Author BirtLaw

Separating Parents: What’s Best for Children?

How does a parent contemplating divorce or separation keep a child feeling loved, supported, and safe? This is a question often posed by clients and it was covered recently in an article published by The Washington Post, “Separating parents want what’s best for their 2-year-old. What is that?” Here are a few tips to help separating parents:

Understand the child’s perspective.

For instance, a young child does not understand time and cannot comprehend a parenting time schedule. To help a child feel safe at either house, a good solution is to have things that remind the child of a parent at both parent’s homes such placing a photo of the other parent in the child’s room, developing the tradition to wish (mommy or daddy) a good night too, re-telling family stories such as the child’s birth story that includes both parents, or asking the other parent to provide a recorded bed-time story for the child.

Allocate 5-10 minutes for drop-offs and pick-ups of the child.

Plan with the other parent to discuss simple topics such as the weather, upcoming child events, or just make small talk. If both parents are discussing simple topics in a calm manner, the child will likely remain calm during the transition as well. Please save your irritation or anger at the other party for the ear of a dear friend or counselor. Drop-offs are not a time to express dissatisfaction with the other parent.

Do not take a child’s rejection personally.

Even if both parents do their best to make transitions calm, the child may cling to the parent they are leaving. This is natural and common. As the article states, a young child “just wants and needs to be with her main attachments.” She may cling to you one day, and then cling to the other parent the next day. Try not to take it personally. It is common for parents to report their child does not want to visit the other parent’s house when in fact it might just be the child expressing its natural attachment.

Parenting is hard. There are often no right or wrong answers but there are tips and tools that can be used to help a child feel loved, supported and safe in both parent’s homes. If you are contemplating separation or divorce and are worried about your children, please contact me to discuss
developing your parenting plan.


ABOUT ERIN BIRT

Illinois attorney Erin Birt is a skilled legal professional with over fourteen years of experience in trial and divorce law serving clients in many DuPage County cities including Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Warrenville and Winfield.

She opened the Law Firm of Erin Birt, P.C. in 2010 to offer her clients alternative divorce resolution services, specialized collaborative divorce options and family law expertise. She and her expert team continually develop creative outcomes such as divorce mediation and family law mediation that work for all parties involved, particularly children.

Ms. Birt holds a J.D. from DePaul College of Law and is a member of the Collaborative Practice Professionals of Illinois, the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the DuPage County Bar Association. She is a past board member and presenter for the Mediation Council of Illinois.

A Two-Day Divorce

The traditional divorce process can last years. If you are contemplating divorce and do not want to wait several months or years, a Flat Fee Two Day Divorce plan can assist you in minimizing your time spent with an attorney and in the stressful divorce process.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Choosing a Flat Fee Two Day Divorce plan means that you will receive prioritized expedited divorce services. You will also share in the responsibilities of gathering information for your divorce settlement negotiations. Typically, the process works like this:

  • Your attorney will assess your goals and discuss a range of settlement options with you.
  • You will gather parenting and/or financial information and make copies to share with your attorney and spouse.
  • Your attorney will prioritize your divorce and set aside two days to devote to resolving your divorce.
  • Day 1, you will meet with your attorney to prepare for Day 2.
  • Day 2, you, along with your spouse, your spouse’s attorney, and/or other divorce support professional, will meet to discuss divorce settlement options.

The success of completing your divorce in two days depends on your preparation prior to the group settlement conference. Most clients in the process agree to share document gathering responsibilities and are relieved to minimize time spent on the hurtful and difficult topics of divorce.


WHAT CASES ARE THE BEST FOR THE TWO-DAY PLAN?

Both parties must be committed to a settlement based divorce process. Best examples for the process are cases that have participated in or are ready to take part in divorce counseling, divorce mediation, and/or financial mediation. Many other cases are successful as well when both parties are still amicable, knowledgeable about their marital assets and debts, and are willing to make available all information needed to facilitate settlement discussions.

Cases where the parties have not worked with other divorce professionals in the past and that may have unique complexities involving parenting or asset/debt allocation will need an attorney to devote more time to their case. There are other Flat Fee Divorce Services that can accommodate additional time with an attorney or divorce support professional. It is important to share all of the facts of your divorce with your attorney so that you can receive appropriate legal advice and services. Our firm can assess and discuss our recommendations with you for the legal services you may need.

HOW DO I START?

