Updated on May 1, 2023
Divorce represents a significant transition in your and your children’s lives, and if you are facing a divorce, you almost certainly have questions that need answering. The truth is that your divorce will not be exactly like anyone else’s, but the same laws apply across every Texas divorce.
Knowing the answers to frequently asked questions can give you confidence to proceed through the different steps of the divorce process. The most important step any person pursuing a divorce can take, however, is consulting with an experienced Copperas Cove divorce attorney. For more information or to discuss the specifics of your case, call us at (254) 781-4222.
Getting Started with a Texas Divorce
Deciding on and starting a divorce can seem like daunting tasks. However, with the answers to common divorce questions in hand, you will be prepared to make the important decisions needed to start your divorce process.
How Do I Know If Divorce Is the Right Answer for Me?
Many people wonder, “Is it time for me to get a divorce?” This is a tough question that divorce attorneys hear more often than you might realize, and the answer may surprise you. If you are not sure whether or not you need a divorce, it is not the right time to pull the trigger. The first order of business is exploring your options in terms of working out your marital differences.
The fact is that there is no formula to follow or answer book to consult with when it comes to making the difficult decision that you need a divorce. This is a decision that only you can make, but there are some things that you can do to help you along the way.
Talk to Your Spouse
If you are considering divorce, it is time to talk the matter over with your spouse. If he or she is willing to seek marital counseling or therapy with you, it is a good sign that he or she is interested in saving your marriage.
If he or she is not interested in mending your relationship, however, this fact may amount to another piece in the puzzle. Marriage is a partnership, which makes sharing your concerns an important place to start.
Share Your Concerns
If speaking with your spouse does not provide you with the clarity you are looking for, share your concerns with a trusted friend, family member, counselor, or therapist. Having someone to bounce your feelings and thoughts off of may give you the perspective you need to make the right decision.
Consult with an Experienced Divorce Attorney
Many people believe that once you consult with a Copperas Cove divorce attorney, you are too far in and will have to proceed toward divorce, but nothing could be further from the truth.
A dedicated divorce attorney who is worth his or her salt will help you better understand what a divorce is likely to mean for you in terms of your parental and financial rights and what steps you will need to take in order to instigate a divorce (if that is your final decision).
However, your lawyer will not advise you regarding whether or not divorce is appropriate in your situation. If you are not sure, your marriage may be salvageable, and that is worth pursuing.
What Can I Do If My Spouse Wants a Divorce, but I Do Not?
If your spouse is determined to obtain a divorce, there is nothing you can do to stop him or her from doing so. The vast majority of divorces in the State of Texas are no-fault, which means that neither of you needs a specific reason for seeking a divorce other than having irreconcilable differences.
You can, however, share your desire to work on your marriage with your spouse and attempt to help them better understand your perspective, which may be more effective than you realize. This tactic, sometimes paired with marriage counseling, helps many couples find their way back to happy marriages.
Should I Talk to My Spouse or File for Divorce First?
It is generally considered the best policy to tell your spouse before you file for divorce. Springing a divorce on your spouse by having him or her served is a good way to get the divorce process off to a rocky start and can increase the stress and contentiousness of an already stressful situation.
Telling your spouse that you are filing for divorce shows him or her a level of respect that honors the relationship you once had. That being said, however, if your spouse is volatile, abusive, or violent, moving forward by filing for divorce (and taking the necessary safety precautions) may be a better option.
Does It Matter Who Files First?
Whoever files the petition for divorce becomes the petitioner – by virtue of having filed the petition. As a matter of course, the other spouse becomes the respondent – the person who is served and must respond. While these titles generally have very little bearing on divorce cases, the petitioner does go first if the case goes to court.
Ultimately, if you have made the difficult decision that you need to seek a divorce, moving forward with filing – and becoming the petitioner – is the next logical step, but you should not rush your decision-making process in order to be the petitioner rather than the respondent.
For more information, review “In Texas, Does It Really Matter Who Files for Divorce First?”
What Is the First Step in the Divorce Process?
After you have made the difficult decision that you need a divorce, the path forward involves consulting with a dedicated Copperas Cove divorce attorney who will help ensure that your divorce proceeds as smoothly as possible from the outset—while protecting your parental and financial rights along the way. The first official step in the divorce process is filing the petition for divorce with the appropriate court.
