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Austin Collaborative Divorce Attorney

Benefits of Collaborative Divorce

Who we are?

Kirker Davis LLP is a boutique family law firm in Central Texas with a focus on high-end family law cases. We handle divorces involving professionals, family-owned businesses, custody matters, and complex litigation. The Firm’s core business philosophy is based on fidelity to the practice of law and a commitment to client service.

We are committed to providing concierge level family law services to truly make a difference in our community

Austin Collaborative Divorce Attorney

While divorce may be a long and emotionally taxing process, many couples understand that divorcing will make both spouses better off. For these agreeing couples, divorce does not have to be difficult.  Collaborative divorce offers couples the ability to reach amicable agreements through constructive negotiations and save immense time and money as a result. Despite both parties agreeing to work together, it is still imperative that any divorcing couple find qualified legal representation so that their best interests remain protected.

At Kirker Davis LLP, our attorneys believe that collaborative divorce can be a worthwhile option for divorcing couples to settle the terms of their separation. However, if this process is not handled properly, a spouse can risk losing out on property, investments, and money. Our qualified collaborative divorce attorneys are dedicated to ensuring that every divorce case we handle ends in a fair division of assets and debts and that both parties are satisfied with their divorce.

Benefits of Collaborative Divorce

Unsurprisingly, the divorce process is simplified when couples agree on the core aspects of the split. These couples are able to effectively utilize collaborative divorce and use mediation and negotiation tactics to settle the terms of the divorce without the need for a long drawn out legal battle. Collaborative divorce offers many benefits for couples who choose to use it with some of the most common benefits include:

  • Expedited process
  • Informal setting
  • Lower fees and costs, when successful
  • Better post marriage relations
  • More negotiating power

It takes two consenting parties for collaborative divorce to be effective, and while collaborative divorce does offer many attractive benefits, it may not be right for every couple.

What is collaborative divorce?

Collaborative divorce is a legal process that is an alternative to the traditional divorce process. In a collaborative divorce, the spouses who are divorcing are not adversarial parties. Instead, they agree to work together to resolve their divorce issues out of court.

When spouses cannot agree on an issue in a traditional divorce, the court will intervene, and the spouses must present their arguments in court. Once spouses agree to a collaborative divorce, they agree to avoid court litigation. They commit themselves to engage in the divorce process with the goal of reaching agreements on various legal issues, so there is no need for litigation.

Each spouse still needs their own divorce attorney throughout the collaborative process. These attorneys provide guidance to the divorcing parties about their rights and whether a particular agreement is in their best interests. The attorneys also commit to the collaborative law process, so they work to do whatever it takes to resolve the case out of court.

Not every law firm that handles family law matters in Austin, TX, handles collaborative divorce cases, so you want to seek help from a trained collaborative divorce attorney if you are considering this path for your divorce case. It is important to have a lawyer who is as committed to the process as you are.

When you engage in collaborative divorce, you make a choice to be an active participant in the divorce process and maintain control of your future – instead of leaving it to the courts to decide. To learn more about this option, do not hesitate to reach out to our legal team at Kirker Davis today.

How does collaborative divorce work?

The collaborative law process begins when two divorcing parties decide they want to avoid court litigation. They then each find law firms that work with clients throughout the collaborative process. All four parties – each spouse and their respective attorneys – sign a collaborative divorce agreement. This agreement states that they all commit to this process and, should the process fail, the attorneys will need to withdraw from the case. This means that each spouse will need to start over with new lawyers for the rest of the divorce process.

Once they all sign the agreement, the attorneys begin to work on reaching agreements on all relevant legal issues in the divorce case. These issues can include:

Property division

In Texas, all community property owned by spouses must be divided in a fair and just manner. The first step is determining and agreeing on which property is separate and which is community. Each spouse can keep their own separate property, and then they will need to decide how to divide their community property.

Community property can involve the family home, vacation or rental properties, all financial accounts, retirement savings, personal property, vehicles, business interests, and debts. Deciding how to divide your community property can be complicated and might require much negotiation.

