All civil courts in Illinois are now offering and encouraging alternative dispute resolution, particularly in the area of Family Law. Margaret Bennett believes that problem solving and effective negotiation can produce better results than litigation. Few divorce attorneys have experience with all methods of advocacy, from collaborative law and mediation to masterful litigation. If your spouse is not willing to proceed amicably, Ms. Bennett works with skilled litigators that are available to step in and represent your interests in Court.
Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation and Other Family Law Services:
- The Collaborative Divorce Process: The parties and their attorneys sign a Collaborative Law Agreement and agree to negotiate in good faith and in an amicable fashion through a series of meetings with pre-planned agendas to reach settlement on all issues prior to either party filing a Petition.
- The Cooperative Divorce Approach: A cooperative approach to divorce is less formal than the Collaborative Divorce Process but similar in that it centers on a respectful negotiation process, but does not require both attorneys to be specially trained in Collaborative Law, nor prohibits the attorneys from going to court and litigating on their client’s behalf should one of the parties refuse to continue cooperatively with negotiations.
- Uncontested Divorces:Margaret Bennett often represents one spouse and the other spouse represents himself or herself, or retains an attorney to obtain legal advice and review any settlement agreement reached. In uncontested divorces, the parties may have already reached an agreement on their own, or they attended mediation and have a memorandum of understanding from the mediator, and they need an attorney to incorporate their settlement into a Marital Settlement Agreement and handle the finalization or “prove-up” hearing at court to conclude the divorce proceeding.
- High Net Worth Divorce Solutions: There are a myriad of potential problems and challenges in matters of property division, business ownership, and asset/liability division in divorces involving high net worth marital estates. Margaret Bennett is highly skilled in comprehensive financial analysis and how such property should be divided to maximize her client’s present and future financial interests. Collaborative law and the cooperative process provide structure and guidelines that allow the parties and their respective counsels to reach solutions and equitable divisions of the estate without court intervention.
- Mediation: Margaret Bennett is a qualified attorney mediator and offers the following types of mediation:
- Divorce Mediation: Divorce mediation involves meeting with both parties to a divorce to help them resolve issues relating to property allocation, custody, child support, parenting time, spousal maintenance and other issues divorcing couples must decide.
- Financial Divorce Mediation: Margaret Bennett has mediated financial issues for parties to a divorce in a non-binding, confidential process to assist the parties in identifying and exploring possible financial solutions that will satisfy the interests of all parties and thereby facilitate resolution of issues in dispute that may include complex financial scenarios, complex employee benefit plans, division of retirement plans and pensions, and recognizing tax considerations.
- Court-Appointed Mediation: Margaret Bennett is a Family Court Mediator with the DuPage County court system. Many couples who have filed for a divorce in Illinois are required by a judge to attend mediation to try and work out any child custody issues or conflicts over property division through mediation.
- Parentage Mediation: Margaret Bennett offers unmarried parents an opportunity to discuss and develop a detailed visitation and parenting plan that meets the individual needs of their child, through the process of mediation. She will also work with the parents to reach a comprehensive agreement on child support and other child related expenses.
- Pre-Marital Mediation and Pre/Post Nuptial Agreements: Margaret Bennett can help engaged couples by mediating the goals and content of a pre-nuptial agreement. Pre-nuptial agreement mediation allows couples to work together through non-threatening, informal discussions to develop an agreement that they both believe is fair before a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement is drafted.