In Texas, there are a few different ways to get divorced. The most well-known type of divorce is a contested divorce. In a contested divorce, the spouses cannot agree on one or more of the issues that must be resolved before the divorce is final. For example, if you and your spouse can agree on how all your debts and assets will be divided but cannot agree on who will have custody of the children, it will result in a contested divorce. While contested divorces start without an agreement, many end without the need for a formal trial. This is because, at some point down the line, the spouses agree on the disputed issues and enter into a divorce settlement.
A collaborative divorce is entirely different. In a collaborative divorce, both spouses agree to engage in the collaborative divorce process, which relies on formal meetings between the spouses and the rest of the collaborative divorce team. The collaborative divorce team consists of several neutral experts who help the spouses identify the issues they must resolve and work towards a mutually acceptable solution. For example, the members of a collaborative divorce team will include a financial professional, who gathers the parties’ financial information and helps them identify what each parties’ financial situation would look like after the divorce. This gives each spouse a better idea of what the future may hold to develop a solution more effectively. The collaborative divorce process is confidential, and anything you say or commit to during the process is not generally admissible if the process breaks down.
Another important aspect of a collaborative divorce is that, by law, any attorneys involved in the collaborative divorce process must withdraw and cannot represent either party if the process fails.