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Austin Divorce – Collaborative Law

Collaborative Law is only available to the parties to a divorce. Your Austin divorce lawyer can tell you more about how this works. A collaborative divorce in Austin requires the parties to contractually agree not to go to court. Therefore, if a petition for divorce has already been filed, it must be dismissed before a collaborative divorce can proceed. If after the collaboration has begun, one of the parties decides to file a petition for divorce, the collaborative attorneys for both parties will withdraw from the case.

Many people find collaborative divorce appealing because it eliminates the adversarial feel of a traditional divorce. Discovery is voluntary which makes the process very transparent. Additionally, collaborative divorce emphasizes interest-based negotiation.

Once the parties have signed the agreement to participate in the collaborative divorce process, they will schedule meetings which have very specific agendas. For instance, the parties might agree that at the first meeting they will discuss child custody and visitation, at the second meeting they will discuss child support and spousal maintenance, and at the third meeting they will discuss division of assets and liabilities. Detailed minutes of each meeting will be taken.

Collaborative divorce gives each party an opportunity to express their respective interests and goals as well as their preferred means of attaining those goals. If interim issues arise as a result of negotiations, those issues are added to the agenda and addressed accordingly.

Additionally, collaborative divorce gives the parties an opportunity to agree upon which documents they’ll produce and when those documents will be produced. Only after each party is comfortable that he or she has received all the documentation and information necessary to make a decision do negotiations begin. At this stage, options for resolution of the issues are presented and each side is given a chance to express why he believes each option will or will not work for him. The ultimate goal is to agree on options which each party feel best serve his or her interests. Once all issues have been resolved, the attorneys work together to draft the decree which the parties sign and present to the court for entry of a final order.

Collaborative divorces allow the parties to employ the services of third parties such as financial neutrals and communication coaches. This gives the process a “team” feel and helps the parties deal with issues which can otherwise be very emotional and explosive in a more constructive and productive manner.

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