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Divorce Mediation and Collaborative Divorce

Marriages can be dissolved in several different ways: traditional litigation, representing oneself (pro se), mediation, and collaborative divorce. Traditional litigation involves both parties retaining their own lawyers to be their advocates and advisors, but it tends to be quite costly, and scheduling a case according to the court calendar can delay the dissolution. Representing oneself is inexpensive but to act without legal advice in such an important matter can have serious long-term effects on one's life. Mediation is suitable for couples wanting to have control over their divorce and who would like to discuss the issues of their case with a neutral third party. Collaborative divorce involves an attorney on each side but everyone agrees not to go to court; the four participants negotiate the case themselves, with the occasional assistance of neutral experts such as child representatives, Certified Divorce Financial Analysts, appraisers, etc.

Mediation is private, confidential, and results in a "custom-fit" divorce, unlike a cookie-cutter case. Full disclosure must be provided by both sides. The mediator can only provide information, not advice, but is able to facilitate the discussion of any issues relevant to the divorce, such as custody, parenting, and financail matters. Mediation tends to be quicker and cheaper than other types of divorce. Both parties should also retain attorneys in order to write up required court documents and to review the agreement for legal reasons.

Sara A Stolberg, CFP, CDFA, has received training from the prestigious Northwestern University mediation program. Sponsored by the Association for Conflict Resolution, the course is required for certification in several states. (Illinois does not certify mediators.) Ms. Stolberg's divorce mediation practice currently has a 100% rate of success; that is, all cases have been completed and the couples are divorced using the agreement she mediated. She also advises participants who are using another mediator.

Ms. Stolberg is also a frequent participant in collaborative divorce cases. As a neutral divorce financial expert, she assists the couple in creating budgets, settlements, and advises them on the tax implications of the proposals. She is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and is a Fellow of the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois.

For more information on the various methods of getting divorced and how to choose the right one for you, contact Sara Stolberg at (847) 325-5554 or by e-mail today.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and federally registered CFP (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete initial and ongoing certification requirements.