Austin Collaborative Divorce Attorney
The Collaborative Law Process in Texas
It is a voluntary process where the parties seeking divorce, their lawyers, and other neutral professionals or experts work together as a team. Collaborative law gives two divorcing parties the opportunity to achieve negotiated settlements in important issues related to their divorce. 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.
The neutral experts that may be involved in the process include:
- A psychologist
- Property appraisers
- Financial planners
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. Instead of focusing on punishing a party’s past behavior, both parties’ goals and interests become the top priority of the collaborative process.
The following issues can be settled through the collaborative family law process:
- Parental and child relocations
- Child custody and visitation
- How the 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.
Collaborative Law Rules & Procedures
The rules and procedures for collaborative law process are meant to maximize the likelihood of a positive outcome. 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.
Rules and procedures should 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
An Alternative to Divorce Litigation in Travis, Williamson & Bexar Counties
One of the reasons 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 may lead to a more comprehensive child custody plan than you may get from the courts.