Being a family lawyer requires more than just knowing the law. We factor in human nature and consider our client’s feelings as well as what the legal system provides. Over 30 years of experience working with families in the legal system in Fort Worth and Tarrant County, Texas, gives us additional insight and patience, which is another way of saying we’ve had a lot of “on the job training”. Instead of automatically assuming we will go to court for rulings, we immediately start by focusing on finding the least destructive and most effective ways to resolve disagreements and find win-win answers. We enjoy creative problem-solving and will go way outside the box to find the best solutions.
It isn’t all just about what the law says. We think a lot about how we would feel, or what we would want, if we were in a client’s shoes.
Starting with the End in Mind
We like to start with the end in mind. As Stephen Covey and others have suggested, we need to know where our clients want to end up. We know it is often difficult for people going through the emotional trauma of a divorce or other family law issue to think very far into the future, but we can help identify and understand what’s really important. Focusing on the most important goals, needs and interests provides the best guidance for getting through the process in a way that minimizes damage. It also leads to the better outcomes because we deal with what really matters to our clients.
We listen. Our approach to helping clients with family law issues is to start by asking questions and listening to find out what the most important goals and needs are for our client. We can tell you what the law provides, but we prefer not to be limited to just what the standard court-imposed approaches are.
Our focus is on settlement. We know most family law cases (probably 90–95%) will settle before the judge rules on them. We focus on finding the best way to get the best agreement possible. It also makes sense to start thinking about settlement at the beginning.
It really helps to understand the other party’s motivations and needs. Spending time figuring out those things can pay off when negotiations are going on to settle a case. Negotiations are more successful when both parties can feel like they have gotten what they want out of it. Knowing about the other party will also help us evaluate whether settlement is even possible.
A Way to Peaceful Solutions
The path to resolution used in Collaborative cases is very effective and can often be used even in litigated cases, although may not be as effective in litigation. We usually follow these steps:
Determine the goals, needs and interests for both parties.
Discover and organize the facts in the case.
Brainstorm possible solutions and generate as many options as possible.
Evaluate the options.
Negotiate and reach an agreement.
In Your Best Interest? Court hearings are rarely the best way to resolve issues. Hearings tend to force the parties into opposite corners, instead of trying to find common ground. It usually takes a while to get into court, and then the decision-making powers are turned over to a judge who doesn’t know the parties and doesn’t have an interest in the outcome. Confrontations and conflict are emphasized, instead of trying to find a peaceful, production solution. Customized solutions are rarely considered. All the dirty laundry is put on display. Unless a hearing is the only way left, it should usually be avoided.
In most cases, knowledge, experience and an open mind can lead to excellent results, if the parties know where they want to end up and remain focused on solutions.
Questions about Collaborative Law?
Free phone consultation on Collaborative Law. Call 817-338-4633 to speak to an attorney or make a phone appointment.
- Is Collaborative Law right for you (and your situation)?
- How do you get started?
- What are the advantages of Collaborative Law?
Free calls are limited to Collaborative Law issues.
Richard C. Price
Dick Price has practiced divorce and family law in Fort Worth since 1976 and has been Board Certified as a Specialist in Family Law since 1984. He has been named a Texas Super Lawyer by Texas Monthly Magazine five times and has been designated a Top Lawyer in Tarrant County by Fort Worth Magazine for six years.
Although we are located in downtown Fort Worth, we represent clients from all areas of Tarrant County, Texas, from Northeast Tarrant County to the Mid-Cities to Southwest Fort Worth, from North Fort Worth to Arlington, Mansfield, Kennedale and other southern areas, and from West Fort Worth to Southeast Tarrant County. We also help residents of Grand Prairie and Burleson, if they live in the Tarrant County portions of their cities.
We serve Hurst, Euless, Bedford, Colleyville, Trophy Club, Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Watauga, North Richland Hills, Richland Hills, Saginaw, Lake Worth, Benbrook, Blue Mound, Crowley, Kennedale, Pantego, Azle, Dalworthington Gardens, Westover Hills, Kennedale, Haltom City, Forest Hill, Eagle Mountain, Rendon, Lakeside and Haslet.