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Parenting Plan Changes for Illinois Divorces

Young father picking up his son in shared custody after amicable divorce from his former wife and her new husband homeIllinois parents who are considering or actively involved in divorce proceedings in 2016 should be aware of changes in both creating and maintaining a post-divorce parenting plan for their children. Here are the details.

NEW FILING DEADLINE

Beginning in 2016, all Illinois divorcing parties with children must submit a proposed parenting plan within 120 days from filing for divorce or serving the other parent a notice of divorce.

If the divorcing parties cannot agree on a parenting plan, a hearing will be scheduled to determine a temporary parenting plan and allocation of parenting responsibilities. This temporary plan will then be considered by the Court as the divorce process continues.

PLANNING IS NOW CRITICAL

If you are thinking of filing a petition for visitation (now called Parenting Time) as part of your divorce, start preparing for this filing as soon as possible. The 120 day filing deadline is really not a lot of time to create a temporary parenting plan that can affect your children’s future by determining how much time they’ll have with each parent.

MEDIATION CAN HELP

Consider using mediation before you file your initial parenting plan petition. The mediator can help you narrow or resolve particular parenting issues so you submit a workable plan to the Court and avoid Court involvement in the outcomes as described above. Mediation can also help avoid making post-divorce modifications to any plan created.

A Mediation Consulting Attorney can offer invaluable guidance both before and during your divorce mediation sessions and can seamlessly transition the mediation matter to the Court where the agreed-upon plan or remaining issues can be presented to the Judge.

As a trained DuPage County divorce attorney and mediator, I can help create a parenting plan that works for everyone involved. 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.

Changes To Temporary Spousal And Child Support Laws

Rolled newspaper with the headline Changes in legislationNext on the list of 2016 changes to Illinois divorce planning are updates to the Temporary Support laws, affecting both temporary spousal maintenance and temporary child support. This means that temporary financial support hearings will no longer be summary in nature. Rather, the Court will hold an evidentiary hearing to determine the resolution of these temporary support issues.

As a result of these changes, correctly completing financial disclosure documents for child and spousal support will be critical for a successful outcome in your divorce case. Here are more details.

NEW STATE-WIDE FORMS

Under current laws, a temporary support hearing (temporary maintenance for a spouse or temporary child support) requires that parties complete and submit a financial statement and affidavit, and each county has its own form. For example, the Comprehensive Financial Statement for DuPage County, Illinois, can be found at this link:

http://www.dupageco.org/CourtClerk/CourtForms.aspx.

The new Illinois Divorce Act directs the courts to have a single statewide form and requires that tax returns, paystubs, and bank statements be attached to that form.

ACCURACY IS CRITICAL

Financial documents can no longer be casually completed. Documents that are misleading or show any discrepancy between the form and supporting documents or testimony will result in the Court imposing sanctions on the offending party. These sanctions can include payment of the other party’s attorney fees.

HELP IS IMPORTANT

Because correct and timely completion of the financial affidavit is critical to success, consider hiring a divorce attorney who is trained in these areas and can effectively use divorce mediation skills to reach a consensus. My office will work with you to complete your divorce-related disclosure forms correctly and submit them on time so you avoid any form-related court sanctions.

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.

Your Virtual Illinois Divorce Attorney

Search DivorceOne often-overlooked challenge of divorce planning is time. In addition to regular life activities, divorcing couples must also research information, complete a variety of documents, meet with their attorneys, and attend any number of court proceedings.

Important and necessary as they are, these additional tasks require time away from work which can then affect a person’s job performance in actuality or as perceived by supervisors and co-workers.

A 21ST CENTURY SOLUTION

The age of technology has brought us virtual shopping, virtual employment, and now a virtual option for some divorce services: the Virtual Divorce Attorney. This is a fully-trained and licensed attorney who provides limited scope divorce or separation services that can be done via computer or phone.

I’m proud to announce that I am available as a Virtual Illinois Divorce Attorney offering any Illinois resident these virtual options in addition to my family mediation, in-person divorce, and collaborative law services.

