Collaborative Family Law is an innovative and increasingly preferred method of handling family law matters, including divorces. Emphasizing cooperation and problem-solving strategies rather than adversarial approaches and litigation, it avoids the destruction so often associated with divorce. Negotiations between the two parties and their attorneys are interest-based; they encourage respectful consideration of each other’s priorities in crafting a resolution instead of staking out inflexible positions.
Collaborative Family Law differs from traditional litigation in that each spouse and his or her lawyer sign a Collaborative Agreement up front in which they agree to negotiate in good faith and not to litigate. If the negotiations break down and one party decides to go to court, both attorneys must withdraw and the clients must hire new attorneys. By agreeing to this condition, the collaborative lawyer bears responsibility for bringing the process to a successful outcome.
When necessary, other experts such as financial advisors and child specialists join the collaborative team as neutrals. This prevents both parties from having a “hired gun” who will automatically side with the party who is paying him. Negotiations are handled on an informal level, with each party attending a series of structured joint sessions in which both spouses, the two attorneys, and the neutral professionals (if hired and invited to the meeting) sit down and discuss the resolution of the divorce. One major difference between collaborative family law and other approaches is that the clients themselves craft the terms of their divorce and the final outcome rather than having an outside third party (such as a judge or jury) decide the outcome for them.
At Hance, we believe that most divorces or family law disputes can benefit from this problem-solving process. But Collaborative Family Law only works when both parties agree to use it. If your spouse (or ex-spouse) is interested in locating another lawyer who is highly competent in Family Law and trained in this process, please refer him or her to DallasCollaborativeLaw.com or TheCollaborativeAlliance.com. To learn more about Collaborative Family Law in Texas, go to CollaborativeDivorceTexas.com.
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