Can I Divorce in Texas If I Was Married in a Different State?
Generally, as long as you meet the residency requirements in Texas, you can seek a divorce in the state (regardless of where you were married).
What Are the Residency Requirements for Texas Divorces?
To file for divorce in Texas, one of you must have lived in the state for at least six consecutive months. Further, one of you must have lived in the county where you are filing for divorce for at least 90 days.
Can We Obtain a Legal Separation instead of a Divorce?
Texas does not recognize legal separations. This means that you remain married until you are divorced, and any debts or assets that you or your spouse accrue during your separation are considered marital property that will need to be divided equitably between you in the event of divorce.
There are legal steps you can take to guide child custody arrangements, child support, and spousal maintenance (or alimony) during a separation from your spouse. In addition, if you and your spouse do live in separate residences for three years or more, however, it can qualify as grounds for a fault-based divorce in the state.
The Divorce Process
If you are beginning a divorce, the process may seem overwhelming. The questions answered below will give you a better idea of what you’re facing and will help you move forward with confidence.
What Is the Texas Divorce Procedure?
Every divorce is totally unique to the situation at hand. Any number of factors can affect exactly how your divorce will proceed, but there are some basics that generally apply. Most divorces in Texas move forward in a series of predetermined steps.
Filing the Original Petition for Divorce
The spouse requesting the divorce (the petitioner) files an original petition for divorce with the court and has the divorce papers served to the other spouse.
The original petition for divorce is a legal document including the following information:
Both your and your spouse’s names and addresses
The date of your marriage
The grounds for your divorce – most Texas divorces are no fault, which means they are based on insupportability (or what you are more likely to think of as irreconcilable differences)
The Standard Restraining Order
At the time of filing, the petitioner can request that the court issue a standard restraining order that sets the course for the divorce process. The restraining order requires that both parties act civilly toward one another and refrain from disappearing assets. If a restraining order is issued, the court will schedule a hearing within 14 days of issuance.
The Respondent's Answer and Temporary Orders
If no restraining order is issued, the respondent (the spouse who did not file) has about 20 days to file his or her answer, which will instigate a preliminary hearing. At this time, the court will also consider temporary orders that will guide custody, visitation, child support, use of marital property, bill paying, attorney fees, and spousal support while the divorce is pending.
These orders are applied as needed to ensure that the status quo is maintained while a divorce is pending. They are not required for every divorce.
In fault-based divorces, there is a stage of evidence discovery. During this stage, relevant evidence will be gathered and shared by both spouses. This information can include financial information, personal records, and other important documentation applicable to your divorce.
For cases that are financially complex or more contentious, discovery can take a considerable amount of time. If the case, however, is fairly straightforward, discovery may proceed very efficiently.
The important point to be made about the discovery process is that obtaining the needed documentation is essential to protecting parental and financial rights throughout the divorce process.
As the divorce pends, both spouses—with the professional legal counsel of their respective divorce attorneys—enter negotiations regarding divorce terms, including all of the following issues (as applicable):
Child custody arrangements
Division of marital property
Spousal support (commonly called alimony)
Those terms that the spouses are able to reach an agreement regarding will not require the court's intervention.
If there are one or more terms that the spouses cannot resolve between themselves, they will very likely attend mediation. At mediation, a professional mediator serves as a neutral third party who helps both parties (along with their respective divorce attorneys) find common ground and move forward with compromises that they are both willing to accept.
Any terms that remain unresolved after the couple has exhausted their negotiation options proceed to divorce court, where a judge will make the determinations on the couple’s behalf.
While the vast majority of divorce cases do settle, very complicated or contentious divorces sometimes do not. The factors that increase the chances that your case will go to court include:
Complicated financials, such as those associated with business ownership
Highly contested child custody arrangements
Working closely with an experienced Copperas Cove divorce attorney who is well versed in the specifics of your case will provide you with a clearer picture of how your divorce will proceed.
Final Decree of Divorce
After the terms of a divorce are settled (or ordered by the court), one of the spouses’ attorneys will prepare the Final Decree of Divorce for the judge to sign. The divorce decree will incorporate the settled terms and any rulings made by the court, and it becomes legally binding moving forward.
