May 12, 2019

Collaborative Law Attorney Lake Forest, IL


Collaborative Law Attorney Lake Forest, IL

Collaborative Law Attorney Lake Forest, IL

Our collaborative law attorneys in Lake Forest, IL from Hurst, Robin, Kay & Allen, LLC can handle contested divorce cases in Illinois as well as uncontested divorces, with an emphasis on family law. Our law firm assists families in making the transition from marriage to post-divorce life. A skilled and experienced IL collaborative law attorney can ensure you the best possible outcome by offering mediation services.

As a proficient child custody legal services provider, our team can help with court order modifications, spousal support (alimony) terms, and post-divorce settlements. Contact us if you would like to know more about options for customizing your divorce settlement. We encourage you to contact us to discuss your case with our team at Hurst, Robin, Kay & Allen, LLC as soon as possible.

Your Options for Divorce

You may or may not know that divorce offers several legal options. Also, the divorce process does not have to take an excessively long time to complete. One of the most common reasons why a divorce is drawn out is because the two parties cannot come to a mutual agreement on important issues. This is often because of the emotional conflict between the two spouses. A collaborative law attorney from Lake Forest, Illinois takes the role of problem solver and effective negotiator. 

A divorce can be settled using a form of negotiation referred to as Consensual Dispute Resolution which is effectively a mixture of mediation and collaborative law. Its approach is to use non-destructive methods of arriving at a resolution. The process is generally favored over divorce court which is usually more divisive and costly for both parties. If all alternatives have been exhausted, our firm can represent the client at trial to protect their best interests. This is sometimes necessary should the other spouse refuse to negotiate in good faith or is unwilling to place the child’s needs above all else. We can protect you and your child as you transition away from your marriage. 

Collaborative Divorce

The approach taken by our Lake Forest collaborative law attorney in IL differs from that of a traditional divorce lawyer in several ways. This includes child custody disputes, divorce, spousal support (alimony) modifications, and child support arrangements. Collaborative divorce is an approach taken by both spouses who agree to resolve their conflicts in a meaningful way that relies on working together rather than against each other. The goal is to reach mutual goals rather than focus on individual needs over the good of all involved, particularly the children. 

Hurst, Robin, Kay & Allen, LLC: Collaborative Law Leaders

Our law firm has served the legal needs of the Lake Forest, IL community for many years. We remain dedicated to helping individuals move forward in positive ways after their marriage has effectively ended. To learn more about how we can assist you in making the changes you need to make, contact us for a free consultation. 

If you and your spouse have decided that remaining married is no longer the healthiest option for one or both of you, it is important to understand that there are two primary processes by which you may obtain a divorce. The first approach is a collaborative one. This process works best for couples whose split is relatively amicable and/or couples who are willing to compromise during negotiations in order to avoid a court “battle.” The second approach is contentious. This form of divorce is often best reserved for couples affected by domestic violence and couples who have fundamental differences concerning property division and/or child custody that are unlikely to be resolved through negotiation.

In either case, each spouse will likely need to be represented by their own attorney. Separate counsel best ensures that each individual’s needs are properly advocated for and that fair divorce settlement terms are reached at the end of the process. It is worth thinking about whether a collaborative model or a contentious model will work best for you and your family before committing to a legal strategy. An experienced Lake Forest, Illinois attorney for collaborative law can help you to sort out which approach may best serve your interests.

Mediation and Negotiation

A collaborative divorce process is usually conducted either via mediation or negotiation. In a mediation setting, each spouse (along with his or her attorney) sits down to discuss property division matters with the aid of a neutral third-party mediator. If the couple has minor children, child custody arrangements and child support expectations may also be discussed. A mediator does not take sides but simply helps to enable fruitful discussions among those involved.

A negotiation model tends to operate best when attorneys for both spouses serve as the primary means of communication between the parties until property division settlement terms (and child custody and support terms, when applicable) have been reached. In both mediation and negotiation scenarios, final agreements are submitted to a judge before terms are formally approved. Collaborative divorces tend to be less expensive, less time-consuming, and less stressful than contentious divorces. An Illinois collaborative law attorney from Hurst, Robin, Kay & Allen, LLC can discuss how your divorce process is likely to progress if you choose this model.

Contentious Divorces Can Be Costly

A contentious divorce tends to be more expensive than a collaborative divorce because this model generally involves numerous court hearings before a judge makes his or her determinations related to settlement terms. It is worth noting that this model is actually the best option for some couples. For example, if fundamental disagreements are going to keep collaborative approaches from being productive, there is really no point in a couple wasting its time with an alternative process.

Collaborative Divorce: is it a Better Alternative?

Ending a marriage can be a nasty business, especially when there are children and substantial assets involved. With the assistance of a collaborative law attorney in Lake Forest, IL, the divorce process can be less of an adversarial proceeding and more of a way to solve problems involved in the dissolution of a domestic partnership. While it may not be right for every couple separating, it can be a much better alternative to a messy court battle.

What is a Collaborative Divorce?

While it shares some things in common with litigation, collaborative divorce differs in several respects. Essentially, it is a divorce proceeding in which the couple negotiates their own terms out of court, with the assistance of several professionals. along with a collaborative law attorney in Lake Forest, IL, the team usually includes:

  • a trained mediator
  • a child psychologist
  • a financial planner or other professional
  • a divorce coach
  • attorneys for both parties

These are all neutral parties whose job is to facilitate dialogue and focus on conflict resolution as opposed to taking sides. Ideally, the result is a settlement that benefits all concerned. The primary advantages to a collaborative divorce are (A) reduced stress and (B) lower cost. One of the long-term benefits is that in most cases, the parties are able to maintain an amicable relationship afterward, avoiding future conflicts. This is very important when there are children to consider. In fact, the couple’s children do play a role in the mediation process.

