Texas Collaborative Law / Texas Collaborative Divorce
Collaborative law is a special method for divorcing (or which could be used for other types of litigation, but is used primarily for collaborative divorce) where the parties and their attorneys agree that the parties are going to negotiate their own divorce agreement without ever going to court until the agreement is completed and signed. Everyone agrees that the attorneys will not litigate the case. (This means that even if the collaborative process fails and the parties end up wanting to go to court, the original collaborative attorneys must withdraw and the parties must hire new attorneys to litigate the divorce.)
Collaborative divorce is a type of alternative dispute resolution process that has elements in common with mediation. The main difference is that certain mediations can be used early in the litigated divorce to gather information, and late in the litigation process to threaten. Alternatively, with a collaborative divorce, you have signed a contract where you lose your attorney if you cannot come to an agreement, giving you a financial incentive to complete the process.
One major benefit of collaborative divorce is that other professionals are usually brought in to assist during some negotiations. One such contributor might be a financial professional who will generally analyze the couple’s assets and debts and then help design budgets for each party to use in thinking about his or her finances after divorce. A child specialist with a background in mental health issues will often be invited to divorces involving children to help the parties work out all the custody, visitation, and support issues.
Collaborative divorce gives the parties more control than the litigated divorce process. The environment is designed to be a safe one to foster disclosures and constructive criticism—a fundamentally different environment than a courtroom. Communication between the parties is maintained in a way where future interactions (e.g. during co-parenting the children of the divorce) are more likely to be successful. Your needs and your interests control the direction of your divorce.