What Does Divorce Involve?
While every divorce is singular to the people and the situation involved, every divorcing couple must tackle the same basic divorce terms, which include the following issues (as applicable):
Child Custody Arrangements
Child custody arrangements are naturally the primary concern of every divorcing couple who shares children.
Generally, both parents share legal custody, which means you will make important decisions regarding your children's education, religious upbringing, and health care together. Most parents also share physical custody, but one is usually the primary custodial parent, and the other has a visitation schedule.
Division of Marital Property
In Texas, marital property (property that you acquired together as a married couple) is divided in a manner that is deemed just and right (or fairly) rather than equally.
Child support is usually determined according to the state’s calculation guidelines.
Spousal support (or alimony) is not a certainty, but the judge can order such support if one divorcing spouse does not have financial means for self-support and the other spouse has the financial means to offset the shortage.
If you and your divorcing spouse are able to negotiate terms (in each of these categories) that you are both willing to accept, you can bypass the court’s intervention—thus keeping the decision-making power between yourselves—and will likely save time and money in the process.
How Long Will My Divorce Take to Be Finalized?
In Texas, there is a mandatory 60-day waiting period after filing for divorce, which means that there is no way to obtain a divorce in less than about 61 days. However, because the outcome of your divorce will directly affect both your financial and your parental rights, zipping through the process is unlikely to do you any favors.
The 60 days allow you and your divorcing spouse the time necessary to negotiate the terms that apply to your divorce. If you’re able to easily find a middle ground and hammer out mutually acceptable terms within this timeframe, your divorce may not take much longer than this brief waiting period.
Every divorce follows a certain path, and some take much longer than others, but the following general rules apply:
Every divorce in Texas is subject to a 60-day waiting period between the time of filing for divorce and finalization. While a divorce can conceivably be finalized this quickly, even the most amicable divorces generally take a bit longer.
The closer you and your divorcing spouse are on the primary decisions that need to be hammered out, the less time you will need to spend on the legal process.
If your divorce is especially contentious, involves a high amount of assets, involves a business, or is a gray divorce, the process is likely to take considerably longer than a simple, uncontested divorce.
Your divorce is finalized as soon as the judge in your case announces it in open court and signs the Decree of Divorce. Some divorces take as little as 60 days, but, if there are complexities involved, your divorce can take much more time than you expect.
Is Every Texas Divorce No Fault?
The vast majority of Texas divorces are filed as no-fault divorces, which means neither party is singled out as causing the dissolution of the marriage. No-fault divorces generally require less time, money, and emotional energy than fault-based divorces, which makes them a better option for most divorcing couples.
Instead, most Texas divorces are based on insupportability, which is similar to the irreconcilable differences ground that you are likely more familiar with. Living separately for at least three years is another common ground for divorce in Texas that is not fault-based.
It is worth noting that even if your divorce is no fault, the court can take either spouse's bad behavior into consideration in the division of your marital property, child custody arrangements, and alimony.
Texas also allows fault-based divorces. Grounds for fault-based divorces can include any of the following circumstances:
Cruel treatment that precludes living with one another
Intentional abandonment of at least one year
Incarceration of more than one year
Confinement to a mental institution for at least three years
Living separate and apart for at least three years
Unless your spouse is willing to sign off on being at fault, however, it means that your divorce will be contested and that you will need the court to intervene.
Because the court can take fault into consideration when it makes decisions related to alimony and the division of marital property, pursuing a fault-based divorce can prove beneficial in some cases.
Some people who obtain divorces that are based on fault derive peace of mind from the ruling, however, you will need to prove fault to the court, which can make your divorce more expensive and time-consuming. If you have grounds for a fault divorce, it is a matter you should discuss with your experienced Copperas Cove divorce attorney.
Is My Divorce Considered Uncontested or Contested?
There is considerable confusion out there about whether a divorce is contested or uncontested. You may think that an uncontested divorce means that you both sail through the divorce process with nary a hiccup between you, but that is not necessarily the case.
