To the Editor:
As an attorney who practices in the areas of traditional divorce law and collaborative law, I feel the need to point out that collaborative law is designed to empower divorcing couples by enabling them to retain control over their lives, and the care of their children, rather than placing that power in the hands of attorneys and judges.
Opposition in Illinois to collaborative law, and the passage of the Uniform Collaborative Law Act, is simply evidence of a legal community that feels threatened by change, or fears losing a source of attorney fees.
Collaborative law is far less costly to the client than traditional litigation.
The notion that a client who opts out of the collaborative process is “abandoned” by their attorney portrays the client as a helpless child, unable to make decisions in his or her best interests, who is dependent on an attorney telling the client what decision to make. The clients I have encountered in my practice are mostly quite capable of making decisions for themselves given the appropriate information and legal advice.
Collaborative law is not the right choice for every client, but it is a divorce option that should at least be considered by every divorcing couple who can, at a minimum, agree that they would rather keep some of their money in their own pockets than spend it all on attorney fees.
Tamara A. Marshall