As a trained divorce mediator and divorce collaborative attorney, I can provide you with an array of divorce settlement based representation that is custom tailored for your situation, including the above described Two Day Divorce Plan. Contact me for more details or to discuss if there is a better-suited divorce option for your legal needs.

 

ABOUT ERIN BIRT:

Illinois Attorney Erin Birt is a skilled legal professional with over fourteen years of expErin Birterience in divorce law and divorce settlement based practices serving clients in many DuPage County cities including Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Warrenville, and Winfield.

She opened the Law Firm of Erin Birt, P.C. in 2010 to offer her clients alternative divorce resolution services, specialized collaborative divorce options, and family law expertise. She and her expert team continually develop creative outcomes such as divorce mediation and family law mediation that work for all parties involved, particularly children.

Ms. Birt holds a J.D. from DePaul College of Law and is a member of the Collaborative Practice Professionals of Illinois, the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the DuPage County Bar Association. She is a past board member and presenter for the Mediation Council of Illinois.

Moving in with Your Boyfriend? Develop a Plan

More millennials and divorced people are deciding to live with their boyfriend or girlfriend in lieu of marriage. For some, marriage is not desired; for others, marriage might only be considered after a period of cohabitation. Either way, moving in with your significant other creates both personal and legal issues to be considered and discussed.

According to a recent New York Times article, What I Wish I’d Known Before Moving In Together by Anna Goldfarb, couples planning to move in together need to develop a plan first. In the article, Galena Rhoades of the University of Denver accurately summarizes the issues cohabitating couples face:

“When you live together,” Dr. Rhoades explained, “you face all the issues dating couples face — time together, managing friends, jealousy, ex-partners — but you also face all the issues married couples face, like household contributions, managing money together and planning for future expenditures.”

If you are considering moving in with your boyfriend or girlfriend, here are several tips:

1. DEVELOP A ROADMAP

Before signing a lease or purchasing a home together, you need to resolve who will stay in the event of a breakup. It sounds harsh to discuss a breakup during an otherwise exciting time, however, knowing who will stay and pay the lease/mortgage/taxes/utilities and who will help contribute to relocation costs after a breakup can actually help relieve unnecessary stress during the relationship. Also, create a list of items each person wishes to keep, including any pets; such a discussion is often impossible to have at the end of the relationship.

2. DISCUSS FINANCES

Both parties should be fully aware of the joint budget and the other person’s ability to pay for house related expenses. Also, both parties should prepare for an illness or death so that the other party is capable of maintaining their home. Consider obtaining a term life insurance or disability policy to help with unexpected life events.

3. ESTABLISH BOUNDARIES

Discuss and establish mutual expectations for roles within the house such as decorating, cleaning, cooking, caring for pets, limiting screen time, and setting up an environment that can be shared or retreated to for privacy.

As a mediator and family law attorney, I am available to help you develop a legal and personal plan for your future living arrangements. Cohabitation in Illinois, especially after divorce, may create legal obligations that you should discuss with an attorney to ensure you are truly comfortable with your living arrangements.

ABOUT ERIN BIRT:
Illinois Attorney Erin Birt is a skilled legal professional with over ten years of experience in trial and divorce law serving clients in many DuPage County cities including Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Warrenville, and Winfield.

She opened the Law Firm of Erin Birt, P.C. in 2010 to offer her clients alternative divorce resolution services, specialized collaborative divorce options, and family law expertise. She and her expert team continually develop creative outcomes such as divorce mediation and family law mediation that work for all parties involved.

Ms. Birt holds a J.D. from DePaul College of Law and is a member of the Collaborative Practice Professionals of Illinois, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the DuPage County Bar Association. She is a past board member and presenter for the Mediation Council of Illinois.

Do You Need A More Private Divorce?

Our new 2017 website was created to enhance client options for a more private divorce. Check out below how our firm makes your privacy a priority.

VIEW WEBSITE ANYWHERE

Our new website is now compatible with any device: smart phone, tablet, laptop, computer. You can view our site privately and easily anywhere you feel comfortable. Our blog can help you privately gather information for your divorce and our attorney can help you achieve your legal goals in-person or virtually.

VIRTUAL SERVICES

You lead a busy life.  It can be hard to make in-person appointments with your attorney without informing work or your spouse.  Our divorce attorney is now available to serve you privately as a Virtual Attorney.

PRIVATE CLIENT PORTAL

You shouldn’t have to use your work or personal email during your divorce.  We offer our clients a secure client portal for sharing documents, invoices, and appointment reminders. You can also pay your invoice through the portal or via our contact page.

