Today, the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas announced at its annual statewide conference that it is changing its name to Collaborative Divorce Texas, effective immediately. The organization has launched a new website, at collaborativedivorcetexas.com, to feature resources for Texas couples looking for a less destructive alternative to traditional courtroom divorce.
The non-profit organization, one of the first of its kind in the nation, was founded in 2003 by lawyers, mental health professionals, and financial professionals committed to collaborative divorce. Its membership includes lawyers who were instrumental in helping Texas become the first state whose legislature passed a collaborative law statute, and one of the first to pass the Uniform Collaborative Law Act to improve upon the original statute.
“Changing our name to Collaborative Divorce Texas better identifies us as an organization committed to informing Texans that there is a better way to divorce,” said Curtis Harrison, president of the organization. “Our new motto, ‘Divorce Differently,’ emphasizes the choice that couples can make to divorce in a way that protects their assets, shields their children from the damaging effects of a litigated divorce, and allows them to create a settlement together. We start with the belief that a divorcing couple should make decisions for themselves, rather than allowing a perfect stranger in a black robe tell them what to do.”
In collaborative divorce, each party is represented by a family law lawyer who is trained in the collaborative method. The couple meets with lawyers on their own schedule (versus relying on a court docket), and they work toward crafting a solution. Because lawyers are in a collaborative vs. adversarial mindset, they’re working to help their clients reach a settlement from the outset.
The collaborative process allows for a single financial neutral to join the collaborative team should a couple have issues around asset allocation, valuation, or other financial concerns. It also allows for a mental health professional to join the team should the couple need emotional “coaching” through the process, or if their children need professional guidance in working through emotions related to divorce.
As a result, collaborative divorce provides couples with a process that is more cost-conscious, customizable, confidential, and convenient than litigation.
Collaborative Divorce Texas will continue to provide education and training for lawyers, mental health professionals, and financial professionals newly committing to the collaborative practice, as well as ongoing education for established collaborative professionals.
The new website will continue to feature articles and additional information for people seeking information on collaborative divorce, as well as a new members-only section allowing professionals to share best practices and help further evolve Collaborative Law in Texas.