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Can I avoid court for my divorce, custody or family dispute?

| Jul 21, 2020 | Family Law |

A recent trend for resolving legal disputes in Texas is to use collaborative law. Contentious legal battles are never fun, but they can be especially destructive when it comes to your family and friends. An increasing number of people are choosing collaborative law for divorces, custody agreements and other disputes. 

Understanding how the collaborative process works under Texas law and how the resulting agreements ensue can be useful if you are considering this option. 

Collaborative Process

For a collaborative law session to begin, all parties must engage in the process willingly. No one can enter a collaborative law session by force, and a court will not order the process. When you choose this route instead of a traditional court battle, you will gather with legal representatives and attempt to negotiate an agreement through discussion. While you and the other party may not be able to work out a satisfactory arrangement alone, you may find it possible with the help of professionals. 

Collaborative law sessions can resolve all or part of the issues at hand, or you can exit a collaborative session for any reason, including the inability to come to a satisfactory agreement. Any items you cannot resolve will typically then go before a judge to arbitrate. 

Collaborative agreements

Collaborative agreements must include the session’s purpose and intent in writing along with the exact details and scope of the matter at hand. They must also contain a statement from each lawyer engaging in the process. As you, the participants, negotiate an agreement, you must record the outcome into a document for all parties to sign. If the collaborators do not resolve all items, you will enumerate which items still need attention and, when possible, the method you will use to resolve the remaining items. 

Disputes resolved in collaborative law sessions are legally binding in the same way that a court order would be.