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Collaborative divorce resolves conflict

There’s no doubt that the pain of a divorce is hard; ending a relationship, breaking up a family, and building a new life are surely enough to take you on a rollercoaster of emotions.

Traditional divorce practices can leave bitterness lingering for years, making the healing process drag out that much longer.

In recent years a more common and effective approach to divorce has been collaborative divorce.

Aside from being a new alternative to dispute resolution in family law, collaborative divorce enables divorcing couples to work out an agreement without going to court.

The core of collaborative divorce is that you are moving from a “fight and win” approach to a “problem resolution” approach in negotiations. To do this, both parties will engage in mediation and negotiation, and instead of years of bitterness, you can both be left with a divorce you can be proud of.

For this to be productive both parties must be willing, if one spouse is hesitant, it’s likely the process will be unsuccessful.

How Does Collaborative Divorce Work?

For starters, each person hires their own attorney and in the beginning, meetings are done separately without your spouse or spouse’s attorney. This helps you establish your goals and get an understanding of the negotiation process.

Then, lawyers from both sides agree to aid their clients in conflict resolution rather than turning to litigation.

After this, both parties and their lawyers enter into a “Participation agreement” in which they are consenting to withdraw from the process if a settlement is not reached and the lawyers may not participate in any litigation that may follow.

According to, some general provisions you can expect to see in a collaborative divorce participation agreement include:

  • it is agreed that the outstanding issues will be settled in a non-adversarial manner using interest-based negotiation;
  • the parties will rely on their lawyers to assist them in reaching the settlement;
  • the parties will act in their children’s best interests to promote the relationships between the children and the parties and to minimize any emotional damage to the children as a result of the separation;
  • all communications during the process will be constructive and fair, and will not take advantage of any errors made by the other party;
  • neutral experts may be retained;
  • the reasons and process for withdrawing from or ending the process;
  • the status quo will be maintained in regards to the children, and no unilateral changes will be made to assets, insurance coverages or other matters during the process without consent

Why Do People Choose Collaborative Divorce?

While it may seem it is only for spouses with similar objectives and ideas, collaborative divorce is actually beneficial for most situations.

Some advantages include:

  • Saving money and time
  • Informal setting
  • Honest and free exchange of information
  • Decide how to handle post-settlement disputes
  • Negotiating a result that works for you

Why work against each other when you could create a settlement that leaves everyone satisfied?

To ensure a successful collaborative divorce, you’ll need a lawyer who supports mediation and has a good understanding of the negotiation process.

At Hargrave Family Law you will receive expert advice as we are Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and a member of the Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists, the Dallas Bar Family Law Section and the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas.