When a divorce is litigated, the outcome can be uncertain. Many Texas couples choose alternative dispute resolution methods designed to give them some level of control over the proceedings and their post-divorce lives. Some couples choose a collaborative divorce as an effective and constructive platform for resolving contention and conflict.
The process of collaborative divorce involves a series of meetings between both spouses and their respective attorneys, along with such other professionals as may be appropriate to the circumstances -- such as financial advisers, property appraisers and therapists. In general, both spouses must be committed to the process of cooperation to achieve this type of settlement, and the only involvement of the court will be to authorize the divorce agreement. However, collaborative divorce comes with the condition that, if the parties resort to litigation later, the attorneys who facilitated the collaboration must withdraw as counsel; at that point, different attorneys must be retained.
Collaboration is different from a mediated divorce, which is another option for couples wanting to avoid contested proceedings. In this type of proceeding, both spouses, along with their attorneys, meet with an neutral professional divorce mediator who will facilitate the negotiations. The mediator will encourage communication and compromise in order to fashion an fair settlement. Once agreements are reached, a divorce agreement can be drafted and presented to the court for approval.
Texas couples who are considering a divorce may benefit from exploring these alternative divorce methods. While these options may not fit every situation, those parties who are able to maintain open lines of communication may be able to achieve a settlement in a spirit of cooperation and with a minimum of rancor. When the parties simply cannot agree on material issues, the court can adjudicate those issues and make a decision for them.
Source: chron.com, "Avoid court with collaborative divorce", Sept. 22, 2015