Alternatives to Litigation
District Courts of Collin County have a large volume of civil and
family law disputes which come before the Courts for resolution. The
issues involved in civil litigation include personal injury, disputes
between businesses, contract disputes, construction, real estate,
partnerships, and negligence cases, just to name a few. The issues
involved in family law disputes include divorce, modification and
enforcement of prior orders affecting children. Family law cases, in
particular, are highly emotional and cause life changing events which
result in the dissolution of marriages, disruption of families,
division of community property and debts, and orders concerning
possession and support of children.
are many cases which are filed in response to anger, hurt feelings or
pain without consideration of the long term results of litigation.
Those long term results include dissipation or depletion of family
resources, dissension among extended family members, serious life style
changes for children, feelings of abandonment and alienation, and
fracture of families.
now have a choice of using courtroom litigation, mediation or
collaboration to solve your problems. Your choice can promote a mature
and thoughtful settlement of the issues or an invitation to all out war.
is an informal process in which a neutral third party assists the
opposing parties to reach a voluntary, negotiated resolution. In the
mediation process you and your spouse or former spouse would meet with
a trained family law mediator. The mediator would assist you in making
your own decisions to settle your differences. You may have a lawyer
present to give you legal advice throughout the mediation process.
There are private attorneys trained in mediation techniques as well as
non-attorneys who provide mediation services.
of these alternatives allows parties to be in control of the outcome of
their divorce or modification suit. Each allows the parties to be
creative and work out an agreement in a manner which a Court may not
have the legal authority to do. When parties invoke the power of the
Judge to rule on their case, they are asking a stranger to make final
decisions on these very personal and unique problems, rather than
working together to come up with a solution with which both can be
parents are caught up in their own issues and best interests, their
children usually take a back seat; and many times they are used to
promote and accomplish the goals of the parents, rather than the
parents focusing on the needs of the children. When children are used
in this manner, parents may doom their children to a life of litigation
and conflict until they are adults. If only parents could see what
damage is done to their children when they are caught in the crossfire
of litigation and spite fights by their parents. Please take the time
to view a timely public service video, Kids in the Crossfire, produced by the Texas Young Lawyers Association, which is
sure to give you pause before heading for battle or continuing to
battle over your children.
think carefully about the choices available to you. Litigation is an
adversarial approach. It is very expensive, increases conflict and many
times proves devastating to the children involved. The bad feelings
from courtroom litigation can affect you and your children the rest of
your lives. On the other hand, mediation or collaborative law can
result in a settlement that is less expensive, less traumatic and more
creative. The choices you make now can have an enormous immediate and
long term effect on you and your children. Choose wisely.
collaborative process utilizes lawyers and other professionals
trained in negotiations and family matters to represent you and your
spouse or former spouse only for the purpose of helping you settle your
case. These lawyers can never go to court for you, except to finalize
or close the case. They will help you get the coaching and experts you
need to reach an agreement without the trauma of litigation. Their
training and expertise is used to solve problems, not fight.