Collaborative Divorce

 If you are getting divorced, you have options.  Divorce is never easy  - however, couples can now choose  a way that is out of court, less contentious, more empowering, and private.  If you are in court, not only does a judge decide when you see your kids, whether you are mentally well enough, and the amount you pay or receive in maintenance and child support, but it is also a very public process.  With Collaborative Divorce and usually with the help of a team of professionals, you are more in control of the process and make your  own decisions for your  family’s future lives.

Collaborative Practice is based on the following characteristics:

  • An agreement not to go to court.
  • A transparent exchange of information between both spouses.
  • A solution based on the individual priorities of the entire family.

The main characteristic of the collaborative divorce is that the two attorneys agree to resign if the couple decides to proceed in court. While at first this may seem scary, in reality it means that the attorneys and the couple are committed to settling the case, and all four have a financial incentive to do so. Often more cost-effective than litigation, the collaborative process is structured according to the emotional needs of the family, rather than the time constraints and sometimes overwhelming procedures and paperwork of the legal process. While the attorneys inform the divorcing couple about what might happen in court, the court is not making decisions for the family. The only court appearance is at the end of the process when the judge approves the agreements, and your divorce is legally finalized. The entire process feels safer to clients who are able to be open and honest and want to treat each other with dignity and respect. It is important to remember also that none of the information used to reach a settlement can be used later in court, except by the agreement of the parties.

When a couple enters into a collaborative agreement, they usually also choose an expanded team. Divorce coaches, child specialists, and financial consultants can all support the couple and assist them in determining what is most important for their future.

Additional Service Offerings

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Mediation

Mediation is a structured, interactive process where an impartial third party assists disputing parties in resolving conflict through the use of specialized communication and negotiation techniques. Mediation is a process that takes place out of court. All participants in mediation are encouraged to actively participate in the process.

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Litigation

So many people equate divorce with “going broke.”  We can help with that!  Litigation does NOT have to equate to unfair treatment in court or a high-priced divorce. We are able to help come to the best resolution with the least amount of court involvement by negotiating effectively with all parties.

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Asset & Property Division

One of the reasons people are afraid to get divorced is because they don’t know how things are going to be split up.  llinois law requires marital property to be divided fairly and equitably between spouses. We will ensure that the value of your property is determined correctly while working to negotiate a fair settlement, including determining how to divide complex assets such as investments or retirement plans.

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Parentage

Establishing paternity is key in  enabling fathers to have the right to see their children.  It is a very easy process, and we can help you with obtaining your parental rights.  Don’t wait!  You deserve to have a relationship with your children.

 

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Parental Allocation Agreements

This used to be called Custody, but now is determined with greater specificity.  We can help you advocate for a child visitation agreement that is best for all parties.

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Spousal Maintenance

The spouse who earns the lower income may request financial support from their spouse during and after the divorce process. Whether you will be paying or receiving spousal support, we can make sure the amount and duration of these payments are calculated correctly.

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Premarital/Prenuptial Agreements

A Premarital agreement is  an agreement made by a couple before they marry concerning the ownership of their respective assets in case one spouse predeceases the other or they dissolve their marriage. We compassionately and professionally help both parties feel comfortable being honest about their financial situations so that they are best able to protect their assets.

 

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Other Services

Divorce is already an emotional roller coaster and If your relationship is clouded by arguing and controversies, it can become an even heightened sense of contentiousness.  We help you feel safe by fiercely representing your rights in and out of court - we protect your relationship with your children in all cases.  You have an absolute right to a safe, relationship with your children.  We will help you to overcome your grief and fear so that you are not taken advantage of in any way.  We can help you prevail over difficulties related to parental alienation, cheating and infidelity, mental health and substance abuse, or harassment and electronic monitoring. If there is an emergency, we can help you take the necessary steps to receive an order of protection.

After nearly three decades of practicing law and volunteering to help trauma survivors cope and thrive  in the world, I have the unique ability to take warring people into calmer, more rational states of mind so that they are best able to make decisions to the benefit of all parties. 

Client   Testimonial

"When I consulted with Jody about filing for a modification in child support, I was impressed with her compassionate listening skills as well as her analytical skills. I felt very comfortable talking to her about an issue that is highly personal. Jody offered several options and talked me through the pros and cons of each. She answered all of my questions timely, patiently, and wisely. I highly recommend using Jody as your lawyer or mediator." - Jess K.