By Colleen Honquest
The divorce process is, in and of itself, a daunting and overwhelming concept. Saving money and reducing stress are two of the main goals when starting the divorce process. Explore alternatives like mediation or collaborative divorce.
Mediation involves the couple and a third-party neutral (divorce mediator) who doesn’t represent either party. The mediator will work to help the couple make the decisions they need to make about family and finances and then will draw up a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU becomes the document that is presented in Court at the prove-up or final appearance. If you have hired an attorney, they can be your sounding board throughout the mediation process. Or, after mediation is completed, both parties can hire attorneys to look over final documents and to provide assurance that they have structured their agreement to best suit their situation and to abide by the laws in their state. One of the most satisfying aspects of mediation, especially for working couples, is that it allows the couple to determine their own schedules and to maintain some control over the process.
Collaborative law involves the couple, their two collaborative attorneys, possibly a divorce coach, and sometimes a mental health professional. The attorneys are trained to do collaborative divorce and they have their clients sign a contract that outlines the collaborative process and states that the clients will collaborate until a final agreement is made.
The only court appearance by the couple is the ﬁnal “prove-up” or final appearance date. This minimizes costs and time spent in court which, for anyone, is priceless. If either party decides the process is not going to work and communication completely breaks down, they then make the decision to litigate and both parties will have to start over with new attorneys who litigate and the process proceeds through family court
When you talk with us , we can further explain the differences between mediation and collaborative divorce and help you understand if mediation is right for you.
Colleen Honquest is founder of DivorceMD, LLC, a Divorce Mediator, Certified Divorce Coach™ and Director of the Naperville Illinois Chapters of the National Association of Divorce Professionals. (NADP).
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