VIRTUAL DIVORCE ATTORNEY BENEFITS

Probably the most important benefit offered by a Virtual Divorce Attorney is cost savings coupled with custom-tailored personal service. Unlike big companies offering virtual legal services and forms, I will work directly with you and help you assess your needs at all times.

Our custom-tailored limited-scope services can help keep your overall divorce costs down. In addition, working virtually allows for fewer days away from work and/or a smaller time commitment outside of work hours as your finalize your Illinois divorce.

SERVICES OFFERED

Among other offerings, a virtual attorney can help ensure that your prepared documents are up to date and comply with current law. All communication can be handled via phone, video conferencencing, or email and all work is submitted to you for review via email, everything at your convenience.

You save time and money and will not miss additional work while going through a difficult time. Contact me to learn how virtual divorce services can help with your divorce or separation.


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.

New Illinois Parentage Laws In 2016

FamilyAmong the specific changes being made to Illinois divorce laws in 2016 are new statues around parentage rights. Key changes are as follows:

NEW PARENTAGE ACT – The Parentage Act of 2015 goes into effect on January 1, 2016, and replaces the Illinois Parentage Act of 1984.

PURPOSE OF NEW ACT – Through this new act, the state of Illinois extends equal rights to every child and parent regardless of marital status and gender. It also extends the marital presumption of parentage to same-sex couples.

SPECIFIC KEY CHANGES TO VOLUNTARY ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF PATERNITY (VAP)

  • The VAP can now be signed before the birth of a child.

  • Any challenges to the VAP must be made with two years and offer clear and convincing evidence around paternity.

  • The VAP form will not be updated by 2016 to include gender-neutral terms. For now, the current form will be used and considered valid.

Issues around child support, custody and paternity can be stressful even in separations or divorce with little or no hostility. As an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney, I successfully use divorce mediation skills and litigation experience to help you resolve these and other issues to the satisfaction of all parties involved.

Contact me for more details.


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.

New Grounds For Illinois Divorce

Erin Birt New Grounds For Illinois DivorceAs of January 1, 2016, Illinois will be streamlining the specific grounds one can use to plead for divorce.

This won’t negate the valid reasons that bring couples to divorce planning, only the way in which a divorce attorney can present them in court.

CURRENT ILLINOIS DIVORCE GROUNDS

At this point in time, lawyers commonly plead just two grounds for divorce: irreconcilable differences and mental cruelty. In my 12 years as a DuPage County divorce lawyer, I have rarely pled anything other than these two grounds in a divorce case.

However, current Illinois grounds for divorce also include:

  • Impotence

  • Bigamy

  • Adultery

  • Desertion for more than one year

  • Habitual drunkenness for two years

  • Excessive use of addictive drugs for more than two years

  • Attempt to take the life of the spouse in a manner that shows malice

  • Extreme and repeated physical or mental cruelty

  • Infecting the partner with a sexually transmitted disease

NEW GROUNDS AS OF 2016

On January 1, 2016, Illinois will have only one ground for divorce: irreconcilable differences. The Court specifically defines this as follows:

  1. Such differences have caused an irretrievable breakdown in the marriage.

  2. Past attempts to resolve the differences have failed.

  3. Future attempts at resolution would not be in the best interests of the individual and the family.

In addition, the new 2016 laws will eliminate the statutory two-year waiting requirement to file for divorce.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN COURT

When viewed in legal context, the list of grounds for divorce in the previous (prior to 2016) divorce act can be understood as irreconcilable differences between two parties. It’s also understood that couples will continue to divorce for any of those legitimate reasons.

The key difference is that regardless of the specific cause(s) the divorce will be pled and introduced in court as simply an irreconcilable difference.

I can help you navigate these new laws and reduce the stress of divorce through family mediation and collaboration techniques. Contact me for details.


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.

