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New Law Outlines 'Collaborative Divorce' Guidelines

Taylor Johnson
larsennash.com, CC BY 2.0


A new Illinois law breaks down the guidelines an attorney must follow in a so-called “collaborative divorce”. 

Couples who choose this team-based approach don’t want to settle in court and instead join a group of professionals who coach them on finances, mental health and childcare needs. If the discussions fall through, new attorneys must take up the case.

Theresa Beran Kulat  is president of the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois. She says many attorneys who claim to follow the model but use a combination of court and team-based discussions, are misleading their clients. The act will address this confusion.

“A legal consumer now should be able to say to their attorney, are you a collaborative practitioner, have you been trained, do you follow the act? And if the answer is yes, yes, and yes—great. They will have a collaborative case," she says. 

According to Beran Kulat, collaborative divorce has been used in Illinois since 2002, but other states have followed the model since the 1980s.  Those involved must have been trained in the model in order to practice. 

“Collaborative is not for everyone, it’s really for people who want to stay in control of their own destiny and who have the emotional capability of analyzing their situation, working with professionals, and making their own agreements."

Daisy reported on statehouse issues for our Illinois Issues project. She's a Public Affairs Reporting program graduate from the University of Illinois Springfield. She also graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology, and has an associates degrees from Truman College. Daisy is from Chicago where she attended Lane Tech High School.