The Texas State Bar’s Collaborative Law Conference, March 5-6 2020

Duffee + Eitzen was a silver sponsor. Melinda Eitzen attended this Collaborative Law Conference in Austin last week and offered to share a few takeaways that might be helpful to anyone considering divorce. 

How to protect children in divorce-

A child specialist can be utilized in a collaborative divorce to meet with the children, even adult children, and they can help the children have a voice in the process including educating the children so that they do not triangulate the adults. For example- the child specialist can educate the children that if they are invited to  a party on Dad’s weekend they should ask Dad if they can go to the party, not Mom, because the party is occurring during Dad’s weekend.

How to protect money and be sure that the spouse is not hiding money-

Be aware of scams such as ponzie schemes.  One clue is financial statements that look homemade. Be aware that some financial statements will indicate by the style of the account number if a loan is involved or if it is a type of account that has a minimum deposit required initially.

How to best protect a business or get my money out of the joint business-

When you own a business with your spouse you are not only getting a marital divorce you may be getting a business divorce. Be aware that if you decide that one of you will be bought out of the business- the one being bought out should be indemnified by the spouse against any future claims or lawsuits against the person exiting brought by the business or by third parties against the business unless it resulted from that parties personal bad acts. Also the person exiting should have a release of claims by the spouse, and by the business.

Retirement accounts- how to preserve retirement funds in divorce-

Retirement accounts could be the largest asset in the estate. It is important to involve a retirement specialist early to help the collaborative team assess the retirement and understand the options. Some companies provide model QDRO orders but do not simply rely upon the model. They are aimed at favoring the employee spouse.

Melinda Eitzen, Master in Collaborative practice, family law

About Melinda Eitzen:

Melinda Eitzen, recognized as “Best Lawyers- Family Law”, Best Lawyers- Collaborative Law”, “Best Lawyer in Dallas”,  “Best Family Law Mediator in Dallas”,  and “Texas Super Lawyer”, is credentialed as a Master in collaborative practice by Collaborative Divorce Texas.

Eitzen is a partner of the Dallas-Fort Worth area-based family law practice of Duffee + Eitzen.  Duffee + Eitzen is a Donor to Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program-  in honor of Judge Merrill Hartman, and a founding supporter of the SMU VanSickle Family Law Clinic.

Actively involved with the community, Eitzen has served as: president of the Collin County Bar Association, board member of Texas Lawyers for Children,  president of the Plano Bar Association, chair of the Collaborative Law Alliance of Collin County, director of the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers, director of Texas Young Lawyers Association, and chair of the Family Law Section of the Collin County Bar Association. She also is a member of the philanthropic organization,  Altrusa International. You can contact Melinda at 214-416-9010 or by emailing her at  For more information about Duffee + Eitzen, go to