Collaborative Divorce – Benefits
THE COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE APPROACH – AN ALTERNATIVE TO LITIGATION
“I will see you in court!”
It is a dramatic one-liner in television shows and movies. In the real world, though, most people want to avoid litigation in family matters. And rightfully so.
Fortunately, in today’s world of family law, you have several alternatives for resolving your divorce or parenting lawsuit. One of these options is known as the collaborative divorce process. It provides a means to help you and your children avoid an expensive, emotionally draining court fight. Using this process, both clients, their attorneys and jointly retained professionals meet in a series of private sessions to gather information, develop options and achieve settlement. The objective is to create a win-win situation, keeping your family out of the courtroom and reaching an agreement that meets both of your goals.
Collaborative divorce law has several advantages, including:
COST In many instances, family law matters resolved in the collaborative divorce process are less costly than litigation. Because you have more control over the process, you also have the ability to regulate your costs. The process allows for the joint hiring of neutral professionals to assist in the development of parenting plans and property division options. Cost is also minimized in a collaborative divorce by avoiding the expensive process of written discovery and depositions.
PRIVACY To initiate a collaborative divorce case, each party signs an agreement stating, among other things, that all meetings and negotiations are strictly confidential. The professionals involved are also prohibited from disclosing information about your case. Contrast that to litigation in which virtually every aspect of your contentious case is made public, most notably hearings and final trials that are held in open courtrooms where friends and family are required to testify and asked to take sides.
CONTROL You and your collaborative divorce team control the length and pace of the case. Meetings are scheduled around your life, whereas in litigation, you must conform to a judge’s schedule. Most importantly, you negotiate and control the outcome for yourself and your children, instead of placing your case in the hands of a stranger who hears a few short hours of testimony and makes a decision for you. In litigation, often everyone loses. In a collaborative divorce, you can create an outcome where everyone wins.
COMMUNICATION If you have children, then you and your spouse will always be parents together. As seen on television, litigation has the special ability to drive a wedge between divorcing parents, making it difficult for their children for years to come at graduations, weddings, births and birthday parties for their grandchildren. The collaborative divorce process provides the opportunity for parents to resolve their disputes more amicably, building better postdivorce relationships for the benefit of their children.
For many couples at the end of marriage or parents later seeking to make changes, they frequently discover through the use of the collaborative divorce process that many of their interests are the same. The challenge is to work out solutions that maximize the achievement of their shared interests and minimize the impact of their conflicting ones. At our firm, we have extensive training and experience in the collaborative divorce process, assisting clients with these important matters.
What if I want a collaborative divorce but my spouse does not?
The collaborative divorce process requires the agreement of both parties. You cannot force your spouse to proceed collaboratively if he or she does not want to. But maybe your spouse does not understand the process. If you want to suggest a collaborative divorce to your spouse, we can provide you with information sources to share.
What if my spouse wants to divorce using the collaborative process but his/her lawyer is not trained in collaborative divorce?
By Texas statute, any client in a family law matter has the right to pursue collaborative divorce as a process option. If your spouse’s attorney is not trained in the collaborative divorce process, we can help direct them to statewide resources for information and/or training.