Collaborative Divorce Law

Dreamstime_3390198 Collaborative law is a way of practicing law in which the attorneys for both of the parties in a family dispute agree to assist them in resolving conflict or legal issues using cooperative strategies, instead of adversarial techniques and litigation. To be "adverse" means to oppose, while "advocating" means speaking up for.

Early, nonadversarial, participation by attorneys allows the parties and attorneys to use the more positive aspects of good lawyering not often seen in adversarial proceedings, such as:

  • Rational analysis
  • Creative problem solving
  • Generating multiple options
  • Maintaining a positive context for settlement and
  • Building a foundation for long-term coparenting

Advantages of Collaborative Law

Collaborative divorce law is:

  • Generally less costly than litigation
  • More client-friendly, in that you’re a vital part of the settlement team of both parties and both attorneys
  • Cooperative in resolving issues
  • Less stressful, as it generates much less fear and anxiety than court proceedings
  • Less time-consuming, as you can reach agreement and the legal proceeding can be finalized within a short time.

      Collaborative law allows you control the proceedings, instead of a judge.

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      Medical Savings Plans – One Alternative for Handling Children’s Medical Expenses

      Dreamstime_1486256 Shannon Cavers of the Houston Divorce and Family Lawyer Blog has published several articles on reimbursement of children’s medical expenses. This is the third:

      Many employees have access to pre-tax savings devices called Medical Savings Plans or Medical Savings Accounts. Through such plans, an enrolled employee participant may designate a portion of his/her pre-tax income to be deposited in an account designated for health care. One of the benefits is lowering the employee’s taxable income.  Another benefit is saving for large ticket items such as annual deductibles, surgeries, braces, or other medical services which may not be covered by an insurance carrier.

      I used to dislike such plans because withdrawing funds for reimbursement was too burdensome and paper-work intensive for the tax benefit. However, I have heard that many medical savings plans are much more user friendly these days, offering access to the deposited funds through a debit card.   

      For older children who take themselves to dental appointments or to the orthodontist, this may be a great vehicle for paying and tracking the child’s medical expenses.

      For more information on such plans, speak to your human resources department or your CPA to learn more about the tax benefits.

      SOURCE FOR POST: Houston Divorce and Family Lawyer Blog

      Sample Letter for Medical Expense Notification

      Dreamstime_1740114 Shannon Cavers of the Houston Divorce and Family Lawyer Blog has published several articles on reimbursement of children’s medical expenses. This is the second:

      Besides just sending the other parent receipts for your child’s medical expenses, you should consider writing a brief cover letter to explain what you are sending. This does not have to be typed or fancy.

      A sample letter could be as follows:


      VIA USPS First Class Mail

      VIA USPS Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested – *certified mail number*

      Dear *Parent*:

      Enclosed please find receipts for *child’s* medical expenses for the month of *month and year.* My total out-of-pocket expense was *$*. Your portion (*%*) is *$*.

      Please let me know if you have any questions.


      *Your name*

      SOURCE FOR POST: Houston Divorce and Family Lawyer Blog

      How do I get reimbursed for my child’s medical expenses?

      Dreamstime_3635071 Shannon Cavers of the Houston Divorce and Family Lawyer Blog has published several articles on reimbursement of children’s medical expenses. This is the first:

      One of the many points of contention for divorced parents is the children’s medical expenses. However, with a little advance planning and organization, much of this controversy can be avoided.

      Whether you are the primary custodian or the non-primary custodian, the starting place is your final decree of divorce. Your decree should include a section that spells out the provisions for health care. Within that section should be precise language stating how co-payments, out of network services, and uninsured medical expenses are to be handled between the parents. Your decree may differ, but usually, the parents split the cost of any medical co-payments, prescription drugs, and uninsured medical bills.

      After reviewing your decree to understand the rules, the next step is to keep good records. If you take the child to the doctor, always request a receipt that clearly shows the cost for the office visit or service, the amount of the co-pay remitted (if any), and the amount to be submitted to the insurance carrier. If you are the parent who took the child to the doctor, then keep a copy of your canceled check or credit card statement to show payment was made.

      An area where I see many of my own clients go off track is notification of the other parent. Do not rely on just verbal notification to obtain reimbursement, and above all do not make your children the messenger that one parent owes the other. Also, do not keep a backlog of these bills and/or send them on a sporadic basis. Instead, provide copies of the billing statements, prescription receipts, etc. to the other parent on at least a monthly basis so he/she knows what was provided and how much he/she must pay. If you anticipate difficulty in getting reimbursed for medical expenses, then it is critical to send copies of all documentation via USPS First Class Mail and via USPS Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested. If the other parent does not pick up certified mail, and if the regular mail was not returned to sender for a bad address, then the presumption is that the parent received the bills. This is very important evidence should you need to file an enforcement action against the other parent.

      To reiterate, the keys are:  (1) knowing the rules established in your divorce decree, (2) keeping good records, (3) communicating effectively, and (4) maintaining proof of those communications.

      SOURCE FOR POST: Houston Divorce and Family Lawyer Blog

      Bynum-Weeks divorce talks break down after Essence article

      Juanita_bynumweeks_2 Talks in the divorce case of national evangelist Juanita Bynum and her estranged husband have broken down since the pastor dished about her troubled marriage in Essence magazine.

      Attorney for Bishop Thomas W. Weeks III said Monday that the magazine story has halted negotiations between the couple.

      Bynum is featured in a story this month about her tumultuous relationship with Weeks. She discusses past incidents of abuse and the night of the alleged Aug. 21 attack that eventually led to the divorce.

      Bynum’s divorce attorney, Karla Walker, did not want to comment Monday on the case.

      Bynum has accused her husband of beating, choking and stomping her to the ground in an Atlanta hotel parking lot. After the incident, Weeks was charged with aggravated assault, terroristic threats and simple battery.

      Weeks’ attorney Randy Kessler, of Kessler, Schwarz & Solomiany, said the story in Essence "revealed a calculated, aggressive media attack on Bishop Weeks," who has denied the alleged attack.

      "The comments made by Rev. Bynum in that article has sabotaged discussions in the divorce case," Kessler said.

      The Bynum interview hit the stands this month just as the couple was negotiating their divorce settlement. Essence will feature Bynum in a January cover story where she will discuss plans for a domestic violence ministry.

      The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
      Published on: 11/26/07