IL divorce lawyerCollaborative law and mediation are both alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods used in the legal field. While they share various similarities, there are critical differences between the two. Today, we will explore the distinctions between collaborative law and mediation, shedding light on their respective processes, goals, and potential benefits. Have a conversation with your divorce attorney to determine if either process may benefit your situation.

Dissecting Collaborative Law

Often used in family law matters, this process involves each party retaining their collaborative law attorney, who assists them in negotiating a mutually acceptable settlement. The attorneys work with the parties to reach a resolution outside of court. Collaborative law involves face-to-face meetings, typically in a neutral setting, where both parties and their attorney engage in open and transparent discussions. The process encourages the exchange of information and focuses on finding creative solutions that meet the needs and interests of all involved.

Dissecting Mediation

Mediation, like collaborative law, is an ADR method aimed at resolving disputes outside of the

Il divorce lawyerGetting a divorce can be a very upsetting process for all involved and can last considerably longer when uncontrollable behaviors and outbursts coincide in court. Divorce proceedings may reflect a bad relationship between divorcing spouses. Still, acting appropriately during your time in court is imperative to ensure you do not make the process any more difficult than it already is. As you look to begin the divorce process, hire an attorney to ensure you can protect your rights and interests.

How to Behave in Court 101

If you are going through a divorce in Illinois that requires you to attend a hearing, consider the following courtroom etiquette:

  • Dress appropriately – You should dress in a manner that represents respect both to the judge and court proceedings. Your dress code should be business-like and may include a suit for men or a modest outfit and minimal makeup for women.
  • Be on time – When attending a scheduled court hearing, ensure you arrive early enough and are prepared with all related documentation. Punctuality portrays proper reverence for the hearing’s worth and the efforts of all present people.
  • Be civil – Always observe respectful and courteous behavior towards your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Do not interrupt or insult your spouse while they talk or are answering questions from the judge, court clerks, or lawyers.
  • Be calm – Keep your tone of voice cordial while giving responses, raising concerns, and more. Remember that when it involves challenges relating to children, your behavior and your rationality may play a role in the case’s eventual outcome.
  • Keep your composure – As much as divorces may damage or disrupt feelings, keep your emotions in control throughout the hearings. Indulging in emotional outbursts or being combative with the judge, lawyers, or your spouse, may have negative implications for you and your case, especially regarding custody decisions. Being combative in the courtroom will not be a “good look” as you try to convince the court and judge that you are a suitable parent for your child.
  • Listen actively – As issues are deliberated in court, listen, and pay close attention to what transpires. By being a good listener, you become an active participant in the courtroom proceedings.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Lawyer

No one wants to get a divorce. But if your marriage is irrevocably damaged beyond repair, you need an attorney willing to fight for you. Contact the skilled Geneva, IL divorce attorneys with The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates. Call 630-232-9700 for a private consultation.

geneva divorce lawyerEnding a marriage can be a major legal undertaking. Divorcing spouses may need to address the division of marital debts and property, including retirement accounts, investments, real estate, and other property. If they share children, they will need to address the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time and create a parenting plan. Child support and spousal support may also be crucial issues in an Illinois divorce. 

Fortunately, there are several alternative dispute resolution methods available for divorcing spouses in Illinois. These methods may help you reach a resolution without a contentious courtoom trial. 


Mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution for legal issues that involves parties coming together to discuss their issues and try to reach a resolution on their own without court input. Discussions will be facilitated by neutral, third-party mediators whose roles are to help parties negotiate a workable settlement.

Understanding Discovery in a Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

kane county divorce lawyerDiscovery is the legal process in which both parties to a legal action exchange information about the witnesses and evidence they intend to introduce during a divorce case. This process can lead to the disclosure of incredibly sensitive and important information, such as tax returns and other financial documents, medical records, or child-related information. Discovery can help both sides in a divorce get a clearer view of the other side’s current status and know what assets and debts may be applicable in the case. 

Types of Discovery Issues

Discovery is typically informal or formal. Informal discovery involves the voluntary release of information by the parties. Formal discovery usually occurs in court and may involve interrogatories, notices to produce documents, depositions, or subpoenas. Interrogatories involve questions one party asks another. The Illinois Supreme Court approved a series of standard interrogatories specifically for divorce cases. 

A notice to produce is a request from one party for some kind of tangible good, usually a document, the other side has. When one party does not respond or object within 28 days, the other party may send a 201(k) letter requesting a conference at which discovery issues must be resolved before any motion to the court can ask to compel responses for discovery.

geneva divorce lawyerIf you have been browsing divorce topics, you have likely seen countless articles urging you to consider divorce mediation or attorney-facilitated negotiation as a means of resolving your divorce out of court. Collaborative divorce is another common alternative resolution method during divorce. Collaborative divorce requires both parties to actively participate, and to do so in good faith. A mutual willingness to compromise is a necessity. Either spouse, unfortunately, has the power to delay or frustrate the process. If no agreement can be reached after substantial efforts have been made, you will be left with no option but to resort to divorce litigation. In some cases where it is abundantly clear that mediation or negotiations are likely to fail, it may be more prudent to make litigation your plan from the outset. An experienced attorney can assess your situation and help you decide whether yours is a divorce that cannot be settled out of court. 

Situations Suggesting That Collaborative Divorce or Mediation May Not Succeed

No matter how willing to compromise you are, mediation efforts will generally be futile if your spouse does not share your willingness. Circumstances that may suggest that mediation and  collaborative divorce may be insufficient include: 

  • Abuse - If your spouse has abused you or your children in any way at all, it suggests that they are not the type of person who can settle their disagreements in the rational manner demanded by collaborative divorce. Additionally, attempting to negotiate with them directly and outside a courtroom setting may provoke them or be emotionally distressing to you. It also opens the door for threats to be made to force the abused party to comply with the abuser’s demands. 
  • Severe mental illness - If your spouse has a severe mental illness like Borderline Personality Disorder or Bipolar Disorder, their illness may impact their ability to participate in negotiation or mediation in a productive manner. They may be more interested in placing blame on you than in reaching an agreement. 
  • Substance abuse - People who are almost always intoxicated are not known for their ability to keep their commitments. It can be difficult to get a person with a substance use disorder to show up for scheduled mediation sessions or to return communications promptly and use comprehensible language. 
  • Extreme conflict - While you certainly do not need to be amicable with your spouse to reap the benefits of collaborative divorce, you do need to be capable of communicating without fighting. If negotiating with your spouse would cause emotional distress and escalating conflict, it may be best to go to court. 

These are only a few examples of circumstances that may suggest that alternative resolution methods are not right for you. You should discuss your concerns with a qualified attorney. 

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