Collaborative Law Candidates at Our Plano Law Firm
Many couples facing divorce wish to avoid contentious and lengthy divorce litigation. For the right candidates, there are non-litigation options available to finalize a divorce. One of these options is collaborative law.
In a collaborative divorce, parties and their respective family law attorneys meet privately to work through and resolve every detail of a divorce or family dispute quickly, cost-effectively and in a dignified manner. To find out more about collaborative divorce, and to determine if this is a viable option for you, simply call or contact our collaborative attorneys.
Is Collaborative Divorce Law Right for Me?
There are a number of things you should consider to determine if collaborative law is the right option for settling your divorce
- Are you willing to cooperate? Collaborative law requires parties to cooperate and work proactively with each other.
- Do you wish to maintain relationships? Divorce litigation can cause lasting harm on a family. In collaborative law, parties enter with a spirit of compromise and cooperation. This can pave the way to lasting and positive relationships between divorcing spouses and family members.
- Do you have children? In divorce litigation, a family law judge determines child custody and visitation. In collaborative law, you maintain control over the process, ultimately deciding on a child-custody arrangement that is right for you.
- Do you desire a private divorce? When your divorce is settled in public court, the information is available to the public. In collaborative law, the details of your divorce are kept confidential.
To learn more about the collaborative process click here to watch a video that shows the various stages of the process a couple goes through when they choose a Collaborative divorce.
For more information about collaborative divorce resolution, set up a consultation with one of our Frisco or Plano family law lawyers. Simply call or contact us today.
PRACTICE AREAS – COLLABORATIVE LAW – HOW COLLABORATIVE LAW DIFFERS FROM MEDIATION LAW
Collaborative Family Lawyers
Both mediation and collaborative divorce law allow couples the opportunity to settle their divorce-related legal matters cooperatively and outside of court. However, the processes are not the same. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.
To find out more about collaborative law and mediation as alternatives to divorce litigation, contact the law office of Albin Roach with offices in Frisco and Plano, Texas.
Collaborative Law vs Mediation
The collaborative divorce law process is a unique way for parties to resolve their legal disputes. In mediation, parties are given a one-time opportunity to resolve their legal disputes before the case goes to trial. In a collaborative divorce case, parties abandon the traditional litigation model. Collaborative law is a stand-alone, structured process that allows parties to maintain control over the final result, all while minimizing the emotional and financial costs.
Parties involved in the collaborative divorce process — the divorcing spouses and lawyers — are motivated to succeed. With control over the final outcome, parties are encouraged to work cooperatively and focus on the end result. If either party withdraws from the process before matters are settled, both attorneys must also withdraw. The attorneys are prohibited from representing either party in the future.
Is Collaborative Law Right for Me?
Many people choose collaborative divorce law to avoid costly and contentious divorce litigation. However, the collaborative approach is not successful for every couple. To determine if your divorce-related matters — including child custody, property division, and alimony — can be settled through collaborative law, simply call or contact us.
PRACTICE AREAS – COLLABORATIVE LAW – DIGNITY, PRIVACY AND CONTROL
Collaborative Law replaces the courtroom with a conference room.
These days, the public record is very public . To avoid unwanted publicity and scrutiny, divorcing couples are increasingly turning to a well-respected alternative that enables participants to resolve their family law dispute without the use of a judge, jury or even a courtroom. It’s called Collaborative Law. This discreet approach to divorce and family dispute resolution allows each party and their collaboratively-trained attorneys to meet privately, work through all details and achieve a confidential resolution quickly, cost-effectively and in a dignified manner.
Q: What is Collaborative Law?
Collaborative Law is the 21st century’s cutting-edge method of resolving disputes without the use of a judge, jury, or even a courtroom. It is a confidential process in which both participants retain separate, collaboratively-trained lawyers whose primary job is to help the participants craft a settlement that meets each party’s individual goals and needs in the divorce without creating an adversarial atmosphere. The dispute is carefully handled from the outset, making it much more like a business negotiation than a scene from “War of the Roses.” All of the participants contractually agree to work together, to be respectful, to be honest, and to participate in good faith to try to reach an agreement.
