Being able to claim to be the first in anything is something of a mark of pride in the United States. As it happens, Texas can place its stake in the ground as having been the first state in the union to codify into law the process we now commonly know as collaborative divorce. That happened in 2001.
The concept behind this model of divorce is fairly straightforward. It is based on the acknowledgement that divorce is as much a reality of life as marriage and a recognition that not every couple that decides to dissolve their union is bent on making the breakup as difficult and painful for each other as they can. Rather, the idea is to reach settlement smoothly and swiftly.
The presumption going into the collaborative divorce process is not that both parties are in full agreement on all of the many issues that tend to make divorce confusing and difficult. There is an expectation that both sides commit to engage cooperatively outside of court, with the help of their attorneys, to resolve their differences.
Those with experience in this particular form of alternative dispute resolution generally agree that there are other advantages in collaborative divorce. For one thing, the process typically takes less time, saving the divorcing parties money.
Negotiations take place outside of the courtroom. The process is more informal and the environment is more conducive to open and honest discussion. It can even include accommodation for how to resolve disputes that might result later due to life changes.
Whether collaborative divorce would be a workable solution for you depends on the nature of your issues and how willing you and your spouse are to cooperate. The best way to assess your options and determine how to proceed is to consult with a qualified attorney.