Calabrese Associates, P.C.

Call Us630-393-3111

4200 Cantera Drive, Suite 200 | Warrenville, IL 60555

New Law Provides Guidelines for Collaborative Negotiations

 Posted on September 21, 2017 in Divorce

New Law Provides Guidelines for Collaborative NegotiationsIllinois recently approved the Collaborative Process Act, which outlines the collaborative law process of negotiating divorce and family law issues. Collaborative law is a relatively new form of alternative dispute resolution that incentivizes cooperation and open sharing of information. Both sides and their legal counsels sign an agreement in advance, stating that the counsels will withdraw from the case if a resolution is not reached. Advocates for the process believe Illinois’ new law will increase awareness and encourage its use by establishing standards and guidelines. The act, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, describes the requirements and limitations of the collaborative process.

Approved Subjects

The law defines terms relating to the collaborative process, including which issues qualify as collaborative process matters:

  • Marriage and divorce;
  • Legal separation:
  • Division of property;
  • Allocation of parental responsibilities;
  • Child and spousal support;
  • Pre- and post-marital agreements;
  • Adoption; and 
  • Parentage.

A collaborative process matter does not include any cases involving investigations of child abuse or neglect.


The collaborative process will not begin until both sides have signed a collaborative process participation agreement. According to the law, the agreement must:

  • Identify the parties and lawyers participating in the process;
  • Explain the matter in dispute; and
  • State that the parties agree to discharge their lawyers if the process fails.

The agreement can contain other provisions, as long as they do not conflict with the collaborative process.

Reaching a Conclusion

The collaborative process ends when both sides sign an agreement on the matter or when the negotiations fail. The sides may present a partial settlement, with a written agreement that other matters will not be resolved in the process. The sides may also request a court review of a potential agreement before completing negotiations. The process may end without a resolution if:

  • One party notifies the other of his or her intention to terminate the process;
  • A party takes legal action on the disputed issue that is outside of the process;
  • A lawyer withdraws or is discharged from the process without a replacement; or
  • The issue being negotiated no longer qualifies as a collaborative process matter.

Who Should Use Collaborative Law?

You cannot be forced to participate in an alternative dispute resolution process such as collaborative law. The collaborative process relies upon both sides voluntarily sharing and updating information related to the matter in contention. Some divorcing spouses cannot work together to the extent required for such negotiations. A DuPage County divorce attorney at Calabrese Associates, PC, can advise you on whether collaborative law is a smart option for your case. To schedule a consultation, call 630-393-3111.


Share this post:
Back to Top