When people think of family law, they often think of the horrible stories they hear from their friends or the movie War of the Roses. It used to be that the only choice a family had was to go to court to resolve their family disputes. Now, Texas offers another choice for families to resolve their disputes called collaborative law.
What is Collaborative Law?
It’s a holistic method of handling family law disputes, where the parties agree that they will not use the court system. Instead, each retains an attorney and works together to try and resolve their family matter. The parties sign a participation agreement (i.e. a contract) stating that if they decide to use the court system to resolve their dispute, their attorneys will each have to withdraw from the case and they will have to retain new counsel to represent them in their litigated matter.
What are the Benefits of using a Collaborative Law attorney?
There are many benefits to using a collaborative law attorney to resolve your family disputes. Some of the most common benefits are:
1. Control Over the Process
You have 100% control over the process. Every meeting is held by joint agreement of the parties. In addition, as long as the clients remain in the collaborative process, a court cannot interfere with the case for two years.
2. High Level of Confidentiality
It affords you a high level of confidentiality that you cannot get in litigation. When you are involved in litigation, you may have a hearing and be forced to air out your family’s business in the presence of strangers and maybe even your neighbors. In collaborative law, you do not go to court for any hearings other than the final hearing to prove up your divorce. All information exchanged and all discussions are confidential.
3. Control over the Outcome
It gives you the opportunity to decide what is best for your family and your family’s specific needs. Texas law provides certain minimum guidelines for child support, spousal maintenance and parenting time. However, the minimum guidelines may not be in the best interest of your family. In collaborative law, the clients make the decisions about what is in the best interest of their families and they are not bound by the minimum standards of Texas law or the decision by a judge who does not know you or your family.
4. Focus on Family
Most importantly, a collaborative law attorney focuses on families. Litigation tends to pin families against each other. Think about the dynamic of court: each client sits at a different table and their attorneys do the talking for them. It is the opinion of a collaborative law attorney at The Law Office of Lauren Gaydos Duffer, P.C., that this dynamic can be hurtful to families rather than helpful.