What is Collaborative Law?
Divorce by collaborative law is decided outside of court. Each spouse is represented by an attorney and settlement discussions take place in an office setting, at times and places convenient to both parties. Spouses agree in writing not to go to court or threaten court during proceedings. Collaborative divorce is private and confidential, as well as usually more cost-effective.
Collaborative Divorce is:
- Private and confidential
- Settled outside of court
- Handled by trained Collaborative Divorce Lawyers
- More cost-effective than other forms of divorce
What is a Collaborative Law Divorce?
A collaborative law divorce is a private and confidential type of divorce that is handled outside of the courtroom. Each party is represented by a trained collaborative lawyer and together all work toward a mutually agreed upon settlement.
Is Collaborative Divorce for Me?
Collaborative divorce is generally viewed as a more civil and cooperative form of divorce, although that doesn’t mean it’s always pleasant. Because parties have to communicate and agree on issues, it tends to work well in setting up co-parenting relationships. Collaborative divorce is usually more beneficial for spouses who are business partners and want to remain so, as well as couples who want to retain the same social circles and family connections. Spouses sign a collaborative divorce agreement, which includes a promise to settle outside of court, and commit to voluntarily disclosing all relevant financial and other information.
Who is on My Team?
In addition to trained collaborative lawyers, the process often involves other collaborative team members whose job it is to help reach the best agreement over finances and assets as well as children and custody. These experts are also trained in the collaborative process and might include financial advisors, child specialists and parenting experts, mental health professionals and others. The goal is to respectfully finalize the divorce without destroying family relationships or exhausting assets.
Unlike a traditional divorce settled in court, all negotiations, discussions, expert evaluations, financial documents, and any other information disclosed in the collaborative divorce process is confidential and private.
What is the Difference Between Collaborative Divorce and Mediation?
Collaborative law is sometimes confused with mediation, as both are decided outside of court. In mediation a paid mediator presides over divorce settlement negotiations whereas in a collaborative divorce trained lawyers assist parties in reaching a settlement. Spouses are not required to be represented by attorneys in mediation, although many do hire a lawyer which makes the mediation process more expensive. The mediator is a neutral third party, and is not allowed to offer advice or support one spouse over another in the divorce process.
How Do I Get Started?
The first step in a collaborative divorce is hiring a trained collaborative divorce attorney. The Collaborative Divorce Texas organization provides collaborative divorce training and maintains a list of member attorneys.
Alexandra Geczi is a member of the CDT and a trained collaborative law divorce attorney. If you have questions about the collaborative divorce process or are wondering whether it’s right for you, contact us today at 214-974-4449 for a free case evaluation.