Collaborative Law

There are two approaches to divorce in Texas- the traditional adversarial proceeding and the more recent Collaborative Law model. The process is used for both initial divorce proceedings and for modifications (even when the initial decree was reached through adversarial negotiations or trial).

Collaborative Law emphasizes respectful communication and a shared commitment to reach a mutually-beneficial settlement- providing substantial benefits for you and your family in terms of lower stress, lower cost and a healthier transition to their post-divorce relationship.

Collaborative Law replaces some of the key aspects of the adversarial approach with processes that bring you, your spouse and both attorneys together as a team. Those differences are highlighted in the table below.

  ADVERSARIAL COLLABORATIVE

Negotiation

Attorney to attorney, or through mediator only

Attorneys and spouses meet as a group

Information Exchange

Discovery under state-specified rules
Open exchange

Experts

Separate, competing experts
Shared experts

The outcome of the Collaborative Law process is a negotiated agreement, submitted to the court for approval.

Each spouse has the right, at any time during the Collaborative Law procedure, to leave the process and continue with an adversarial proceeding. In that event, each attorney withdraws and new counsel steps in for both parties.

Ms. Asher is a charter member of one of Harris County's first associations for collaborative lawyers, served as its first elected Chair and has helped organize the leading training seminar for collaborative law in Southeast Texas. She is a member of the Protocol Drafting Committee of the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas and regularly leads training and information seminars for accountants, counselors and other professionals serving Texas families.

 

Collaborative Law is one of the most important developments in the history of Texas family law. First enacted in the 2001 legislative session, collaborative law statutes provide Texas families with a new tool for resolving matters in a less stressful, more productive manner.

I hope you will seriously consider the benefits of the collaborative law approach.

 

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Ms. Asher practices Family Law and Collaborative Family Law in Harris County, Ft. Bend County and Montgomery County, Texas.