An Uncontested Divorce Can Make Things Easier for Your Children

Texas couple going through an uncontested divorce.

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Brett Pritchard Law

Divorce is hard on the entire family, but children are often hit the hardest. Their world is changing through no fault of their own, but many children internalize the pain and equate it with something that they may have done wrong.

As a parent, you naturally want to do whatever you can to protect your children as you move through the divorce process, and one thing you can do is pursue an uncontested divorce that keeps things as friendly or as neutral as possible. An experienced Round Rock divorce attorney can help you do just that, while protecting your financial and parental rights in the process.

A Note about Fault-Based Divorce

Most divorces in Texas are no fault, which means they are based on what amounts to irreconcilable differences, and neither spouse accuses the other of causing the breakdown of the marriage. The only way to get an uncontested divorce is by pursuing a no-fault divorce.

Divorces that are based on fault are generally based on wrongdoing such as adultery or cruelty – along with a few other forms. This can change the outcome of the terms in favor of the spouse who pursued the fault-based divorce, if they can prove the other spouse’s wrongdoing.

While a fault-based divorce is practically destined to become contentious, it can help protect the wronged spouse’s rights in some instances. Failing to protect your rights won’t do you or your children any good, but working closely with a dedicated divorce attorney from the outset will help to ensure that you make the right choices for you throughout the divorce process.

Contested Divorce vs Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce is one in which you and your spouse are able to resolve every divorce term – with the trusted legal guidance of your respective divorce attorneys. If you’re unable to negotiate between yourselves, you can let your attorneys do so on behalf of each of you, and there is also the option of mediation.

If you resolve your divorce terms without the court’s intervention, your divorce will be uncontested.

If, on the other hand, you are unable to negotiate one or more terms of your divorce – no matter how hard you try – your divorce will go to court, and at that point, it becomes a contested divorce.

At court, the judge, who is a virtual stranger, will make decisions on your behalf about your financial future and about your parental rights, which most divorcing couples would naturally prefer to avoid.

Contested Divorces Come with a Lot of Disadvantages

It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to figure out that a contested divorce is – for the most part – best avoided. There may, however, be more disadvantages than you realize. Consider all the following:

  • It’s more costly. If your case goes to trial, there is a considerable amount of legal prep to do, which means your legal fees can add up more quickly than you would like. If you have already put a considerable amount of effort into negotiations – and perhaps mediation, as well – going to court is yet another expense, and it can be hefty.

  • It’s a lengthier process. As mentioned, there is a lot of legal prep associated with going to court, and there is also the court’s very busy docket to consider. If your divorce is contested, you should expect it to take significantly longer than an uncontested divorce, which can make things that much harder for your children.

  • A contested divorce sets the stage for battle, and you can expect fireworks of one kind or another. Your children are looking for shelter from the storm, and if your divorce is going to trial, they’re unlikely to get it anytime soon.

  • When you take your divorce to court, you give up your decision-making power. As an adult, it can be difficult to hand over the reins to someone who is sitting over you in what feels a lot like judgment.

Ultimately, if you can resolve your divorce case outside of court while still protecting your rights, it’s better for all involved. It also allows you to focus on your children’s health, happiness, and well-being when it’s especially important to do so.

Your Commitment to Keeping Things as Civil as Possible

Those couples who are most successful at keeping their divorces as civil as possible are those who both commit to the process. If you and your divorcing spouse are both invested in calm negotiations in which you stick to the facts and hammer out terms that you can both live with, you’re likely to walk away less dissatisfied than most.

And if you have a seasoned divorce attorney backing you up, you can also walk away with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your rights are well protected.

The Many Advantages of an Uncontested Divorce

The advantages of keeping your divorce uncontested can be difficult to overstate – for everyone involved. The power of agreement comes with all the following pros:

  • When you negotiate your divorce terms yourselves – regardless of how you get there – you retain the decision-making power to tailor your solutions to what works for your unique family, which is the best way to honor your children’s needs.

  • If you are able to work together in relative harmony, it affords you the opportunity to show your children that you are still loving parents whom they can rely on to always be there for them. Nothing about this has changed other than the fact that you’re going through one of life’s more difficult transitions. If your divorce becomes a knock-down, drag-out, your children will pay a price.

