Collaborative law gives two parties that are divorcing the opportunity to achieve a negotiated settlement to issues such as child custody and visitation. It is an alternative to the traditional litigated divorce, which sometimes takes longer to settle and may also cost more. Collaborative law is all about interest-based negotiations for the purposes of divorce.
Collaborative Law Process
It is a voluntary process where the parties seeking a divorce, their lawyers, and other neutral professionals or experts work together as a team. The neutral experts that may be involved in the process include:
- A psychologist
- Property appraisers
- Financial planners and,
These experts are jointly retained by both parties to avoid any suspicion of bias. They deliberately work as a team because they recognize that adversarial dispute resolutions may complicate the divorce process. So, instead of focusing on punishing a party’s past behavior, both parties’ goals and interests become the top priority of a collaborative process. The following issues can be settled through the collaborative family law process:
- Parental and child relocations
- Child custody and visitation
- How marital assets and debt should be divided
- Spousal maintenance and child support
- Child support modifications after divorce
These issues are very complex which may make the collaborative family law process adversarial. However, since the parties are trying to avoid going to court, their concerns are promptly addressed and solutions are brought forward that benefit both parties. There is, however, no requirement for the parties involved to be friendly. All they need to be is cooperative and civil. The parties can save money on litigation costs if they resolve their issues through a collaborative process.
Rules And Procedures – Collaborative Law
The rules and procedures for the collaborative law process are meant to maximize the likelihood of a positive outcome. They include:
- The agreement resulting from the collaborative process must be in writing
- The written agreement must be signed by the parties
- The written agreement must state the parties’ intent to use the collaborative law process
- It must describe the nature and scope of the family law matter such as divorce
- It must identify either party’s lawyer
- A statement by each collaborative lawyer confirming the lawyer’s representation of a party must be in the written agreement
There should also be a provision within the agreement that suspends court intervention while the collaborative law process is being used by the parties that are seeking divorce.
Collaborative Divorce Lawyer in Austin
One of the reasons why divorcing parties want to avoid going to court is that in the courtroom there are winners and losers. Traditional courts were not designed for family conflict and that is why they are often limited in their solutions for such conflicts. In a collaborative law process, everyone’s needs can be met. Apart from this, involving a therapist in a collaborative law process to help may lead to a much more comprehensive child custody plan than you may get from the courts.