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Divorce does not have to be an adversarial experience that plays out as a courtroom battle. There are a number of non-adversarial options for resolving divorce-related issues, including collaborative divorce, which can reduce the stress and animosity that often accompanies divorce, as well as promote open communication and creative solutions. As Collin County divorce lawyers, we are experienced in helping our clients to obtain the best outcome, whether through traditional litigation or a non-adversarial option like mediation or a collaborative divorce.
What is a Collaborative Divorce?
A collaborative divorce starts with the spouses entering into a written agreement not to take their differences to court. Unlike mediation, the spouses do not work with a neutral third party. Rather, with the assistance of their respective attorneys, they take an open-minded approach to finalizing their divorce as efficiently and amicably as possible. Other professionals such as child custody evaluators, accountants, and appraisers will likely be involved as well. If needed, a neutral mental health professional will be part of the “team” and can help the participants deal with their emotions.
What are the Benefits of a Collaborative Divorce?
The collaborative approach enables spouses to create their own customized divorce in a civil and respectful manner. Decision-making stays with the parties, not a judge. There are no court hearings, and the parties have the ability to control the pace at which the divorce proceeds. Other benefits include open communication; a greater likelihood of reaching an amicable solution, resulting in a healthy co-parenting relationship. You are more likely to keep agreements you make when you and your spouse actively participated in negotiating them.
Is a Collaborative Divorce Right for You?
Because a collaborative divorce involves a cooperative process both spouses must be willing and able to communicate in a way that they can divorce without the court’s intervention. The best candidates for a collaborative divorce are spouses who share the same goals – getting through the process in a fair manner with the least amount of trauma to themselves and their children. The parties must be willing to share (rather than hide) information and forgo game-playing. They are willing to find other ways to deal with their anger and disappointment, rather than needing to have “their day in court.” If you and your spouse are willing to put aside your own individual need to be “right” in order to reach an agreement that meets the needs of both spouses, collaborative divorce may be a practical and effective alternative.