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Our View: Ill. bills aiming to ease divorce process helpful

Published: Monday, April 8, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

Although death and taxes are inevitabilities, among the newly married, the odds of divorce can be more of a coin flip.

According to U.S. Census data, about 45 percent of DeKalb County residents older than 15 are in married relationships, a little more than 8 percent are divorced. Including people so young in the numbers might skew the data some, but that’s how the Census bureau does it.

Does that mean a large portion of couples in the county will wind up in divorce court at some point? Actually, Illinois had one of the country’s lowest divorce rates in 2011, when there were 2.6 divorces for every 1,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Although marriage is a key family institution, divorce is a reality for many.

And when it comes to divorce, whether the legal issues are about dividing marital assets or child custody, they can be difficult to navigate, contentious and expensive.

Part of that is because divorce is more emotionally charged than a lot of other legal matters.

Two bills, House Bill 1029 and Senate Bill 31, are trying to establish the Uniform Collaborative Law Act to help resolve divorce disputes through collaboration outside of the courtroom.

We think the ideas behind the legislation make sense.

We encourage thoughtful approaches to resolving such disputes.

Any approach that would move divorce matters along more efficiently and with fewer court appearances is of benefit to all parties involved.

Litigation is costly both for the individual parties and the public, not to mention time-consuming and aggravating.

When children are at the center of disputes, the process also can be damaging for the entire family.

Other states have passed similar laws, including Hawaii, Nevada, Ohio, Texas and Utah.

No one gets married planning for a divorce, and few anticipate the level of acrimony that can follow a breakup.

But everyone deserves a reasonable resolution, which is what this legislation hopes to provide.

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