To many people, the thought of a divorce or custody dispute brings up images of an adversarial process. Even if the spouses or parents aren’t at each other’s throats and eager for a fight in court, they still have to figure out a way to divide their community property, decide how to share child custody and parental responsibilities, determine whether one spouse should pay alimony or maintenance to the other, and decide other important matters which at least have the potential to pit one spouse against the other. There are actually many different approaches couples or parents can take to resolving the issues in their divorce or custody matter amicably and without ever going to court. Collaborative law is a specialized form of dispute resolution that motivates the parties to work together and come up with solutions that work well for both sides. Read on to learn more about the collaborative law process, and contact the collaborative law attorneys at Lazar Law to discuss whether a collaborative approach might be the best way to achieve the goals you are seeking in your Texas divorce or custody case.
How does collaborative law work?
Collaborative law is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), which parties in a dispute sometimes choose as an alternative to litigation and going to court. Collaborative law is a form of negotiation where both spouses or parents and their attorneys work together cooperatively and creatively in a non-adversarial manner to resolve issues based on their interests instead of staking out positions and arguing for one specific outcome that favors one party over the other.
In most forms of ADR, like negotiations or mediation, if the process doesn’t yield a satisfactory result, the parties simply move forward with litigation. Collaborative law involves a much greater commitment to the process. In fact, the parties begin the process by signing an agreement that if collaborative law is unsuccessful, the lawyers will withdraw from any further representation. This means the parties must start over with new attorneys to litigate their divorce or custody case. This agreement works as a strong incentive to all parties to invest all they can in coming up with a resolution that meets everyone’s needs.
In collaborative law, the parties agree to rely on their lawyers, a neutral mental health professional and a neutral financial professional for help in creating solutions, and the professional team commits to managing conflict and emotions and keeping negotiations on track. Both parties agree not to pursue any litigation while the process is underway and to full disclosure of information necessary to put both parties in a position to enter negotiations for final decision making.
Why collaborative law?
Especially if you have children, you will continue to interact and communicate with your co-parent for years to come. By resolving the issues in your divorce cooperatively and ending your marriage relationship or your custody case in a healthy, respectful manner, you’ll be more likely to have a civil relationship with your former spouse post-divorce or your co-parent going forward. Additionally, by collaborating on issues, you’ll come up with solutions that work for both of you. This means both parties will be invested in the decisions regarding property division, child custody, child support and alimony, and it is less likely you’ll wind back up in court seeking modifications or enforcement of court orders that aren’t being followed. The collaborative process is also generally cheaper and faster than litigation.
Your Source for Collaborative Family Law in Austin
Collaborative divorce may not be right for every person or every divorce, but if you are at all interested in using collaborative law in your divorce or custody case, it’s worth discussing with an Austin collaborative family attorney who is well-versed and experienced in collaborative family law. In Austin, contact Lazar Law at 512-477-1600.