Q: Is Collaborative Law really a “courtroom free” process?
Yes, because the participants and their attorneys sign a written contract, called a “Participation Agreement,” which serves both as a rule book governing the conduct of the participants and also as a commitment to keep the case out of the courtroom. Signing of the Participation Agreement also legally strips the court of the authority to make substantive decisions in the case while the participants work within the collaborative model (Tex. Fam. Code §6.603). The judicial system only becomes involved if the case fails to settle or when, at the successful conclusion of the case, one of the participants will make a short, non-adversarial appearance with his or her attorney to have the judge sign the final order.
Q: How does a Collaborative Law divorce work?
The signing of the Participation Agreement (and the contractually agreed-upon boundaries that are put in place as part of it) serves to promote a safe environment that is characterized by confidentiality, mutual respect, and control over the outcome. Through a series of scheduled meetings with pre-planned agendas, the participants work their way through the gauntlet of substantive issues that must be addressed and resolved as part of any divorce. During this process, a full range of jointly engaged neutral professionals, including communication coaches, financial consultants, estate planning professionals and others can be called upon as needed to provide information and options for specific situations. The participants themselves, with the advice of their respective attorneys, determine whether and when to involve such neutrals. Once a final agreement is negotiated, the lawyers for each side jointly draft the agreement and file it with the appropriate court for approval.
Q: Are the results legally binding?
Yes. Once an agreement is achieved the lawyers for each participant jointly draft a court order based upon the agreement and submit it to the appropriate court for approval. The court’s only involvement is to receive the agreement of the participants and make a legal pronouncement based upon the agreement. Once signed, the agreement becomes an order of the court just like any other court order.
Q: What if I want to use Collaborative Law but my spouse does not?
Both participants must agree to “opt-in” to the Collaborative Law process. Initially, one spouse is typically more knowledgeable about Collaborative Law than the other. Because there is so much reliable information online, your spouse can easily and independently verify the advantages of the process. For your convenience, we have listed links to several additional reputable Collaborative Law information sources on our resources page.
Q: Is Collaborative Law the same thing as Mediation?
No. Collaborative Law is a fundamentally unique way to resolve legal disputes. Whereas mediation provides participants who are trapped in contested litigation with a one-time opportunity to resolve the suit before proceeding to trial, a collaborative case functions completely outside the traditional litigation model. It is a stand-alone, structured process that empowers the participants to keep control over the outcome while minimizing both the emotional and financial costs.
Q: Is it possible that the Collaborative Law divorce could fail?
Yes. This is an elective process, meaning that both participants must want to proceed collaboratively. If either participant later decides to “opt-out” of the Collaborative Law process, then the process ends, and the participants wind up back in litigation. Opting out rarely occurs because there are strong incentives designed to encourage everyone to stay the course, even if there are challenges along the way. One of the strongest incentives requires all attorneys and any neutral professionals withdraw and refrain from representing either participant later in litigation if either participant opts-out before the conclusion of the case. Why? This requirement ensures that not only the participants but also the attorneys themselves stay focused on success instead of the possibility of failure.
Q: Does Collaborative Law really work?
Absolutely. The vast majority of people facing divorce who choose the Collaborative Law process find the process superior to the alternative and the results are better tailored to their particular needs. Why? The reasons are simple: Participants retain greater control over the outcome; the impact to their children is minimized; the process is confidential, and takes place outside of the specter of the courthouse. Couples faced with divorce are choosing Collaborative Law in increasing numbers nationwide and the results are very positive. Perhaps the best evidence for the success of the model, however, is the fact that there is rarely a need to file a subsequent enforcement or modification action regarding the divorce decree, since parties are usually more apt to follow agreements instead of outwardly imposed rules.
Family law attorney Sharon Corsentino is trained and experienced in the collaborative law approach. Our firm believes strongly in the value of resolving family law disputes this way, and in using this approach wherever appropriate.