In order to understand contested and uncontested divorces, it is important to understand the necessary terms for divorce. To finalize your divorce, four major decisions must be hammered out:
Your child custody arrangements
The division of your marital property
If you and your divorcing spouse can come to mutually agreeable terms on all of these factors, your divorce will likely be uncontested and will proceed apace. An uncontested divorce does not mean that you and your divorcing spouse had no trouble signing off on the divorce terms, but it does mean that you were able to do so without needing the court to intervene.
A contested divorce simply means that you and your divorcing spouse have at least one divorce term that remains unresolved after you’ve exhausted your negotiation options. If this is the situation you find yourself in, you’ll need to turn to the court to resolve the remaining matters.
Ultimately, the fewer divorce terms that require the court’s attention, the better. Even finding common ground related to one or more of these areas can help you streamline the divorce process.
Can I Date during My Divorce?
While there are no strict rules that prevent anyone from dating during a divorce, the decision to do so could come back to haunt you.
You are married until you are divorced in Texas, which means that dating during the divorce process can be interpreted as adultery, which can affect the division of your marital property. Further, because the judge in your case has considerable discretion in relation to child custody and alimony as well, dating during divorce could have unanticipated results.
Child Custody and Child Support
Child custody can be one of the biggest concerns for divorcing parents. If you are worried about maintaining your parental rights post-divorce, contact a Copperas Cove divorce lawyer today.
How Are Child Custody Arrangements Determined?
In Texas, your child custody arrangements are addressed in terms of conservatorship (legal custody) and possession (physical custody). Together, these form your parenting plan—and both can be either joint or sole.
Legal Custody of Your Children
Legal custody determines who will be making the following primary parenting decisions on behalf of your children post-divorce:
Decisions about your children’s education and extracurriculars
Decisions about your children’s physical and mental health care
Decisions about your children’s religious upbringing
Often, legal custody is shared. You can share this responsibility entirely, or you can adopt one of the following options:
You and your ex can make the decisions together, but if a problem that cannot be resolved between the two of you arises, one of you has tie-breaking authority.
One of you can make the decisions entirely on your own.
You can divide the decisions between you according to the category of the decision being made, and each you can make the decisions designated to you alone on your own.
Emergency decisions or decisions that are more mundane, such as where you will be eating dinner and whether or not your children are allowed an extra hour of screen time remain the purview of the parent who is with the children at the time. In other words, there is no need to check in with your ex for every decision that you make just because you share legal custody equally.
If there is a compelling reason to seek a post-divorce modification regarding your legal custody arrangements, the court will likely consider your modification request.
The Physical Custody of Your Children
Physical custody determines the schedule by which you and your children’s other parent divide your parenting time. While there is a limitless number of scheduling options, they all fall into one of two primary categories:
You split the number of overnights you have with your children evenly or nearly evenly between both of you.
One of you becomes the primary custodial parent with whom the children spend most of their overnights while the other parent has a visitation schedule.
If you are able to resolve the issue of how you and your ex will divide your parenting time, you have the leeway to get as creative as you would like. If, on the other hand, you need the court’s intervention, you can expect to receive one of its standard parenting schedules.
The court always bases its decisions regarding child custody on the best interests of the children involved. One of the primary tenets of the court’s beliefs is that children are nearly universally better off continuing to build relationships with both parents. This means that the court is loath to deny a parent’s visitation rights unless there is a compelling reason for doing so.
Another tenet that the court tends to uphold is that children are less negatively affected by divorce when the status quo is upheld. This means that if your children live with you in your family home, the court may make you the primary custodial parent (making your home your children’s primary home) and award their other parent a visitation schedule.
The court recognizes that your child custody terms may not withstand the test of time. It is unlikely that a parenting schedule that suits everyone’s needs when your children are young will remain relevant when your children are reaching the teen years. The law handles these issues with child custody modifications.
Will My Child’s Preference Affect Our Child Custody Arrangements?
In Texas, the court will generally take into consideration the preferences of a child who is at least 12 years old and deemed mature enough to weigh in, but your child’s preference is only one piece of the puzzle.
The court bases child custody decisions on the best interests of the child, and this requires the maturity and wisdom of adults, which means that your child’s preference will not be determinative (except, perhaps, in a tie-breaking capacity).
Who Pays Child Support?
Like other states, Texas requires both parents to continue supporting their children financially after divorce, and they use child support payments to help balance this responsibility between them.
