Category Family Law

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.

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.

Key Questions To Achieve The Goals Of Your Divorce

White conceptual keyboard - Legal advice (blue key)Hiring the right lawyer can be a critical decision in any legal matter, but it can be invaluable in your divorce planning–especially if the process will include some type of family mediation or collaboration.

In a recent article on Mediate.com, mediator Justin Kelsey outlines some effective questions to ask yourself about your desired outcomes as well as what to ask an attorney you’re looking to hire.

DETERMINE YOUR GOALS

According to Kelsey, you really should understand what results you want or expect before you meet with a lawyer/mediator. As he puts it, “If the lawyer doesn’t value or agree with your goals, then you are guaranteed to have a negative experience in your case.”

To that end, he suggests asking yourself:

  • What’s the most important issue you want to address?

  • Do you have certain outcomes in mind for specific situations like property division?

  • How do you hope your life will look when the legalities are over?

  • Do you have specific hopes/desires for other people involved in your case, especially in situations of child and spousal support?

  • Why are you deciding to work with an attorney, a mediator, or both?

ENSURE THE ATTORNEY IS A GOOD FIT

Once you know your own objectives, Kelsey advises that you find out if the attorney is right for your situation with questions like:

  • Do you understand and can you support my objectives?

  • What are some of the ways we could achieve my goals?

  • How would your role change if I hired you as an attorney/a mediator/both?

  • What are your strategies for conflicting situations, i.e. reducing tension versus obtaining the best outcome?

  • How will you handle disagreements we may have over the best way to achieve my desired outcomes?

“Going through any type of family dispute can be extremely stressful,” says Kelsey, “and you want to find an attorney that reduces that stress by understanding you and your goals.”

As an experienced divorce attorney and mediator, I understand how connecting with your goals is critical to making them happen. Contact me for more information on how I can help you achieve your desired divorce outcomes.


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.

Are Limited Scope Services Right For Your Divorce?

Day in CourtIf the cost of an attorney is keeping you from finalizing your Illinois divorce, Limited Scope representation could help you complete the process effectively without spending more than you would like or can afford.

In short, you’re hiring a lawyer to help you represent yourself.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Choosing limited scope representation means that you will handle some the responsibilities of your divorce case while your attorney performs other tasks, and you are only billed for the things your attorney handles. Here are some examples.

  • Your lawyer would prepare certain pieces of evidence and you would present them in court.

  • You gather financial records or other data; your attorney drafts the paperwork for the court.

  • The attorney coaches you on appearing in court by yourself or just advises you on how to handle the simpler aspects of your case.

  • You draft certain documents and your divorce lawyer reviews/edits them.

There are a variety of options available based on your time and budget restrictions and your attorney’s advice for your specific case.

If you choose this type of service, take note. You must be ready to share all the details of your case with the attorney—including things you want to handle yourself as well as any issues you have with organization, negotiation, and public speaking. This avoids any complications arising later in the case that could require more of your attorney’s time and cost you more money.

WHAT CASES ARE BEST FOR THIS PROCESS?

Any case that is time-intensive, not overly technical, and/or has just a few issues that can be divided between you and your attorney is a good match. You’re paying for your lawyer’s time, so it makes sense to have him or her in a situation that uses time most effectively.

Family mediation and collaborative law cases often work well with limited representation for just this reason. You can choose to wait at court rather than paying your attorney to do so. That leaves your budget available for your lawyer to coach you on handling more law-intensive issues or to handle them for you if you’re at all uncomfortable.

WHERE CAN I FIND A LIMITED SCOPE ATTORNEY?

As a trained DuPage County Divorce Attorney, I can provide limited scope representation for your situation. Contact me for more details.

You can also contact your local County Bar Association for local referrals if our office is unable to assist 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.

Recent Illinois Divorce Maintenance And Child Custody Rulings

divorce decreeSummarized below are two recent court rulings involving spousal maintenance and child custody issues in two Illinois divorce cases.

SPOUSAL MAINTENANCEIn re Marriage of Roberts

After 37 years of marriage, a public school teacher filed for dissolution of marriage from her husband, a disabled pharmacist. When determining spousal maintenance, the trial court ruled to divide the wife’s pension plan equally between both parties but denied the wife’s request for spousal maintenance. The court did not include the husband’s Social Security disability benefits as part of the decision, citing that these benefits cannot be considered in property division.

The wife filed a motion for the court to reconsider this, stating that this ruling would cause her financial hardship upon retirement because it would prevent her from having the same standard of living she achieved during the marriage, while her husband would have the ability to pay. She requested that the pension money be awarded solely to her or, if split with her husband, that he pay monthly maintenance to her equal to the amount he would receive from pension plan. When the trial court denied this motion, the wife filed an appeal.

