Tagged as Divorce Mediation

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.

 

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.

A Totally New Image Of Divorce

New image of divorceSocial media has become the place to share meaningful life occasions such as birthdays, engagements, marriages…and now divorces.

ENTER “DIVORCE SELFIES”

The growing trend of “divorce selfies” shows newly divorced couples happily together, often outside the courthouse, after finalizing this major life change.

According to a recent article on Mediate.com by Hadassah Fidler, this trend actually represents the changing face of divorce from an angry and bitter separation to a scenario where “emphasis is on conciliatory divorce and mediation,” which is especially important for couples with child custody and visitation concerns.

It’s an outcome most everyone would like, but it doesn’t happen without work.

LOOKING BEHIND THE SMILES

Although divorce selfies give the impression that the divorce planning process was easy and uncomplicated, Ms. Fidler sees them as a statement of successfully navigating a very difficult situation. “It is not saying that there was not a lot of hurt and obstacles to overcome along the way,” says Fidler. “It means that there were, but they were overcome and here we are on the other side.”

These pictures prove that while an amicable divorce is challenging it’s also quite obtainable with the help of divorce mediation professionals.

MANAGING EXPECTATIONS

The expectation of collaborative divorce is that it will be a smooth process with no difficulties or hard feelings, so when these do occur many couples want to give up. A good divorce mediator helps couples to manage their expectations and ultimately announce that they worked through the issues and separated amicably–without a long and expensive court battle.

Ms. Fidler comments that “you are much more likely to come out with a divorce selfie from mediation than you ever will from litigation” because mediation allows “each person to move forward and still retain a civilized workable relationship with their former partner.”

Is your goal to have a cooperative divorce (and maybe post your own divorce selfie)? Contact me to learn how I can help make this happen.


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.

How Divorce Affects College Funding

529 college savings plan theme with textbooks and piggy bankDivorce planning for parents with a child in or on route to college includes navigating some potentially difficult issues to ensure the best possible financial aid benefits.

According to a recent article by Andrea Williams on USNews.com, there are three specific areas that can affect the child’s ability to receive adequate financial aid funding.

OWNING A 529 PLAN

If you and your spouse opened a joint 529 college savings plan, you must decide who will take ownership of the plan after the divorce.

“If one parent becomes the sole owner, he or she will be the only person who can make decisions regarding the use of account funds, so it is important that parents come to a mutual agreement,” says Williams. Divorce mediation can be a huge help in reaching a consensus on this issue.

College aid specialists often recommend that the plan be owned by the non-custodial parent because this person’s income and assets do not need to be included on the FAFSA form when requesting financial aid. If the custodial parent owns the 529 plan, that asset will have to be reported.

Only one person can “control” the plan, but experts say that the non-owning parent should be designated as an authorized user who can see the assets but cannot move them around. The non-owning parent should also be named the “successor owner” on the death of the owner parent.

CLAIMING THE CHILD ON TAXES

The parent who claims the child as a dependent on their annual taxes will receive the available tax reduction as well as any college credits given by the IRS that year. It’s important to take a good look at potential financial implications before making this decision.

For example, a parent who makes too high a salary is not eligible for certain IRS credits so it might make more sense for the lower-earning parent to claim the child and be eligible for financial refunds. Check with the IRS for specific salary thresholds.

CUSTODY DECISIONS

The child custody decision can have an effect on how much financial aid a child can receive. Williams states that “it is the custodial parent’s finances that are used to determine financial aid eligibility – unless the noncustodial parent still resides in the same household. Additionally, if the custodial parent remarries, the new spouse’s finances will be considered also.”

Colleges can also ask for additional financial aid forms and these generally do not require the non-custodial parent’s financial information. So if the potential non-custodial parent makes $40,000 per year and the custodial parent makes $250,000, the child has a better chance at financial aid if the lower-earning parent has custody.

These are very tough, complicated decisions that often cannot be made without the help of a separate party such as a family mediator or collaborative law expert.

If you are a divorcing parent with a child in college, contact me to learn how I can help you make the best possible decisions for the child’s college education.


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 On New Illinois Divorce Laws

A judge?s gavel coming down on a broken heart designFor the past several months, I’ve been providing information on the new Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act that went into effect on January 1, 2016.

Outlined below are a few more important changes from a recent article by P. André Katz and Erin B. Bodendorfer in the Illinois Bar Journal.

This is key information for those in the midst of an Illinois divorce, particularly parties with children.

RESTRICTIONS ON EDUCATIONAL EXPENSES AFTER HIGH SCHOOL

Educational expenses for children continuing beyond high school can be incurred until a student turns 23, but no later, unless for good cause or on the agreement of both parents. However, awards cannot be made under any circumstances once a student is 25 years of age.

Without good cause, the allowed amount for tuition, fees, meals, and housing cannot exceed what is charged for these expenses at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Medical and other living expenses are not part of this capped amount. Students receive this benefit as long as they maintain a “C” average or better.

This provision ends when a student reaches the maximum age allowance, receives a bachelor’s degree, or gets married. However, it will continue if the student becomes pregnant, goes to jail, or joins the military.

When setting the award for post-secondary education, the court can consider how this decision will affect the current and future financial situation of both parties.

SUPPORTING A NON-MINOR CHILD WITH DISABILITIES

Under the new law, the court can now order that awards to support a disabled non-minor child be paid to a trust for the benefit of that child. Parties must apply for this award either when the child is eligible for child support or is eligible for post-secondary educational expenses.

USE OF FINANCIAL EXPERTS

When valuing assets or property, the court may appoint financial experts or other specialists to reduce or eliminate the costs of each party engaging their own professional for the purpose of asset protection in divorce.

MARITAL AGREEMENT MODIFICATIONS

The new law describes what is and is not open for modification in a marital agreement. Decisions on property can never be modified. The following are open to revision based on the requestor showing a major change of circumstances: parental responsibilities, child support, maintenance, and educational expenses. Parties can also decide on modifications of maintenance amounts, time, or both.

These new laws are meant to be more fair and transparent for all parties involved in a divorce. They also provide the opportunity for open discussion so that all parties can come to mutual agreement on various issues. Sometimes, however, parties reach an impasse. When this happens, divorce mediation can often help everyone to reach a consensus.

The professionals of Birt Law are trained in the effective use of family mediation and collaborative law procedures. Contact me to learn how we can help in your specific situation.


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.