The primary factors that influence who pays child support are how many overnights each parent has with the children and each parent's income. Even if your parenting time is equal or nearly equal, however, the parent with the higher income will generally make the child support payments.
In some cases, the court may order child support that deviates from the amount specified by the guidelines.
How Is Child Support Calculated?
Child support is a common concern in divorces. The State of Texas holds both parents financially responsible for supporting their children financially, and child custody payments are calculated using state guidelines.
While the primary factors include the number of overnights the children spend with each parent and each parent’s income, there are wide-ranging factors that affect the amount of child support paid, including the following information:
Each child’s age and physical and mental health
Both parents’ financial standing (including the ability of the payor to pay and the level of need experienced by the payee)
The cost of childcare necessary to allow the primary custodial parent to join the workforce
The amount of time each parent has the kids
The children’s health insurance expenses and who covers them
The children’s education expenses
Any extraordinary expenses—such as counseling, extracurriculars, tutoring, and more—being covered by the payor or payee
The amount of debt carried by each parent
Any other factors the court deems relevant
It’s important to note that, even if you and your children’s other parent divide your parenting time down to the minute, the higher earner will likely remain the parent with the child support obligation.
Although child support seems fairly cut and dry, the court has considerable discretion in child support decisions if it determines that altering the state’s standard calculation is both warranted and in the best interest of the children involved.
Generally, child support is ordered until the covered child either graduates from high school or turns 18 (whichever comes later), but in specific situations, such as if a child is disabled and requires ongoing care and supervision, child support may not have an end date.
Finally, as children’s needs evolve and parents’ financial situations change, child support modifications are common and represent an important element of family law.
Division of Marital Property
The division of marital property can have a large impact on your financial future. As such, it is important to understand the basics of how this process works.
How Is Marital Property Divided?
The division of marital property is often the most complicated element of divorce, and it will likely be the element that affects your finances the most directly.
Marital property refers to those assets that you and your spouse acquired over the course of your marriage. The matter of who made the purchase or whose name is on the title does not alter the fact that the property remains marital property (with very few exceptions).
In the event of divorce, marital property is divided in a manner that is equitable or fair given the circumstances surrounding your marriage and divorce. Equitably means fairly when it comes to matters like the following:
Any disparity in earning power between the divorcing spouses
How parenting time is divided between the divorcing spouses
The age and mental and physical health of each spouse
The education, employability, and earning potential of each spouse
The duration of the marriage
Each spouse’s separate property
Each spouse’s contributions to the financial support of their shared children
Any future inheritances anticipated by either spouse
The tax implications of the proposed division of marital property for both spouses
The role that child support and alimony play in your divorce
Any attempt by either spouse to spend down, get rid of, gift, or otherwise disappear marital assets
Either spouse’s fault in the dissolution of the marriage
Any other factors the court determines relevant to the case
In other words, your marital property will not necessarily be divided equally but will be divided in a manner that the court considers fair (if you are unable to reach an agreement between yourselves).
It is important to note that your separate property (property that you owned before marriage or that was gifted to you during the course of your marriage) will remain yours upon divorce.
The division of marital property has the potential to be one of the most challenging terms of the divorce to resolve, but once it is determined, modifications are not a possibility. Only an issue such as fraud has the potential to propel the court to revisit the original division.
What Constitutes Separate Property?
Separate property refers to the assets either of you owned prior to marriage and that you kept separate throughout your marriage. This property will still be yours upon divorce.
Separate property also refers to two important exceptions to marital property:
Any inheritances that either of you receives in your name alone
Any gifts that either of you receives in your name alone
Both of these forms of income are considered separate property and will not be subject to division upon divorce.
However, it can be a serious challenge to keep separate property separate throughout a marriage, and there is often considerable disagreement when it comes to identifying separate property in a divorce.
In addition, some assets can be partially separate and partially marital—thus complicating the matter even further. For example, if you come into your marriage with a 401k, the value of the retirement account at the time of your marriage may be considered separate, but any increase in value over the course of your marriage is likely to be considered marital property.
What Factors Tend to Complicate the Division of Marital Property?