What if We Can’t Reach an Agreement?

Collaborative divorce is ideal for couples who want to avoid the trauma and expense of going to court; however, no process is perfect. This can be an emotional time, and occasionally, negotiations break down. If the parties decide that taking the matter to a judge is the only way to resolve some issues, any agreements reached during mediation will not be affected.

When a Collaborative Divorce May Not be the Best Option

Couples decide to end a marriage for many reasons, often having to do with disagreements over finances, child-rearing, lifestyle issues, or simply because they have grown apart. For these couples, using a collaborative law attorney in Lake Forest, IL is probably the best first choice. 

A collaborative divorce is not likely to work if abuse and mental cruelty are part of the equation, however. Such issues will make it extremely difficult to reach a settlement satisfactory to all parties.

Legal Help Is Available

Regardless of whether your divorce is likely to be collaborative or contentious if you have questions about the divorce process please consider reaching out to a collaborative law attorney. Lawyers who specialize in divorce matters have often experienced a host of different divorce-related scenarios. As a result, they are generally able to advise individuals about their legal options regardless of how amicable or “messy” their divorces are likely to be.

You do not have to navigate the ups and downs of the legal side of divorce alone. Please consider contacting a Lake Forest, Illinois collaborative law attorney at Hurst, Robin, Kay & Allen, LLC today.

Alternate Dispute Resolution

Not all Illinois couples who get divorced want to go through litigation in order to resolve their issues. Some couples seek other dispute resolution processes, such as mediation and arbitration, especially when they have children in order to limit the animosity during the divorce. In addition, mediation and arbitration are favored because they are in many ways cheaper than litigation. Working with a collaborative law attorney in Lake Forest, IL can help whatever divorce process you choose go smoother.  


Mediation is a process by which a neutral third party, known as a mediator, facilitates the spouses’ negotiations over the division of property, spousal support, or child custody issues in the divorce process. The couple goes back and forth, working with the mediator until the main issues are agreed upon and put together in an agreement for a judge’s approval.

When children are involved, it can work well for the parents, allowing them to concentrate on coming up with a parenting plan that works well for the parents and is ultimately in the best interest of the children. Parents cannot negotiate away child support payments. The requirement to support a person’s children is required by law, and there are statutory requirements as to the minimums to be paid.

In some cases, mediation is required even when a divorce is litigated in court if the parents are in conflict over issues related to their children. If parents are ordered to attend mediation by a judge, the parents can choose their own mediator or can use a court-approved mediator. A Lake Forest, IL collaborative law attorney can also recommend a mediator for this process.


Arbitration is similar to mediation in that the process is less formal than going to court. However, the process still resembles the litigation process. In arbitration, the couple can present evidence and call witnesses, and the neutral arbitrator makes the final decision on the disputed issues. A court would still have to sign off on the ultimate agreement reached through this process. Unlike mediation, there is less negotiation.

Both mediation and arbitration can cut down the time and cost of a traditional divorce. Therefore, if the couple can agree to resolve their divorce through these alternative dispute resolution methods, it can be better for them in the long run. These methods, especially mediation, can also leave both parties feeling as though the divorce was fair to them.   

4 Benefits of Choosing Collaborative Divorce

Many people may associate the idea of divorce with a lot of stress and worry, but that is not always true. Collaborative divorce often allows a couple to resolve issues with more freedom and discussion than many typical divorce methods. 

Learning more about the benefits of this method can allow you to make a choice that is right for you and your lifestyle.

Greater Focus on Communication

The idea of arguing in court can leave you feeling nervous. However, collaborative divorces often take place in a smaller and more private setting that allows you and your ex-spouse to talk honestly about what you need from this divorce. 

A collaborative law attorney in Lake Forest, IL can help you through this process. Not only does this prevent hostile or adversarial tension during this tough time, but it also lets you find unique solutions to problems that the court may not have considered. 

Less Time Wasted

Collaborative divorces are typically quicker and less complicated than divorces handled in a courtroom. You have a greater amount of control over how long you and your ex-spouse discuss topics.

In most cases, a neutral third party will oversee any conversations, which allows you both to get to the heart of the manner without any fighting. You may also have a collaborative law attorney in Lake Forest, IL there, such as someone from Hurst, Robin, Kay & Allen Law. 

Allows for Customization 

If you have an uncommon issue, such as special schooling needs for your children or property you need to split up in an unusual way, you can more easily discuss it in the collaborative divorce process. Your personal situation and needs can greatly influence the outcome of a collaborative divorce if you speak up and request a unique solution.

This is unlike a litigated divorce, which often has more rigid boundaries for what solutions are allowed. Discussing your ideas with a collaborative law attorney in Lake Forest, IL, such as someone from Hurst, Robin, Kay & Allen Law, can help you get a better idea of what steps to take. 

More Privacy 

The details of your case will not enter into the public record, unlike a divorce that involves the court. This is often a serious concern for anyone who wants more privacy at this difficult time, especially couples with young children.

You can still involve a collaborative law attorney in Lake Forest, IL during this process so that you can get any advice you need. 

Contact Our Firm Today

Deciding what you want to get out of your divorce process and how you may best protect your children can play a large role in deciding whether to pursue alternative dispute resolution instead of going through litigation. Before making the final decision, it is best to consult an experienced Lake Forest, IL collaborative law attorney who can help you work out the pros and cons of each approach so you can make an informed decision. For more information on how our firm can help you make the best decision for you, Hurst, Robin, Kay & Allen, LLC for help.