Team (Multidisciplinary) Collaborative Law
Don’t give away your power and control. Don’t ask the court to make decisions about the future of your family. We can help you create the agreements that you need to restructure your family or your parenting plan.
The Courts are necessary and helpful to many people who are divorcing or who have parenting schedule disputes. The benefit of litigating your case is that your case will be decided – a ruling will be made. However, litigating your family law case in court also can have some drawbacks. You will be asking a total stranger to make decisions that may have life-long implications for your family. If you have children and you are divorcing, you will have a relationship with your fellow parent for the rest of your life. You will be asked to participate together and coordinate your efforts for such things as graduations, weddings, and activities with your grandchildren. If, during the process of litigation, the process becomes contentious, and unkind things are said, the two of you will have to live with that bitterness the rest of your life.
Team Collaborative Law
In the Collaborative Law process, you will create the agreements that your family needs. These agreements will help you make this transition in a way that best meets your, and your children’s interests. You’ll still have legal representation and your case will still be filed with the court. The difference is that all of the decisions that will be made, will be made with you sitting in the room, and with your consent. So, instead of asking your attorney to fire off a letter to their attorney about some important issue, you’ll just put it on the agenda for the Team meeting. Rather than “doing discovery,” and demanding a list of documents to be produced, participants simply agree to share relevant documents with one another. Instead of lining up your competing experts, the participants agree how to decide, for instance, the value of a property. Meeting by meeting, your team will help you create your final divorce decree or parenting plan.
Who is on the team?
Each person has an attorney, and the attorney is their advocate, just like in litigation. Another member of the team is a Mental Health Professional (that’s us!), who serves a neutral role. They assist the couple in communicating their interests, facilitate meetings, and assist in developing appropriate and workable parenting schedules. Finally, for cases that need additional financial expertise, there is also a Financial Professional, who is also a neutral. In full team meetings, there may be six people in the room (2 attorneys + Mental Health Professional + Financial Professional + the two of you). To save you money, you may also have “off-line” meetings with either of the neutrals. For instance, you may meet with the Financial Professional to put together your post-divorce budgets.
What’s the catch?
Actually, there are several. You will have to take responsibility for your family’s future. You won’t be able to blame the judge. You’ll have to learn some (possibly) new negotiation skills and commit to being kind and decent even when the other party doesn’t recognize your wisdom. You’ll also have to make a commitment to this process. To discourage participants from quitting collaborative just because they are tired and frustrated, participants and their attorneys agree that if anyone decides to litigate, everyone has to get a new attorney and start over. The nice thing about collaborative, is that if you are tired and frustrated, you have permission to take a break, eat some chocolate chip cookies (there’s always food), or even reschedule your meeting. We want everyone at their very best when they are at the table.
There’s actually a lot more to tell, but others have told it better, so if you want to read more, go to the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas. We’ll wait here…
How Do We Get Started?
The client is always in charge in Collaborative Law, but the team tries to help you find lots of options. Here are three good options:
1. E-mail me and I’ll meet with the two of you for a free consult:
|Steven E. (Jake) Jacobson, LCSW||940-382-5328 x18|
Jake works with couples and divorced and divorcing adults in our Denton office. Just a few of his practice areas include
For more information about Jake, please visit his complete bio.
2. Pick two Collaboratively Trained attorneys from either the CLITX site (above) or from this list of Denton Attorneys.
3. Click this button to randomly assemble a team:
You can also visit the Denton County Collaborative Professionals Website for more information on the collaborative approach.