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What Is the Difference Between Collaborative and Cooperative Divorce?

 Posted on October 30, 2019 in Divorce

Arlington Heights collaborative divorce attorneyWhen a couple chooses to get a divorce, there are many ways they can do so. They can go through litigation, arbitration, mediation, collaborative divorce, or cooperative divorce. These last two options are often confused, and the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. However, there are differences between the two, and divorcing couples should understand what those are before deciding what type of divorce to pursue.

Collaborative Law

During a collaborative divorce, each spouse will meet separately with his or her own attorney. He or she will outline what he or she wants from the divorce, and the minimum settlement he or she will accept. If both parties agree to pursue a collaborative divorce, they will enter into a Participation Agreement along with their respective attorneys. The agreement states that all parties are committed to the collaborative process and that they will freely and honestly exchange information with each other as they work to reach a divorce settlement.

After the Participation Agreement is signed by both parties, meetings will begin. During these meetings, both sides and their attorneys will negotiate the terms of the divorce, addressing issues such as child custody and property division. Sometimes, outside experts and advisors are brought in to advise on issues such as finances and child development.

Once all issues are resolved, the attorneys will draft a settlement agreement and file it with the court. If the couple cannot reach an agreement on some or all issues, they must use another method to resolve their disputes, such as litigation. If this occurs, the attorneys that represented the parties during the collaborative process are barred from representing the spouses during litigation.

Cooperative Divorce

A cooperative divorce works very similarly to a collaborative divorce. This process gets its name from the fact that the parties and their attorneys will cooperate with each other in order to resolve the issues. They will exchange information and work together to negotiate a settlement.

The main difference in a cooperative divorce is that the spouses’ attorneys can continue to represent them if the divorce goes to litigation. This has both positives and negatives to it. When the attorneys must agree to withdraw from the case in a collaborative divorce, they have more incentive to settle the case out of court. This may make the divorce less costly for the couple, and it generally allows them to finalize the divorce more quickly.

On the other hand, if the case does end up in litigation, a collaborative divorce may actually cost more. Due to the fact that the attorneys must withdraw from the case, the spouses will have to start the case all over again with a different attorney. In a cooperative divorce, the attorneys who have been providing representation throughout the case will be more familiar with the issues that must be resolved through litigation.

Call a Hoffman Estates Collaborative Divorce Lawyer

If you are considering divorce, it is important to know you have options. Dedicated Mt. Prospect divorce attorney Nicholas W. Richardson can review your case and help you determine whether you can benefit from a collaborative divorce or whether other methods can help you achieve a positive resolution to your case. Call our office today at 847.873-6741 for your free consultation.


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