Divorce is an undesirable outcome, but it’s a reality that many individuals face as people evolve, and the person you find yourself married to after several years may be vastly different from the one you initially wed. When contemplating separation, seeking guidance from a qualified attorney is imperative. Together, you and your spouse can explore various types of divorce to determine the most suitable approach for your circumstances.
In Texas, an overwhelming 95 percent of divorce cases are resolved through agreement. The process of reaching an agreement on the division of community property and child custody arrangements can take different forms.
Traditional Divorce Litigation
Traditional divorce litigation involves decisions made by a judge or, at times, a jury. Strict rules govern the information presented to decision-makers, who often have limited familiarity with the case and may never encounter the parties involved again. While litigation provides resolution for those unable to settle differences amicably, it primarily focuses on the negative aspects of divorce. This adversarial process fosters a “right versus wrong” mentality, exacerbating relationship strain. Despite most cases settling before trial, the preparatory phase for litigation can cause irreparable damage to relationships and financial resources.
Mediation is a facilitated settlement negotiation occurring within the litigation process. Contrary to a common misconception, mediation typically takes place after filing for divorce. Mediators, neutral third parties, assist in reaching a settlement. While mediation can offer a different, unbiased perspective and create a positive environment for agreement, it often occurs late in the process, after substantial emotional and financial investments. The time-constrained nature of mediation may lead to coercive feelings for clients and significant costs.
Collaborative Divorce has gained popularity in Texas as a dispute resolution option. In this model, spouses and their lawyers commit to avoiding court for contested issues. The Collaborative Team, including mental health and financial professionals, focuses on restructuring the family to meet everyone’s needs. Unlike litigation, Collaborative Divorce minimizes strategic game-playing and the emotional toll of a winner-takes-all scenario. If issues persist, mediation within the collaborative model is employed, and in rare cases, litigation remains an option.
Collaborative Divorce recognizes that most individuals seek a swift and efficient resolution to family law matters without causing harm to their spouses or children. By eliminating the adversarial nature of traditional litigation, this approach aims to create a cooperative environment that fosters mutually agreeable solutions.