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Collaborative divorce may resolve differences

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Divorce in Texas does not always have to be adversarial or overly-stressful. Through a collaborative divorce, a couple may address complex issues such as property division while reducing the emotional distress often associated with the end of a marriage.

In a collaborative divorce, the spouses work with their attorneys to reach the common goal of positive resolution of disputes and issues. This may avoid trips to the courthouse. It also may eliminate some of the anger and turmoil associated with traditional divorces.

This allows a couple to have more power over the divorce decree than appearing before a family court judge. Collaborative divorce is especially beneficial when children are involved.

Couples begin this process by entering a contract. They commit, in writing, to engage in good faith and fairness with their negotiations and contacts. The parties also agree to engage in openness with their documents, finances and paperwork.

Couples and their attorneys meet in a neutral location without a mediator. They should engage in negotiations with the goal of collaborating on a solution.

Each party has an opportunity to listen more than they argue. Both spouses can explain what they are seeking and their reasons. Collaborative attorneys should suggest fair and equitable solutions.

Collaborative divorce may also bring in more resources that are needed. These may include a therapist, accountant or an assessor. They can provide additional technical details for informed decision-making.

Collaborative lawyers must recuse themselves from further participation in the divorce ifthe couple becomes combative, refuses to compromise or cannot work together. Other attorneys must continue to represent the spouses in a traditional divorce when this occurs.

An attorney experienced in collaborative law can help a spouse pursue this process and help seek resolution of divorce lawyers. They can also help assure that this collaboration leads to an informed, fair and reasonable outcome while protecting rights.

Source: Huffington Post, "Why collaborative divorce is a route worth considering," By Nikki Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC, Oct. 1, 2017

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