Child conservatorship

Texas law refers to child custody as conservatorship, and this family law matter involves parents dividing both physical time with their child as well as decision-making authority for important issues in a child’s life. Often, parents can agree to joint conservatorship, and they will just need to nail down the specifics of the parenting schedule and parenting plan. However, when one parent wants greater conservatorship rights than the other, it can be a more difficult issue to settle.

Financial support

Texas uses standard child support calculations with few exceptions, so this is often a fairly straightforward issue in a divorce. However, spousal support (also called maintenance or alimony) is another story. Few spouses want to continue to support someone else following a divorce, but spousal support is appropriate in many cases.

If one spouse needs support because they earn significantly less or they have been out of the workforce, the issue will then be how much support is necessary and for how long. These are matters your attorneys will help resolve in a collaborative divorce.

Your attorneys will have additional resources available to help resolve these issues, including financial experts, real estate experts, child or parenting experts, occupational experts, and more. These individuals can serve as part of the greater collaborative divorce team to help you and your spouse reach resolutions on each important issue in your divorce case.

Once you reach an agreement on all necessary matters, your attorney will present your settlement to the proper court, which can then incorporate your terms into your divorce decree.

What is the difference between collaborative divorce and mediation?

Many people associate collaborative divorce with divorce mediation, though these are separate processes. If divorcing spouses go to mediation, they will have one individual serving as a neutral mediator. This mediator works to address sticking points regarding unresolved issues and encourage the spouses to compromise and reach resolutions. During mediation, your divorce attorney can provide guidance about your rights before you sign a mediation agreement, but they might not even be permitted to be present during mediation sessions.

On the other hand, your lawyer plays an active and integral role throughout every step of the collaborative divorce process. They will be present during meetings with experts and will help to negotiate the terms of your divorce. This is significantly different from the mediation process.

What to expect with the collaborative divorce process

Each collaborative divorce case is unique, so what you can expect will depend on the circumstances of your case. For example, if you agree on child conservatorship matters, you might not need help from parenting experts. However, if you have complex property issues, such as high wealth or one of you own a medical practice, your lawyer will certainly enlist the help of business or economic consultants.

The best way to know what to expect in your situation is to speak with a collaborative divorce attorney in Austin, TX. They can assess where you and your spouse stand on various issues and advise you about how the general process might go.

What is the process?

Collaborative divorce can involve several steps, including:

  1. Assessing your situation and what issues you need to resolve
  2. Gather all necessary information and documents
  3. Determine what other professionals you need on your collaborative divorce team
  4. Beginning meetings that can involve consulting or negotiations
  5. If you reach an agreement on something, your attorney drafts an agreement
  6. Negotiations continue until you can agree on every relevant matter
  7. Once you resolve everything, your lawyers present your agreement to the judge for review
  8. If the judge approves your agreement on all issues, they can grant your divorce decree

The good news is that you will have professional legal guidance throughout the entire process, and you only have to follow your attorney’s lead. You want a lawyer who will not push you into an agreement that is not right for you, but who will continue with the negotiation process until you have the most favorable outcome possible.

What are the benefits?

There are many benefits of collaborative divorce, but overall, choosing this type of case will allow you to save significant resources. There is no doubt that litigation is costly – in time, money, and stress. The last thing that many spouses want when already dealing with the emotional roller coaster of divorce is adding more financial and psychological stress. This is often why couples look into collaborative divorce.

You also maintain greater control of the divorce outcome and your future through collaborative divorce. When you leave decisions in the hands of the court, there is a very real chance you face a divorce order that is not favorable to you. When you commit to working collaboratively, you agree to reach resolutions that work best for everyone involved. This can improve your future position in many ways – practically and financially.

How do you know collaborative divorce is right for you?

The reality is that collaborative divorce is not for everyone. Some couples agree on all issues right from the start, so they do not need the help of experts or rounds of negotiations. In this case, your divorce lawyer can help you file your uncontested petition without entering the collaborative process.

