When a Houston couple contemplates ending their marriage, both parties are usually apprehensive about the emotional pain and stress that the process can cause. For several decades, divorce attorneys and the courts have looked to mediation as a method of resolving disputes and allowing couples to end their marriage with a minimum of emotional pain. In recent years, a similar but decidedly different process has begun to attract both lawyers and judges. The process is called “collaborative divorce.”
The mechanics of a collaborative divorce
As the name indicates, collaborative divorce is a process in which the two spouses and their attorneys accept the fact that their marriage is over and that they must genuinely collaborate in resolving any disputes that might produce unnecessary anger or other kinds of emotional pain.
The first step in a collaborative divorce is an agreement between the parties and their attorneys (if one or both are represented by counsel) to keep the proceedings confidential. All parties agree that if the collaborative process does not sell all issues, and if the matter proceeds to the courtroom, neither party will use the same attorney and the attorneys agree not to represent their collaborative clients after the collaborative process terminates.
The parties then begin the process of sharing ideas on how to resolve the outstanding issues. If necessary, the parties may retain various professionals, such as psychologists, real estate appraisers, and financial advisers. All parties thus retained agree to cease their involvement if the collaboration does not produce a complete resolution. All parties must agree to the central premise of a collaborative divorce: the end of the marriage does not mean that personal relationships are ending.
Making informed decisions pertaining to collaborative divorce
Each collaborative divorce outcome is a customized agreement intended to permit the spouses to end their legal relationship while still maintaining a secure and supportive connection for the children. Anyone interested in a collaborative divorce may wish to consult an experienced divorce attorney for more detailed advice on how the collaborative divorce process operates.