Collaborative divorce becomes a viable option for you and your spouse if you wish to avoid open-court conflict, but still want attorneys in your respective corners to protect your rights.
In addition, collaboration offers you and your spouse the opportunity to make your own decisions instead of leaving them up to a judge.
A nonadversarial option
When you and your spouse agree on a collaborative divorce, each of you hires your own attorney, just like you would do if you were about to undergo a traditional litigated divorce. The similarities end there, however.
In a collaborative divorce, the attorneys do not view themselves as adversaries. Nor do they view you and your spouse as adversaries. Instead, they work from the premise that both of you have the maturity and ability to negotiate your differences and come to a set of agreed-upon resolutions.
The collaborative process
Once you hire your attorney, you will have an initial meeting with him or her wherein you fully discuss your fears, concerns and divorce objectives. This gives him or her the information necessary to properly represent you. Your spouse will have a similar initial meeting with his or her attorney.
All four of you will then hold a series of meetings during which you and your spouse will negotiate whatever disputes you may have, including such things as the following:
- Which of you will receive primary custody of your children
- The mechanics of your joint custody arrangement if you wish to go that route
- The specifics of your parenting plan in either event
- Which of you will pay child support to the other
- Which, if either, of you will pay spousal support to the other
- How you will go about splitting up your marital property equally since Texas is a community property state
Once you reach agreement on all your issues, one of the attorneys will draft the appropriate documents for you to sign. The attorneys will then present these documents to the court for its approval. The possibility exists that you and your spouse may obtain your divorce without ever having to go to court yourselves.