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Using collaborative law in Texas during a divorce

Divorces involving children can be taxing on both parents and kids. Litigating a divorce in a courtroom setting can have devastating results on Texas families. Using collaborative law to settle a divorce in a friendly, non combative environment, can have an everlasting positive effect on children and parents going through a divorce.

When parents decide that the marriage is no longer a sustainable one, the children involved can still benefit from decisions made by parents who put their kids needs and emotional responses first. Planning to inform the kids during a period when parents can spend time and the emotional energy to help their children adjust is just one aspect to consider. Living arrangements during separation, divorce and after can help all members of the family adjust to the upcoming changes. Some parents can remain under the same roof to allow time for children to grow accustom to the new family dynamic.

Limiting fighting and hurtful words about the other parent in front of the children will help kids feel safe to express their own feelings regarding the divorce. Parents should encourage children to ask questions and answer truthfully but with caution. Family or individual therapy can also help not only the children, but also the parents work through many unresolved issues and feelings.

By setting aside differences in favor of reaching a positive outcome, parents are modeling positive conflict resolution for their children. Collaborative law can help Texas parents reach a successful outcome in a divorce involving children. An attorney can help a client work toward a divorce agreement designed to stabilize family life for children and lay out clearly the rights and responsibilities of both parents.

Source: The Huffington Post, “7 Secrets For A Child-Centered Divorce“, Bari Zell Weinberger, Feb. 24, 2017

Rule coordination important in co-parenting

A divorce generally does not mean a total end to interactions with one’s ex. On the contrary, there are a variety of different important things a person may need to work together with their ex on after a divorce. So, during and after a divorce, it can be important to keep the lines of communication with one’s ex intact.

This can be particularly important for divorcing parents. This is because, when co-parenting, careful coordination between parents can be vital. This includes coordination when it comes to rules for the kids.

There are a wide range of things parents have rules for their kids regarding, including: bed times, curfews, school activities, eating habits, chores and homework. When a pair of divorced parents differ greatly from each other in the types of household rules they have for their kids, it can create a great deal of inconsistency for the kids. Inconsistency can be tough on kids, particularly when already dealing with the many changes that come from their parents splitting up.

So, it can be very important for their kids’ well-being for divorced parents to coordinate their household rules as much as is possible given their individual situations. Having honest conversations with each other about household rules can be key for divorcing parents when it comes to establishing such coordination.

Given this, a divorcing couple’s ability to coordinate household rules, and other important parenting-related things, with each other (and thus provide consistency for their kids) can be greatly impaired when they end up, during the course of their divorce, completely burning bridges with each other and losing the ability to communicate in a civil manner with each other. So, for parents, avoiding unnecessary contentiousness and conflict in a divorce can be particularly crucial.

There are a variety of things that have the potential to lower conflict likelihood in a divorce. One is avoiding divorce litigation through instead resolving divorce issues through alternate methods, such as through using the collaborative law process. Divorcing parents can go to skilled divorce lawyers for information and guidance on such alternatives to divorce litigation.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Consistent Coparenting Eases Life for Children After Divorce,” Rosalind Sedacca, Feb. 29, 2016

How does collaborative divorce work?

The collaborative divorce process seeks to take the antagonistic and combative side of divorce out of the equation. When couples enter into the collaborative law process, they use mediation and peaceful negotiations to settle their disagreements, thereby saving money, time and emotional heartache. Unlike other types of divorce mediation proceedings, though, collaborative law is a special methodology in which the lawyer must be trained and certified before he or she can carry out the process on behalf of one’s clients.

Collaborative law divorces follow a step-by-step plan for finalizing settlements and completing the divorce. Before engaging in the process, both spouses must agree to carry out their divorce via collaborative law proceedings. Furthermore, each must obtain his or her own collaborative law attorney for the negotiations. An attorney who tends to be aggressive and combative is not the kind you want if you plan for your proceedings to be successful.

Before the collaborative meetings begin, each party will meet with his or her legal representative separately. During this meeting, spouses will inform their attorneys of what they want, while keeping in mind that compromises could be required. However, it is important at this stage for spouses to tell their attorneys what their limits are.

Next, a four-way meeting between each spouse and his or her respective attorney will take place on multiple occasions. Party neutral professionals, like child psychology experts, accountants and other experts will likely come to some of these meetings to help bring their informed opinions to the proceedings so the parties can reach peaceful accord. A licensed neutral mediator may also play an important role in “keeping the peace.” Finally, the collaborative law process will be considered successful if both parties can reach an out of court settlement.

Remember: a trained collaborative law attorney is necessary to finalize divorce proceedings peacefully and cost effectively via the collaborative law process. In addition, a diplomatic attitude and a willingness to reach agreement and accord will be required by both parties on either side of the divorce.

Source: FindLaw, “How Collaborative Divorce Works: FAQs,” accessed Jan. 19, 2016

How amicable are Texas divorces?

