KITCHEN TABLE APPROACH

When parties are able to calmly and rationally discuss the issues in a dispute, they can literally sit by themselves at a table (kitchen or otherwise) and reach agreements. 

This approach works best when both parties have already processed a lot of their emotions so they can effectively communicate on a one-to-one basis.  It can be difficult to do in many family disputes because the issues and atmosphere are so emotionally charged.  Moreover, if one person has tended to dominate, manipulate or coerce during the past, that same behavior pattern is likely to emerge in the discussions.  That can leave the other party seriously disadvantaged and making agreements that are not in his/her best interest. 

Some people who use this approach will draft their own documents, receiving guidance from local law libraries and/or online resources.  This method can work for parties who don’t have children or substantial assets. 

Reaching a prompt, peaceful resolution is certainly an advantage of this approach, but sometimes parties don’t know all the legal issues involved so they may not make an agreement that is comprehensive.  Many times, at least one of the parties will seek the assistance of an attorney to draft the required legal documents and to make sure they are properly filed.  The other party may choose to consult with an attorney who can advise whether the proposed agreement is in his/her client’s best interest and possibly suggest modifications.

Remember, one attorney cannot represent both parties in a dispute because of the potential for a conflict of interest if the negotiations break down.

Rosemary has extensive experience drafting and/or reviewing documents for individuals who choose this method of resolution.

Rosemary Coffman
3305 Northland Dr., Ste. 500
Austin, Texas 78731

Phone: (512) 479-6136
Fax: (512) 476-6685
rosemary@coffmanlaw.us

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