FAQ’s About Pending Illinois Collaborative Divorce Legislation

Posted by Erin Birt | Apr 04, 2013 | 0 Comments

The pending Illinois Collaborative Divorce legislation, which will create the Uniform Collaborative Divorce Act, has helped to raise the awareness of the divorce option called Collaborative Divorce in Illinois communities. Parties contemplating a divorce are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the Collaborative Divorce Process and the pending legislation in Illinois. Below are highlights from a recent Northwest Herald Article to help explain the essential elements of the pending Illinois Collaborative Divorce Legislation and the Collaborative Divorce process:

*What are the pending bills?

“Illinois Senate Bill 31 and House Bill 1029 would pave the way for the Uniform Collaborative Law Act, which would outline the process of using a model of conflict resolution known as collaborative practice.

Collaborative practice aims to resolve disputes respectfully, out of court, while working with trained professionals. The method would be more cost-effective to an already cash-strapped state court system and clients unable to afford the cost of ongoing litigation.”

*Why is the Uniform Collaborative Law Act important?

“This is a way of describing this complex process and keeping folks out of the courtroom,” said attorney Sandra Crawford, of Lake in the Hills. “[Divorce and separation] are times when people aren't functioning at their highest. When you are talking with clients already in distress, you need to make sure they understand the alternatives to going to court.”

*How does the process differ from traditional divorce litigation?

“The process begins with attorneys laying out all options for clients and their particular situations. If collaboration is chosen, they agree not to litigate, and a collaborative team that could include attorneys, health professionals, financial advisers and other counselors helps negotiate resolutions.

A key distinction between collaborative practice and litigation is if the trained lawyers cannot help the client reach a settlement, they have to exclude themselves and a different lawyer is hired.”

“…That makes all the professionals focus on finding a solution instead of going to litigation.” said Crawford.

“In family law, I have some clients who are back in court every Christmas making modifications of a parenting agreement because they didn't get it right the first time,” Crawford said. “Collaboration isn't for everyone, but people should have options.”

*Do other states have a Collaborative Divorce Act?

“Hawaii, Nevada, Ohio, Texas, Utah and Washington, D.C., already have passed the Uniform Collaborative Law Act. Three other states, including Illinois, are considering it.”

[The Northwest Herald, Last viewed April 4, 2013]

For additional information about an Illinois Collaborative Divorce, please visit The Law Firm of Erin Birt's webpage devoted to Collaborative Practices.  A free download of a “Collaborative Divorce Knowledge Kit” is also available. To discuss the benefits of utilizing a Collaborative Divorce, please contact The Law Firm of Erin Birt to request a 1/2 hour consultation and to discuss how the pending Illinois Collaborative Divorce Legislation can effect your case.

Schedule a Consultation with Attorney Erin Birt

About the Author

Erin Birt

Since 2003, Erin N. Birt, J.D., CADC has focused her practice on parenting time, divorce, mediation, and substance abuse issues. Ms. Birt's unique background in both family law and addictions counseling help her clients successfully navigate the complex issues of coparenting and divorce. Ms. Birt also devotes her time to presenting at continuing education seminars for attorneys, mediators, and counselors.


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