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New documentary shines light on adversarial divorces

Any Houston resident who has been through a contentious divorce is likely to warn their friends and family against drawn-out disputes. However, very few people begin the divorce process anticipating major conflict. In many cases, parties may even initially make informal agreements on many matters, both significant and minor. Still, as the process gets moving and details are finalized, original agreements may morph into major disagreements, making many wish they had known about collaborative law earlier.

One director wants to highlight the pitfalls of extremely adversarial divorces; his new documentary is called Divorce Corp. The director notes how getting married can be quite inexpensive, but a divorce generally costs more. A disputed divorce's costs can quickly get out of hand for both spouses. The director traces the roots of the adversarial system, in which each side essentially argues their position, to a system used by English royalty in years past. Instead of arguing in front of the king, the director observes, spouses now argue in front of a judge.

While there are many reasons the traditional system is still in place in the United States, there are also many reasons to opt for an alternative. Texas spouses can choose collaborative law if their goal is to avoid court and negotiate disputes in as cooperative a manner as possible. Of course, some cases are extremely complicated and litigation can serve a purpose in clearing things up according to the law. In addition, some divorces are simply too far in a state of contention to be appropriate candidates for collaborative law.

Still, this leaves many spouses in a position to consider collaborative law. Those who choose to take part in this process can take advantage of its many benefits including lower overall costs, minimization of conflict, and solutions that strive to benefit both spouses as well as the children involved.

Source: Forbes, "Divorce Corp documentary: How to make divorce better," Robert Pagliarini, May 14, 2014

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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.

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