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Collaborative divorces put kids first, save money

As the U.S. economy shows few signs of improving rapidly in the near future, many divorcing couples are wondering how they can avoid the financial stresses of a traditional divorce. Along with the current economic uncertainties, many men and women also are trying to make the divorce process more cohesive, as restructured family units require more care and concern in turbulent times.

In Texas, as well as in many other areas of the country, collaborative law is now a viable option for bypassing the negative aspects of an adversarial divorce. In the collaborative law setup, each spouse is still able to hire an independent attorney. However, there are frequent, structured meetings between parties and their lawyers outside of court, meant to encourage peaceful, productive planning for the future. Couples and their attorneys work under a set of guidelines that encourage steady progress towards win-win outcomes.

The process relies on teamwork, as a network of professionals - lawyers and financial advisors, for example - come together to offer options and advice. The ultimate pace of progress towards an amicable outcome is up to the parties involved, as they retain equal control over the legal discussions.

According to Linda Perry, the founder of the Chicago-based Divorce Consultants, collaboration is becoming a positive trend among modern divorces. Not only does this approach help couples avoid court, but it can also save money as well as sanity.

As with many aspects of the law, divorce law always has been a product of changing times. In the past, when women were less able to support themselves financially, family law authorities frequently assumed financial support from men was a necessity. Often, judges would assume mothers to be the better parent, almost automatically awarding custody to the female side of the divorce equation.

As women entered the workforce en masse, divorces had the potential to be more contentious. Two working parents both had to prove their financial stability, and both women and men had to demonstrate their fitness as parents.

These days, with family units dealing with such issues as adoption, paternity, unemployment, same-sex partnerships and blended living situations, divorce can be just one of many upheavals in the lives of modern families. However, collaborative law addresses some of these issues in a focused yet flexible manner.

Perry also notes the money-saving aspects of collaborative law. Without ongoing, expensive legislation, collaborative divorce can cost thousands less than its more traditional counterpart.

Source: The Chicago Tribune, "Can your divorce be collaborative?" Jen Weigel, July 10, 2012

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Attorney Christine K. Lincoln

Christine K. Lincoln offers sound counsel and legal services to protect clients and their families facing divorce and other family disputes.

She will take the time to understand your individual needs and develop a comprehensive solution to protect your rights and interests.

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