Collaborative divorce started as a good idea; now, as more people learn about its benefits, it’s becoming a movement.
For previous blog articles I have authored, I’ve kept to a financial theme, giving advice geared toward people’s finances. Helping people protect their assets and take care of their money is a big part of why I’m a financial planner, but I wanted to take the opportunity here to think back to my introduction to collaborative divorce in Texas, and why I’ve since become a collaboratively-trained financial planner.
The Good Idea
In 2009, I learned about Stu Webb, his now-famous letter, and his frustrations with the way in which divorce cases were resolved. I believed then, as I believe now, that he started with a new way of thinking about what he perceived as a problem, and promoted that new way as an alternative to the status quo. And that, now, has become a movement.
The Transition into a Movement
People like me, who came before me, heard his message, also recognized that they held frustrations about the status quo, and decided to do something with that passion. I’m glad they did; otherwise, I might have never heard of an alternative to traditional, litigated divorce, and I would have never been able to let people know there’s a better way. And once I learned that there’s a better way, I too wanted to let people know about it.
I recall presenting a speech to an audience looking to learn more about collaborative divorce. I was talking about child support, and new ways to think about it, when an audience member abruptly said, “That is not the law.” There are some aspects of divorce in which the law is the law, that’s true. But Stu Webb laid the framework for collaborative divorce that expands what the law can do. The law doesn’t have to be limited to cookie-cutter guidelines that are applied to everyone. Collaborative divorce – which, as part of the Texas Family Law Code, is the law – allows couples to come to agreements that might be unconventional, as long as both parties judge that agreement to be fair and reasonable.
Why Collaborative Divorce?
This is a movement that is depending on the enthusiasm of people, like me, who believe in it. It’s a movement that gives people the time, the place, and the means to determine how to address their divorce issues. If a couple determines a solution works for them, and they’re willing to sign something to that effect under the guidance of lawyers helping them seek a solution, shouldn’t they be allowed to do that? I say yes, and if you agree, the collaborative divorce movement is something you should support.
About the author: Richard D. Soat, a San Antonio-based financial professional with BDO (a professional services firm providing assurance, tax, financial advisory and consulting services) and a board member of the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas. The opinions expressed on this site are Rick Soat’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of BDO USA, LLP.