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Collaborative Law is a confidential process for parties who desire a non-adversarial alternative to traditional divorce litigation. The process begins when the parties each retain collaboratively-trained attorneys, who are not affiliated with one another, with the understanding that the parties and their respective attorneys will form a team that will commit, in writing, to work together to reach an amicable resolution without court intervention. If an agreement cannot be reached through the collaborative process, then the attorneys and any experts retained to work with the team are disqualified from working with the parties any further should the matter proceed on a more traditional adversarial basis.
The collaborative process frequently involves additional experts, such as a neutral financial professional, a divorce coach, or a child specialist, who can be beneficial in further assisting the parties in their shared goal of settling all issues pertaining to the dissolution of their marriage in a private, non-adversarial manner. Throughout the process, the parties and various members of the team, as necessary, meet to negotiate a settlement in an atmosphere of honesty, cooperation, integrity and professionalism. When parties are committed to the collaborative approach, they are better able to control the pace of the process and they are typically more invested in the well-being of all members of the family, all while preserving their wealth by avoiding expensive litigation.
Mary Beth Powers, Bernadette McNicholas and Shanna Purcell are all trained in collaborative law through the Collaborative Law Institute and Ms. Powers became Collaborate Law Fellow of the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois and the International Association of Collaborative Professionals. More information can be found at www.collablawil.org and www.collaborativepractice.com