Couples and families need help in staying together and sometimes in splitting up in a peaceable way. As an attorney, psychologist, and mediator, Dr. Petrich is especially equipped to promote emotional safety and to support families in making decisions for their future lives. As a therapist, Gail works with families and couples to find wise solutions for their work and relationship difficulties. In mediation, she helps families and couples reach financial and parenting agreements that their own lawyers will approve and enter in Court. In Collaborative Divorce, she acts as attorney, coach, child specialist, parent coordinator, or communication specialist. With offices in Cook and DuPage Counties, Dr. Petrich is trained in child-custody evaluations, high-conflict personalities, and crisis management. She has worked in family law over ten years and in couple and individual therapy over ten years.
Divorce will always be with us. Families, however, are choosing a new way of doing divorce that is more constructive, less contentious, more private, more empowering, and less adversarial. In Collaborative Divorce and usually with the help of a team of professionals, the clients are more in control of the process and make their own decisions for their family’s future lives.
Collaborative Practice is based on the following three principles:
- An agreement not to go to court
- A transparent exchange of information between both spouses
- A solution based on the individual priorities of the entire family.
The hallmark of the collaborative divorce is that the two attorneys agree to resign if the couple decides 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. Often more cost-effective than litigation, the collaborative process is structured according to the emotional needs of the family, rather than the time constraints and sometimes overwhelming procedures and paperwork of the legal process. While the attorneys inform the divorcing couple about what might happen in court, the court is not making decisions for the family. The only court appearance is at the end of the process when the judge approves the agreements, and they are entered. The entire process feels safer to clients who are able to be open and honest and want to treat each other with dignity and respect. It is important to remember also that none of the information used to reach a settlement can be used later in court, except by the agreement of the parties.
When a couple enters into the collaborative agreement, they usually also choose an expanded team. Divorce coaches, child specialists and financial consultants can all support the couple and assist them in determining what is most important for their future.
Divorce will always be a serious life event for any family, but Collaborative Practice provides a way for spouses to minimize the pain, and begin to feel complete again.