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Collaborative Divorce

Disputes between you and your spouse during the divorce litigation process can wear on both your emotions and your finances.

Fortunately, there are ways to minimize the negative impact a divorce has on your life. Our Arlington, TX, firm can help.

The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt has helped many clients overcome conflict and reach an agreement through collaborative divorce.

Why Trust Donna J. Smiedt?

Ms. Smiedt has helped many clients through difficult matters relating to various aspects of family law. She has been practicing since 1986 and has been a board-certified family law attorney with the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 1991. Regardless of whether you decide on a collaborative divorce process, mediation, or traditional methods, she can make sure your case is completely resolved and will gladly act as your counsel. Our divorce lawyer offices are conveniently located in Arlington and Southlake, TX

If you live in the Arlington, Southlake, or Westover Hills, TX, area, you can request a consultation at our law firm by completing our online form, or by calling:

(817) 572-9900

"I have been working with Donna for over a year. She is very knowledgable and also kind and empathetic. They take their time with everything they do and not only that but they really care about their clients and the families they work with. I would recommend Donna to anyone because I have worked with other lawyers and she really is the best." Meghan Matthews

What Is Collaborative Law in Texas  And How Does It Work?

Collaborative law is a concept that allows litigants in Texas to work together to resolve the issues in their case. In a collaborative divorce, each party is represented by an attorney who provides legal advice and assists with negotiation. Discussions are held in "four-way" meetings to work out the terms and reach an agreeable solution.

Since the collaborative process does not usually take as long as going to court for traditional litigation, you can save a substantial amount of money in a divorce. When it is complete, each party agrees to settlement terms and can start to move on with life without undue stress and hostility.


Mediation is a slightly different legal process with the same goal as collaborative law: to settle a divorce as painlessly as possible outside of the courtroom.

In these situations, both parties work together with a mediator to negotiate the terms rather than their respective personal attorneys. The mediator acts as a peacemaker and negotiator, helping to resolve disagreements and find solutions that work for everyone involved. While there is no requirement that mediators have a law degree, our Arlington firm offers services for divorce mediation and can provide knowledgeable counsel to ease the process.

Collaborative Law is Complicated

It is important to hire a lawyer who not only understands the collaborative law divorce process but will work hard to protect your best interests. With a Texas Board Certification in family law, Arlington-based collaborative attorney Ms. Smiedt can help you make sound decisions regarding any legal issues that may arise during divorce mediation or negotiations. 

Take the First Step Today

At The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt, our compassionate and knowledgeable lawyers can explain the details of how collaborative divorce works during your initial consultation. Ms. Smiedt has been practicing law since 1986 and has helped many families through disputes and other difficult times as a divorce counselor and attorney. Our divorce lawyers can review your case, and advise you as to whether a collaborative process is a viable option.

The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt helps clients throughout Southlake, Westover Hills, and Arlington, TX, achieve outcomes that benefit all parties involved in a case. Send us a message if you want to learn more, or you can speak to an attorney at our family law firm by calling:

(817) 572-9900

Attorney Donna J. Smiedt

Attorney Donna J. Smiedt

"This is one of the very best law firms in town!!! The whole team worked to help my situation and were very successful. Very passionate and compassionate. Went out of their way to help and went above and beyond what anyone could have ever expected!!! I will HIGHLY recommend!" Linda Olson

Mediation VS. Collaboration

There is no one correct way to go about getting a divorce. However, a certain method may work better for you and your spouse. Mediation is typically the more flexible and cost-effective of the two options, however, it can be hard for some couples to work through negotiations without respective attorneys. Even in amicable cases, it is beneficial to be represented by a divorce lawyer to protect your best interests.

Which Method is Right For Me?

Divorce Litigation Divorce Mediation Collaborative Law
Location Publicly held in a courtroom Confidential discussions in an informal setting Negotiations are held in private, typically in a law office or neutral location
Timeline Cases can take over a year to complete Most cases are resolved within two to three months but could be completed in as little as one mediation session Varies depending on the schedules of both parties but usually takes four to six sessions over several months
Expense Each party hires lawyers for the entire process, which can be lengthy and extremely expensive Very cost-effective, the parties split a set mediator fee Each party pays for a lawyer but saves money by reaching an agreement faster than litigation
Attitude Often contentious, with each party fighting for their self-interests Amicable and collaborative, with parties working together to find solutions Non-adversarial discussions structured by attorneys to limit personal hostilities

If you are struggling to decide the best course of action for your divorce case, please schedule a consultation at The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt. Our divorce lawyers can explain your options in detail and answer all of your legal questions. Furthermore, we are here to listen while you explain your unique needs and goals. Together we can develop a plan to reach the best possible outcome in your case. 

