“You renewed my faith in the world of divorce attorneys/mediators. It takes a very special kind of person to work in a field that can be so litigious and conflictual and yet approach it with complete integrity and compassion for each individual’s complex experience. I’m thrilled you’re out there.”

—LF, Psychotherapist

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Brigitte Schmidt Bell, P.C. is one of the only “fully Collaborative” law firms in the Chicago area. The firm was founded by Brigitte Bell, a nationally recognized pioneer in both Collaborative Law and mediation who is annually included in the Best Lawyers of America in Collaborative Family Law. While we specialize in family law and divorce, we also have expertise in elder law, adoption, and prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.

In traditional litigation, clients spend considerable time and money opposing each other in a combative atmosphere, ultimately giving control over the outcome to a judge. Our Collaborative approach is, instead, a client-centered process that replaces combat with cooperation and judicial decisions with client self-determination.  We encourage and support clients to work together to find creative solutions to the unique problems and issues of their particular situation. Every day, in every case, we practice law this way, with this focus, and we find that our clients are far more satisfied – during and at the end of the process – than those who face each other as enemies in the courthouse and afterward.

Our Collaborative and mediation clients present us with a variety of disputes including highly complex cases with complicated financial holdings, special or unique parenting challenges, complicated relationship and civil union cases, as well more straightforward situations.  Whether the issues are simple or complex, we understand that the process of redefining and changing a relationship structure is difficult, and we work with a variety of experts including psychologists, coaches, child specialists, and financial experts and planners who are also trained Collaboratively to assist and support our clients in a team approach to problem-solving.

Each of our attorneys is a Fellow of the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois, an experienced mediator, and a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. In both our Collaborative Law and mediation practices, we pride ourselves in creating and supporting a non-adversarial, problem-solving approach that fosters respect and self-determination and results in long-lasting solutions allowing clients to leave the divorce arena prepared to move forward more confidently and optimistically into the next phase of their lives.