If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, you may dread going to court.
If so, you may want to consider an alternative, such as collaborative divorce. Such an option affords several benefits over litigation, including less stress and less of an expense.
How it works
Basically, collaborative divorce allows you and your spouse to work out a satisfactory divorce agreement without having to appear in court. You each retain your own attorneys who provide guidance and support as you work toward developing your settlement agreement. To help move the negotiations along, is not uncommon to bring in professionals who are experts in their field—child custody specialists, social workers and accountants, for example.
Collaborative divorce advantages
As compared to litigation, collaborative divorce provides you and your spouse with much more control over property division, child custody, parenting and other decisions important to each of you for a secure and ultimately happy future. In this kind of divorce, which is private and handled outside the courtroom, the two of you will exchange information voluntarily. You will also find that collaborative divorce is considerably less expensive than having to appear in divorce court.
How children benefit
One of the primary reasons for the increasing popularity of collaborative divorce is that this process is less stressful for children than traditional divorce. Children are exposed to the emotions generated during a court battle and pick up on the bitterness and anger their parents may feel. Collaborative law is a calmer, more dignified path to divorce, and parents can use their ability to work together to set a good example. Remember that while your marriage is ending, you will always be parents. It is wise to show the children that you and your soon-to-be-ex can interact respectfully.
If collaborative divorce sounds like it may work for you and your spouse, keep in mind that you both must be Texas residents for at least six months and county residents for at least three months. The two of you must also agree to every term of the divorce agreement. Once you file the Original Petition for Divorce, it will take 60 days for your divorce to become final so that you can begin your new lives.