New Illinois Divorce Act Benefits Children

Marital agreementIllinois couples with children who are planning a divorce now or in the near future should note that Illinois divorce laws will change on January 1, 2016.

The new Illinois Divorce Act will likely have a significant impact on how your divorce is ultimately resolved.

PURPOSE OF THE NEW LAWS

There are three primary aims of the newly updated Illinois Divorce Act:

  1. To protect children from exposure to conflict and violence during the divorce process;

  2. To recognize and enforce the right of children to continue a healthy relationship with both parents post-divorce;

  3. To expressly uphold that frequent contact with both parents–absent domestic violence or other harmful factors–promotes the healthy development of children.

COURT ENFORCEMENT STRATEGIES

To honor and achieve these stated goals, the Illinois Court will:

  • Promote or order parents to participate in educational programs so they learn how to minimize the negative effects of divorce litigation.

  • Facilitate parental planning discussions, including explicit allocation of parenting time and parental responsibilities, to help reach a mutual agreement about the children’s upbringing after the divorce, including child custody and visitation.

  • Safeguard the continuation of existing parent-child relationships to ensure each parent’s maximum involvement in the well-being of their children.

IMPACT ON YOUR DIVORCE PLANNING

If you want to avoid the impact of these new laws on your divorce, you must ensure that it is finalized by December 31, 2015. Any matter currently pending that has not entered a final judgement before January 1, 2016, and any new matter filed after that date, will need to comply with the updated laws.

An experienced DuPage County divorce attorney trained in divorce mediation can help divorcing or already divorced parents to create an Allocation Judgement that complies with the new Illinois divorce laws as well as the spirit and purpose of the new Divorce Act.

Contact me if you need assistance and support navigating through these restructured laws.


ABOUT ERIN BIRT

Erin_Birt_37033-199x300Illinois 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.

Divorce And Your 401(k)

Broken 401KAlthough it seems unfair, your personal 401(k) retirement plan is considered marital property and, as such, is subject to the same rules as other marital possessions in a divorce.

A recent article by Jerry Shaw on NewsMax.com offered advice on how to ensure this asset is shared equitably between both parties.

UNDERSTAND YOUR PLAN

Once you’re sure about your divorce, talk with your plan administrator as soon as possible. It’s important that both you and your attorney are familiar with your plan’s particular requirements, as asset protection in divorce is often a key point of negotiations.

Shaw states, “The plan may have requirements or options to use when dividing the plan with your spouse. Some plans allow disbursement as soon as the divorce is finalized, but other plans may not allow distributions of any kind until retirement age.”

KNOW YOUR OPTIONS

Understanding your alternatives will help you negotiate a property division outcome that works for both parties. Options for dividing a 401(k) plan can vary and include:

  • Simply splitting the assets equally

  • You keep your plan and replace your spouse’s portion of its value with other marital assets

  • Liquidating only a portion of the assets

  • Rolling over a set amount of the asset into your spouse’s retirement plan

Per IRS regulations, dividing the assets of a 401(k) through a cash payment is a one-time option. “Any additional payouts decided later on would be subject to a 10 percent penalty on the withdrawal. Any distribution from the plan before age 59 and a half is also considered an early withdrawal,” says Shaw.

In addition, any money distributed before retirement age requires an employer to withhold a pre-payment tax of 20 percent on the distribution amount.

HAVE YOUR ATTORNEY CREATE A QDRO

A QDRO, or Qualified Domestic Relations Order, tells your 401(k) plan administrator how to divide up the money according to federal regulations. If needed, your plan administrator will have “model copies” of completed QDRO documents for you to follow.

Both your plan administrator and the presiding judge must sign the completed QDRO, which should then be shared with your attorney and your spouse’s attorney so they’re familiar with your plan details for negotiations on splitting this asset.

Ensure that the QDRO is filed, approved and signed as soon as possible. If the party with the 401(k) plan dies or retires before this happens, the other party could potentially lose any funds due to him or her.