Practice and Contact Information
Our firm uses the collaborative law process to resolve family law issues that include divorce, child custody, property division, modifications and more for clients in Collin County, Denton County and throughout North Texas.
To learn more about this method of resolving disputes or to schedule an initial consultation with an attorney – simply call or contact us online.
FAQ: Collaborative Law
Answers to some of the most commonly asked Collaborative Law questions include:
- Q: What is Collaborative Law?
- Q: How is Collaborative Law different from traditional lawsuits?
- Q: What are the advantages of Collaborative Law over traditional litigation?
- Q: Can I hire any lawyer to handle my case collaboratively?
- Q: How much does Collaborative Law cost?
- Q: Does a Collaborative case resolve more quickly than a traditional lawsuit?
- Q: Is Collaborative Law for everyone?
- Q: How do I get started?
Q: What is Collaborative Law?
Collaborative Law is the 21st century’s cutting-edge alternative method of resolving disputes without the use of a judge, jury, or even a courtroom. It is a process in which both parties retain separate lawyers whose primary job is to help the parties settle their disputes. The dispute is handled more like a business negotiation than a “War of the Roses.” All of the participants contractually agree to work together, to be respectful, honest and to participate in good faith to try to reach an agreement.
Q: How is Collaborative Law different from traditional lawsuits?
Collaborative Law is a fundamentally unique way to resolve legal disputes. Traditional lawsuits focus on placing blame for a dispute. The entire process is geared toward “beating” the other side. The problem is that although both parties may survive the gristmill of litigation, by the time the process is over both sides have lost because of the extraordinary financial and emotional costs expended. By contrast, collaborative cases focus on identifying and implementing solutions to a dispute through a specific, structured process that empowers the parties to retain control over the outcome while minimizing both the emotional and financial costs.
Q: What are the advantages of Collaborative Law over traditional litigation?
Solution focused; Predictable results; No coercion; Safe atmosphere (civil, dignified, and respectful); Options maximized (if the process fails, you can still litigate); Confidential process; and Efficient (100% of time and money is spent on settlement efforts). Did you know that approximately 95% of all family law cases wind up resolving without ever having a contested final trial? The traditional litigation approach forces the parties to spend a portion of their time and financial resources on preparing for a contested trial that rarely actually takes place. The collaborative model eliminates that waste by focusing 100% of the parties’ attention, time, and financial resources on settlement efforts.
Q: Can I hire any lawyer to handle my case collaboratively?
Not all attorneys have sought and obtained any special training in Collaborative Law. For the process to succeed, it is essential that all professionals involved in your case have both training and a personal belief in the advantages of the process.
Q: How much does Collaborative Law cost?
Although your case is unique, the initial retainer for a Collaborative Law case will be no greater than that of a litigation case. During your initial no-obligation consultation with the attorney, you will be advised in detail about the anticipated costs and expenses. It has been our experience, however, that throughout the course of the case our clients typically enjoy a substantial emotional savings from avoiding the damaging effects of litigation. It is also common to receive a financial savings because of the efficiency of the collaborative process, and because you will avoid many of the money pits that are inherent to litigation: depositions, voluminous document production, written interrogatories, discovery disputes, and contested court hearings.
Q: Does a Collaborative case resolve more quickly than a traditional lawsuit?
Usually, yes. A contested lawsuit can easily last nine months or longer in Collin and Denton counties. In Dallas and Tarrant, delays can stretch a case out over 12 months or longer. On average, collaborative cases resolve within six months of the first full team meeting.
Q: Is Collaborative Law for everyone?
Although Collaborative Law is an advanced, dynamic, and cutting-edge alternative method of dispute resolution, it is not for everyone. Collaborative Law is generally not well suited to deal with cases involving fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, undue influence, domestic violence, or child abuse. The process requires a commitment on the part of both parties to work together honestly and with integrity. It also requires a desire from the couple to work with their lawyers to resolve the issues, instead of relying on an outside third party, such as a judge or jury, to make decisions for them.