Even the simplest division of the most straightforward marital property has the potential to become very complicated very quickly, but there are certain factors that almost guarantee that serious complications will ensue:
Complicated assets that involve intermingled separate and marital property
One-sided financials (if, for example, your divorcing spouse was in charge of everything financial during your marriage)
In addition, if your spouse decides to make your divorce as contentious as possible, it can be a serious complicating factor. No matter the circumstances you are facing, be sure to remain as calm as possible and rely upon the level-headed guidance of your dedicated Copperas Cove divorce attorney.
For more help, you can also read “5 Tips for Dividing Your Marital Assets in a Texas Divorce.”
Will an Affair Affect Our Divorce?
If you seek a fault-based divorce that is predicated on adultery and can prove that your spouse is having an affair, it can affect how your marital assets will be divided between you.
However, even if your divorce is no fault, the fact of an affair can affect the division of marital assets. If, for example, your spouse was spending extravagant amounts on the extramarital relationship, the court is likely to take this into consideration.
What If My Spouse Is Spending Down Assets?
Divorce sometimes pushes otherwise sensible people to do things they would not ordinarily do, and this can include hiding, spending down, giving away, gifting, or otherwise dissipating marital funds to skew the division of marital property.
If you have reason to believe that your spouse is engaging in this kind of activity or you are concerned that they might, you can seek a temporary restraining order (TRO) from the court. While both spouses are allowed to continue paying for the basic expenses of living and working, a TRO can help put a stop to any financial shenanigans.
Alimony does not apply in all divorce cases, but when it does, it is very important. Learn more about whether you qualify for alimony by speaking with a Copperas Cove divorce attorney.
Will I Receive Alimony?
Alimony is called spousal maintenance in Texas. It is by no means a given in any divorce, but when it is deemed applicable, it can play an important role. Alimony is highly specific to individual divorce cases. It is only awarded if one spouse experienced a financial downturn as a result of the divorce and the other has the financial means to help.
Alimony is generally a temporary fix that is designed to help the recipient gain greater financial independence via job training, experience, and higher education. The determination of alimony is based on diverse factors that can include all of the following information:
The length of your marriage
The ability each of you has to provide for your own reasonable needs moving forward
The education, employability, earning potential, and job skills that each of you has, and the time it would take for the recipient to become financially independent
Your age, job history, and physical and emotional health
The payor’s ability to meet his or her own financial needs if child support plays a role in the divorce
Whether either of you wasted marital assets
Whether you contributed to your ex’s education, training, or earning power over the course of the marriage
Any contributions either of you made as a homemaker or childcare provider
Both spouses’ post-divorce assets, including any separate property
Any pattern or history of family violence in the marriage
Any marital misconduct that contributed to the demise of your marriage (A spouse who is proven to be at fault for the divorce may be found ineligible for alimony.)
Any family members (you or your children) with disabilities that would preclude employment or require extensive care.
Any additional factors deemed relevant to your case by the court
The court will take these wide-ranging factors into consideration in determining whether to order alimony and, if so, the amount and duration. If you think you may be eligible for spousal support, discuss your case with a Copperas Cove divorce lawyer.
If either ex-spouse’s financial situation changes after the divorce has been finalized, a legal modification may be in order, and if the recipient remarries, alimony ceases (with no court order required).
Negotiation and Working through Problems
In even the best of situations, divorce can be difficult to manage. Problems arise that can be difficult to resolve. It is important to understand the complications that may come up, as well as the tools you have to deal with them.
What If My Spouse and I Are in Agreement on our Divorce Terms?
Every divorcing couple must address all of the following terms that apply to their situation:
The division of marital property
Child custody arrangements
Alimony (called spousal maintenance in Texas)
If you and your divorcing spouse are able to find a middle ground that you are both willing to accept in each of these categories, your divorce should proceed more smoothly than it otherwise would.
However, it is still advisable to work closely with an experienced Copperas Cove divorce lawyer in order to help ensure that you and your children’s best interests are well protected and that you are well aware of all the implications regarding your parental and financial rights. For more information, read “Do We Need a Divorce Lawyer if My Spouse and I Agree on Everything?”
If there is a divorce term that you and your spouse are unable to resolve between yourselves (with the guidance of your respective divorce lawyers), the court will intervene and do so for you.
How Are the Terms of Divorce Resolved?
When it comes to resolving the terms of your divorce, you have options.
