Not all Texas divorces are rife with disagreement and contentious back-and-forth arguments between the parties. Even if there are issues on which the sides cannot find common ground, there is often still room for negotiation to avoid a long, drawn out case that can cost time, money and exact an emotional toll on everyone involved, including children.
Collaborative law may not be suitable in every case, but those who have the opportunity to use it should be fully aware of the laws governing how it is handled. In addition, legal advice from a firm experienced in this area of family law can be helpful.
Collaborative law and the required agreements
When deciding to use collaborative law for a Texas divorce, the parties must sign an agreement stating they will take part. They must have legal representation. The agreement must be in the record; be signed; state the parties’ intention to settle their dispute through collaborative law; have details as to the matters that are in dispute such as property division, alimony and child custody; identify their legal representation; and have a statement from the legal representatives confirming their participation.
There are provisions that must be in the agreement. Intervention from the court will be suspended as the negotiations are taking place. Also, there will be experts, advisors and professionals who can take part in the case unless it is agreed in writing that they will not. The collaborative process can settle part of the case. If there are issues about which they cannot agree, they do not need to be resolved through collaborative negotiation. The process ends when a party informs the others involved that it is concluded; if a party starts a proceeding that is connected to family law sans agreement from other parties; or if there is a pending proceeding. Parties can terminate the collaborative law process whenever they choose to do so. If there is a written agreement settling the matter, it is legally enforceable under state law.
Experienced collaborative lawyers may help with a negotiation
Whether it is a high-asset divorce or one of modest means, negotiation through the collaborative process can be fruitful. It may also be beneficial for fathers who are concerned that the courts will automatically award custody to the mother and they want to negotiate a friendly agreement to see their children as often as possible.
Of course, collaborative law is not for everyone, but in cases where there is a basis to agree, it is something to explore. Consulting with experienced family law professionals can give information and representation in these situations.