Austin Collaborative Law Attorneys
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 Hire a Collaborative Law Attorney?
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.