been (or are scheduled to be) deposed, and there have been Court hearings. Mediation, then, is an attempt to resolve the issues before the proceedings get any more contentious and adversarial.
In collaborative law, coming to an agreement before entering the Courthouse is the goal. When the parties use the collaborative law process, they bypass Court's initial involvement; there are no pleadings, no Court hearings; and hopefully, if the process works as planned, there is only a single hearing once an agreement has been reached for the Judge to approve the agreement and finalize the divorce. At the outset, the parties agree that they do not want the process to be contentious or adversarial.
Benefits of Collaborative Law for Children in Illinois Child Custody Cases
Without question, divorce is hard on children. They no longer have daily access to both parents; they may have to leave their home; and visitation means that their scheduled routine is continually interrupted as they move back and forth between their parents’ abodes.
How, then, does collaborative law benefit the children involved in a child custody matter?
How the parents handle themselves during both the divorce and its aftermath can help ease some of the stress children will feel. Parents interested in a collaborative approach should:
- Get along with each other (or at least speak to each other cordially);
- Agree on issues regarding the children’s upbringing;
- Refrain from bad mouthing the other parent in front of the child;
- Agree to put on a united front; and
- Agree that any future conflicts will attempt to be resolved outside of Court.
With these factors present, parents will provide much needed consistency and stability in the children’s lives at a time when consistency and stability have been pulled away from them. That is what collaborative law is all about: the parents agreeing at the beginning of the process to throw animosity out the window and come to a mutual decision as to what is in their children’s best interests.
Palatine Collaborative Law Attorney
If you are considering divorce or separation from a partner and have children or are seeking to modify a child custody agreement, consider contacting an attorney who can help you with a collaborative approach. Collaborative law is an alternative to the traditional adversarial model for resolution of divorce and child custody issues and can save you not only money and time but stress as well. Serving Palatine, Barrington, Schaumburg, Arlington Heights, Rolling Meadows and Cook and DuPage Counties, the Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson, P.C., can help you determine whether this non-adversarial process is right for you. Contact Nick's office today to schedule a consultation.