In a collaborative process, does each party have their own lawyer? How is the process different from litigation or mediation?
Brian S. Loughmiller’s Answer:
Regardless of whether you have chosen collaborative, mediation, or litigation to resolve your divorce issues, each spouse has to have your own attorneys because the attorney has to be able to give advice to their client. If you were to have a single attorney in the room, they couldn’t their best advice to both parties because what’s good for one spouse may not be good for the other. Both sides have to feel like their attorney is looking out for their best interests; even during the collaborative process, there are going to be times when you’re going to step out of the room to ask your attorney a question. So, at least in Texas, both sides need to have an attorney
In the collaborative process, clients are really designing their divorce agreement with the help of the attorneys. Four-way meetings with both attorneys and clients present remove the stress of wondering what one attorney is saying to the other when the clients are not present – which is typical of the litigation process. In a mediation process, you’re [generally?] not in the same room together. Because of confidentiality rules, you don’t necessarily know what’s being said in the other room. You don’t know what arguments they’re giving on each issue because if they tell the mediator that they don’t want the information conveyed, then the mediator’s not going to tell you what was said. In the collaborative process, the clients negotiate directly with each other with their attorneys acting as coaches to help them reach agreement.