The unfortunate reality is that marriages often just don’t work out despite the best efforts of a couple to stay together. However, just because a couple is deciding to pursue a divorce doesn’t mean they automatically have to become mortal enemies determined to fight over every last detail in court.
To the contrary, those couples who decide to end their marriage have an option to do so in a peaceful, constructive environment focused on preserving relationships and producing results.
How exactly is this possible?
Through a process called collaborative law, former spouses and their attorneys gather to discuss important divorce issues — child support, spousal support, child custody and property division.etc. — outside of a courtroom.
Over the course of several sessions, the spouses and their attorneys will work hard to create a positive atmosphere where ideas can be exchanged and mutually acceptable solutions forged. In fact, financial advisors, counselors and even divorce coaches can even be brought in to assist.
One of the more remarkable elements of the collaborative law process is that all parties must sign what is known as a “participation agreement” that sets forth the structure of the sessions.
This agreement actually contains a provision expressly stating that if the talks collapse and the parties must go to court, both attorneys will have to withdraw from the case. As you can imagine, this creates an incentive for the couple to get things done.
The advantages of the collaborative law process are numerous:
- Couples save substantial money on legal expenses, as there is no need for frequent legal proceedings
- Couples have complete control over the timetable, taking as much time or as little time as they need to work things out
- Couples have the power to make their own decisions without turning to a judge who may not understand their unique family dynamics
- Couples can spare children from traumatic legal battles
- Couples can set a productive tone for their post-divorce life
Whether collaborative divorce actually works for a couple depends upon their willingness and their ability to work together. For example, if the decision to end a marriage is only a few weeks old, it may still be too early — and too painful — to come together to work on important divorce-related issues.
Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …
To learn more about traditional dissolution of marriage, divorce mediation or collaborative divorce, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.
This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.
WLTX, “Collaborative divorce offers options to court battles,” Maura Ammenheuser, March 21, 2013