Tagged as Family Mediation

A Two-Day Divorce

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

HOW DOES IT WORK?

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

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

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


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

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

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

HOW DO I START?

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

 

ABOUT ERIN BIRT:

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

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

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

Safe And Stress-Free Child Custody Exchanges

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

CHOOSE A NEUTRAL SITE

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

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

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

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

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

SET SOME GROUND RULES

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

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

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

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

USE A THIRD PARTY

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

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

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

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


ABOUT ERIN BIRT

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

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

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

When To Consider An Uncontested Divorce

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

THE CRITICAL ISSUES

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

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

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

REPRESENTATION FOR JUST ONE

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

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

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

WHEN IT’S NOT THE RIGHT CHOICE

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

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

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

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

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

  • Your children have very unusual and specific parenting requirements.

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

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


ABOUT ERIN BIRT

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

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

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

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.

Maintaining A Parenting Plan After A Second Divorce

Parenting Plan Book For Child's Education And UpbringingYour first marriage ended in divorce, but you and your ex used divorce mediation to set up a workable parenting plan for your minor children. Now your second marriage is ending, and your current spouse wants you to rework that initial parenting plan in favor of your current family.

The good news is that you aren’t required to do this as part of your divorce planning. Here’s why.

“FIRST FAMILES FIRST” DOCTRINE

Under Illinois divorce law, and indeed in most states, support owed to a child from a first marriage/relationship does not have to be adjusted in order for a parent to provide support to a child/children from a second relationship.

From the court’s perspective, the second marriage is undertaken with the full knowledge of the existing support obligation and parties must accept that obligation as is. Thus the court will first deduct the support obligation owed to the children of the first marriage before calculating the amount owed to the second family.

Here’s a “real life” example. A man makes $100,000 and pays 20 percent in child support for his first marriage. He marries again, has a second child, and divorces again. The child of the second marriage is also awarded 20 percent, but it is of the remaining income of $80,000, meaning that child would get $16,000 (20 percent of $80,000). The first child’s support will not be affected in any way.

PARENTING PLANS

You worked hard in your first divorce to allocate parenting time and decision making. Perhaps the second divorce is causing an increase in stress within your home and for your children from the first marriage.

Generally, the court will not modify the first parenting plan without a compelling reason. These include mental illness, alcoholism, drug addiction, criminal activity, a troubling environment—in short, anything that can be clearly shown to have a negative effect on a child’s health, safety, and welfare.

Modification of an Allocation Judgment or Parenting Plan, however, will also be considered if both parents agree to the new plan parameters and for other situational factors, all of which consider the child’s best interests. Any modifications should be written, signed by both parents, and entered with the Court.

DIFFICULT DECISIONS

Ending any marriage is difficult, but your second divorce does not have to affect your first parenting plan or allocation judgment, unless you or the court feel it’s in the best interests of the children.

Family mediation and the collaborative divorce process can help divorcing couples resolve their issues to everyone’s satisfaction. Contact me to see how your divorce can benefit from this process.


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 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.

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.