Texas is a pioneer in the use of alternate dispute resolution, including the method known as collaborative law. Ours was the first state to draft and approve statutes involving the collaborative law process, which is fast becoming a preferred method for securing a divorce.
Karen Turner has undergone advanced training in collaborative law and is one of the most prolific practitioners of this alternative to traditional litigation. She believes strongly in this process for certain divorces, when the parties are also committed to settlement.
“It’s not that people have to become totally agreeable,” says Karen. “If they were that agreeable, they might be getting divorced. It’s just that people have to see how this process can benefit them and their children, today and in the future.”
Collaborative law is accomplished outside the court system. When you decide on using the collaborative process, the case moves outside the traditional legal system, allowing the parties to move forward at their own pace.
Collaborative law is a structured method for conducting settlement negotiations and agreements that emphasizes privacy and maintaining the dignity of the parties. The process focuses on the goals of the divorcing spouses and avoids most of the acrimony that traditional contested litigation can create.
At the start of negotiations, the parties and their attorneys sign a Collaborative Law Participation Agreement, which states that they will utilize every effort and resource to reach an agreement. Then a series of joint sessions are held between the parties, their attorneys, and any allied professionals who may have been brought into the process, such as mental health or financial professionals.
Many divorcing parents have concerns about the welfare of their children. Studies show that children are best served by a healthy, restructured post-divorce family. The collaborative law process typically results in a more amicable divorce with a customized settlement that is often more beneficial for the parties and their children than standard agreements.
Karen has also perfected ways to approach the division of property and business assets using the collaborative process. Many times the collaborative process will result in a creative solution to the division of business interests that is simply not available at the courthouse. When compared to contested litigation, this process is generally more efficient, less stressful, less time-consuming and less expensive.