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Common Questions About Collaborative Divorce in Texas

People who are considering collaborative divorce in Texas should understand how the process works, differs from mediation and can benefit spouses.

Many spouses who are preparing to get divorced in Dallas expect the legal process to be prolonged, contentious, and expensive. Fortunately, although divorce can be unavoidably difficult, there are now many approaches that can help ease the process. Collaborative divorce is one option that is becoming increasingly recognized as an efficient and effective alternative to litigation.

The collaborative divorce process can help spouses avoid litigation, which can offer numerous benefits, including cost savings and reduced stress. However, many spouses may overlook this option because they don’t understand it well. Before settling on an approach to divorce, spouses should understand the following aspects of collaborative divorce.

What exactly is collaborative divorce?

The Philadelphia Inquirer explains that during a collaborative divorce, both spouses work together to reach a settlement. Spouses must make a good faith attempt to find a mutually advantageous solution, rather than exclusively looking out for their own interests. During this type of divorce, each spouse has his or her own attorney, but the attorneys do not assume adversarial roles.

How does it differ from mediation?

Although collaborative divorce and mediation both emphasize cooperation, there are a few differences between the two approaches. During mediation, spouses work with a single mediator, without necessarily having legal representation. Mediation may also be a briefer process. During a collaborative divorce, spouses control the pace, and a settlement is only reached if both parties agree to it. This approach may give spouses more time to resolve their issues and find an agreeable settlement.

What happens if collaboration fails?

If spouses cannot complete a collaborative divorce, they can turn to measures such as mediation or litigation. However, as materials from the New York State Unified Court System explain, lawyers who represent spouses during a collaborative divorce must withdraw from the case if collaboration fails. The spouses then must start the process again with new attorneys. This incentivizes spouses and their attorneys to make a good faith attempt to reach a collaborative agreement.

Is collaborative divorce affordable?

The same source notes that collaborative divorce is often more affordable than litigation. Furthermore, both attorneys are paid equally during collaborative divorce, which can prevent spouses from spending more money to try to gain an advantage. However, spouses should note that if collaboration fails and litigation is necessary, they will likely face additional expenses.

When is collaboration advisable?

The Philadelphia Inquirer notes that collaborative divorce may be an especially fitting solution for people who must work together cooperatively post-divorce. For example, collaborative divorce can benefit spouses who will be sharing custody and parenting time in the future. By helping spouses learn to work together amicably, this process can pave the way for future cooperation. Spouses with entangled interests or assets, such as a jointly owned business, may also benefit from a collaborative approach.

People in Texas who think collaborative divorce may be the optimal approach should consider discussing this option further with an attorney. An attorney may be able to help a person assess whether collaboration or another method is the most fitting choice given the situation.