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A litigated divorce can alter spouses' parenting dynamics

Earlier this month, a father made headlines when his refusal to indulge his son's fast-food wishes resulted in a court-appointed psychologist deeming him an unfit parent. While it sounds outrageous, sometimes there are discrete incidents that, taken out of context, can make a parent in a litigated divorce appear less than capable of caring for his or her child. These same incidents may also provide ammunition to the other parent if a custody battle is swirling around the child in question.

For those going through a divorce in the Houston area, there are alternatives to a litigated divorce. One is collaborative law, which, as its name suggests, tries to steer couples away from drawn-out disagreement and toward collaboration. Of course, every divorce will feature some amount of disagreement. Still, collaborative law helps couples avoid court in their pursuit of agreement on the most important elements of their separate and combined futures.

For example, if a divorcing couple is in the midst of deciding custody, collaborative law gives each parent the opportunity to air their concerns in a safe space without combating the other parent. Couples who automatically assume their only option is going to court may also assume they must criticize their former partner in order to bolster their own case. A collaborative lawyer can teach each party how to best put forth their wishes in a manner that benefits the entire family unit.

Another helpful aspect of collaborative law is that it may not change the parenting dynamic as much as some contentious litigated divorces. In the latter category, a parent's time with his or her children can be high-stress due to a court-appointed psychologist who may be watching for missteps. Likewise, children may be over-indulged if parents are vying for the child's preference on who to live with.

Thus, a collaborative approach may be beneficial for many divorcing couples. However, collaborative law may not be best suited for all situations, especially when the parties involved cannot get along. It may be imperative, therefore, for parties to a divorce to discuss their options with a qualified attorney.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Family law litigation: The gift that keeps on giving!" Mark Baer, Nov. 12, 2013

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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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