Divorce can be an expensive, stressful, and time-consuming process. Many couples end up in court when they can’t agree to divorce terms or resolve their issues during negotiations.
You might want to avoid litigation and settle the matter without involving a judge. In Texas, you have multiple options other than traditional divorce to end your marriage.
How a Separation Works
One alternative to divorce is separation. Texas does not recognize legal separation. However, a couple who is legally married can live separately. You might opt for a separation if neither of you is ready to file for divorce. If you believe reconciling could be a possibility after working through your problems, this may be the option for you. Some couples choose separation instead of divorce for social or religious reasons.
Regardless of your motives for pursuing a separation, you should make temporary agreements along the same guidelines divorcing couples must, such as property division, spousal maintenance, and child custody arrangements. Usually, both spouses have rights to assets either spouse acquired while married under Texas’s community property laws. One of the agreements you should create and file with the court is a partition and exchange agreement. It is a type of postnuptial agreement that overrides community property laws. In this document, you can specify who owns what from the date of the agreement going forward.
All these temporary agreements should be formalized. Your attorney can help you draft them in such a way that your rights are protected.
Since a separation does not formally dissolve a marriage, if you want to be legally separate from each other, you must eventually file for divorce.
Common Alternative Divorce Options
Separation doesn’t work for everyone. You might realize the marriage is over but don’t want to take the matter to court for a judge to decide on property division and other marital issues.
Other methods of deciding on all the issues you need to settle to end a marriage are available in Texas, including:
- Mediation – You don’t necessarily have to resort to going to court if you and your spouse encounter challenges during negotiations. Mediation is a good option if you can treat each other respectfully and set aside your differences to resolve the dispute. Mediation involves a mediator who facilities productive conversations and suggests potential settlement options. They can draft an agreement to file with the court if you agree to the terms of your divorce during the session.
- Collaborative divorce – Another beneficial alternative method is a collaborative divorce. It is similar to mediation but involves multiple neutral third parties to assist in the negotiations. You and your spouse can work with your separate attorneys, a financial expert, mental health professionals, and other experts. You might also utilize the professional services of therapists, forensic accountants, child specialists, and appraisers. These experts don’t favor one person or one result. They aim to reach a favorable resolution instead of serving the interests of one spouse over the other.
- Uncontested divorce – A contested divorce means one or both spouses dispute the divorce or don’t agree to the terms. It almost always requires litigation. An uncontested divorce is more straightforward. You and your spouse negotiate the terms of the divorce without significant conflict. With an uncontested divorce, you have more control over the outcome because you work with your spouse toward a mutually beneficial arrangement.
Contact a Bedford Alternative Divorce Lawyer Today
Your divorce doesn’t have to be an ongoing struggle. Even though you know ending the marriage is better for everyone involved, fighting with your spouse in court isn’t the only option. You can choose from numerous methods while meeting your needs and securing your future.
Call Hargrave Law, PC, at 817-282-0679 for a confidential consultation if you’re exploring alternatives to divorce and want to learn about the available options.