We know our clients have limited time due to work, children, or family obligations.  Now you can view our website or access your private documents when it is convenient for you.  We look forward to our how our new website, services, and secure client portal will improve the divorce process for our clients. To learn how our attorney can best work for you, contact us today.

ABOUT ERIN BIRT

Erin BirtIllinois attorney Erin Birt is a skilled legal professional with over thirteen years of experience in trial and divorce law serving clients in many DuPage County cities including Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Warrenville and Winfield.  She also serves clients in Cook County, Kane County, Kendall County, and Will County.

Erin opened the Law Firm of Erin Birt, P.C. in 2010 to offer her clients alternative divorce resolution services, specialized collaborative divorce options and family law expertise.

Ms. Birt holds a J.D. from DePaul College of Law and is a member of the Collaborative Practice Professionals of Illinois, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the DuPage County Bar Association. She is a past board member and presenter for the Mediation Council of Illinois.

Why Fighting Can Actually Be Productive In Divorce Mediation

For many people, divorce mediation can be helpful at opening up channels of communication between parties to air their individual thoughts, desires, and expectations.

It can also provide the opportunity for either party to air specific feelings of sadness about the divorce, fears about the future, and anger at their partner for past hurts large or small.

That last one often can include some pretty explicit and creative name-calling, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, says Dan Simon in a recent blog on Mediate.com. Below are some of Dan’s reasons why mediators and couples should be open to this strategy in mediation.

  • IT’S QUITE POSSIBLY THE TRUTH. “Mediation can be an opportunity for parties to speak their truth, to name reality as they see it. After having been perhaps horribly mistreated by the other party, the opportunity to tell them what they really think of them is an essential part of a process that’s intended to meaningfully address the conflict,” says Simon

  • IT CAN BENEFIT THE NAME-CALLER. According to Simon, once the naming party gets it off his or her chest, so to speak, in the presence of the mediator, it’s quite possible they can then calmly discuss other key aspects of the divorce process such as property division or child support.

  • IT CAN BENEFIT THE PERSON BEING NAMED. “The namee may become more aware of just how angry the namer is; they may gain insight that the namer is out of control, which might inspire the namee’s compassion; the namee might reflect more deeply on their own behavior that inspired the namer.” It also allows the namee to decide whether to sit there and take it or respond in kind with the mediator there for support.

In Simon’s view, “Mediation is supposed to be about self-determination.” This includes both parties being able to engage each other, say what they need (or want) to say, and even walk away when it suits them.

Parties using divorce mediation generally want the best results for everyone involved. That’s why they chose to mediate. If it takes some name-calling to reach that end, couples should be open to experiencing it and mediators should be ready to let it happen in that safe space they provide for their clients.

As an experience divorce mediator, I can help you successfully work your way through all aspects of this process. Contact me for more information.


ABOUT ERIN BIRT

Erin BirtIllinois attorney Erin Birt is a skilled legal professional with over ten years of experience in trial and divorce law serving clients in many DuPage County cities including Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Warrenville and Winfield.

She opened the Law Firm of Erin Birt, P.C. in 2010 to offer her clients alternative divorce resolution services, specialized collaborative divorce options and family law expertise. She and her expert team continually develop creative outcomes such as divorce mediation and family law mediation that work for all parties involved, particularly children.

Ms. Birt holds a J.D. from DePaul College of Law and is a member of the Collaborative Practice Professionals of Illinois, the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the DuPage County Bar Association. She is a past board member and presenter for the Mediation Council of Illinois.

 

Safe And Stress-Free Child Custody Exchanges

Post-divorce child custody exchanges can be happy, peaceful, awkward, or downright horrible, depending on the relationship or issues between you and your ex-spouse. Family mediation might be needed in very difficult situations, but here are some general tips to make the swap easier on everyone.

CHOOSE A NEUTRAL SITE

To reduce stress on all involved—especially the children—child custody exchanges are often done on neutral ground rather than at the home of either parent.

Some potential public places for a custody exchange after divorce include:

  • Your child’s school or daycare
  • A large department store such as Target, Walmart, or Sears
  • The local grocery store
  • McDonalds, Burger King or other restaurants in your area
  • The parking lot of your city’s police station or fire house

Any public area will generally have other people and/or security cameras close by, ensuring that everyone remains on their best behavior during the exchange.

Families in DuPage County, Illinois, might consider the DuPage County Family Center as an exchange site. If your divorce included mandated parent education, the Family Center provides programs to improve the relationships between parents and children.

