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Affleck and Garner: The poster couple for amicable divorce?

During their two-year separation, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner continued to care for their children as a couple and even took vacations together as a family. Now that they officially filed for divorce, everyone is expecting it to be just as amicable. Couples here in Illinois and elsewhere might consider following their example and avoid a traditional adversarial divorce.

One option that continues to gain popularity is collaborative divorce. The parties agree to work together to come to an amicable settlement. In order to help secure the commitment to the process, each party's attorney agrees that if the couple cannot come to an agreement, the attorneys will not represent them in court. This gives everyone a stake in making sure that the process results in an agreement with which everyone is satisfied.

The process allows the couple to maintain control of their lives and their futures since they make the decisions, not a judge. The parties decide what arrangements and agreements work best for their family. Thinking can be outside the statutory box that judges are often bound by. The parties can acknowledge their feelings, but those feelings cannot interfere with the process since emotions such as anger, resentment and hurt often sabotage any chance of reaching an amicable resolution to their issues.

Illinois couples who want to avoid an expensive, contentious and time-consuming divorce might consider using collaborative divorce. Before embarking on the process, however, it would be beneficial to discuss the option with an attorney as well as the other party. If everyone agrees to the rules of the process, this could provide each party with the chance to move forward and walk away with a satisfactory, fair and equitable settlement.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Amicable Divorce: Not Always an Oxymoron (just ask Ben & Jen)", Nicole H. Sodoma, April 14, 2017

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