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The law of the State of Texas (in Sections 6.603(b) and 153.0072(b) of the Family Code) defines COLLABORATIVE LAW:
"Collaborative law is a procedure in which the parties and their counsel agree in writing to use their best efforts and make a good faith attempt to resolve their [lawsuit for divorce and/or concerning children] on an agreed basis without resorting to judicial intervention except to have the court approve the settlement agreement, make the legal pronouncements, and sign the orders required by law to effectuate the agreement of the parties as the court determines appropriate. The parties' counsel may not serve as litigation counsel except to ask the court to approve the settlement agreement."
Collaborative Law is not inexpensive, but it is much less costly and damaging than a litigation "battle" in Court. It is also more confidential, more dignified, and more likely to offer a result which is in the participant's (and the children's) long-term best interests. The attorneys each promise in writing that they will not fight in court. The participants each promise in writing to willingly provide all relevant information to the other side. So, the attorneys are able to change their traditional way of operating. Collaborative Lawyers are able to concentrate their full attention on helping their clients settle the dispute rather than always planning a secret strategy for fighting in Court.
Like mediation, Collaborative Law helps the disputing parties feel empowered to find their own solutions to their problems. Both Collaborative Lawyers are able to meet with and assist both clients in meetings designed to facilitate the eventual settlement of the case. Unlike in mediation, Collaborative Lawyers focus on facilitating the settlement of the case rather than focusing on keeping secrets and preserving the best possible litigation strategy. I believe that just because something is your legal right, that does not mean that it is in your best interest.
If you are interested in resolving your case using Collaborative Law, my page about Suggestions for Achieving an Effective Negotiation, Mediation, or Collaborative Meeting is appropriate for preparing for and participating in Collaborative Law meetings.
If you do not need as much assistance from your attorney in in reaching an agreed resolution, please see the pages about Negotiation or Mediation.
I would be happy to discuss your case briefly and estimate my fees by telephone. I DO NOT CHARGE for your first phone call with me! If you leave me a message on my answering machine, I will return your call as soon as I can.
- Mark W. Batchelder
© 2005, 2012 All rights reserved.
Mark W. Batchelder
Attorney at Law
Fort Worth, Texas