Could a less-contentious Texas divorce be right for you?

It is possible to divorce without animosity and antagonism through the collaborative process.<

Many people imagine that, should their marriage end, they will put on the proverbial gloves and come out swinging. They assume that a divorce has to be, at its core, an adversarial process during which themselves and their spouse will be at each others' throats, fighting tooth and nail over every contested issue. They may envision a protracted process that lasts for months or even years and is only resolved by the intervention of a judge making important decisions about their future on their behalf. In short, they see divorce as a nightmare.

Thankfully, this "worst case scenario" kind of divorce is actually rare. Most couples are able to dissolve their marriages without resorting to trial, even in situations where a family court judge needs to become involved. That being said, there is a better way that has, in recent years, become much more common in Texas and across the country: collaborative divorce.

What is collaborative divorce?

The collaborative process is one in which a couple can, with the aid of their separate attorneys and a panel of experts in such areas as finance and mental health, make decisions and reach resolution on contested issues. Collaborative law is, by definition, a non-adversarial approach, meaning that it isn't about "winning" or about "beating" the other side. Instead, the focus is on simply resolving disputes and moving forward. Yes, there are attorneys present to protect their clients' interests and ensure that one side doesn't take advantage of the other (i.e., that any child custody, child support and property division agreements reached aren't patently unfair), but the ultimate goal is different than it is in litigation.

Furthermore, the experts themselves are impartial in the collaborative process. There aren't expert witnesses to support each side's contentions; the experts are there to help the couple as a whole find resolutions that are mutually beneficial and workable.

Other benefits of collaborative divorce

In addition to being less contentious - and helping foster a better relationship moving forward, something that is particularly important for couples withchildren who will need to co-parent in the future - there are other benefits of the collaborative process. One key benefit is privacy. Court proceedings are part of the public record, but collaborative law is entirely private in nature. Any discussions held, and information disclosed, as part of the collaborative process remains private.

Another benefit is cost-effectiveness. Collaborative divorces are usually resolved quicker and with less back-and-forth than litigated ones, which means a lower cost overall. The collaborative process takes much less time and energy, plus it doesn't involve months of filing documents with the court, appearing several times before a judge or dealing with court filing fees.

If you are considering divorce, collaborative law may be an option for you. To learn more about the process, and to determine if it is right for your unique situation, speak with an experienced family law attorney at the Plano-based Barbknecht Firm, P.C.; call them at 972-312-1510 or send an email.


Joseph Barbknecht has litigated cases in every corner of Texas and in numerous other states. He is equipped for complex cases, volume work, consulting or co-counsel in all areas of civil litigation.

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