Chicago Collaborative Law
Northwest Indiana Collaborative Law
"Every conflict we face in life is rich with positive and negative potential. It can be a source of inspiration, enlightenment, learning, transformation, and growth -- or rage, fear, shame, entrapment, and resistance. The choice is not up to our opponents, but to us, and our willingness to face and work through them." ~Kenneth Cloke and Joan Goldsmith
Collaborative Practice is a voluntary dispute resolution process in which parties and their attorneys sign a contract to voluntarily disclose all relevant information to each other openly; to negotiate in good faith; and to resolve all disputes without going to court. Collaborative Practice is also referred to as "No Court Divorce," "Divorce with Dignity," and "Peaceful Divorce."
If you choose to use Collaborative Practice, both you and the other party must each hire an attorney trained in Collaborative Practice. A list of attorneys who have completed this training can be found at www.collaborativepractice.com.
For divorces with more complex financial or custody issues, a Collaborative Team is often formed. The Collaborative Team consists of a Collaborative Financial Professional, a Collaborative Mental Health Professional, and, of course, the Collaborative Attorneys. The Collaborative Financial Professional, as a neutral, analyzes the parties' collective assets and assists the parties in designing an equitable division of the collective assets. The Collaborative Mental Health Professional, also serving as a neutral, meets with the parties as many times as necessary to assist the parties in determining a parenting time plan which serves the children's best interests. Team meetings are then scheduled during which the Collaborative Financial Professional, the Collaborative Mental Health Professional, the parties, and the Collaborative Attorneys work together in drafting the final agreement. The Collaborative Team might seem like a lot of professionals and a lot of expense. However, in high asset divorces and divorces with complicated custody issues, preparation for a contested trial often requires each party to incur the following expenses: his or her own financial expert to opine the value of all the assets; a custody evaluator; a guardian ad litem; a mental health expert to speak on any of a variety of issues pertaining to the children; his or her attorney's time conducting extensive formal discovery; his or her attorney's time reviewing the documents acquired in formal discovery; his or her attorney's time in taking depositions and preparing for trial; and his or her attorney's time in the actual trial -- which can sometimes last more than an 8 hour day. Because the parties, in effect, share experts and openly share all information in the Collaborative Team process, the overall expense is statistically lower for high asset couples. The final agreements reached in the Collaborative Team process are also often more durable because the parties are more invested in, and have more faith in, the veracity of the agreement.
Rebecca L. Billick is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and believes the Collaborative Practice is a way to ensure your resources are safeguarded for your family's future instead of wasted on unnecessary litigation. Contact Rebecca to see if Collaborative Practice is right for you.
Rebecca Billick Attorney & Mediator