When it comes to the world of Texas family law cases and divorces in particular there is no more innovative and forward-thinking method of resolving disputes than the collaborative divorce. Collaborative divorce is sought to encourage parties such as you and your spouse to put aside your differences and instead focus on the commonalities shared by the two of you. In doing so, you will be able to focus your attention on the areas of your life where a middle ground can be found. This will allow you to settle sooner rather than later. This is especially true as opposed to the normally litigious and time-consuming process of a Texas divorce case.
Make no mistake, however, most people who are going through a divorce do not engage in a collaborative process. Rather, they undertake a typical divorce where a petition is filed, and the answer encounter petition is then filed in the parties attend hearings, exchange discovery information, and negotiate during mediation sessions. The interim. It Is spent arguing over relatively minor issues and otherwise not working towards an amicable solution to the problems of the case. While this method is tried and true for many people It cannot be said that it works well for everyone. Quite the opposite, A typical divorce Can be a recipe for disaster when it comes to most people.
In a collaborative divorce, you and your spouse will both hire attorneys who will agree to proceed with the case collaboratively. Many attorneys in our area focus on Collaborative divorces Our relatively new and unique compared to a typical Texas divorce. As a result, many attorneys who have never worked on these types of cases before May not have the experience necessary to adequately represents you in this type of case. As a result, you should focus on experienced attorneys who have been there and done that in terms of working with clients on a collaborative basis. The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are the type of attorneys you need to help guide you during this process.
A participation agreement is typically one of the first documents that you will sign in the collaborative divorce process. The participation agreement is a pledge, of sorts. You and your spouse would pledge to abide by the mutually determined rules associated with your collaborative divorce. These rules will likely focus on and attention to negotiation rather than litigation adding a desire to avoid going to court if possible. Once all parties and their attorneys have signed the pledge the case would begin on a collaborative basis.
I think collaborative divorce is that right or even possible for everyone. You and your spouse would need to mutually agree to engage in a collaborative divorce. This takes the two of you being able to discuss the issues at hand and determine that a collaborative divorce is something that you both want to try. It is worth trying to have this discussion with your spouse as soon as you are able. That way you can prepare for whatever direction your case ends up going.
Situations, where You and your spouse do not see eye to eye on much of anything or are in stark disagreement on several important issues, do not lend themselves well to collaborative efforts in a divorce. Rather, the reality of those situations is that you are likely to find yourself facing the difficult prospect of going through a traditional divorce and everything that comes with that. This isn't the worst thing in the world but, if at all possible, you should strive to at least be able to engage in a civil and amicable divorce if not a collaborative one. This can take setting aside your differences and your ego to do what is best for your family and specifically your children.
What goes into a pledge to divorce collaboratively?
Getting back to the pledge that would be signed at the beginning of your collaborative divorce, there are a few agreements that go into almost every pledge of this sort. The first is to treat one another with respect. This scales without saying and should be how every divorce begins, to be honest. However, you and I both know the reality that when two people that are not seeing either I get together in any arrangement respect can sometimes fly out the window. Divorce is no different, unfortunately. In a collaborative divorce, you and your spouse will sign your name to the agreement where you are stating to another that respect will be the basis of your mode of operation during the case.
Next, you will pledge to walk a mile in one another’s shoes. this means looking at the case from each other's vantage points and considering what the other person needs. This is an important consideration because oftentimes people in your position can become so focused on their objectives in a case that they cease to try and even consider the case from their spouses’ perspective. Many people get so cynical during divorce that they assume that every position taken by their spouse is done only to oppose what he or she wants. However, it is most usually the case that these differences of opinion come from legitimate divergent viewpoints. consider the case from your spouse’s vantage point and you will likely learn a lot about how they are thinking and approaching things.
One of the most time-consuming aspects of a divorce case is the discovery process. Discovery allows both you and your spouse to submit requests for documentation, information, and responses to questions to the other person. You all will have a certain amount of time, usually, 30 days, to answer the questions and submit the documentation back to the requesting party. You will either need to answer the questions, submit the documentation, or submit a valid objection to the request for information. The way I'm describing it sounds relatively orderly and simple. However, in practice, it can oftentimes end up being anything but that.
in a collaborative divorce, you will not need to be told to provide your spouse with this type of information. Rather, you will agree at the beginning of your divorce to turn over any documentation that you believe could be relevant to your case. This includes financial documents, tax returns, credit cards, other loan documents, retirement account information, and things of this nature. We can answer the questions the other side puts forward to you and submit your thoughts regarding custody and visitation arrangements for your children.
All this can be done at the beginning of a case without being prompted to do so. This not only is more efficient in terms of getting it done at the beginning of a case but shows that both of you are putting forth a good faith effort while doing so. In a divorce case good faith efforts like this are rare to see and our welcome change from the norm of a typical divorce case. You can work with your attorney to help think about what documentation you think is necessary to get from your spouse so that you can request it at the earliest possible time. This way your case has kept moving at a brisk pace and you both put forth the good faith effort necessary to show the other that you are willing to engage in the collaborative divorce process without delay or other hindrance.
