The vast majority of family law cases are settled. That being the case, it makes sense to minimize the trauma and cost of moving from the problems to the solutions. Collaborative Law in Frisco, McKinney, and Dallas, TX is a process that assists people in doing just that.
Family Law Issues
Essentially, the litigation approach to family law issues involves presenting evidence to a judge to demonstrate that the opposing party is bad and the presenting party is good, and then asking the judge to enter court orders giving the presenting party what he or she wants. Although that process works, it is expensive, and it deprives the parties of the opportunity to resolve matters in a way that fits their particular situation.
What is Collaborative Law?
Collaborative law was recently introduced in Texas as an alternative to the litigation process in family law cases. The process involves collaboratively trained attorneys who assist their clients in defining their objectives, addressing the issues, evaluating the alternatives and formulating solutions that best suit the facts of the specific case. The process is voluntary; however, once the parties agree to use the collaborative approach, they and their lawyers sign an agreement that requires them to pursue settlement of the case and stay away from litigation. If the parties are unable to reach a solution, the attorneys are obligated to withdraw from representing their clients and refer the parties to lawyers who will handle the suit in a litigation setting. The withdrawal clause locks the parties and the lawyers into the negotiation setting and out of the courthouse and results in everyone making a concerted effort to resolve the problems.
The collaborative process has proven to be very successful in terms of saving parties time, money and emotional distress.
Why Are Divorce Cases So Difficult?
Divorce cases are unlike any other form of litigation for a number of reasons, including:
- The case is charged with emotion, sometimes extreme emotion.
- Emotional and psychological trauma is a virtual certainty.
- Judges have much broader discretion than they do in most other types of cases. That means there is virtually never a clear-cut “winner” or “loser”.
- The funds spent in the litigation process are paid from the marital estate and thereby diminish the “prize” over which the parties wage combat.
- Each spouse wants the lawyers and/or the judge to “set things right”.
- Persons offering “helpful advice” appear in droves and offer loads of misinformation.
A divorce suit is a difficult and draining process. Your attorney will guide you along the legal avenues of the lawsuit. However, only you are capable of charting your emotional and psychological course through the litigation and you have the responsibility for doing so. Hiring a counselor who is familiar with the emotional aspects of the divorce process is a very good idea.
More information can be found on our “Collaborative Law” page.
The Collaborative Alliance
The Collaborative Alliance is composed of the lawyers who formed the first collaborative practice group in Texas. Initially, the group was comprised only of lawyers but now includes mental health professionals and financial professionals. Members of the Alliance believe that in most situations a collaborative team comprised of lawyers and neutral professionals is usually the most efficient and cost effective approach to handling family law matters.
By facilitating effective communications between the parties and offering advice concerning agreements related to the children, the mental health practitioner keeps the discussions moving in a positive and productive manner. Through the compilation of data from both parties the financial professional assembles post-divorce budgets and a marital balance sheet that serve as the foundation for settlement options. Since the neutral professionals gather information from both parties and conduct settlement discussions that may not require the participation of the lawyers, their addition to the collaborative team helps control expenses.
Members of The Collaborative Alliance are not the only collaborative practitioners in Texas but they are certainly among the very best.
Woods & Matlock, P.C. is one of the relatively few collaborative law practices in Texas. In addition to practicing collaborative law, our attorneys each have decades of legal experience and all are Texas Board Certified Family Law Specialists.