SET SOME GROUND RULES

To make an already difficult situation a little easier, both parents can agree to certain tenets for the exchange.

One of the most important rules is consistently being on time. The site CustodyZen.com explains why this little thing can become such a big deal.

“Situations such as traffic congestion will happen from time-to-time, making a parent late for an exchange.  But when one parent is consistently late it can be disrespectful to the other parent. Furthermore, it can be very stressful for the children and escalate conflict. Repeated tardiness to custody exchanges may result in legal consequences such as being found guilty of custodial interference, a crime in many states.”

Another ground rule can be that one parent remains in the car or at a distance during the exchange if meeting face-to-face will create a quarrel. Again from Custody Zen, “Depending on the amount of conflict, driving to custody exchanges can often…escalate a parent’s frustration. If one parent remains in the car the other can assist with transferring the kids to the other vehicle.”

USE A THIRD PARTY

If all else fails, have a trusted third party make the exchange.

You can enlist a reliable family member or friend, and there are now professional “supervised visitation and exchange services” in many states. Two options are the Supervised Visitation Network and Family Wise. There is a cost involved for these services, and it’s critical to ensure that the person you hire is trained and certified for the role.

It may take a little effort to create a workable child exchange, but it’s important to allow children time to be with both of the parents they love—even when the parents no longer love each other.

Contact me to learn more about handling custody situations or other issues affecting your divorce.


ABOUT ERIN BIRT

Erin BirtIllinois attorney Erin Birt is a skilled legal professional with over ten years of experience in trial and divorce law serving clients in many DuPage County cities including Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Warrenville and Winfield.

She opened the Law Firm of Erin Birt, P.C. in 2010 to offer her clients alternative divorce resolution services, specialized collaborative divorce options and family law expertise. She and her expert team continually develop creative outcomes such as divorce mediation and family law mediation that work for all parties involved, particularly children.

Ms. Birt holds a J.D. from DePaul College of Law and is a member of the Collaborative Practice Professionals of Illinois, the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the DuPage County Bar Association. She is a past board member and presenter for the Mediation Council of Illinois.

When To Consider An Uncontested Divorce

If you and your spouse mutually agree that it’s time to divorce—and you feel you can easily reach a consensus about important issues—an uncontested divorce may be the right choice for you. It’s fast, it avoids the courtroom, and it’s much cheaper than a “traditional” divorce.

THE CRITICAL ISSUES

According to DivorceNet.com, the critical issues of agreement for an uncontested divorce include:

  • Shared parenting time and responsibilities
  • Child support payments and duration
  • Spousal support (alimony) payments and duration
  • Property division
  • Allocation of marital debt

If you don’t see eye to eye in all these areas, you can still attempt an uncontested divorce but you may need the help of a divorce mediator (less expensive) or an attorney (more expensive) to work out specific issues.

REPRESENTATION FOR JUST ONE

Writing on his site DivorceInfo.com, divorce lawyer Lee Borden explains legal representation in this type of divorce:

“The first thing you need to know about uncontested divorce is that the lawyer you get to do your uncontested divorce cannot represent both of you. As a society, we assume that the spouses in a divorce have necessarily different interests. The ethical principles for lawyers therefore require that a lawyer cannot represent both parties. The lawyer must represent one of you and not the other. The lawyer will need to know at the outset which of you is his or her client and which of you is not.”

It can take a bit of discussion and negotiation to determine who will be represented, but the non-represented party can safeguard their position with the help of a coach and/or through good research on the pros and cons of uncontested divorce.

WHEN IT’S NOT THE RIGHT CHOICE

There are some specific situations in which uncontested divorce is not the right option for either party. DivorceNet.com and DivorceInfo.com offer the following examples of when uncontested divorce should be off the table:

  • You have a complex life situation and/or major existing disagreement with your spouse.

  • Emotional or power differences exist between the parties. (This becomes very evident when only one spouse has legal representation.)

  • One spouse fears or has experienced domestic violence by the other spouse. (This party needs full legal representation.)

  • You and your spouse hold joint property titles or joint debt.

  • Your children have very unusual and specific parenting requirements.

Even when uncontested divorce isn’t the right alternative, consider using family mediation or collaboration to settle as many issues as possible out of court. This makes the process less emotionally and financially draining for everyone involved.

If you’re considering uncontested divorce, contact me to determine whether this or another option is the right one for your situation.


