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Specialty tag(s): Collaborative Divorce

How Can You Achieve Privacy in the Collaborative Divorce Process?

Esther R. Donald | October 8, 2021

When going through the deeply personal process of getting a divorce, clients want to maintain their privacy to the greatest extent possible. One of the best ways to achieve this is by avoiding litigation and choosing to have a Collaborative Divorce. In this video, Partner Esther Donald explains why the Collaborative Divorce process might be the best option for your family’s privacy and shares tips on how to move forward discreetly.


How can you achieve privacy in the collaborative divorce process?

I’m Esther Donald, a Collaborative Divorce lawyer at Goranson Bain Ausley. As a credentialed, Collaborative Divorce lawyer, I want to help my clients maintain the privacy of their personal business and their dignity in divorce. And I want to help them achieve an outcome that feels satisfying, while also remaining confidential. My clients often express concern that the details of their divorce may become public, and understandably, most people want their divorces to be kept as private as possible. Unfortunately, in Texas, the risk of public exposure is real because our Texas constitution mandates that we have open courts, and the divorce is a lawsuit that gets filed in court. So, the Collaborative Divorce process is a method to get around that and to close the curtain on the details of your divorce. Divorce deals with your most personal business: your children, your finances, and sometimes the intimate details of your sex life. And very few people want to risk that friends, neighbors, and total strangers might be privy to that kind of personal information.

What are the methods to keeping divorce documents more private?

We have methods for keeping your divorce documents private. In many counties, we can file your divorce under initials only. And when the divorce process is concluded, we can often seal the file so that only the divorce parties and their lawyers have access to the court documents. We can keep divorcing parties out of the courtroom with the Collaborative Divorce process. The attorneys and neutral advisors meet with the divorcing couple in a private office or through zoom. And contrast that to the idea of taking the witness stand in a courtroom that’s packed with spectators or having your zoom divorced trial broadcast on YouTube. At the very outset, the parties sign a contract agreeing to keep their divorce private, and the court is immediately notified that the Collaborative process has been elected. And judges will not require a hearing or a trial if you’re in the Collaborative process. The Collaborative process offers the opportunity for creative solutions to really sticky personal problems. For example, an addict or an alcoholic may feel really shamed or punished in court. But a Collaborative team can make sure that your children are protected, while still finding support for a party who’s suffering from addiction or mental illness, and the whole family benefits from that.

What is your best piece of advice for someone seeking privacy in their divorce?

If you’re seeking privacy in your divorce, my very best advice is to choose your lawyer carefully. Find an attorney who really hears your concerns, who understands why privacy is important to you and to your family. And who has the experience and tools necessary to keep your personal business out of the public eye.

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Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of family law and will guide you through each step of the process, ensuring you have the information you need to make wise decisions and prepare for the future.

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At Goranson Bain Ausley, we strive to deliver clarity about what comes next and confidence that you and your family’s future are more secure. Contact our team and discover how we can help you.

“Divorces don’t settle out of weakness. The strongest advocates use compassion, skill, and strategy to help their clients solve family law disputes outside the courtroom.”

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