Since the Uniform Collaborative Law Act passed in 2009, Texas has been a front-runner among the states in adopting collaborative divorce as a viable alternative to litigation for divorcing couples. A Texas divorce is typically a challenge for both parties and any children involved, which is why more and more Texans are choosing to work with their attorneys toward a collaborative divorce solution. In essence, collaborative divorce offers the opportunity for alternative dispute resolution as a means of achieving a fair and comprehensive divorce settlement without the need to litigate issues in court.
Couples who take the collaborative route sign a contract which binds each party to the collaborative process and bars future litigation so long as the collaborative process remains in effect. The idea is to free couples of the threat of future litigation and allow them and their respective legal teams to focus on solving issues critical to the divorce process in the here and now. However, it is important to note that collaborative divorce is distinct from arbitration or mediation.
In arbitration, an arbitrator makes the decisions about the divorce after hearing from both sides. Mediation in Texas generally takes no more than a day. Collaborative divorce is more similar to the latter in that both parties and their attorneys meet regularly to discuss the particulars of the case in a concerted effort to work together to achieve an acceptable solution to all material issues.
Obviously, there is no one right way to deal with a Texas divorce. It depends on the needs and desires of the parties involved. Nevertheless, it simply makes good sense to be as aware and educated as possible about all available divorce options before approaching the negotiating table.
Source: chron.com, "Collaborative divorce: Is it right for you?", Chris Archer, Aug. 19, 2015