There are many options other than litigation for handing important issues in a divorce. One such option is pursuing a collaborative divorce.

Collaborative divorce is an alternative dispute resolution method that involves divorcing individuals engaging in cooperative negotiations to try to reach agreements on the key matters in their divorce. The process typically involves the parties signing a contract prior to the negotiations which outlines how the parties are to act during the collaborative negotiation process.

Many different things can play a role in whether collaborative divorce would work in a given divorce. Family law attorneys can provide divorcing individuals with detailed explanations of the collaborative divorce process and advice on whether collaborative divorce may be a good option for their divorce given their particular circumstances.

There are many upsides collaborative divorce can have. In some instances, the collaborative divorce process can help with keeping a divorce amicable.

An amicable divorce is something that many divorcing individuals want. How common are amicable divorces in Texas? A recent study indicates that Texas divorces are, generally speaking, more amicable than the divorces in a good deal of the rest of the country.

In the study, the states and Washington D.C. were ranked on divorce amicability. In determining how amicable divorces generally are in a state, the study used information divorcing couples had provided online.

In the study, Texas made the top ten for states where divorces are the most amicable. Specifically, the study ranked Texas 10th in the country for amicable divorces.

Do you think that Texas divorces tend to be fairly amicable as compared to other places in the country? If so, what do you think is responsible for this? What do you think are some of the best ways of keeping divorces from turning contentious?

Source: KFOR, “Study shows where the happiest divorces happen,” Dallas Franklin, Sept. 21, 2015

Lessons from celebrity divorces

It generally doesn’t take much time glancing through the news to run across a celebrity divorce story. These stories pop up rather frequently in the realm of celebrity news.

Are there lessons that individuals who are going through a divorce can glean from celebrity divorces generally? While there are some celebrity divorces that don’t exactly serve as models of how a person would generally want a divorce to go, there are some strategies and behaviors that celebrities often engage in when it comes to divorce that other divorcing individuals may find helpful.

One lesson from celebrity divorces is the value cooperation between divorcing spouses can have in a divorce. Celebrities often kick off their divorces with a cooperative action. That cooperative action is that familiar staple of celebrity divorces: the joint divorce announcement. Working together to decide how best to tell people about a divorce is not something that just celebrity couples may find helpful. Divorcing couples of all different shapes and sizes may find value in coordinating how and when they tell friends and loved ones that they are getting divorced. Cooperation can also have benefits in other aspects of divorce, as it can sometimes yield practical solutions to divorce issues that allow a couple to avoid costly and time-consuming litigation. There are some more cooperation-centered approaches out there for going through a divorce, such as collaborative law.

Another celebrity divorce lesson is the importance of privacy. Celebrities often take many actions to try to keep matters related to their divorce as private as is feasible. For example, many celebrity joint divorce announcements contain a statement in which the couple asks the public to respect their privacy. While most divorcing couples don’t have to contend with journalists, paparazzi and celebrity blogs, privacy can end up being a big concern in divorces of all types. Divorces can focus on a lot of sensitive and personal issues, so it is understandable that divorcing individuals often want to keep things as private as possible. In some instances, there may be legal steps divorcing individuals can take when it comes to trying to protect privacy in a divorce. Divorce attorneys can assist individuals with privacy-related divorce legal matters.

What other divorce lessons do you think can be taken from celebrity divorces?

Source: The Huffington Post, “How to Handle Your Divorce Like a Celebrity,” Honoree Corder, August 4, 2015

Reducing divorce stress

Going through a divorce can be a tough experience. For one, it can have quite a bit of stress associated with it. One of the things that can be stressful about a divorce are the legal matters related to it.

There are things that can sometimes help keep dealing with legal issues in a divorce from becoming more stressful than it needs to be. One such thing is avoiding litigation when it makes sense and works to do so. Divorce litigation can be a very stressful process, and there are alternatives available for resolving divorce legal issues that some find to generate much less stress. Examples of such alternatives include collaborative law and mediation. Attorneys can help individuals with finding the resolution methods that are best-suited for their particular divorce legal issues.

Divorce-related stress can also come from things outside of legal matters, such as the things involved in adjusting to being single again. Finding good ways to ease general stress related to a divorce can be important for the emotional wellbeing of a divorcing individual.

A recent Huffington Post article gave some stress-reduction and mood-improvement advice for divorcing individuals, including:

  • Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone and try new things.
  • Make a journal.
  • Talk with other divorcing individuals who understand what you are going through.
  • Stay away from constantly looking at your ex’s social media activity.
  • Prepare in advance what you are going to tell people when they ask about the divorce.

What do you think are the biggest sources of stress in a divorce? What things do you think help with dealing with and easing such stress? What do you think is most challenging when it comes to properly addressing divorce stress?

Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P. 12000 Huebner Rd #200 San Antonio, TX 78230 Telephone: (210) 349-9933 Fax: (210) 349-9988
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