Negotiating between Yourselves
Any terms that you and your divorcing spouse are able to negotiate between yourselves (with your respective divorce attorneys’ skilled guidance) goes in the win column. Once your negotiation efforts hit a wall, however, it is time to look to your respective divorce attorneys for additional guidance.
Allowing Your Divorce Attorneys to Negotiate on Your Behalf
Divorce challenges every couple’s ability to communicate openly and negotiate fairly. You may need to turn to your respective divorce attorneys to work out some of your more complicated differences. Your Copperas Cove divorce attorney will help you better understand your options and will skillfully negotiate for terms that support your parental and financial rights.
Attending Alternative Dispute Resolution
You can also use an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) option, such as mediation. At mediation, you, your divorce attorney, your spouse, and his or her divorce attorney will engage in negotiations that are guided by a professional mediator.
Going to Court
If you have exhausted your negotiation options, you will need to seek the court’s intervention. Most divorcing couples value keeping the decision-making between themselves and prefer not to lose this power to the court. However, there are some situations in which looking to the court is the best option. Consider the following:
If you are hopelessly deadlocked on a topic, the court can put an end to seemingly endless negotiations.
If your divorcing spouse is determined to make your divorce as difficult as possible (regardless of the consequences for himself or herself), proceeding directly to court can save time, money, and heartache in the long run.
If you are seeking a fault-based divorce and your spouse is not in agreement about his or her fault in the matter (which is common), you’ll need the court’s intervention to accomplish your goal.
How Does Mediation Work?
If you and your divorcing spouse are hitting roadblocks in relation to breaching the divide in your unresolved divorce terms, but both of you remain open to fair and honest negotiations, mediation may help.
At mediation, you, your spouse, and your respective divorce attorneys will move forward with negotiations in a much more casual atmosphere than in court, and you will both be allowed to participate directly in the negotiations, which will be guided by the mediator who has considerable experience helping divorcing couples find the middle ground. Resolving your divorce terms at mediation has considerable advantages that include the following benefits:
Mediation is generally far less time-consuming than going to court, and your schedule will not be constrained by the court’s tight docket.
Mediation is generally far less expensive than going to court (saving the legal expense of your attorney preparing for court).
Mediation is a far less formal procedure than going to court is, and it allows you to participate in the proceedings. (In court, your attorney will typically speak on your behalf—and only according to the court’s rules.)
Mediation is only binding if you sign off on whatever terms you negotiate. In other words, mediation cannot force you to accept divorce terms that you are not willing to accept (the court—on the other hand—can).
Mediation keeps the decision-making power between you and your divorcing spouse.
The results of your mediation are private. (If your divorce goes to court, it is a matter of public record.)
The mediator will help you understand what would likely happen if you proceeded to court, which may help motivate both of you to dig a bit deeper when it comes to your negotiations.
Any terms that you resolve at mediation are terms that you won’t need to address at court (even if mediation does not resolve every divorce term in question).
Can a Family Law Attorney Handle My Divorce?
An experienced family law attorney is well suited to handle every aspect of divorce, including challenges related to child custody arrangements and the division of marital property, which tend to be two of the most difficult divorce terms to resolve.
Can I Handle My Divorce without an Attorney?
If you are facing a divorce or another kind of family law concern, there is a lot at stake, and moving forward without the professional legal guidance of a dedicated family law attorney is not advised. Because protecting your financial and parental rights is paramount, having a seasoned family law attorney in your corner is always in your best interest.
As a Client, What Is Expected of Me?
Facing a divorce can be a lot to handle—that is why you hired a divorce attorney in the first place. However, you can still play an active and important role in the divorce process. Obtaining favorable divorce terms is predicated on documentation and evidence that supports your claims, and no one is better positioned to obtain, compile, and organize this information than you are.
The more closely you collaborate with your dedicated Copperas Cove divorce attorney, the better protected your rights will be. An experienced, skilled, and compassionate divorce attorney will carefully explain how you can contribute and will help you be successful in your endeavors.
Consult with an Experienced Copperas Cove Divorce Lawyer Today
If you have divorce questions, attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, has answers that pertain specifically to your unique circumstances. We care about your case, so please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at (254) 781-4222 for more information today.