Mary has the capacity to represent clients using collaborative law methods, which she has practiced since 2001 when Texas first enacted legislation adopting the collaborative law process to accord the same finality to an agreement reached through this process as is accorded a settlement agreement reached in mediation. Since she trained as a collaborative law attorney in 2001, she has effectively guided numerous clients through the divorce process using this alternative dispute resolution method.
Collaborative Law provides a method for cooperatively resolving even complicated matters in a less stressful, more cost effective process that can help to set the tone for amicable solutions for current disputes and even future problems. Collaborative Law methods are utilized in divorce, modification and pre- and post-marital agreement cases.
Everyone has heard about nasty, long, divorce cases that have gone on for months or even years, wherein a war ensues because the parties were more concerned with tearing each other apart than resolving their issues and preserving their family’s integrity. Divorce does not have to be this way. Ending a marriage with increased animosity, astronomical legal costs, and long-term, significant damaging effects on their family doesn’t have to happen. Essential to this process is the elimination of the spoken or unspoken threat of “If you don’t agree with my proposal then we can just let the Judge decide. I’ll see you in court.”
Collaborative law is an innovative dispute resolution process of open communication between you, your spouse, and your respective attorneys who are trained in the collaborative process. Furthermore, the collaborative approach can and often does, include both a neutral mental health professional as well as a neutral financial professional, in what is referred to as the “team approach.” These neutral professionals that are mutually chosen by the clients with the assistance of their attorneys, work along side the attorneys and the clients thus providing the clients with a high level of experience, expertise and professionalism to promote effective communication, a streamlined process for identifying and valuing their marital estate, a professional and personalized solution that addresses the clients’ and their children’s current and future needs, in order to craft a well informed, educated and joint solution.
The collaborative process assists the parties in creating a non-adversarial, civil and private environment for an honest, open, full exchange of information, to assist the clients in resolving differences, and reaching shared, joint, well-informed decisions, as they transition to a new relationship for their families tailored to their needs.
The Collaborative Law process is available to people with modest to large estates, who desire to protect the dignity, integrity, and long term best interests for themselves and their children, while protecting their estate and children from the economic and emotional devastation of becoming adversaries through litigation.
How Collaborative family law works: The parties, their respective attorneys (and neutral professionals) formalize an agreement not to litigate the divorce, but rather to meet in a series of private, informal, yet structured meetings wherein the lawyers act as legal advisors to the parties as well as negotiation coaches, involve expert professionals when outside input and assistance is either required or would be to the benefit of the parties, to exchange all relevant information, identify all issues that need addressing as to the interests of each spouse, craft creative options for resolution, and reach a settlement agreement that is acceptable to both parties.
Collaborative Law is chosen by many divorcing couples, ex-spouses seeking to modify child-related provisions post-divorce, and parents who have never been married to each other, for various reasons: it enables them to reduce stress, animosity, costs and expenses, both financial and emotional; effectively communicate with civility and respect for one another and their children; honestly, truthfully and voluntarily disclose all pertinent documentation and information; preserve the dignity and integrity of their family; protect their privacy; individually control their case; and reach agreements that are beneficial to all involved. Additionally, collaborative law is chosen by couples wanting to formalize an agreement relating to the financial aspects of their lives prior to marriage through the use of a premarital agreement, in a more dignified, non-adversarial, and less stressful environment.
There are many benefits to this approach, including:
- Putting choices for child custody and child support in your hands, rather than those of strangers in a courtroom
- Eliminating the stresses of disagreements aired before a judge and jury
- Saving money rather than spending it on time-consuming formal discovery and extended, protracted litigation
- Establishing an atmosphere of cooperation that sets a positive tone for future dealings
- Minimizing divorce’s negative emotional impact on a child
- Preserving your post-divorce family integrity and privacy
- Preserving the love and respect couples have for each other prior to marriage, and during marriage
Mary sits on the board of directors of the local Austin Collaborative Divorce practice group, where further information can be explored and other local professionals committed to the collaborative process can be found, by visiting the website at www.collaborativedivorceaustin.com. Ms. Jones is also a member of Collaborative Divorce Texas, the statewide organization that promotes both providing information to the public about the benefits of Collaborative Divorce, training, information and resources to its professional members, as well as other numerous divorce benefits both for the public and its members.
Please visit www.collaborativedivorcetexas.com for additional information.