I BelieveDivorce court is no place for a divorce.
About Richard Kulerski
I am a veteran divorce lawyer with over 45 years of courtroom experience. I am a partner in a Chicago suburban law firm, and a staunch believer in the non-court/settlement approach to divorce.
Our divorce legal system has traditionally been adversarial. Here’s what my on-line thesaurus associates with the word “adversarial”: hostile, antagonistic, conflicting, opposing, nail-biting, nerve-racking, scary, intimidating, menacing, frightening, chilling, macabre, terrifying, bloodcurdling. Perhaps these words are somewhat overkill, but it is no wonder the divorce legal system has the reputation that it does.
For the past century or so, and until just recently, the adversarial method has been the only way to process a divorce case. Now, however, we have two additional methods of dealing with divorces: mediation and collaborative law. These are two different dispute resolution models that share the same purpose and philosophy. They help people who are in conflict to create their own resolution in an orderly, court-less, non-threatening, and sensible way. No one ever goes to court except for the routine entry of papers that reflect what the parties agreed to. These two non-adversarial settlement models are by far the best thing to ever happen to the divorcing public.
This is the part where I get off my soap box and back to my bio. In the late 1990’s, I took some mediation training, and became instantly hooked. I went on a crusade to learn more about it. I received Advanced Mediation training at Harvard’s Law School (then ranked 1st in the nation in dispute resolution training) and at Pepperdine Law School (then rated 2nd in the nation in dispute resolution training). It turns out, in my opinion, that the modern mediation techniques which are practiced today are based on the negotiation principles that have been taught at Harvard Law’s Program for Instruction for Lawyers as early as 1981. Consequently, this led me back to Harvard for Negotiation and Advanced Negotiation training.
In the early 2000’s, collaborative law came to Illinois, and I returned to Pepperdine Law School for its Collaborative Law training. As mediation was becoming a household word, collaborative law was able to ride on its coattails, and it hit the ground running. It continues to grow by leaps and bounds. These two non-court processes greatly reduce the cost, length, and pain of the divorce process and it is upon these alternate methods that I now focus my practice.
It is the belief of my office that going to divorce court should be a last resort. While we still go to trial when necessary, we make early settlement a priority in every case. Reasonable soon-to-be ex-spouses should not have to go through the same divorce system that the fighters have clogged up. Your divorce should not cost more than your wedding, and we do everything we can to prevent that from happening.