The appellate court ruled that the trial court was correct in not considering the husband’s Social Security benefits in marital property division. However, Social Security benefits can be used in determining a maintenance award, and “the trial court abused its discretion in denying petitioner maintenance outright and not reserving the issue of maintenance until a later date.”

They reversed the trial court’s order denying maintenance and ruled that when the wife retires the court must consider the value of her husband’s Social Security benefits in determining the amount of maintenance that she will receive.

CHILD CUSTODYHeisterkamp v. Pacheco

In this case, a father filed a malpractice suit against the clinical psychologist appointed by the court as an expert in the father’s divorce proceedings. The psychologist diagnosed the father with obsessive-compulsive disorder. The father contended that this “diagnosis deviated from the standard of care in clinical psychology and, as a direct and proximate result, [he] lost custody of his children.”

The father claimed that the psychologist was appointed only to advise the court of his children’s wishes around child custody and visitation, and the psychologist exceeded this role by seeking and being granted approval to force the father into psychological testing.

In the end, the court ruled against the father and in favor of the psychologist stating that the “[psychologist] acted at the direction of the court in the dissolution proceedings and [is] entitled to absolute immunity regardless of whether the direction given was proper under section 604(b)” of the Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.

These two cases highlight the hardships–legal fees, time in court, family disruption–that can often be avoided by using settlement-based divorce practices such as family mediation or collaboration in the divorce process.

If you’d like to reduce or prevent these types of difficulties in your divorce, 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.

More Court Involvement in Illinois Parenting Agreements

Cropped image of male judge signing document at desk against black backgroundDoes the joint parenting agreement from your Illinois divorce need updating? It might, based on several new family and divorce laws taking effect in 2016.

Parents who are already divorced or still in the process of divorce planning should be aware of how these changes will affect them and of the potential for more court involvement in post-divorce parenting arrangements.

RE-DEFINED PARENTING ORDERS

After January 1, 2016, a parenting order will be referred to as an “allocation judgment.” Under the new laws, the Court can allocate parenting plan rulings (formerly called visitation) and can also assign specific parenting and decision-making responsibilities to each party. These include:

  • Education
  • Religion
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Nutritional needs
  • Bedtime/wake-up routines
  • Illness and injury care
  • Hygiene, grooming, dressing
  • Ensuring attendance at activities
  • Transportation
  • Protection of child’s safety

MODIFIED PARENTING PLANS

In addition, any changes or modifications by the Court to a parenting plan or allocation judgment will now be considered and determined by a preponderance of evidence rather than the higher standard of clear and convincing proof.

This means that the Court will be involved in many more parenting issues than before, which may help some parents but may also be an invasion of privacy to others.

MAKING USE OF MEDIATION

Developing a professional relationship with a divorce mediator or attorney can help separated parents maintain control and privacy and prevent over-involvement of the court in the parenting of their children.

My practice offers family mediation and collaborative divorce services by trained professionals. We show divorced parents how to work as a team to reduce or eliminate the Court’s involvement in their parenting duties. 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.

New Laws For Post-Divorce Child Relocation

Traveler's suitcases.Post-divorce custodial parents and children looking to relocate inside or outside of Illinois should be aware of new laws and procedures for this situation effective in 2016.

See the brief outline below, and consider reviewing your specific circumstances with a qualified Illinois divorce attorney and/or employing divorce mediation.

  • Up to now, a post-divorce move out of Illinois with a child has been termed “Removal.” The new law now defines this issue as “Relocation.”

  • Previously, parents and children could relocate anywhere within Illinois without Court approval. Quite often, however, this action negatively affected visitation options between the non-custodial parent and the child, resulting in the following changes:

    • For residents of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, or Will Counties who will move more than 25 miles from their current location, a visitation/parenting agreement must be reached between the parties or a Court petition filed requesting the right to relocate.

    • For residents of all other Illinois counties, the above actions are required for moves of 50 miles or more.

  • The parent seeking to relocate with a child must provide the other parent with a 60-day written notice of the intent to relocate.

All of this means that the relocating parent must be very prepared and take action well before this planned post-divorce modification.

A qualified DuPage County divorce attorney can help ensure that notice of this child relocation is properly written and sent within the required time frame and that any petition filed or agreement reached complies with the new 2016 divorce and parentage laws.

As a divorce lawyer trained in family mediation, I can help you navigate these new laws so your relocation is a positive experience for everyone involved. Contact me to learn more.


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.

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.

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.