Finally, probably the best example of something to be included in a collaborative divorce pledge is to promise the other person that you will do your best to avoid going to court if at all possible. My experience in divorce cases is that most people involved in divorce cases do not ever go to court for a contested matter. Rather, it is a few divorce cases here and there that wind up going to court for multiple reasons throughout the case. If you are engaging in a collaborative divorce, then it is clear that you believe you and your spouse are not going to be the type to find yourself in court with any regularity.
However, a collaborative divorce pledge goes one step further. You all will be agreeing to take every precaution you can towards avoiding the courtroom. This means resolving disputes between yourselves to the greatest extent possible. Indeed, Game 2 court throws a wrench into the entire collaborative divorce process. At that stage, you are engaged in a typical divorce case and there is not anything collaborative about it. Collaboration requires you and your spouse to get together on the important issues of your case. Hunting the issues to a judge is not collaborative in the least. As a result, expect to agree to hold off on going to court unless necessary if you are agreeing to a collaborative divorce with your spouse.
Who will be working with you on your divorce?
You can expect that a range of people will be assisting you in your divorce case. Collaborative divorce attorneys, as well as mental health professionals, may be enlisted to help in your case. If your child has behavioral health in need or otherwise requires assistance from a professional due to mental or physical impairment, then those experts may be brought into a case to help you create an effective visitation plan moving forward. In traditional divorce social studies, commenced by the family court judge can cost time and money to complete. In a collaborative divorce, you and your spouse can agree to bring on these professionals at the beginning of the case to quickly make recommendations based on their observations of your family. This can get you all to a point where your case is completed sooner rather than later and there is less of a need for expensive delays related to social studies and things of this nature.
Financial experts like forensic accountants it can also be brought into a case to help the two of you resolve any disputes that arise. Again, it is not the point of a collaborative divorce to engage only if you and your spouse do not have any disagreements. Rather, a collaborative divorce puts the two of you in a position where you will be forced to work together rather than run to the judge at the first sign of a disagreement. The benefit of having these professionals on hand to assist you is that they have the experience to be able to help you identify potential problems in your case and help you create solutions. Many people who go through divorces do so without much knowledge of the process or what goes into a case. As a result, they have little chance of successfully negotiating through the problems of their divorce case. As a result, going to talk to a judge seems like the only way out.
However, in a divorce case, there is almost always ample opportunity to reach amicable conclusions and settlements. The most important factor to keep in mind is that you and your spouse need to be committed to the process. Going back to what I was talking about earlier in today's blog post you can focus your attention on what brings you together and approach a case from the vantage point of the other person. If you consider where he or she is coming from their positions may soon take on a more reasonable outlook. You may also begin to consider how your physicians seem to be less reasonable than you might have thought earlier in the case.
The bottom line is that you want to maintain control of your case as much as possible. Once the case shifts into a stage where you all are giving up decision-making abilities to your family court judge then you have gotten to the point where it is a judge who holds most of the power when the case is all said and done. This is usually a bad sign for a case when the two of you cannot even reach basic agreements on run-of-the-mill subjects in divorce. Rather, the collaborative process forces the two of you 2 consider the other person's perspective and engage in fruitful conversations geared towards settlement and avoiding the courtroom.
Costs associated with collaborative divorces
Depending upon how complex your situation is, your collaborative divorce may end up being less expensive or possibly more expensive Than a traditional divorce. The more issues you have in your case, the more tedious the financial matters you must get through, or the more children you have means that your divorce may end up taking more time to negotiate through and as a result cost more money. Family law attorneys build by the hour whether they are collaborative or traditional. The more hours spent working on a case means that your attorney will be billing you for their ability to do so. After all, you went to ensure that your case is proceeding efficiently and that the attorney can be paid to do the work that you need to have done.
Another factor to consider is the involvement of other professionals in the case. For example, the accountants, mental health experts, and people of this sort that I just finished discussing with you cost money to bring into a case. The more involved these folks must be in terms of the guidance provided to you and your spouse the more expensive your case will end up being. On the other hand, the more that the two of you can work through the issues in your case without expert involvement likely means that your case will not be nearly as expensive.
On the other hand, collaborative divorces can end up being much less expensive since they encourage problem-solving and negotiation rather than resorting to going to court. Typically, it is court appearances in a divorce case that end up costing the most amount of money. If you and your spouse can avoid going to court instead work to solve issues on your own without the assistance of judges or experts, then you can save yourself a large amount of money. Everything depends upon the specific circumstances in your situation, however.
To gain a better understanding of the issues in your case as well as the likelihood of success in a collaborative divorce you should seek out the advice of an experienced collaborative divorce attorney. Collaborative divorce attorneys understand the complex nature of your situation and can give you specific information that can help you determine whether a collaborative or traditional divorce is the best course for your family.
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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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Spring Divorce Attorneys
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Spring, TX Divorce Attorneys right away to protect your rights.
Our divorce attorneys in Spring TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, and surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Waller County.