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When would you recommend mediation or litigation over a collaborative divorce?

Chicago, IL |

I am in the middle of one started by my spouse. He doesn't cooperate when I'm trying to talk to him (won't coordinate or consider my plans in anything). I'm wondering if I'm wasting my time.

What criteria do you look for? Can a collaborative divorce work with a stubborn, uncooperative person?

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Attorney answers 5


Collaboration is not a process for most people and has not aught on in most of Illinois. It requires many experts to all handle separate portions of the case and then all the summaries are brought to the lawyers for drafting. This is a simplification, but basically that;s what it's about.

Mediation is a process where a disinterested but trained third person sits in the room with parties and tries to get them to come to an agreement over disputed matters - usually about the kids. The mediator does not represent either side and cannot advocate for either side.

Most of the time, it is best to avoid the extra cost and time of collaborators and if not needed, mediators either. I am certified in both processes and still prefer negotiating on behalf of my clients as a plain and simple lawyer.

Hire a good lawyer.


Consult with an IL family law attorney. The processes all have pros and cons. The attorney can walk you through each in depth.

Disclaimer: This email message in no way creates an attorney client relationship between Majeski Law, LLC and the recipient. Responses are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. You should consult a lawyer regarding any specific legal matter.


I suggest you need a divorce lawyer. You case will be negotiated between the lawyers. If you have custody issues then you use a mediator, I am not a big believer in the collaborative process. That to me just adds cost to the process and in your case it would not work. You spouse doesn't even want tp talk to you about the issues. You need a lawyer to represent you. That does not mean it has to get litigated just that it could if needed to. Less than 5% of the cases actually go to trial.

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Peggy M. Raddatz

Peggy M. Raddatz


Your your to



thanks. thats what i think. He started this and I am 4K into the process. but if he cant even return my calls or talk to me reasonably why would this work? He talked me into it, but it seems like it might work better for him, than me. i am the primary parent and always have been, he is the bread winner and has mental health issues which he denies. since he is denial i dont know how to collaborate around that issues she he denies it. Where as in court he can be forced to have a psych evaluation. Also the collaboration seems to take forever. I want to move out as soon as possible and this process locks me in.

Peggy M. Raddatz

Peggy M. Raddatz


yes he was trying to take advantage of you


Collaborative law hasn't really taken off in IL the way it has in other states (like CA and CO). The main reasons for that are

1) when the collaborative law rage started out west, IL changed its laws and many court rules to essentially obviate the advantages of the collaborative law process (for example, financial disclosures are required (they say ". . . are made voluntarily") in the collaborative process and the court rules in nearly every county in IL now require essentially the same thing; another example is the way the court system is quick to get a temporary arrangement set up to make sure the kids are taken care of and the bills get paid and things start to calm down -- that was one of the big selling point of the collaborative process but the courts now handle it immediately in most cases where there is any conflict; and

2) the economy crashed and practically no one has the kind of estate that justifies much of a fight, anymore. The big attraction of collaborative divorce was that it held the promise of reducing the acrimony and lowering costs. But that's largely moot, now, because there aren't the sorts of things left to fight about, (much) anymore. In the olden days a couple might have had an estate worth a few million dollars, an annual income of a few hundred thousand dollars, and a couple of kids attending private school or involved in some expensive extra-curricular. These days, a typical case involves at least one unemployed party, a home under water, a lot of debt . . . and not much else. Unless the case has sizable assets and a lot of potential for acrimony, the collaborative process ends up being more expensive than just having the attorneys prepare the case the usual way and resolve it by agreement the usual way.

Back to your question: I think you're saying that you're presently involved in a collaborative divorce . . . but you also say that he won't really talk in a collaborative way with you at home. What's going on? Do you have an attorney? is there a case on file with the court? You should have an attorney and you and your attorney should get a case on file. Things will start to fall into place very quickly and you'll almost certainly (like, 98% chance) have an agreement in short order.


If you have a stubborn non-cooperative person, they can walk all over their attorney and cause a big long fight anyways. Very many cases settle, but in the event it won't or can't, then you need someone to look out for you.
Good luck,

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