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Staying out of the courtroom with a collaborative divorce

Someone in Texas who is preparing to divorce their spouse might envision difficult courtroom battles and a bitter legal process ahead. However, not all separations have to be this way. Collaborative divorce is a method of problem solving and negotiation outside of the courtroom.

In a collaborative divorce, the spouses hire their own attorneys. The negotiations are then conducted outside of court with both spouses and attorneys present. The idea of collaborative divorce is to remain out of the courtroom, and a document is signed by both spouses and attorneys agreeing to this goal. These four-way meetings are the basis of the collaborative divorce process; although, sometimes outside parties may be brought in to assist in matters relating to children and child custody.

If the meetings result in an agreement, the divorce papers will then be filed. A successful collaborative divorce can be less costly, take less time and be less stressful than a standard divorce procedure. If the collaborative effort does not result in a successful agreement, the divorce could be taken to the courtroom. The agreement signed by the spouses and attorneys before the collaborative divorce begins usually requires the attorneys to withdraw from the case if it winds up going to court. This means that both spouses would have to find new attorneys to represent them in courtroom litigation.

Even though a licensed mediator could be brought into a collaborative case, collaborative divorce is different than divorce mediation. While collaborative divorce involves meetings between spouses and their attorneys, mediation involves one person who directs the negotiations with the goal of getting the opposing sides to come to an agreement. In some jurisdictions in Texas, mediation is required in divorce cases.

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