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How does the collaborative law approach to divorce work in Texas?

For most people, ending a marriage is sad, but it does not need to be angry and bitter. Separating and moving on can be done in ways that allow formers spouses to reach agreements without rancor; this is what the collaborative law approach attempts to do. So how does a couple use the collaborative approach in Texas?

For collaborative divorce to work, a couple must believe that the process can work for them by minimizing conflict and maximizing cooperation. If they do, they will likely find that divorce is both easier emotionally and less expensive than the traditional litigated divorce.

How can a spouse introduce the idea of a collaborative divorce? If the relationship between spouses is cordial, then one spouse can provide information about the collaborative approach such as that available from the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas. If a husband or wife feels that information directly from an attorney would be a better way to introduce the topic, then the person can arrange for a meeting or ask an attorney to mail the necessary information.

Of course, talking directly about collaborative divorce may be the best approach, particularly if communication lines are open. Articles, websites and other reference materials can provide good information. Other family members can also present information in a way that a spouse will hear it.

Once a couple decides to use the collaborative approach, an attorney can then form a team with a financial expert and a counseling professional. This will help keep the costs of divorce proceedings down. These experts should take a neutral approach and work to establish a cooperative atmosphere. The first meeting will usually set the stage for the divorce process to proceed with minimal emotional conflict and tension.

Source: The Collaborative Law Institute of Texas, "The Collaborative Approach," Accessed on Feb. 24, 2015

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