We periodically feature our members (Fellows) to help you learn more about them, Collaborative divorce, and our organization.
Name: Anne Prenner Schmidt
Title: Attorney/Employee Benefits Specialist
What do you find rewarding about practicing Collaborative Divorce?
Not participating in a litigated process. The fact that I can help people realize that there is a different way to work through the dissolution process, whether that be through mediation or collaboration, to provide equally positive results without all of the acrimony, is incredibly rewarding.
What should clients know about you as a Collaborative Divorce professional?
That within the realm of Collaborative Divorce, I work not only as a collaborative consultant, but also on Qualified Domestic Relations Orders, ERISA, employee benefits, and LGBTQ and same-sex marriage matters. I believe this versatility allows me to handle my cases in a client-first manner that prioritizes the client’s wellbeing and whatever route is best for their particular situation.
What tips do you have for couples considering divorce?
I would advise couples considering divorce to educate themselves in all options available to them to dissolve their marriage to determine what is best for their family. I would tell them that Collaborative Divorce is a respectful divorce alternative to litigation, but that it is not for everyone. I would inquire that they ask themselves the hard question, “are they committed to divorcing amicably, and do they think their spouse will be equally committed?” If the answer is yes, I would suggest they find a Collaboratively trained professional on Collaborative Divorce Illinois website: https://collablawil.org/professionals/ and schedule a consultation to fully understand the process and their options.
What is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative Divorce is a method designed to meet the emotional and financial needs of the family first. Ultimately, Collaborative Divorce is based on the following three principles:
1. An agreement not to go to court
2. A transparent exchange of information between both spouses
3. A solution based on the individual priorities of the family
The hallmark of Collaborative Divorce is that the two attorneys representing the spouses agree to no longer work with the couple if they decide to proceed in court. From the beginning, the couple and attorneys are committed to settling the case – and all four have a financial incentive to do so.
How is the Collaborative Process different than litigation or mediation?
Divorce can be one of the most difficult and emotional periods in life. Compounding that stress with needless and costly litigation only heightens emotion and can make divorce into an ugly process. Collaborative Practice, on the other hand, is structured to meet the emotional and financial needs of the family, without the time constraints and sometimes overwhelming procedures and paperwork of the litigation process.
Master of Laws, Employee Benefits
Mediator, Collaborative Attorney
1736 1st Street | Highland Park, IL 60035
Office: (847) 926-7679 | Mobile: (312) 208-7389