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What Are the Major Differences Between Collaborative Law and Traditional Divorce?

Carla Calabrese explains why you should consider a Collaborative Divorce when starting the divorce process.
By D Partner Studio |
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Can Collaborative Divorce help me minimize the emotional and financial costs of divorce litigation?

Absolutely! It’s why Collaborative Divorce was “invented.” Divorce litigation exacts a tremendous emotional and financial cost on couples and their children. It doesn’t have to be this way. Even with the worst set of facts, a “good divorce” can happen. Collaborative Divorce was designed to produce the best possible outcome from, for most people, one of the worst experiences of their lives. Calabrese Budner helps orchestrate the “good divorce” for our clients every day.

What are the major differences between Collaborative Divorce and a litigated divorce?

Collaborative Divorce is a private alternative to the public litigation model. The risk that you will be dragged into court or deposed and your private matters exposed during your divorce is eliminated. When collaborating, you stay in control of the outcome. You don’t hand control over your life, your children, or your money to lawyers or a judge. Unlike traditional divorce, nothing happens to you in a Collaborative Divorce to which you do not agree.

Does my spouse have to have a lawyer too?

Yes. Not only must you each hire a lawyer, but the most effective collaboration involves a professional team. Because every divorce involves emotional, financial, and legal issues, the most effective teams include two lawyers, a financial professional, and a mental health professional (both of whom are neutral). The neutrals act as built-in reality checks for the couple much like a mediator.  On the cutting-edge of dispute resolution options, the team approach puts Collaborative Divorce at the top.

Courts are limited to cookie-cutter solutions that, at best, do no harm but don’t add value and, at worst, drain and sometimes even destroy assets and businesses.

There’s been an affair. Can I collaborate?

Yes. Affairs are not barriers to a successful Collaborative Divorce process. In fact, so many Collaborative Divorce cases involve affairs. Affairs, although very painful, are often a symptom, not a cause. While revenge is a natural reaction, it is a myth that you are better off in litigation with a gladiator. Aggressive litigation tactics to “make her pay” often backfire.

I don’t trust my spouse. Can I collaborate?

Yes. It’s natural not to trust your spouse during your divorce. In Collaborative Divorce not only can you trust your lawyer and the two neutral professionals, but your spouse’s lawyer is not your enemy. While your lawyer is always your advocate, both collaborative professionals are trained to work as part of a team in a sophisticated process, which recognizes that meeting both clients’ needs is the best possible outcome for the divorcing couple. Collaborative Divorce may be the smartest place to put your trust.

Savvy business people seem to prefer collaborating. Why?

Courts are limited to cookie-cutter solutions that, at best, do no harm but don’t add value and, at worst, drain and sometimes even destroy assets and businesses. The collaborative process generates financial solutions that make sense—recognizing that clients know their businesses best and that families are more than the sum of their assets and liabilities. Using interest-based negotiation, collaboration “value adds” and produces “think outside the box” answers that work in the real world.


For more than 30 years, divorce attorney Carla Calabrese has successfully represented clients in every area of family law – Texas divorce, including high dollar cases, complex property division, paternity, adoption, assisted reproduction technology, and marital agreements. Recognized as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Texas by Texas Monthly, Top 5 Exceptional Collaborative Practitioners in Texas, The Best Lawyers in America®, a Texas Super Lawyer by Texas Monthly, and one of the Best Lawyers in Dallas by D Magazine, Calabrese regularly speaks and educates on family law. Calabrese Budner is recognized as one of the Best Law Firms in America by U.S. News.

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D Partner Studio

D Partner Studio

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