There Are Several Steps in a Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative law is a unique way to handle a divorce proceeding. While each party is represented by their own attorney, the goal is to work through issues in a mutually beneficial manner. The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt in Arlington, TX, can assist you step-by-step throughout the entire process.
In Texas, many judges require family law cases to go to mediation first. The result is many cases settling without ever having to go to court. 
In Texas, many judges require family law cases to go to mediation first. The result is many cases settling without ever having to go to court. 

Consultation with Your Attorney

As your lawyer, we ensure that important issues are not overlooked. You need someone by your side to ensure you are not taken advantage of by your spouse and their legal team. To achieve a win-win outcome, you will sit down with your attorney one-on-one to discuss your needs and goals. This allows us to determine an effective negotiation plan.

Initial Party Discussions

Once each side has a clear understanding of what they want, both spouses and their attorneys will meet to discuss the issues. We'll also invite any specialists deemed necessary to guide the process at this time. If you need special concessions made for a child, you may want to invite a child specialist or therapist to your meeting.


All parties will discuss how to best resolve any outstanding issues, with each respective lawyer negotiating the terms for their client. During this process, each side will need to be willing to make compromises in order to reach an amicable final resolution. If the parties are unable to agree on terms, a mediator can be brought in to help facilitate an agreement.

Formal Agreement

As soon as a final settlement is reached, both spouses sign an agreement that is filed along with divorce papers.  The agreement acts as the final terms between the parties, and each party is bound by those terms. Once the court accepts the agreement, it will issue a decree and any orders needed to enforce the terms of the settlement. 

Specialists Help Along the Way

The collaborative process has helped many of our clients in the Southlake, Westover Hills, and Arlington, TX, areas maintain more control over the final decisions in their divorce cases. Our lawyers may invite the following specialists to help guide the process of collaborative divorce: 

Mental Health Professional

A mental health professional accompanies our attorneys during this process to keep the process focused and on track to a healthy solution. 

Financial Specialist

If there are significant assets, we'll have a financial professional sit in on the negotiations along with our collaborative lawyers.

a consultant's hand at his desk

More Benefits  of Collaborative Divorce

Along with fostering good communication and positive resolutions, a collaborative divorce with the help of our Arlington, TX, firm provides a number of valuable benefits.

Lower Costs

As a collaborative team, you and your attorney do not have to spend time in court arguing over family law issues. The collaborative divorce system is not subject to the court’s docket. This means the time it takes to finalize your divorce can be significantly shorter when you opt for a collaborative divorce in Texas.

Better Control

Because the parties know what they want going into the process, each side and their collaborative lawyers take an active role in negotiating. This allows couples who use collaborative divorce to remain more in control of the outcome than those who rely on the court. You can develop solutions that are tailored to your family's needs.

More Privacy 

While litigation takes place in a public courtroom, collaborative negations are held in private. This encourages honest discussion and avoids feelings of shame and judgment. When friends and family members are left out of the process, your marital disputes remain between you and your ex. Attorneys are also sworn to strict confidentiality with clients.

Client Testimonial

"Donna successfully helped me get what I wanted out of my case. She charged a reasonable fee for her services and never once wasted my time. I would hire The Family Law Firm again in a heartbeat should I ever need her services again." CHARITY VICENTE

What if Collaboration Does Not Succeed?

Every couple's situation is unique. While collaborative law and divorce mediation can work for many people, there is always a chance that an agreement can't be reached.

The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt does not recommend these alternative processes unless we have confidence in a successful outcome. Our divorce lawyers can help you strategize your next steps in the event your out-of-court negotiations fail.

Contact Us to Learn More Speak With Our Arlington Lawyers

You can depend on The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt to carefully review the facts of your case. We can help determine if collaborative law is the best approach, or if traditional litigation would result in a better outcome.

The value of having a legal advocate in either scenario cannot be overstated. Let Ms. Smiedt help you navigate this process in a way that achieves timely resolution and helps you enter a prosperous new chapter in your life. Our team can guide you through every step of the collaborative divorce process with your immediate and long-term goals in mind.

Contact our Arlington, TX, family law practice today to learn more. You can request a consultation, or give us a call at:

(817) 572-9900

Donna Smiedt

The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt provides clients in Southlake, TX, Arlington, Westover Hills, and surrounding areas with legal support.

"Donna was an amazing lawyer in my case! She made things go by as smooth as possible and I would recommend her to anyone." Ashley Hayes
the team at The Family Law Firm of Donna J Smiedt

The Family Law Firm of Donna J Smiedt

The Family Law Firm of Donna J Smiedt is the premier destination for clients who need representation during a divorce, adoption, or other family law matters. Donna J. Smiedt has been in practice since 1986 and is a Board Certified Family Law Attorney – Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Her other professional affiliations include:

  • Texas Bar College
  • Arlington Bar Association
  • Tarrant County Bar Association
  • Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists

To schedule a consultation at our Arlington or Southlake, TX, law firm, contact us online or call (817) 572-9900.

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