Collaborative Divorce Facilitation
What is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative Divorce is an alternative dispute resolution process available to couples seeking a divorce in Texas. It is a cooperative and non-adversarial approach to divorce, emphasizing open communication, negotiation, and mutual respect. The goal of Collaborative Divorce is to reach a fair and mutually beneficial agreement that meets the needs of both spouses and any children involved, while avoiding the need for litigation.
In a Collaborative Divorce, each spouse retains their own attorney who is trained in the collaborative process. The attorneys work together with the spouses to facilitate productive discussions, provide legal guidance, and help them reach a resolution. The spouses and their attorneys sign a participation agreement, committing to resolve their issues outside of court and work towards a settlement in a collaborative manner.
Here are some key features of Collaborative Divorce in Texas:
Voluntary Participation: Collaborative Divorce is a voluntary process, meaning both spouses must agree to participate and commit to resolving their issues through collaboration and negotiation rather than litigation.
Open Communication: The collaborative approach encourages open and honest communication between the spouses and their attorneys. The focus is on fostering a respectful and transparent dialogue to address concerns, interests, and goals.
Neutral Professionals: In addition to their attorneys, the spouses may involve neutral professionals, such as a divorce “coach” (or a mental health neutral,) financial experts, or child specialists. These professionals provide specialized expertise to help the couple make informed decisions regarding finances, co-parenting, and emotional well-being.
Settlement-Oriented: The primary objective of Collaborative Divorce is to reach a settlement agreement that meets the needs and interests of both spouses and any children involved. The process emphasizes problem-solving and finding creative solutions that work for all parties.
Confidentiality: The collaborative process promotes confidentiality, encouraging the spouses and their attorneys to freely exchange information and explore various options without fear of it being used against them in court if the process fails.
Exclusion of Litigation: One of the core principles of Collaborative Divorce is the commitment to avoiding litigation. If the collaborative process breaks down, and the spouses are unable to reach an agreement, they must hire new attorneys to represent them in court, which incentivizes all parties to work towards a resolution.
Collaborative Divorce offers several benefits compared to traditional litigated divorce, including reduced conflict, lower costs, faster resolution, and greater control over the outcome. It is particularly beneficial for couples who want to maintain an amicable relationship, protect their children from the adversarial nature of litigation, and have a more active role in the decision-making process.
If you are considering divorce in Texas and believe that a cooperative approach may be suitable for your situation, please call us. We can help you sort out whether this approach may be a good fit for you.
Why choose us for your Collaborative Divorce Facilitation?
Our Founder, Katie Zuverink focuses exclusively on divorce work, specializing on the Collaborative Process. She has a sister company, Katie Zuverink Consulting that provides additional education about this process. She has spoken at Advanced Trainings in Texas, Michigan, and International trainings about the most effective Collaborative Divorce practices – how to make Collaborative Divorce an effective and efficient process for families.
We are members of: Collaborative Divorce Texas and the International Association of Collaborative Professionals.
When going through a divorce in the State of Texas, if you and your spouse have minor children (under the age of 18), it is required that part of your Divorce Decree address your parenting plan.
In Texas, this is dealt with in words like “Conservatorship,” “Access” and “Possession.” However, we know that what’s most important to families is this: Parenting Time.
At New Roots Counseling, we have 2 Parenting Specialists who have advanced training and are specially equipped to assist you and your spouse with developing this parenting plan.
Meagan Jackson and Katie Zuverink are our certified Parent Coordinators / Parent Facilitators.
They will work with you (and your attorneys if applicable) to help you:
- Understand what is required by the State of Texas,
- Work within what is developmentally appropriate for your children,
- Provide extensive educational resources for you to help you make the best decisions for you and your children,
- Help you understand the “watchouts” from the perspective of child development and parenting experts.
- Assist you in coming to the best possible decision for you and your children as you rearrange your family.
We will create a document with you and your spouse that will go directly to your respective attorneys that can be put into your divorce decree. We can also provide your parenting plan to you in “plain english” to assist you and your co-parent stay on the same page as you move forward into this new chapter. We are happy to answer any questions you may have. Contact us for a free 30 minute consultation.
Parent Coordination / Parent Facilitation
What is Parent Coordination / Parent Facilitation?
A parent coordinator (also referred to as a “PC”) is a person who is appointed by the court to assist parents in divorced families to resolve parenting issues through confidential procedures. A parent facilitator (or a “PF”) is a person who is appointed by the court to assist parents in divorced families to resolve parenting issues using procedures that are not confidential. (Texas Family Code sec. 153.601(3), (3-a).)
In order for a court to appoint a PC, you must work with your attorney and the court must hold a hearing to determine whether your case is is a high-conflict case and/or whether the appointment of a PC is supported by “good cause” and would be in “the best interests of the child.” (Texas Family Code sec 153.605)
So, basically this means that a Parenting Coordinator cannot be called to testify in court about the PC proceedings. But, a Parenting Facilitator can be called to testify regarding the PF proceedings.
The duties of a PC or PF include:
- identifying disputed issues,
- reducing misunderstandings,
- clarifying priorities,
- exploring possibilities for problem solving,
- developing methods of collaboration in parenting,
- understanding parenting plans and reaching agreements about parenting issues to be included in a parenting plan,
- complying with the court’s order regarding conservatorship or possession of and access to the child,
- implementing parenting plans,
- obtaining training regarding problem solving, conflict management, and parenting skills, and
- settling disputes regarding parenting issues and reaching a proposed joint resolution or statement of intent regarding those disputes.
The court maintains the right to make decisions about conservatorship, child support, and possession of and access to the child. The court also maintains the authority to exercise management and control over the suit. (Texas Family Code sec. 153.606.)
In other words, the Parenting Coordinator or Parenting Facilitator can work to facilitate agreement on disputed issues or can encourage compliance with the court orders, but the PC or PF cannot permanently modify custody or possession orders.
A PC may submit a report to the court and parties as requested by the court. This report is limited to a simple statement as to whether the PC thinks parent coordination should continue. (Texas Family Code sec 153.608.)
A PF must submit a report to the court and parties as requested by the court. (Texas Family Code 153.6081.) The PF may make recommendations to the court and parties to implement or clarify provisions of the existing court order that are consistent with the intent of the court order and in the best interest of the child. However, the recommendations cannot address conservatorship, support, or possession modifications. (Texas Family Code 153.082.)
Why we are passionate about Parent Coordination / Parent Facilitation work:
Meagan and Katie are both completely convinced that the parents that walk through our doors love their children entirely. They know that most parents would give anything for their children. But when it comes to getting along with their co-parent… that’s where it falls apart. They can teach you the skills!
Katie and Meagan both have over a dozen years of experience working with children and families who are navigating challenging life transitions, namely divorce. They have seen families come back from constant fighting to working co-parenting peacefully together.
What are the Steps to Getting Started:
- Call our office to determine if Katie and / or Meagan have space for PC or PF case.
- Work with your attorney to establish the court order for PC or PF. We have 2 draft orders of Court Orders linked here:
- Submit court order (signed by the judge) to the PF/PC assigned.
- Send Divorce Decree and any following modifications pertaining to parenting arrangements to the PF/PC.
- Read and complete all required forms via our online portal, once given access. Examples below:
- Pay Retainer.
- Complete Between Two Homes 6 hour online Course, send certificate to PF.
*We are not affiliated: This is just excellent material*
- Get started with PF/PC Meetings.
Think you’re ready to get started with Parent Facilitation or Parent Coordination?
Or have questions? Call us!