How Does Collaborative Law Work?

If parties want to fight over who keeps the Rolling Stones CDs, or just can't wait for their day in court, then collaborative law is NOT the way to go. In collaborative law, the goal is to establish an open, cooperative environment, so that parties can stay out of court, and instead work toward an agreed settlement that both parties can accept.

Texas collaborative law involves a series of private meetings, rather than court appearances.

  • The meetings and discussions are confidential.
  • There is minimal involvement with the court.
  • The terms of the final divorce agreement can be kept private.
  • Experienced professionals will help the parties to come to agreements.

The cornerstone of collaborative law is the Participation Agreement (PA), and the Disqualification Clause, which says that if a full settlement is not reached, the attorneys must withdraw, and new attorneys will then take the case into the traditional litigation and court process. Only a signed PA can quiet the veiled threats of litigation and the "take it or leave it" positioning that can arise in traditional litigation cases.

If a lawyer tells you he or she can work "collaboratively" with your spouse's attorney, it may be a perfectly fine way to proceed, but it is not truly a collaborative law matter, and court may be right around the corner when the first disputes arises.

Who Is A Collaborative Attorney?

Collaborative law attorneys have specialized knowledge and experience, and help guide the parties through the process. Your attorney advocates for you, identifies questions and issues that need resolution, provides legal advice, generates and evaluates resolution options, manages conflict and assists the parties in reaching agreements.

Who Is A Collaborative Law Mental Health Professional?

This is a licensed professional with specialized training in collaborative law who assists each client to communicate positively and effectively within the process. This person does not act as a therapist. Rather, they use their expertise to assist everyone involved to manage emotional and psychological issues with the goal of promoting problem solving and settlement.

The Mental Health Professional performs these functions:

  • Identifies and prioritizes your interests and concerns
  • Identifies and offers assistance in dealing with and managing strong emotions that might interfere with reaching resolution
  • Uses his or her training to promote good communication throughout the collaborative process
  • Helps you to develop and implement an effective parenting plan
  • Helps you to learn and maintain skills for co-parenting
  • Assists you and the collaborative professionals to manage any roadblocks to the resolution of your divorce or family law matter

Who Is The Child Specialist?

A family law case can lead to unnecessary fighting over the kids. Custody fights or fights over the number of days per week parents see the kids can be a nightmare, especially for the kids. With the child specialist, parents work informally to create parenting plans that work best for their children.

The child specialist is a licensed mental health professional with specific training and experience in family systems and child development. Further, he or she has training and experience in working with families in the midst of a divorce or other child custody or parenting issue. The child specialist helps parents remain focused on the feelings and needs of the children.

The child specialist is a representative or "voice" of the child or children's feelings, needs and interests.

Many times, the role of Mental Health Professional and the Child Specialist will be performed by the same mental health professional.

Who Is The Financial Specialist?

The financial specialist is a certified financial planning practitioner, chartered financial consultant, certified divorce planner or certified public accountant, and will have met additional training requirements to qualify him or her to handle the unique financial challenges presented in divorce and family law cases.

The financial specialist helps you understand and value your financial data, identify and clarify financial goals and interests and explore short- and long-term implications of different settlement options.

The financial specialist assists you by:

  • Facilitating safe, honest and informed financial communication
  • Providing an unbiased and neutral assessment of your finances
  • Utilizing charts and graphs to help you and your attorneys understand the estimated tax and financial results of settlement ideas concerning support and asset division

In general, a successful collaborative law case increases the chances of keeping a positive relationship with your spouse. Litigation pits each spouse against the other. In collaborative cases, the parties work to achieve mutually beneficial goals. With creative solutions, they can avoid the old win-lose scenario.

Make An Appointment

Adam L. Seidel, P.C., has extensive experience with collaborative law matters, and we have helped numerous clients resolve their divorces in a more peaceful manner. Call 214-528-3344 (Dallas) or 972-312-1212 (Plano) today and set up an initial consultation or fill out the form on this website.