Divorcing couples in Illinois might want to consider taking a collaborative approach to the process that focuses on leaving them both financially stable after the divorce is final. This is a growing trend among couples, and it often starts with hiring a financial planner.

The financial planner may be one part of a person’s divorce team that also includes an attorney and family for emotional support. With this team, the person may feel more prepared to move into negotiations. It is important to remember that this stage is not just about dealing with assets such as a home and vehicles. A number of other matters will need to be addressed such as what to do about the car insurance and which parent will pay for a child’s medical insurance. Rushing into a settlement may not be good for a person both emotionally and financially, so it is best to take adequate time to explore options.

Divorces can cost as much as $15,000 or more in legal fees. Many financial experts say the collaborative approach is a better option to costly and stressful litigation, and some people who have gone into a divorce collaboratively say they believe they are more financially secure as a result.

One thing people may want to consider during negotiations is whether one person has more earning power than the other and thus is likely to be more financially stable after the divorce. For example, a lower-earning spouse may want to keep the home, but costs such as upkeep, insurance and taxes might make that unrealistic. If the lower-earning spouse is the main caregiver and has custody of the children, the couple may want to work out a way for that parent and the children to remain in the family home so that the children’s lives are less disrupted. The higher-earning spouse may be required to pay both alimony and child support.