Sunday, June 1, 2014

A Kinder Way to Divorce

Contrary to popular images, not everyone going through a divorce wants to make a big fight of it.  Actually, there are many people who want a low-key, "nice" divorce, without a lot of fighting.  The ideal situation is when both parties want a peaceful divorce.  That actually occurs more often than you might expect.

Of course, there are still plenty of people who want to duke it out in court.  I know lots of combative attorneys I can refer them to.  Unfortunately, the "fighters" don't realize, until too late, that having a big divorce battle usually means greatly increased costs and a long, drawn-out proceeding.  At least the attorneys come out in good shape, unless the clients run out of money.

For those who want a less-destructive way of getting divorced, there's another way to divorce:  Collaborative Law.  Here's why:

1.  We use a neutral mental health professional (MHP) in Texas in most cases. The MHP is mainly a communication coach who helps the husband and wife learn to communicate better.  That includes learning to listen effectively, choosing words carefully and being respectful to each other, among other things.  The MHP runs most of the meetings we have and I have seen a number of situations where the MHP saved the day by noticing a problem and helping the parties be more effective and less offensive toward each other.

2.  We also use a neutral financial professional (FP) to gather, organize and help interpret financial information for the parties.  The FP leads the discussions on the finances and helps both parties make informed decisions that help them meet their goals. Both parties are more comfortable being able to rely on a knowledgeable and neutral expert to explain the situation and help them evaluate options for settlement.

3.  The attorneys work together, while still representing separate clients, to make sure final agreements can be made.  We avoid ugly court hearings, testimony and cross examination in court and depositions.  The attorneys don't stir the pot with incendiary pleadings and arguments. We are all working for peaceful solutions that match the clients' needs.

If would be nice if everyone acted like reasonable adults during divorces, but that will never happen.  If you are interested in that type atmosphere, you should consider trying Collaborative Law.  You  should find a trained Collaborative Lawyer and discuss whether it would be appropriate in your case.  Good luck!

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