Three Dallas Divorce Professionals Write New Book on the Collaborative Divorce Process in Texas

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New book, Divorce the Collaborative Way: Is it the way for you?, written by three Dallas divorce professionals, explains how the collaborative divorce process works in Texas. Among other things, the book compares and contrasts the process with a traditional litigated divorce and a do-it-yourself divorce. It also highlights the benefits of a collaborative divorce to children.

Divorcing couples in Texas have had the option of getting a collaborative divorce rather than going through the traditional divorce process since 2001. However, many couples are unaware of this alternative and its potential benefits to them and their young children. Now, in their new book, Divorce the Collaborative Way: Is it the way for you? (iUniverse, ISBN: 9781440154669 for softcover, ISBN: 9781440154676 for e-book), three Dallas collaborative divorce professionals, Melinda Eitzen, a family law attorney with McClure, Duffee & Eitzen, L.L.P., Scott Clarke, a certified financial planner and certified divorce financial analyst in private practice, and Vicki James, a licensed professional counselor and licensed marriage and family therapist, compare and contrast the collaborative process with a do-it-yourself divorce and a litigated divorce and guide readers through the collaborative divorce process in Texas. The authors illustrate key points with real life anecdotes and also provide readers with helpful worksheets, forms and sample collaborative divorce agreements.

According to the authors, there are many advantages to a collaborative divorce. They note for example, that a collaborative divorce:

  • Is a non-adversarial, non-court process.
  • Helps parents protect their children from the harmful effects of their divorce and makes it easier for them to co-parent their children after their marriage is officially over.
  • Puts the couple, not their attorneys, in control of their divorce. For example, spouse work together to identify creative win-win solutions to the issues in their divorce using brainstorming, cooperation, information sharing, honest communication and compromise.
  • Frees couples to identify solutions that respond to their own lives and the needs of their children rather than being limited to what the law says, which is the case in litigated divorces.
  • Provides divorcing spouses with the support of a team of professionals all of whom have been trained in the collaborative process. The team includes the spouses' respective divorce attorneys as well as a mental health and a neutral financial professional who work for both spouses. The team helps the spouses manage their emotions, focus on the future rather than on old hurts and disagreements, communicate productively even if they can't stand one another, resolve disagreements, and make wise decisions, among other things.

The authors also point out that couples who divorce using the collaborative process rather than the litigated process are generally more happy with the terms of their divorce, feel better about the way they ended their relationship, and have an easier time putting their failed marriage behind them and moving on with their lives.

Melinda Eitzen is a family law attorney and partner in McClure, Duffee & Eitzen of Dallas and Collin County. She was president of the Plano Bar Association from 2007-2008 and has served as director of the Association since 2005. She was Chairman of the Collaborative Law Alliance of Collin County in 2007.

Scott Clarke is a certified financial planner and certified divorce financial analyst in private practice in the Dallas/ Fort Worth area. Currently he sits on the Board of Trustee of the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas and he provides training to other financial professionals on the role of the financial neutral in collaborative divorce, in Texas and throughout the nation.

Vicki James is a licensed professional counselor and licensed marriage and family therapist. She is a member of the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas and of the International Association of Collaborative Professionals. She serves on the Civil Law Committee of that association. Vicki is also a member of the Texas Collaborative Law Council.

Divorce the Collaborative Way is available in softcover for $13.95 at both and At iUniverse, the book can also be downloaded as a PDF for $6.00.

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