Law Offices of Anne Chestney Mudd
Mediation and Legal Services
What is collaborative law?
Collaborative law is a welcome trend in Illinois law, similar to mediation in its goals. Both mediation and collaborative law set out to achieve well-negotiated, informed decisions with respect and dignity.
Collaborative law further defines its goal: “to maximize the settlement options to all parties,” and “to resolve differences justly and equitably.”
Collaborative law replaces adversarial tactics with a cooperative model, but retains the attorney-client relationship and an attorney’s “zealous representation.” Like mediation, collaborative law is entirely voluntary.
How it works
Full disclosure is a vital ingredient of collaborative law. Collaborative law allows parties to maintain control of most aspects of the dispute, such as the final agreement, timing and cost, unlike the court system, where parties relinquish this control to others.
In collaborative law, each party is represented by a lawyer who works side by side with that party throughout the process. The lawyers sign a binding agreement not to resort to litigation in the courts, and if the parties decide to go to the courts, they must find new attorneys. This provides a great incentive for all involved to make the process work!
Most of the collaborative law practiced in Illinois has been in the field of divorce law. The collaborative attorneys assist divorcing couples to generate a wide range of possible solutions to all of the problems facing the family. This way, when two spouses enter into an agreement, they have weighed all options, making certain it is the best possible agreement for the family. Divorce litigation, on the other hand, often has a ravaging effect on all – especially children.
In collaborative divorce cases, divorce coaches, a child advocate, and a financial divorce planner are also available as resources. This team approach encourages the parties to keep on task and enables them to work through the issues with their attorneys to reach an agreement.
"Seek first to understand then to be understood"