law is a process whereby both parties and the divorce attorneys commit to resolving their differences without
resort, or threat of resort, to the courts. Collaborative Law is more humane and promotes post
divorce spiritual, psychological and financial health of the
restructured family. Collaborative Law relies on an atmosphere
of honesty, integrity, cooperation and professionalism geared toward
future well-being of the family. The parties engage in informal
discussions and conferences to settle all issues.
The process is based on Interest Based Negotiating, a method
developed in the 1980's by some really smart guys at Harvard. Meetings are
structured, complete with agendas, minutes and communication guidelines at a
minimum. The goal is to create the best possible settlement, defined as the one
that meets the most needs for each party and their children.
Allied professionals such as communication facilitators,
(usually from the mental health field), financial planners, and sometimes appraisers are
brought into the process as needed and and when everyone agrees. Collaborative
Law requires each party and each divorce attorney to take a reasoned position
on all issues. Where such positions differ, all participants use
their best efforts to create proposals that meet the fundamental needs
of both parties and, if necessary, to compromise to reach a settlement
of all issues.
If the parties are unable to resolve their case through the
process (which can include arbitration and mediation as in traditional
litigation) and opt for court resolution, the attorneys must withdraw and new
counsel will be hired to litigate the case.
me if I can do the work for both parties in a Collaborative case. Collaborative Law requires that both
parties have an attorney, so it is not a process where you can get it done with
just one attorney (Actually, no process is, although sometimes you only have one
person represented, just not in Collaborative Law).
For more information and a list
of trained attorneys in Tarrant County, see the Collaborative
Lawyers of Tarrant County web site.
In choosing an attorney for
Collaborative Law, ask the attorney about their experience with cases, how many
trainings they have had and how recent the last one was. The Collaborative
approach to dispute resolution is new and one training a year and a half ago
cannot impart the needed skill set to "collaborate" with expertise.
Also ask the attorney if they use a communication facilitator on almost every
case. If they, don't, they might not be experienced enough for you.