On the other hand, some divorcing spouses start too far apart or have other factors that prevent them from compromising. For example, if one spouse is a narcissist or has serious substance abuse issues, they might not be willing or able to cooperate with the collaborative process. In these situations, your divorce lawyer can advise you on the best course of action for your case.

In short, the best way to know if collaborative divorce is right for you is to consult with a divorce law firm that handles collaborative divorce cases as soon as possible. The right attorney can review all the circumstances of your situation and divorce and recommend one process over another. In the end, it is the choice of you and your spouse whether you want to engage in the collaborative process. If one spouse is not on board, the process is likely to be unsuccessful and cost you more in the end.

Contact an Austin Collaborative Divorce Attorney

If you or someone you know is looking into collaborative divorce, know that even though you and your spouse may agree on many aspects of the divorce, a competent divorce attorney is a must. At Kirker Davis LLP, our attorneys have extensive experience effectively handling collaborative divorces in the past and we are prepared to handle yours as well. We understand how difficult a divorce can be for both spouses and it is our mission to make the process as pain free as possible for everyone involved. Contact our office at (512) 598-0010 to learn more about how we can assist you in your collaborative divorce case today.

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    TESTIMONIALS

    • "The divorce process is not an easy one, but I always felt fully supported, informed, and guided by Chris and the staff. Chris always laid out the options, made me aware of the risks, and provided me with recommendations, but he also gave me the flexibility to work out things with my ex where I could, to speed up the process and avoid some legal expenses. I highly recommend Chris for family law representation. ”

      David - Divorce Representation

    • "I’m a lawyer myself and Holly helped me with my recent divorce. She did an amazing job. She covered all the little issues that would have collectively cost me a bunch of money in the long run if she had not been so detail-oriented and focused. She is a tenacious advocate for her clients who aims to resolve matters amicably but will fight tooth-and-nail for her clients if that is what it takes to reach a...”

      Anonymous - Holly is the lawyer who lawyers hire for their own divorces

    • "Chris handled my case professionally, efficiently, and demonstrated a very strong knowledge of family law. Chris took the time to learn and understand all aspects of my situation and used that knowledge to develop a focused strategy that led to a successful outcome. I highly recommend Chris. ”

      Martin - Excellent Lawyer

    • "Ashley Morgan and her paralegal Aleks were both so amazing to work with. They were second to none in responsiveness and work ethic. I would recommend her work to anyone looking for family law, and could not be happier with my decision to work with them. Just a great group of people who are knowledgeable and passionate about the work they do. ”

      Josh Campbell - Family Law

    • "This was as good an experience as you can possibly have with a divorce situation! Candice and Laurie were professional yet compassionate. They treated me with great respect and were always available to answer my questions. The best part is they always had my best interest at heart. I would highly recommend Kirker Davis and Candice Derelye and Laurie Theriot. They are the best! ”

      Susan Morris - A divorce situation

    • "This was my first time ever working with lawyers and words cannot express how grateful I am for Ashley Morgan and her team. I needed direction during a difficult time and she provided step by step service. Would highly recommend! ”

      Erik Jurado - Highly recommended

    • "I praise Attorney Alyse Donnelly for all the hard work and hours she put in my divorce case. I believe that her experience, knowledge, and quick thinking resulted in beneficial results on my behalf. Ms. Donnelly along with Paralegal Stacy O’Brien and Attorney Michelle Fontenot are definitely assets to the Kirker Davis law firm. ”

      Bertha Solis - My divorce case

    • "My experience with Kirker Davis has been amazing. Candice Deyerle has been my attorney and in just under a month she helped to correct severe deficiencies in my custody case. She and her team respond within minutes or hours to even the most mundane requests. From the moment I walked in the office, I was greeted with an exceptional level of service, and even the receptionist inspires class and confidence. I wh...”

      Daniel Kearns - Custody case

    • "From my first visit, I felt like Candice listened to every word I said and showed concern about my pending situation. My ongoing experiences throughout our working together, made me feel like they were genuinely concerned about me and my integrity. If I wandered off course, Candice would guide me back online! Fantastic results! ”

      Edward Novess - Fantastic results

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