Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens said taking a collaborative approach saved him millions in his recent divorce. The energy tycoon recently ended his fourth marriage. Unlike prior splits, Pickens decided to take a collaborative approach with this divorce, which he said helped save money and avoid much of the emotional upheaval that is typical of a divorce proceeding. Pickens was so pleased with the results that he donated $100,000 to a Texas collaborative law organization to help other divorcing couples gain the benefits of a collaborative process.
Collaborative divorce uses private mediation to reach settlement on the issues found in a typical divorce, including asset valuation, asset division, child support and child custody. It helps the parties save the time and expense of court proceedings. Parties are able to create their own binding agreement without intervention from a judge. The parties select a private mediator who meets with them to discuss their options and facilitate an agreement. Meetings occur at the convenience of the parties instead of being based on a court schedule.
Collaborative divorce may be a particularly attractive option to a high-profile couple like Pickens and his fourth wife because meetings are held in a private office rather than a public courtroom. This allows the terms of the settlement to remain confidential. It also allows the parties to involve other professionals such as financial advisors who can assist them in reaching agreement on complex issues.
A Texas resident who is interested in exploring a collaborative approach to divorce should consult with an experienced family law attorney about the available options. The attorney may provide guidance through the process, answer any questions he or she may have and help prepare him or her for the issues that are likely to arise during a divorce.
Source: Dallas Business Journal, "T. Boone Pickens on how to save millions on your divorce," Bill Hethcock, March 1, 2013