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Austin Collaborative Divorce Lawyer

The goal of a collaborative divorce is to avoid the disadvantages of the court system by settling all issues through direct negotiation between each party. An Austin collaborative divorce lawyer is one who is trained in the collaborative process and can support one party's interests in negotiation. The main advantages of a collaborative divorce are that it's generally less expensive, faster, more flexible, and has greater privacy than settling issues through litigation in court. The collaborative process is typically less hostile than litigation but requires a basic level of trust and cooperation between each party to succeed.

Collaborative divorce setup
Collaborative divorce lawyers commit to working outside of the court system

If the collaborative process fails, both parties must hire new attorneys because the collaborative divorce lawyers are forbidden from representing the same clients in court. This is to ensure all parties remain committed to settling issues through the collaborative process, including the lawyers themselves. While collaborative law can be a much more efficient and flexible solution than litigation, it's important to keep in mind that no guarantee can be made that the process will succeed.

Common Questions about Collaborative Divorce in Austin

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The Collaborative Law Process

In collaborative family law, all parties and outside experts agree to undertake a good-faith effort to avoid bringing the case to trial. This requires a basic level of trust, honestly, cooperation, and voluntary disclosure of essential information such as finances. A collaborative divorce is effective only if both sides are truly committed to settling the case without litigation.

Once this collaborative framework has been established, the couple and their collaborative divorce attorneys begin several sessions of negotiations, typically 4 to 6 sessions at 2 to 3 hours a piece. Other experts can be present if necessary. At the end of each session, the parties may have to obtain specific information prior to the next session. If agreement on all issues is ultimately reached, the attorneys will put that agreement into writing and have it finalized by a court.

If successful, the terms of a collaborative divorce settlement are typically easier to enforce than those of a contested divorce trial because both parties worked hard to negotiate all issues. Compare this result to a litigated settlement where terms are imposed on the parties by members of a court who are not part of the family.

Sue Berkel's Experience as an Austin Divorce Lawyer

Sue Berkel has been practicing family law in and around the Austin, Texas area for over 25 years and has a wealth of family law experience. She has resided in Austin since 1976 and graduated with honors from the University of Texas in 1980. Sue obtained her law degree from the University of Texas Law School in 1983 and has been licensed to practice in:

As an Assistant Attorney General for the Texas Attorney General's Office, Sue Berkel handled cases involving CPS in which abuse or neglect was alleged. While at the Attorney General's Office, which is the chief legal and law enforcement body for the state of Texas, Ms. Berkel handled hundreds of cases in both state and federal court and maintained an over 90% win record. Ms. Berkel also served as a judge at the Texas State Office of Administrative Hearings, rising to the rank of Senior Administrative Law Judge, the highest designation offered.

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While in private practice, the Law Offices of Sue Berkel has handled a variety of diverse family law issues, including divorce, custody, adoption, grandparent rights, termination of parental rights and modifications of child support, custody, or possession. She's helped draft and modify a great deal of legally-binding agreements, such as prenuptial and postnuptial agreements and private wills. She has experience with probate and the general administration of a deceased person's estate and property. Sue Berkel has the expertise to offer representation highly customized to your particular situation. Call us today about your family law case.