No Courts Allowed: Revolutionary Collaborative Law in Chicago Divorce Cases

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Collaborative law is a fairly new way to settle divorce cases in which parties of divorce cases resolve disputes by agreeing to not bring their cases to court. Should one party decide to go to court, the collaborative law process terminates and attorneys are disqualified from further case involvement.

This type of law requires that each party be represented by counsel who have been trained in negotiation, the structure of Collaborative law, and in interpersonal conflict resolution. Divorce lawyers in Chicago and their clients sign a contract, often called a Participation Agreement. The focus of these collaborative efforts is one of finding the best solutions for both parties involved, as opposed to “fighting in court and aiming to win” a battle.

One of the biggest differences between collaborative law and “traditional” court divorce proceedings is that Collaborative law recognizes the fact that there are emotional issues that cannot be addressed by the law. The Collaborative law process addresses such issues by bringing them to light and using professionals to find amicable solutions to them. Professionals that are often called upon for this type of divorce in Chicago include child specialists, appraisers, neutral financial advisors, mental health counselors, and others.

The differences lie in the fundamental concepts of client empowerment. Clients have the opportunity to assess the circumstances, evaluate options, understand the consequences and choose a process, as opposed to having a judge decide “what is fair” after hearing argument after argument.

According to an article by, 90% of all divorce cases that use Collaborative law are resolved, which means 90% of them do not expose parties and relatives (especially children) to the stress of the courtroom. Although Collaborative law won’t work in every case (both parties must be willing to refrain from calling on the courts), the evidence suggests that more people are using this means of ending broken marriages than ever before as people realize the opportunity to engage in what has come to be referred to as “the good divorce”.