Using family mediation or a collaborative divorce process often results in a win-win for both parties around property division in a divorce, and I am well-experienced in these areas. Contact me to learn how I can help with your situation.


ABOUT ERIN BIRT

Erin_Birt_37033-199x300Illinois 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.

Advice On Divorce–From Those Who Know

Help and support.The HuffPost Divorce page recently presented advice from readers/bloggers on how they made their divorce process and co-parenting situations a bit easier to handle. These are all fairly simple suggestions, yet they can create amazingly beneficial results.

Here is a quick rundown of the tips from the article, “7 Small Things That Can Make Divorce A Little Less Stressful.”

  • KEEP METICULOUS RECORDS – Your divorce attorney will constantly remind you how important this is, especially for child and spousal support One single dad, Jon Vaughan, had so much trouble with this he created Genesis CCM, “a free child custody manager for divorced parents that allows them to keep better records of shared expenses and visitation using any mobile device with Internet access.”

  • USE EMAIL – You find it really hard to talk with your soon-to-be ex-partner but need to share information on kid issues, meeting times, etc. Instead of calling, pull up email to ensure on-going communication. Author Monique Honaman uses something called H.E.A.R. emails that only discuss the children’s Health, Education, Activities, and Reinforcement of Discipline.

  • RE-NAME YOUR EX – No, they’re not talking about anything derogatory. The advice from divorced mom Lisa Dubino is to change your ex’s name to “co-parent” in your cell phone. Dubino says it shifts the focus to your children and helps you view each other as partners in parenting rather than as enemies.

  • CONSIDER THERAPY FOR YOUR KIDS – Laura Lifshitz, a writer and comedian, used play therapy to help her four-year-old daughter work out her feelings about mom and dad’s divorce. The therapist even helps Laura and her ex to be better co-parents.

  • CLEAN HOUSE – This isn’t a trick to manage stress. It’s removing anything in your house–clothes, pictures, knick-knacks–that remind you of a marriage that didn’t work. Writer Katherine Forsythe says you have to be tough on yourself but it will open up space for the new you, literally and figuratively.

  • BE GRATEFUL – Blogger Shelley Wetton continuously thanks her son’s step-mom for the love and care she provides. In this way, she’s creating a cohesive parenting team of blended families that can work together for the good of the children involved.

  • TRY DIVORCE MEDIATION – In the case of journalist Emma Johnson, her ex-husband’s therapist invited Emma to join one of their sessions. However, there are now many attorneys trained in family mediation, collaborative law and divorce planning who can remain impartial while helping clients reach solutions that work for everyone involved.

I’m trained in Illinois Collaborative Divorce Law and have helped hundreds of clients to amicably work through their divorce and co-parenting issues. Contact me to learn what I can do for you.


ABOUT ERIN BIRT

Erin_Birt_37033-199x300Illinois 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.

Helping Adult Children Accept Your Divorce

Portrait Of Family With Adult Son At HomeAlthough you’re not dealing with child custody and visitation issues, a divorce can be just as or even more difficult for grown children than for younger ones.

The good news is that there are a few more ways to successfully help your adult children to accept the situation and move on.

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST

Although this sounds counter-intuitive, it’s actually one of the first and best ways to help your grown kids to move on, says Amanda Nicole in her article on DivorcedMoms.com.

When divorce happens, states Nicole, most parents will put all their focus on ensuring that their kids are okay while ignoring their own feelings and needs. “As a result, they become part of the cause of the same hurt that they are trying to shield their kids from.” Nicole believes in a different approach. “The best thing you can do as a parent for your children is work on being okay yourself.”

Nicole compares it to the situation of putting on your own airplane oxygen mask first so you can then fully help your kids.

BE A ROLE MODEL

By working toward your own acceptance of the divorce and subsequent new beginnings, you show your adult children what it means to manage and navigate through the inevitable difficulties that show up in some way in everyone’s life.

You don’t want your children to “become victims blaming mom and dad for everything that goes wrong in their life, rather than learning to take control of their own lives,” says Nicole.

