When couples are getting a divorce, they have the option to handle it through alternative dispute resolution (ADR). ADR can be helpful for couples who are getting uncontested or contested divorces, enabling them to resolve their divorce privately and under their own control. ADR includes divorce mediation, divorce arbitration, and collaborative divorce. Working with a Metro East divorce attorney can be very helpful for navigating these legal proceedings.

How Does an Attorney Help?

There are several ways that a divorce attorney can help a couple or an individual spouse navigate ADR more successfully. Some of the benefits include:

Determining the Right Method of ADR

The most common forms of divorce ADR are divorce mediation and collaborative divorce. These are different methods of resolving a divorce privately, and each provides different benefits for a couple’s unique situation. Divorce mediation is where couples negotiate their separation agreement with a third-party mediator. Collaborative divorce has no third-party mediation and, instead, has both spouses represented by their own divorce attorney.

Collaborative divorce is especially beneficial for couples who have a contested divorce and need additional protection of their rights and interests. By working with an attorney from the beginning of the process, they can help you determine the right method for your divorce.

Providing Legal Knowledge of Requirements and Deadlines

The family law system is complex, and the laws are often changing. This isn’t easy to navigate by yourself during this difficult process. Your divorce attorney helps you draft a separation agreement, checks it for legal errors, and ensures that it meets state and local requirements. As you and your spouse negotiate terms, an attorney may also be able to determine if the court will accept a separation agreement or if the terms are too unfair.

An attorney also knows the deadlines for specific paperwork throughout a divorce and how that paperwork should be filed. This can help avoid delays from minor errors and even fees associated with missing deadlines.

Protecting Your Family’s Interests

Spouses who handle their divorce through ADR are typically amicable, willing to be honest with each other, and cooperative. Unfortunately, mistakes can still happen, and you and your spouse could overlook issues in a separation agreement that cause you financial or personal harm in the future.

An attorney could prevent this. They can ensure that a separation agreement covers all the necessary aspects of a divorce and that there are no unreasonable terms or unexpected consequences.

Your attorney can review the agreement before it goes to the court. If the agreement is unconscionable, the court should reject it, but this means that you have lost significant time. In rare cases, an unfair separation agreement is approved, which can put one or both spouses in a bad situation. Your attorney can catch these issues before the court finalizes the agreement.

Helping You Through Negotiations

Divorces that are handled outside of court require significant negotiation. Even when spouses are willing to work together, this negotiation can be frustrating, emotional, and straining. These discussions are about very important things, including financial stability, your family’s future, and the living and upbringing of your children. It can understandably get very complicated.

It can be easier to handle these negotiations with legal aid. Whether this is a mediation attorney or your own attorney in a collaborative divorce, a legal professional can help you and your spouse communicate more effectively and limit potential conflicts. An attorney may also have helped spouses negotiate similar situations before and can provide solutions for a more effective resolution to your divorce.

Determining If Divorce Should Be Litigated

In some divorces, spouses think that they can negotiate their divorce outside of court but cannot. An attorney may be able to note these issues before spouses have spent too much time negotiating. If one spouse is hiding assets, one spouse is actively in danger from their spouse, or spouses refuse to reach an agreement regarding part of the divorce, litigation may be the right option.


Q: Why Is Alternative Dispute Resolution Better Than Court?

A: Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) has several advantages, especially for couples who are willing to compromise or negotiate the terms of their divorce. ADR has several benefits when compared to a litigated divorce, including:

  • It is less costly.
  • It is less time-consuming.
  • You have more control over the final agreement.
  • You are able to have a flexible schedule.
  • Spouses are not pitted against each other but work together.
  • Parents can create a foundation for a strong co-parenting relationship.

ADR includes mediation, arbitration, and collaborative divorce.

Q: How Do I Prepare for Alternative Dispute Resolution?

A: There are several things you should do to prepare for alternative dispute resolution, including:

  1. Gather all financial, asset, and debt information.
  2. Determine your priorities for the separation agreement, such as a child custody arrangement, the division of marital property, or other aspects.
  3. Consider the issues that may arise during negotiations.
  4. Determine what you are willing to compromise on.
  5. Be ready to be flexible and open to negotiation.
  6. Find a qualified divorce mediation or collaborative divorce attorney to represent your interests.

ADR can be useful for many couples, but there are some situations where it is not appropriate.

Q: How Does Divorce Mediation Work in Illinois?

A: Divorce mediation in Illinois is when both spouses directly negotiate their separation agreement with a neutral third-party mediator present. This mediator helps the discussion stay on-topic, determines the needs and interests of each party, and explores creative resolutions to disagreements. If a mediator is a mediation attorney, they can provide legal information and ensure that the agreement is legally enforceable. A meditator must be impartial and, therefore, cannot offer advice to either party.

Q: Do You Need an Attorney for a Divorce in Illinois?

A: It’s possible to file for a divorce and get divorced without an attorney in Illinois. However, an attorney provides significant benefits when resolving your divorce, whether you are litigating the divorce or handling it through ADR methods. An attorney provides you with legal information and advice and helps protect your rights throughout the divorce. They can advocate for your rights in court or defend your interests in certain forms of ADR. A divorce is more likely to be resolved quickly and in your family’s interests with help from an attorney.

Contact Stange Law Firm in Metro East

The skilled attorneys at Stange Law Firm can help you reach an efficient resolution to your divorce, protecting you and your family’s rights along the way. Contact our firm today.