Alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation and collaborative law are on nearly everyone's minds when they are considering a divorce. After all, who wants to go through a contentious, expensive and lengthy court battle if you can get your divorce over with in a few mediation sessions? However, you and other Illinois residents should understand that while these uncontested divorce options have numerous benefits, they are not always as simple as they seem.
Your uncontested, or amicable, divorce options would most likely involve mediation or collaborative law, as the American Bar Association explains. In a collaborative divorce, you and your spouse would consult your own attorneys. Everyone involved agrees not to litigate, which means your attorneys would be required to resign from the case if you can't reach solutions to your disputes.
It isn't necessary to have your own attorney in a mediated divorce. This option involves an impartial mediator, who may also be a family law attorney. You and your spouse will discuss ways to resolve your disputes during mediation sessions, and the mediator may make suggestions. While an attorney isn't required, it may be helpful to consult one to ensure the terms you and your spouse agreed upon are fair, especially if you have children or significant assets.
While you may have less need for an attorney's counsel during an uncontested divorce as you would if you go to court, the role of an attorney is always to protect the interests of clients. You will need to consider your own circumstances and the nature of your disputes before deciding to seek legal counsel. As such, this information should not replace the advice of a lawyer.