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Another approach to divorce

Illinois courts, like those all across the country, often function at full capacity. With the sheer number of legal disputes heard in state courtrooms on any given day, it can be easy to see how they can get backed up now and then. Though, that's little consolation for the thousands of people that find themselves navigating through the legal system each year. Divorce litigation may at least begin to move along a bit more smoothly if new legislation is passed into law. And while that alone is a promising prospect for many, there's also hope that the proposed bills will ease the burden on separating couples and their families.

Currently, the majority of divorce proceedings in Illinois are structured around standards known as the Collaborative Participation Agreement. Opponents of this type of contract argue that it can be less effective since guidelines set in such an agreement are often altered, which compromises the overall process.

One alternative to the more conventional method is something called the Uniform Collaborative Law Act (UCLA), which is a more structured and consistent approach to settling disputes, according to advocates. Several states across the union have already enacted the UCLA. Proponents of the Act note that it promotes a healthier, more productive type of bargaining between divorcing couples. Under the UCLA, both parties are encouraged to listen to the other's expectations and needs in an effort to come to an agreement that is mutually beneficial.

The UCLA is comprised of two bills that will be voted upon by the state House of Representatives and Senate this spring. Those in favor of the new legislation hope it may promote conflict resolution and empowerment for those filing for divorce in Illinois.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Lake in the Hills Woman Advocates for Bill That Would Help Reduce Divorce's Emotional, Financial Toll," Matt Baron, March 21, 2013

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