Deciding to hire a lawyer is probably one of the most important parts of any divorce case. Whether or not you choose to be represented by an attorney can have profound effects on your case. There are immediate and future consequences associated with your finances, the relationship with your children, the length of your case as well as the overall outcomes in your life post-divorce that are involved with hiring an attorney. A great deal of your motivation to hire a divorce attorney can hinge on whether you have children or a significant amount of property.
Most everyone reading this blog post is familiar with the traditional divorce process in Texas. One spouse files for divorce and then the other one answers the divorce petition. From there, the parties will negotiate with one another informally and in mediation to arrive at settlements on their case. There will probably be some acrimony and fighting during the middle of the case but All in all you and your spouse can get divorced in short order. From there, you will have the rest of your life to sort out what you accomplished or failed to accomplish within the divorce itself.
However, there now exists an alternative to the traditional divorce process that involves less acrimony and fighting and more emphasis on settlement negotiations and the setting aside of your differences. That process is known as a collaborative divorce. Just as the attorney plays a central role in a traditional divorce, so too does an attorney play a central role in a collaborative divorce. However, the role of a collaborative divorce lawyer is a bit different than the role of an attorney in a traditional divorce case.
In today's blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, we will discuss what it means to hire A divorce attorney for a collaborative divorce case. As collaborative divorces are recent inventions in the world of divorce you may not even be aware of what it means to engage in collaborative divorce or how to do so. I am going to discuss with you how to begin a collaborative divorce and the role that an experienced divorce attorney can play in helping you and your spouse resolve your end of marriage scenarios and get back to a position where you can lead successful and productive lives.
Seek professional help for your most important problems
When you have a problem with your teeth do you try and fill your cavities? What if you hurt your back playing outside with your kids? Would you try and prescribe your medication or treatment plan to combat the pain? I'm guessing your answer to both of those questions would be a definite- no. We don't like pain. Humans are naturally drawn away from pain and towards pleasure or at least a situation involving the absence of pain. With that said, the question you need to ask yourself is whether you feel comfortable handling a divorce on your own.
A divorce can bring about pain- financial, emotional, familial, and a host of other areas as well. When we talk about divorce the first thing that comes to many people's minds is uprooting and finding a new place to live. Even if you are the spouse who stays in the family home during the divorce it may be necessary for you to move once the divorce is over. This presents you with a situation where you are needing to change your lifestyle and possibly invest money into a new home. While you may not be able to immediately purchase a new home after your divorce you will likely need to purchase new furniture, set up utilities, and pay rent. These costs can add up to a great deal of financial turmoil.
Next, we need to consider the emotional components of a divorce in the harm that a bad divorce experience can have on you and your family. All the changes that you are rapidly undergoing are sure to upset your lifestyle to one extent or the other period even if the overall impact of the divorce long term on your life will be negligible there are still short-term impacts that can cause temporary pain. The impact of the case on your emotions can be significant especially if you feel like you have been wronged throughout the process. People live through the trauma of a bad divorce for years after the cases are already over with period
Finally, you need to consider the emotional and familial impacts of the divorce case. For instance, do you have a plan in place on how to discuss the divorce with your children? What if the divorce takes a turn for the worse and you and your spouse are no longer on speaking terms? What does that mean for the future of your relationship when it comes to raising your children together? Coparenting is the name of the game when you are raising a child with someone that you do not live with period however, coordinating your efforts takes communication. The inability to communicate with your expose can have disastrous effects on your family.
These are only a handful of the concerns that many people in your position may have regarding their divorce case. Make no mistake, these are legitimate concerns that impact almost every family that goes through a divorce. Even if you consider your case to be relatively simple there is always an opportunity for a case to take a wrong turn unexpectedly. In that case, you need to ask yourself what you can do to prevent a worst-case scenario from occurring. What steps do you have in place to prepare yourself and your family for what is to come? What are you doing at this very moment to help ensure that your divorce is amicable as is possible? That is the question that you need to focus on. I think that a collaborative divorce for many families can help to solve many of the problems that I have outlined so far in today's blog post.
What does a collaborative lawyer do in your divorce?
Before I get into the specifics of how a family law attorney functions in a collaborative divorce setting, I should mention that other experts in their field oftentimes work within a collaborative divorce. For example, mental health professionals, financial professionals, and even child custody experts can be a valuable part of your divorce case. These people will be able to assist you and your spouse in creating solutions that are creative and practical for your family. Hiring an experienced collaborative divorce attorney is the first step to unlocking the benefits of these professionals as well.
The collaborative divorce attorney is focused on helping to identify what your goals are for the case. Nobody expects you to become an expert in divorce in a matter of a few weeks or even a few months. However, having a collaborative divorce attorney by your side can help you to identify what the most important areas of your case may be as well as determine what solutions may be able to help you and your family the most. All it takes sometimes is to have someone who has a bit of experience in a problem area in your life. That person can walk through the process and help you put into plain language some simple goals for your case. A focus on intentionality and goal-oriented achievement matter a great deal in a collaborative divorce setting.
