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Reproduced with Permission of the Dallas Alliance of Collaborative Family Lawyers Copyright 2004 The Collaborative Law Institute of Texas, Inc. Presents.

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Presentation on theme: "Reproduced with Permission of the Dallas Alliance of Collaborative Family Lawyers Copyright 2004 The Collaborative Law Institute of Texas, Inc. Presents."— Presentation transcript:

1 Reproduced with Permission of the Dallas Alliance of Collaborative Family Lawyers Copyright 2004 The Collaborative Law Institute of Texas, Inc. Presents An Introduction to Collaborative Family Law

2 What is it? Collaborative Family Law is a non-adversarial process focused on getting parties from dispute to resolution efficiently, and with as little financial and emotional damage as possible, while securing an agreement which addresses their true interests.

3 Three Defining Principles of Collaborative Law 1. Clients and attorneys agree in advance that they will not take any contested issue to court. 2. The process is transparent. Much of the work is done in four-way meetings with both clients and both lawyers present. Everyone agrees to an informal exchange of all relevant information. 3. Agreements are made through a process of interest-based negotiation, where everyone involved is encouraged to find creative solutions that satisfy everyone.

4 Top Ten Reasons Why YOU should choose Collaborative Family Law


6 á Reason TEN á There has to be a better way!

7 Compare Collaborative Family Law with Litigation Litigation can be demoralizing, dehumanizing, and destructive to families. Litigation is a Blame Game. Collaborative Law changes the focus from WHO is at fault, to HOW to SOLVE the problem.


9 à Reason Nine à It would make Atticus Finch proud.

10 Our Experience Has Shown... Most divorcing couples are kind, decent and intelligent folks who want to maintain their self-respect and dignity. These are good people at the worst time in their lives. Often, they are not proud of their behavior. They would like to feel that they have treated their spouse fairly, done what was best for their children, and amicably resolved their differences.


12 ß Reason Eight ß Keep the dirty laundry in the bag!

13 Some things to like about Collaborative Law Sensitive family issues remain confidential. No public court appearances are required. No personal psychological or financial records go into your court file.


15 Þ Reason Seven Þ You get to tell the judge to leave you alone, and she has to!

16 We have found … Clients want to control their own destiny, NOT have a third party decide what is best for them. Typically, Collaborative Law clients are people who are used to controlling their lives and may not like having to do what others tell them to do, especially if it doesnt make sense to them. The Clients, not the court or the lawyers, control the process and outcome.


18 Ý Reason Number SIX Ý Youre too busy to play Litigation Jeopardy.

19 Clients say … They want to be on their schedule, not a judges schedule. They want to set their own deadlines for meeting and gathering information. They want the information they gather to be customized to their case, not generic. They want to take the time they need to get through their divorce in their own way without court-imposed deadlines.

20 Our experience shows… The average collaborative divorce is completed in 17 WEEKS; the average litigated divorce takes 17 MONTHS.


22 Ü Reason Number Five Ü The TRUTH is CHEAPER than Fiction!

23 The truth is… Paying two hired gun experts to come up with diametrically opposed opinions so the court can split the difference is wasteful for the clients. Hiring neutral experts helps the parties arrive at an agreement using objective standards.

24 We have found… Mental health professionals CPAs and financial planners Corporate, tax, and estate-planning attorneys Business and real estate appraisers The following neutral experts can be helpful:


26 ï Reason Number Four ï A scorched earth is no place to live.

27 We understand… Being cross- examined by an attorney almost always assures that the parties will be enemies with each other and with the lawyers.

28 Clients prefer… Dealing with their spouse and his or her lawyer in an informal, respectful setting. The ability to talk in a group situation without fear that their words will come back to haunt them.

29 Collaborative Family Law Compared to Mediation During caucus-style mediation, clients feel isolated and left out of the process. Mediation often makes clients feel under pressure to settle in someone elses time frame. Collaborative Law allows clients to vent if they need to in a safe environment, and participate fully in the process.


31 Ú Reason Number Three Ú One size does NOT fit all!

32 We know… The Texas Family Code calls for cook-book rules for parental decision-making, visitation and child support that dont consider individual circumstances. Judges are strictly required to follow rules in dividing property that often dont make sense for individual clients. Collaborative Law encourages clients to be creative in meeting the needs of individuals based on their unique circumstances. The Collaborative Law process provides clients with experience they can use in future problem- solving.

33 We have learned… Interest-based discussions work better than positional bargaining. Clients often find that they share more interests than they had realized. Interest-based negotiation frees clients to work toward resolution that addresses everyones needs and often results in acts of generosity.


35 Ù Reason Number Two Ù Theres no reason for formal discovery when everyone agrees to act in good faith.

36 We find that most clients… Know what they have and resent having to prove what they already know through expensive discovery. Can work together to gather the necessary information to resolve their case. Want to spend their money on themselves and their children rather than on lawyers, so theyre willing to do homework.

37 All Collaborative Law clients and lawyers commit to respond truthfully to inquiries, to provide relevant information to their spouse, and to correct mistakes made by either side.


39 Ø Reason Number One Ø Money really doesnt grow on trees!

40 We have found… Clients would rather pay their lawyer for working than for waiting at the courthouse. Clients actively participate in the Collaborative Law process, so they see how the lawyer earns the fee. Collaborative Law cases cost significantly less than litigated cases. Collaborative Law adds value to the client, so they feel they are getting their moneys worth when they pay for legal services.

41 Why we are Collaborative Professionals Collaborative Law clients are happy clients. We want to make a positive difference in their lives. We want to change the face of divorce in this world to one where everyone wins – the clients, the professionals, the children, and society.

42 Jennifer Tull, Austin Norma L. Trusch, Houston Richard C. Price, Fort Worth Deborah Slye Miller, Dallas John V. McShane, Dallas Mike Gregory, Denton Kevin R. Fuller, Dallas Jennifer A. Broussard, Houston Thomas L. Ausley, Austin Leota H. Alexander, Dallas Board of Trustees: Larry Hance, Dallas, President Donald R. Royall, Houston, Vice President Harry L. Tindall, Houston, Treasurer Special thanks to Dallas Alliance of Collaborative Family Lawyers for the use of this presentation

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