ABOUT ERIN BIRT

Illinois attorney Erin Birt is a skilled legal professional with over ten years of experience in trial and divorce law serving clients in many DuPage County cities including Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Warrenville and Winfield.

She opened the Law Firm of Erin Birt, P.C. in 2010 to offer her clients alternative divorce resolution services, specialized collaborative divorce options and family law expertise. She and her expert team continually develop creative outcomes such as divorce mediation and family law mediation that work for all parties involved, particularly children.

Ms. Birt holds a J.D. from DePaul College of Law and is a member of the Collaborative Practice Professionals of Illinois, the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the DuPage County Bar Association. She is a past board member and presenter for the Mediation Council of Illinois.

Is Your Divorce Starting Before You Even Get Married?

Wave washes over heartSome divorces are a huge surprise to both the couple and their families. Other can be seen coming from a long way off, well before the wedding.

A recent Huffington Post article offered thoughts from counselors and divorce mediators on how to know whether you’re really ready for marriage.

Here are a few worth noting—and sharing.

  • KEEPING SECRETS – If you’re keeping secrets from your future spouse—about finances, substance abuse, certain friendships, or anything he or she should know—reconsider your marriage. The same is true if you know or suspect your partner is hiding things from you.

  • HAVING DIFFERENT MORALS/BELIEFS – While this can be overcome, it takes a great deal of work and compromise. If that sounds daunting, consider working with a counselor before you get married because these issues often cause marriages to fail.

  • THINKING YOU–OR MARRIAGE–CAN CHANGE YOUR PARTNER – The person you’re marrying will probably be the same pre- and post-marriage. If you don’t love the person for who he or she is right now—warts and all—you’re not ready for marriage.

  • FEELING SCARED ABOUT MONOGAMY – This is a conversation that should happen well before the wedding plans are made, particularly if you’re thinking about an open marriage. Visit a counselor separately or together to discuss commitment issues and put off the wedding until this is resolved.

  • SEEING DIVORCE AS AN EASY WAY OUT – Are you getting married thinking that you’ll just get divorced if things don’t work out? That’s a huge red flag that you’re not ready for the commitment of marriage. You can’t just walk away. Divorce involves issues of property division, child and spousal support, and financial planning, to name a few.

As a DuPage County Divorce Attorney, I know that divorce can be painful, expensive, and create emotional scars for everyone involved, especially children. However, if you find yourself on that road, I can help make it easier through mediation and collaboration. Contact me for more information.


ABOUT ERIN BIRT

Erin BirtIllinois attorney Erin Birt is a skilled legal professional with over ten years of experience in trial and divorce law serving clients in many DuPage County cities including Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Warrenville and Winfield.

She opened the Law Firm of Erin Birt, P.C. in 2010 to offer her clients alternative divorce resolution services, specialized collaborative divorce options and family law expertise. She and her expert team continually develop creative outcomes such as divorce mediation and family law mediation that work for all parties involved, particularly children.

Ms. Birt holds a J.D. from DePaul College of Law and is a member of the Collaborative Practice Professionals of Illinois, the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the DuPage County Bar Association. She is a past board member and presenter for the Mediation Council of Illinois.

Choosing Between Mediation And Collaborative Divorce

Confusing signIn many of my blogs, I discuss how mediation and collaboration are effective divorce planning alternatives compared to court-room litigation.

While both are inexpensive compared to litigation, these are actually two very distinct processes, and it’s important to learn about each one in order to choose the best solution for your situation.

The information below is excerpted from a Divorcenet.com article by attorney Emily Doskow.

PLUSES OF MEDIATION

  • With divorce mediation, the only people necessary for the process are the mediator, you, and your spouse. You can pull in other professionals if desired, but it’s not required.

  • Mediators do not decide your case; they help you and your spouse to find solutions acceptable to all parties.

  • You have unlimited input on your case because you work directly with the mediator to determine the process and details of your divorce.

  • Since only three people are involved for the most part, mediation can be more cost-effective and time-saving than collaboration. You’re not trying to schedule and pay for the time of attorneys or other professionals.

  • Some states require confidentiality agreements for the mediation process. This is currently not required for collaborative divorce in any state. If you’re in a state where confidentiality laws exist and it’s important to you, mediation might be the better choice.

POSITIVES OF COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE

  • In a collaborative divorce, each spouse is represented by a collaborative attorney and these attorneys guide all facets of the case, making this process right if both parties want a divorce lawyer to look out for their specific interests throughout the case.

  • Couples struggling with communication issues or animosity often feel better having an attorney who can help them communicate more effectively or speak for each of them when needed.