Your collaborative divorce attorney should be focused on helping you achieve your goals and providing you with advice throughout the length of your case. The idea that a collaborative attorney does not represent your interests or will not faithfully advocate on your behalf due to the nature of the case is untrue. Just because the goal of a collaborative divorce is to avoid going to court and instead focus on settlement does not mean that your attorney will not step up to the plate and represent your interests.
A collaborative lawyer will inform you about the Texas family code and its impact on your case. Ultimately, the laws of Texas as they pertain to a divorce are only important insofar as they impact your case. From there, you will be able to make better decisions for yourself when it comes to the case overall regarding your finances and your children. One of the challenges of their divorce cases is to be able to understand how the nuances of Texas family law impact your case and how best to make decisions as a result.
Another challenge in a collaborative divorce experience is to be able to have confidentiality in your relationship with your lawyer. In a traditional divorce, there is no collaboration with the other side in terms of your day-to-day case. While your attorney and opposing attorney may negotiate from time to time on several matters but the overall process is adversarial between you and your opposing party. This makes maintaining confidentiality, Simpler. However, in a collaborative divorce, you and your attorney and your spouse and their attorney will be sharing information much more openly. As a result, there can be a risk of oversharing information or even providing the other side with data about you that you did not intend to.
Another benefit of having an experienced collaborative divorce attorney is that the attorney will be able to help provide you with information that will increase your confidence in the collaborative law process. It can seem like a never-ending struggle to deal with divorce negotiations. In many ways, divorce negotiations can take on a life of their own due to the problems you may have with managing the expectations of yourself and your spouse. I have talked to people who simply assumed that a collaborative or even settlement approach to their divorce would not work because they and their spouses were at odds from the beginning point of their case. How can a collaborative divorce work, the people would argue when you cannot collaborate with your spouse in your marriage? My response to this point would be that you can change the nature of divorce negotiations simply by choosing a different way to approach your spouse.
Collaborative divorce puts you in a position where you can change the atmosphere with which you were negotiating. While you may not have been able to talk through the issues of your marriage that led to your divorce it is very much true that in a collaborative divorce simply by changing how and where you are negotiating you can put yourself in a position to achieve success in terms of working through the issues of your marriage. Whether that is simply by having another person do the talking for you or learning what your spouse once did and why you can better negotiate through complex issues in a collaborative divorce than in a traditional divorce in many cases.
The bottom line is that collaborative divorces are oftentimes more successful for people than standard traditional divorces because the attorneys treat one another with a great deal of respect. When spouses like you and your partner see the attorneys acting civilly you are more likely to change your tone and approach the other from that perspective as well. the other thing to keep in mind is that most of the time when people engage in a collaborative divorce, they are already on good terms with one another. For example, it is rare to see two people enter a collaborative divorce that is not already on good speaking terms and believe they have a chance 2 resolve their divorce amicably. You should seriously consider where you and your spouse are in this regard.
If you are not on good terms with one another then you should consider whether or not you think a collaborative divorce will be worthwhile for the two of you. In my experience, people who engage in a collaborative divorce are not better parents or better spouses than anyone else going through a divorce. However, these people are willing to a greater extent to get out of their comfort zone and approach the case from the perspective of their spouse. This is more difficult to do in many cases but is also more likely to lead to favorable outcomes for both parties. If you have children then it is oftentimes the case that getting what you want is not necessarily what is in the best interests of your children in every case.
Options are a good thing when it comes to divorce
Much of the time when people begin to feel constrained by the divorce process it is due to a realization that their options are limited when it comes to negotiating through difficult circumstances with their spouse. I have worked with many people who come to realize that there are options that are not as vast as they would like and as a result, they feel constrained by different aspects of their case. While this is understandable the reality of the situation is that a divorce requires creative decision-making. if you do not have a great deal of experience in a divorce then you will not know how to approach your situation with a creative mindset.
probably one of the most delicate balancing acts of a collaborative divorce is to be able to ensure that you can handle the case on your own and tailor the results to what your family needs while allowing your attorney to propose solutions and otherwise help you in the negotiation process. After all, a divorce is your case and the decisions that are made should be made primarily by you. However, the attorney that you hire will oversee advising you and providing you with assistance in that regard. It is up to you how much advice to take from your attorney and how much of the process you should be controlling. Being able to strike that balance with your attorney is important in a traditional divorce just as it is in a collaborative setting.
Overall, I think a collaborative divorce excels in putting you in a position where you are considering the viewpoint and perspective of your spouse and not just yourself. Again, there is nothing wrong with advocating for yourself or your children. However, the adage of walking a mile in another person's shoes truly does make a difference when it comes to the negotiation process. If you refuse to understand where your spouse is coming from when they make settlement proposals and counterproposals, then you are at a serious disadvantage. Rather, I recommend to people that they act diligently when it comes to working with their opposing spouse. This does not mean backing down to them at every opportunity, but it may mean conceding certain things here and there based on the circumstances of your case. A collaborative law attorney can help you a great deal in this regard.
Questions about the material contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.
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