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Alternative Dispute Resolution / Collaborative Law

Domestic violence is usually addressed only when it involves an act of physical violence, but many survivors reveal that they suffer as much from verbal and emotional abuse as from physical abuse. If you have been the subject of physical, verbal or emotional abuse in your family and you have questions about the impact of domestic violence on dissolution of marriage, contact our firm to schedule a consultation with a family law attorney who can help you sort out the issues.

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If you face family law legal challenges in Houston or anywhere in the Gulf Coast region of Texas, contact a lawyer team that includes:

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For experienced assistance in family law matters, contact an attorney who was recognized by the Office of the Attorney General as a special matter expert in the areas of medical support and the child support review process. Contact an attorney who has handled thousands of claims by calling 281-823-8481.

Do you have questions regarding family law? We handle a broad range of family law issues, including, military divorce, uncontested divorce, domestic violence, high net-worth property division and child support enforcement. Contact us at 281-823-8481.

Alternative Dispute Resolution / Collaborative Law

Before a divorce may be granted, the typical issues that must be resolved are alimony / spousal support, property division, child custody, and child support. In Texas, arbitration, mediation, collaborative law procedures, and informal settlement conferences are available to most divorcing couples who wish to resolve these issues without court intervention. A Texas family law attorney at Cynthia Tracy, Attorney at Law, P.C. in Houston, Texas, can work with you to resolve your dissolution of marriage disputes in a way that is appropriate for your family.

Arbitration

In Texas, the parties to a suit for dissolution of a marriage may agree to arbitration. If the parties state in a written agreement whether the arbitration is to be binding or nonbinding, the court may refer the suit to arbitration. If the arbitration is meant to be binding, the court may also render an order reflecting the arbitrator's award. (See Texas Family Code § 6.601.)

Mediation

In a proceeding for the dissolution of a marriage in Texas, the parties can agree in writing to meditation or the court may make a motion to refer the suit to mediation. If a settlement is reached, a judgment on the mediated settlement agreement will be rendered. (See Texas Family Code § 6.602.)

A mediated settlement agreement will be binding on the parties if the agreement is:

  • Not subject to revocation (must be prominently displayed in the agreement in boldfaced type or capital letters or underlined)
  • Signed by each party and by each party's attorney, if either party is represented by counsel

Collaborative Law

In a proceeding for the dissolution of a marriage, the parties and their attorneys can agree in a written collaborative law agreement to conduct the proceeding under collaborative law procedures. (See Texas Family Code § 6.603.) Under collaborative law procedures, the parties and their attorneys agree to use their best efforts and to make a good faith attempt to resolve their dissolution of marriage dispute without the court's intervention.

Required Provisions in Collaborative Law Agreements under Family Code § 6.603(c)

A collaborative law agreement must include provisions regarding:

  • Exchange of information. The parties and their attorneys must agree to a full and candid exchange of information between the parties and their attorneys as necessary to make a proper evaluation of the case.
  • No intervention by the court. The parties and their attorneys must agree not to seek court intervention in the dispute while collaborative law procedures are in use.
  • Experts. The parties must agree about hiring experts to use in the procedure.
  • Withdrawal of counsel. The parties and their attorneys must agree to the withdrawal of all counsel involved in the collaborative law procedure if the collaborative law procedure does not result in settlement of the dispute.
  • Other provisions. All other provisions must be consistent with a good faith effort to settle the matter collaboratively.

Once the parties have reached a resolution, the agreement is submitted to the court for approval. If approved, the court will render the orders necessary to effectuate the agreement of the parties. (See Texas Family Code § 6.603(b).) A judgment on the collaborative law settlement agreement will be rendered if it is:

  • Not subject to revocation (must be prominently displayed in the agreement in boldfaced type or capital letters or underlined)
  • Signed by each party and their attorneys

Informal Settlement Conference

In a suit for dissolution of a marriage, the parties may agree to participate in informal settlement conferences with or without their attorneys present. (See Texas Family Code § 6.604.) A written settlement agreement resulting from the settlement conference will be binding on the parties and the parties will be entitled to judgment on the agreement if it is:

  • Not subject to revocation (must be prominently displayed in the agreement in boldfaced type or capital letters or underlined)
  • Signed by each party and by each party's attorney, if either party is represented by counsel

If the terms of the agreement are just and right, those terms are binding on the court, and the court may set forth the agreement in full or incorporate the agreement by reference in its final decree. If the terms of the agreement are not just and right, the court may request the parties to submit a revised agreement or set the case for a contested hearing.

A family law attorney from Cynthia Tracy, Attorney at Law, P.C. in Houston, Texas, can help you to facilitate the often-difficult process of dissolving a marriage. If you would like help with resolving your divorce dispute, contact Cynthia Tracy, Attorney at Law, P.C. today to schedule a consultation with a lawyer.

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