  • Spouses and attorneys meet together to discuss issues, with the attorneys taking the lead.

  • The attorneys will advise the parties when they feel other collaborative professionals are needed to help resolve issues, freeing the spouses from making that decision.

  • At the outset, attorneys and spouses sign a “no court” agreement to help ensure the divorce is settled without litigation.

SOME DOWNSIDES OF EACH PROCESS

As with any type of practice, both mediation and collaborative divorce have disadvantages.

Says Doskow, “The primary downside to collaboration is that if it doesn’t work, your collaborative lawyer is required to withdraw, and you have to start all over with a new lawyer and possibly new experts and advisers. This means a lot of expense and delay while you get your new lawyer up to speed and retain new professionals.”

If mediation fails, you may also have to start over and will lose any money you’ve already spent on the process. “If you are concerned that mediation might not work, you should be sure you hire a consulting attorney who can go the distance with you,” suggests Doskow.

These are two very sound options for a more “reasonable” divorce process, but get all the information you can before making your choice. Contact me to learn how my practice supports both of these divorce processes and which one is right for you.


ABOUT ERIN BIRT

Erin BirtIllinois attorney Erin Birt is a skilled legal professional with over ten years of experience in trial and divorce law serving clients in many DuPage County cities including Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Warrenville and Winfield.

She opened the Law Firm of Erin Birt, P.C. in 2010 to offer her clients alternative divorce resolution services, specialized collaborative divorce options and family law expertise. She and her expert team continually develop creative outcomes such as divorce mediation and family law mediation that work for all parties involved, particularly children.

Ms. Birt holds a J.D. from DePaul College of Law and is a member of the Collaborative Practice Professionals of Illinois, the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the DuPage County Bar Association. She is a past board member and presenter for the Mediation Council of Illinois.

Can Mediation Work In A High-Conflict Divorce?

conflict resolution strategiesDivorce itself is difficult enough. Add animosity and lack of cooperation into the picture and the process becomes lengthy, expensive, and sometimes emotionally destructive.

From a Huffington Post article by Conflict Resolution Specialist Elizabeth Esrey, here are some facts about high-conflict divorce and some tips to survive the challenges it brings.

SOME DIFFICULT AND DISTURBING FACTS

A high-conflict divorce is the most expensive way to separate from your spouse, mostly because of the on-going litigation that results from one or both parties’ unwillingness to compromise or openly discuss issues. Full-scale divorce litigation averages almost $78,000.

This type of divorce also has a documented history of violence associated with it. “Family courts pit couples against each other – especially in high conflict divorce cases,” notes Esrey, and she cites several examples of people who shot their spouses because of hostile child custody and visitation battles.

Fortunately, there are ways to prevent outright tragedy in the divorce process.

DIVORCE MEDIATION IS A VIABLE OPTION

Even though the conflicts may at first seem insurmountable, a skilled collaborative law attorney or mediator can help even antagonistic parties to work together toward positive outcomes for everyone involved.

It’s almost like hostage negotiations, according to Esrey. The negotiator (mediator) listens actively, treats all parties with respect, and keeps working at the process to produce the best possible results.

“Judges and lawyers typically don’t deal with the emotional aspects of divorce. Mediators help couples navigate the divorce process and reach agreements that are less expensive, more lasting and customized.” And both legal and non-legal issues can be put on the table in mediation.

YOU HAVE A CHOICE

You always have a choice in how you will handle your side of the divorce process despite what is going on around you. Even if your spouse is not willing to participate, having a mediator in your camp shows that you want to bring respect and dignity to the divorce proceedings and you understand how divorce mediation can beat litigation in resolving difficult issues.

No matter what kind of divorce you’re experiencing, I can help you find positive outcomes through mediation. Contact me for more information.


ABOUT ERIN BIRT

Erin BirtIllinois attorney Erin Birt is a skilled legal professional with over ten years of experience in trial and divorce law serving clients in many DuPage County cities including Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Warrenville and Winfield.

She opened the Law Firm of Erin Birt, P.C. in 2010 to offer her clients alternative divorce resolution services, specialized collaborative divorce options and family law expertise. She and her expert team continually develop creative outcomes such as divorce mediation and family law mediation that work for all parties involved, particularly children.

Ms. Birt holds a J.D. from DePaul College of Law and is a member of the Collaborative Practice Professionals of Illinois, the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the DuPage County Bar Association. She is a past board member and presenter for the Mediation Council of Illinois.