On January 1, 2016, Illinois family law will undergo profound changes. Moreover, the changes in the law will affect how couples go about settling the contentious issues at the center of their cases. Will these changes encourage more people to try collaborative divorce?
What is Collaborative Divorce?
Our legal system is primarily an adversarial system. People lineup on one side or the other and make arguments about why they should get what they want. However, increasingly, there is another way in family law cases for people to resolve their differences. This new way is called collaborative divorce.
The two sides still hire lawyers to protect their interests. However, instead of racing to the courthouse and beginning litigation, the two sides negotiate a settlement before the divorce is filed. The focus is on problem solving through consensus from the beginning, instead of being an afterthought.
Changes to Custody and Elimination of Fault
Previously under Illinois law, divorce was largely fault based. Somebody was found to be responsible for the breakup of the marriage. Under the new law, however, the idea of fault has been removed from the family law statutes. Instead, it will not matter who caused the breakup of the marriage. There is no longer a financial incentive to making allegations of infidelity or emotional cruelty.
Another key change in the law is that one parent will no longer be awarded custody of the children. Instead, the court will assign duties and responsibilities to the parents. The child will still live with one parent primarily; however, the term custody is being faded out from the language of family law in Illinois.
Less to Disagree About?
Because the parties will no longer have to argue about who is at fault for the divorce and the label of custody will be removed from issues revolving around the children, couples may now have less to argue over than ever before.
These changes may encourage more people to pursue collaborative divorce. Most couples are able to save themselves emotional turmoil and uncertainty by taking a collaborative approach to divorce. In many cases a collaborative divorce also results in getting through the process faster and at less cost.
Speak with a Skilled Illinois Attorney
Do you have questions about collaborative divorce? If you need information about divorce, custody or support, please contact a skilled DuPage County divorce lawyer. Call Sullivan Taylor & Gumina, P.C. today at 630-665-7676 to schedule your consultation.