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Collaborative Law: Alternatives to Complex Property Litigation in Divorce

Posted on in Complex Divorce

Texas high-asset divorce attorney, Texas complex litigation lawyer, divorce settlement, Collaborative law is quite common in certain areas of North America, including California and Canada, but it has not gained much traction in some areas of The Lone Star State. Is this model an option for your complex divorce or other family law issue?

The Collaborative Family Law Act outlines the procedure in Texas. In a nutshell, the process is somewhat similar to ongoing mediation, with a few important distinctive qualities. The mindset is different. In traditional mediation, it is "every man for himself." The lawyers are determined to walk away with the best deal possible for their respective clients, and they care little or nothing about anyone else's interests. In collaborative law, the parties remain cognizant of how the outcome may affect other people both directly and indirectly involved in their complex divorce.

There is also a structural difference. In traditional mediation, a third-party mediator does all the negotiating, and the parties are merely interested bystanders. However, in collaborative law, the parties themselves do the negotiating.

How It Works

To begin, the parties file a joint collaborative law participation agreement. If the process breaks down – which happens in only about five percent of these cases – the parties must seek new counsel. This waiver is important, because the attorneys must be fully committed to the process and cannot use it as a negotiating ploy or as a way to stall for time.

The parties never go to court again. Instead, they meet about once a month to discuss complex child custody issues, property division, and other important matters. If there is a need for a CPA or other professional in a high asset divorce, these "financial neutrals" are paid by both parties, so their findings are not slanted in one direction or another.

Additionally, to further invest themselves in the process, the husband and wife may have homework assignments, such as retrieving financial documents, school report cards, or medical records.

Is It For You?

Collaborative law is a very good option for those who want to avoid high litigation costs and preserve an element of civility. As a rule of thumb, if the family's welfare is your paramount concern and you are willing to make significant personal sacrifices to that end, talk to an attorney about collaborative law.

There is absolutely no shame in answering "no" to the family welfare question; the only shame is in deceiving yourself and prolonging the process. Also remember that it takes two to tango. Both spouses must be completely on board.

If this process seems at all intriguing, contact an experienced Williamson County complex litigation attorney. Attorney William Powers is a certified collaborative law practitioner.

The Law Offices of William D. Powers

8911 N. Capital of Texas Highway, Building 2, Suite 2105, Austin, TX 78759