What’s more, according to Nicole, adult kids “will most likely spend more time with the parent that is less maintenance and drama free; that usually is the one who is healed and is moving on.”

REMEMBER THAT YOUR KIDS ARE ADULTS

In the end, your children are adults and it’s their responsibility to work through their own emotions about the divorce, states Nicole. They should be paying more attention to their own lives and families at this point, anyway.

You can help by being willing to talk with them and not putting them in the middle of issues between you and their other parent.

If you didn’t use collaborative divorce with your spouse (or even if you did), consider using family mediation with your adult children to help all family members understand each other’s feelings and come to some kind of closure.

As a DuPage County Divorce Attorney skilled in the areas of divorce mediation, I can help you, your spouse, and your family to come to terms with this major life change. Contact me for more information.


ABOUT ERIN BIRT

Erin_Birt_37033-199x300Illinois 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.

Teaming Legal and Mediation Services In Your Divorce

conflict resolution cycle illustrationTo get through your divorce with the best concessions in place, hiring a lawyer is always a good idea. To reach those concessions through effective communication and negotiation versus anger and conflict, hiring a lawyer such as a Mediation Consulting Attorney will help you determine those best concessions.

In some situations, the court will specifically require divorce mediation assistance, and a new trend to help you meet your goals is retaining a Mediation Consulting Attorney.

The good news is that currently legal divorce services and mediation services do not have to be separate and distinct during the divorce process. Rather, they can work as a team to help all parties get the results they desire at the end of the marriage.

THE ROLE OF A MEDIATION CONSULTING ATTORNEY

Also known as a Limited Scope Attorney, a Divorce Legal Consultant, or a Collaborative Divorce Attorney, this person helps all parties to come to agreement on the various issues of their particular divorce case. This includes facilitating dialogue, identifying any issues between parties, clarifying points of consensus, preparing a spouse for the mediation sessions and/or divorce litigation, and exploring any and all alternatives to reach a settlement everyone approves.

A Mediator must work equally in the best interests of both parties, does not act as an attorney or advocate for either side, does not provide legal counsel, and does not make any decisions on disputes between the divorcing parties. A Divorce Mediator stays impartial to any one party’s needs and neutral around the results of the collaboration efforts. Hiring a Mediation Consulting Attorney, however, provides you with an advocate for your side and a convenient and timely way to obtain legal advice without disrupting or prolonging the mediation process.

THE ROLE OF THE DIVORCE LAWYER

Unlike the Mediation Consulting Attorney, divorce lawyers are obligated to work for the specific party that hires them, advising them and preparing any required legal documents in preparation for litigation. Lawyers are always partial to the needs of their client and will work to create the best possible outcome for that person. A good Mediation Consulting Attorney, however, also knows the value of mediation, particularly in difficult or contentious divorces and will work with the mediation process, not disrupt or terminate it.

HOW THEY WORK TOGETHER

Working as a collaborative team, lawyers and mediators can help divorcing couples to reach effective agreements. In this scenario, parties can agree to meet with the Mediation Consulting Attorney with both of their lawyers present, with one or the other’s lawyer present, or without either of their lawyers present.

If one party wants to bring a lawyer, the other party is notified of this prior to the mediation session to determine whether that lawyer will also participate.

When necessary, the divorcing parties can agree to bring on other collaborative professionals to help with financial issues, property division, child custody and support matters, or any other situations that need expert assistance to reach a solution. I spend my time networking and collaborating with other divorce professionals so that I can assist my client with building the best team for support and knowledge during the divorce process.

I am available to work as a Mediation Consulting Attorney to fill the gap between mediator and divorce litigation and I can help support you through any aspect of your divorce process. My focus is DuPage, Cook, Will, and Kane Counties, including Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Chicago, Plainfield, Elgin and others.

Contact me for more information on services for your specific area.


ABOUT ERIN BIRT

Erin_Birt_37033-199x300Illinois 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.