We periodically feature our members (Fellows) to help you learn more about them, Collaborative divorce, and our organization.
Name: Marie Sarantakis
Profession: Divorce Attorney
Title: Principal Attorney of Sarantakis Law Group, Ltd.
Where do you practice Collaborative Divorce (i.e. in what geographical area)?
I participate in collaborative divorces cases in Cook, DuPage, Kane, McHenry, and Will counties.
What drew you to become a Collaborative Divorce Professional?
As a litigator I would often see a very dark side of humanity. People at their lowest low and treating each other in a very ugly manner. I knew there had to be a better way. In hindsight those who went through contentious legal battles, often were remorseful for proceeding in such a manner. I was drawn towards Collaborative work in order to help parties divorce in a more healthy and less costly manner.
What do you find rewarding about practicing Collaborative Divorce?
I find it rewarding to help clients divorce with dignity. I feel satisfaction in having done a good job when former spouses can continue to communicate in a respectful manner long after their case concludes.
How does the Collaborative Process address clients’ financial issues?
In Collaborative law, spouses agree to be completely transparent about their finances, including all assets and debts. This is different from traditional litigation where it is costly to request, obtain, and produce voluminous records. A great deal of attorneys’ fees are expended at this stage in litigation. By agreeing to work together and be completely transparent, ultimately the parties will be able to have a larger marital estate to divide.
What makes Collaborative Divorce a better choice than litigation?
In Collaborative divorce you retain control over the process and outcome of your divorce. Your matter remains private and you and your spouse agree to part amicably and with respect for your marriage and one another. If you have children, you will invariably need to communicate with your spouse for years to come. The collaborative process empowers you to be able to work with your spouse to come to resolutions despite the change in your personal dynamics.
What are you most looking forward to in the following year, personally/professionally?
I am writing a book on Narcissistic Personality Disorder and how it impacts divorce matters which I intend on publishing in the coming year. This disorder is very insidious and has a lasting traumatic effect on victims. I hope to empower survivors of abuse and provide them with comfort and guidance on how to regain power and independence in divorce proceedings.