Collaborative Divorce in Texas
Many couple filing for divorce expect the process to be long, stressful, and arduous; however, one method, known as collaborative divorce, can help ease the process.
Collaborative divorce in Houston is an efficient and effective alternative to the typical litigious divorce experience and may be right for you and your spouse. At the Stout Law Firm, our family law attorneys have experience representing spouses in a collaborative divorce setting and may be able to help you settle your divorce with this process, too.
What is Collaborative Divorce?
The process of collaborative divorce attempts to set aside the angry, stressful, and litigious methods of traditional divorce in favor of what is known as “interest-based negotiation.”
The focus is on finding respectful solutions that benefit both sides rather than exclusively looking out for each side’s own interests.
Both sides must agree to the collaborative law process in writing, and each spouse secures a collaborative law attorney to discuss their individual goals before meeting as a group.
Collaborative law negotiations typically take place in an office instead of a courtroom, and consists of the spouses, their attorneys, a neutral communications facilitator, and a neutral financial professional.
When necessary, other neutral professionals may be retained as needed to provide their opinion on an issue and are retained jointly to avoid any perception of bias.
If the collaborative law process fails, spouses may opt out and choose to litigate the divorce. By opting out, the collaborative process ends, and the attorneys are not allowed to continue to represent each side. The spouses must retain new lawyers and start the process all over again. The added time and expenses provides additional incentives to continue to work with the collaborative process. In addition, none of the collaborative lawyers, neutral communications facilitators, or jointly retained experts may testify at a subsequent hearing.
Is Collaborative Divorce Right For Me?
Collaborative divorce is a good potential option for any divorcing couple who will need to work together on issues after the divorce. This process is particularly beneficial if there is a child or children who will continue to see and be supported by both parents.
Collaborative divorce can greatly reduce the stress and strain of divorce on a child and set a solid foundation of cooperation between spouses before the divorce is even finalized.
In addition, collaborative divorce may be a good option for couples who have complex, intermingled assets or share a business. By approaching the process collaboratively it may make it easier to untangle assets or save the business instead of pulling it apart through the court process. By aiming towards a mutually beneficial goal in these scenarios, both parties work to untangle and save what is there, instead of simply trying to destroy what the other spouse has built.
Collaborative divorce may also be a good option for couples who do not wish to have their personal and financial lives play out publicly on the record in open court. The collaborative process provides a private and confidential means of settling divorce disputes outside of the courtroom.
All conversations between a spouse and their collaborative attorney, in addition to all conversations between parties, remain confidential. In a situation where the collaborative process fails, no party that was a part of the collaborative negotiations can testify to the conversations that took place during that process.
Finally, collaborative divorce may be a good option for couples that were not married for an extended period of time and have little in terms of marital assets or disputable issues. A collaborative divorce can settle any small issues quickly, amicably, and more cheaply than navigating the entire legal process for a simple divorce.
Houston Collaborative Divorce Attorneys
If you or your spouse is seeking a divorce in the Houston area and you wish to learn more about the collaborative divorce process, our office may be able to help. Call 713-980-4300 or contact us today at The Stout Law Firm, PLLC to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced divorce attorneys to learn more about how the collaborative divorce process may be right for you.