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Learn where divorce mediation and collaborative law part ways

It is often said that a solution exists for every problem. Family law attorneys know just how true this statement is. Family law has undergone many changes and improvements over the years, all of which help you, the client, emerge from your own family problem as whole as possible. Obviously, divorce is one of the most common family issues, with more and more Illinois residents seeking as peaceful a solution as possible.

In recent years, both divorce mediation and collaborative law have come to play important roles in dissolving marriages. Both of them are similar in that they offer couples a way to divorce that encourages cooperation, mutual understanding and better methods of decision-making. However, at some point, the two methods of divorce must part ways.

Couples seeking to divorce more cooperatively are often confused because there are these two methods that seem the same. How do they know which to choose? A family law attorney can explain the differences, but many couples want to develop some understanding before they acquire representation.

There are resources available on the Internet that explain each process in exhausting detail. Often, this is far too much for people already suffering the pain of divorce to deal with. In the interests of educating you and your spouse, here is one of the most basic and easy-to-understand differences between mediation and collaborative law: the attorney's main function.

In mediation, your lawyer is your advocate and hopes the mediation will be successful. However, if unsuccessful, your attorney has learned enough to represent your best interests if litigation is called for. In a collaborative process, a trained lawyer is still your advocate and still hopes for the best outcome, but he or she serves as your strongest ally and will keep only your interests at the forefront.

You should also understand that the attorney you choose to represent you during collaborative discussions cannot represent you if your divorce goes to litigation. While this may seem like a disadvantage, it often inspires all involved to reach an equitable resolution so that they will not have to start over again.

Source: The Center for Understanding in Conflict, "The Differences Between Mediation and Collaborative Practice," accessed May 20, 2016

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