  • An uncontested divorce is an agreement, and it can pave the way for more agreements in the future. This is an excellent way to begin your post-divorce life – and your children’s.

  • By keeping your divorce out of court, you not only save a considerable amount of emotional energy and time but also save money. Even if you have to put a good amount of negotiating into your terms, you are almost certain to come out ahead in relation to legal fees.

  • It can be difficult to predict how a judge will rule. Judges are tasked with following the letter of the law, which is technically fair but may not be as fair in relation to your history as a married couple. You and your divorcing spouse know everything there is to know about your relationship, and you’re better suited to negotiate terms that work for you.

  • Taking control of how your divorce is resolved, which will directly affect you and your children’s future, can be empowering, and it feels great to know that you put aside your differences – to the degree possible – in order to put your children first.

  • When you resolve your divorce between yourselves, it can give your terms a boost of staying power. Divorce attorneys find that couples with uncontested divorces are less likely to seek term modifications down the road.

For This to Work, Your Spouse Will Need to Do Their Part

While we encourage you to put your all into effecting an uncontested divorce, this does not mean we support you bending over backward to make it work while your divorcing spouse reaps the benefits of your efforts. For an uncontested divorce to help you and your children, both you and your spouse have to commit, and this means more than just lip service.

If your spouse demonstrates that they are willing to put in as much effort as you are and that they are willing to compromise in a meaningful way, you’re in a good place. But if they are riding on your coattails – happy for the free ride – it’s time to reevaluate.

If Your Spouse Is Focused on Destruction

Divorce is hard on everyone, and your spouse is no exception. If they are focused on making your case as contentious as possible, you’re not helping anyone by trying to be reasonable. In fact, you could find yourself investing a considerable amount of time, money, and heartache slogging through negotiations when the truth is that going to court was inevitable.

This is the kind of divorce when going to court as soon as you see the writing on the wall is the best course of action. Think of it like ripping off a Band-Aid – it’s going to hurt, but it would be worse in the long run if you didn’t – which is just as true for your children as it is for you.

Looking Past the Time and the Expense

Studies consistently show that children of amicable divorce are less traumatized than children of highly contentious divorce that end up in court. The benefits of an amicable divorce can include all the following:

  • The less stressful the divorce, the fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression children tend to exhibit – and the less likely they are to have behavioral problems.

  • By demonstrating to your children that you and their other parent were able to work together to solve your problems – in the face of very difficult circumstances – you show them that you can do the same when they come up against hard times, which helps foster a greater sense of stability and security.

  • By putting in the effort and self-control necessary to resolve the terms of your divorce between yourselves, you greatly diminish the risk that any of your children will feel the need to pick sides. This will help strengthen their relationships with each of you. This is universally considered in the best interests of children, and it will serve your children well.

Getting Down to the Nitty-Gritty: The Terms of Your Divorce

So far, we’ve focused on the importance of keeping your divorce out of court when possible and the benefits of that in terms of your children, but it’s also important to have a solid understanding of the terms that need to be resolved.

Your Child Custody Arrangements

Child custody breaks down into legal custody and parenting time – or physical custody – in Texas. Legal custody determines how you and your ex will make important parent decisions like the following moving forward:

  • The health care your children receive

  • The schooling and childcare your children receive

  • The extracurriculars your children participate in

  • The religious education your children receive

Parenting time, on the other hand, sets the schedule by which you and your ex will divide your time with your shared children. Either one of you will become the primary custodial parent while the other has a parenting time schedule, or you will divide your parenting time more evenly.

Child Support

Child support is based on the state’s calculation guidelines. Generally, the noncustodial parent has the obligation. If, however, you divide your parenting time more evenly, the higher earner will very likely pay child support.

Property Division

The assets that you acquire as a married couple are considered marital and must be divided between you in a fair manner upon divorce. Many factors go into this division, and it can become very complex very quickly.

Alimony

Alimony will only play a role in your divorce if it leaves one of you unable to cover your reasonable needs while the other has the financial ability to help.

An Experienced Round Rock Divorce Attorney Can Help

Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard is a compassionate Round Rock divorce attorney with decades of experience helping clients like you obtain uncontested divorces that support their financial and parental rights while paving the way toward bright futures for themselves and their children.

We are on your side and here for you, so please don’t wait to contact or call us at 254-781-4222 to schedule your free consultation and learn more today.

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