Has it ever crossed your mind that Texas offers more than a single path to divorce? Just like most states, you've got multiple options. However, if you're contemplating divorce or have already embarked on that journey, you might not know these alternatives.
Navigating the intricate maze of laws and procedures that envelop divorce can be daunting. This is why it's invariably in your best interest to seek the guidance of a seasoned local divorce attorney, no matter the kind of divorce you finally opt for. They can shed light on your rights and provide expert legal advice tailored to your unique situation.
If you're still exploring your choices, let's delve into the various types of divorce available in Texas, along with the merits and demerits of each.
No-Fault Divorce vs. Fault-Based Divorce
Every state mandates a justification for divorce because it's a profound legal undertaking. Simply stating that your marriage has irretrievably broken down due to incompatibility or irreconcilable differences will suffice in most jurisdictions. Texas, however, refers to this as "insupportability" (a legal term meaning incompatibility and refers to ongoing conflict or discord between parties involved in a marital relationship). So, if your marriage simply didn't pan out, neither spouse is legally "at fault." This is termed a no-fault divorce.
Unlike many states, Texas allows spouses to assign blame if warranted. There are several grounds for divorce, including but not limited to adultery, felony conviction, cruelty, abandonment, and psychiatric confinement. You could be getting divorced due to adultery or any other grounds but still, choose to file for a no-fault divorce rather than a fault-based divorce. Let's explore why you might (or might not) want to do that.
Advantages of a No-Fault Divorce
It's speedier and more cost-effective. You'll deal with less paperwork than a fault-based divorce, saving you time and court fees.
It's less emotionally taxing for you and your children, if applicable. No-fault divorces typically start on amicable terms, resulting in less stress, which benefits everyone involved.
Ideal for people in abusive relationships. A no-fault divorce allows abuse victims to exit the marriage without having to testify in court about their experiences.
Decisions are fact-based rather than history-based. Any monetary support will be calculated solely based on need and contributions, not the factors leading to the divorce.
Drawbacks of a No-Fault Divorce
There might be a lack of closure. If you were wronged, filing without grounds may leave you feeling your spouse wasn't held accountable.
It can feel one-sided. In Texas, it's enforced if one spouse chooses the no-fault option. However, the other spouse can object.
Easy access to divorce might lead to hasty decisions. Since it's possible to get a no-fault divorce on a whim in Texas, some people may rush into the process without fully considering their options or attempting to resolve their issues.
Mediation/Collaborative Divorce vs. Litigation
Even with a no-fault divorce, you have options about how the process will unfold. Although it's rarely smooth sailing and disagreements are given, how you and your spouse resolve these conflicts is crucial. Essentially, you have two options: mutual decision-making or leaving it to a judge in court.
Mediation involves meeting with an unbiased third-party professional who helps you set up mutually agreeable terms. Similarly, collaborative divorce involves both parties' attorneys negotiating an out-of-court resolution.
If you can't agree, you have litigation as an option. These divorces can turn nasty and drag on for months or even years. At Ashmore & Ashmore Law Firm, we always recommend litigation as a last resort if other methods fail. Some couples, however, prefer to head straight to court. Here are a few reasons you might want to steer clear of litigation!
Advantages of Mediation
The process is confidential, unlike litigation, which is public.
It's less expensive, quicker, and easier for children because it reduces time spent on paperwork, court, legal fees, and fighting.
It's more flexible. You can craft a unique asset division or custody plan that suits your family's needs.
You maintain control. Mediation ensures you have an equal say in the outcome, unlike court proceedings, where the final decision lies with the judge.
Drawbacks of Mediation
It's not binding. Mediators can't impose a settlement; both spouses need to compromise.
You might have to make concessions. While mediation aims for mutually satisfactory outcomes, it might not always be possible, and you might need to make sacrifices.
Mediation might not work and could lead to litigation. Mediation aims to prevent court battles, but litigation might be unavoidable if you can't reach a resolution.
Our Texas-based divorce team at Ashmore & Ashmore Law Firm has been there for thousands of clients during their divorce journey. We don't just fight for you; we also make sure your money, your kids, and your rights are protected. Contact us for a free consultation today!