Considering the collaborative process for your Texas divorce?
While sometimes divorcing spouses can't negotiate a settlement and a trial becomes the only option, collaborative divorce is an alternative process that can be utilized.
September 01, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Considering the collaborative process for your Texas divorce?
Article provided by Piper & Turner, PLLC
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Texas divorce doesn't have to be a stereotypical courtroom battle in which a couple airs its dirty laundry in an all-out battle over money, kids and property. While sometimes divorcing spouses can't negotiate a settlement and a trial becomes the only option, collaborative divorce is an alternative process that can be utilized.
History of collaboration
The collaborative divorce process was developed by a Minnesota attorney who wanted an alternative to the traditional divorceprocess. His ideas caught on in many U.S. states and in some other countries.
Collaborative divorce is conducted in a series of controlled meetings at which each spouse and his or her family law attorney meet to negotiate legal issues like property and debt division, child custody and visitation, child support, spousal maintenance and more.
The commitment to negotiate should be taken seriously. If the collaborative process is unsuccessful and breaks down, the spouses are required to dismiss their collaborative attorneys and go forward with a new set of lawyers.
The neutral expert
Neutral experts are hired to assist the team as needed. These professionals are not on either side, but rather provide an analysis of the available information the parties have in order to settle the issues with knowledge and understanding.
For example, a financial expert like an accountant or financial planner might be employed to help develop separate budgets for the spouses after divorce; evaluate assets and investments; project income and expenses; advise on tax matters; and more. A psychologist or parenting consultant could be engaged to interview the children of the marriage and provide a professional opinion about what type of living arrangement might be best suited for the kids. The couple can be creative about who should be brought in as an expert to meet the unique needs of the family.
A positive process
One of the main pillars of collaboration is that the parties choose to treat each other with respect and dignity despite the painful reasons for their divorce. They also pledge to be honest and upfront and to keep the process confidential. These commitments can protect the children, as well as plant the seeds of a working relationship after divorce, especially if co-parenting will continue.
The collaboration process has the ability to be less expensive than the traditional litigation based process so long as the parties are able to make decisions and keep the process moving. This process is based on a theory that both parties will proceed with mutual trust and respect for the other party.
When collaboration may not be best
While collaborative divorce can be less expensive, it is not always. At every collaborative meeting, two attorneys are being paid, as well as any experts retained, so the total price can spike quickly if the couple is unable to make steady progress. If the parties are not wealthy, this can deplete precious resources.
In addition, this process may not work if either spouse has a history of violence, substance abuse or dishonesty; or if the marital dynamic is unbalanced in terms of emotional power and control.
Seek out legal guidance
Not all cases are created equally. Not every case is appropriate for the collaborative process. If you are facing divorce, talk to a Texas divorce attorney who has been trained in the collaborative process and also represents clients in the traditional divorce process. A family lawyer with this type of broad knowledge can help you sort out which method is best suited for your particular situation.
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