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What are my uncontested divorce options?

Mediation and collaborative law may be less costly and time-consuming for divorcing couples. It is important to understand how each method works.

Couples who are considering a divorce in Texas may be discouraged by the thought of a legal process that could be lengthy, costly and hotly contested. Fortunately, there are options that may address each of these issues and make the process a bit easier to bear. Most people going through a divorce are dealing with difficult emotions, but if they are able to treat each other civilly and are willing to compromise, they may be able to settle their differences through uncontested means out of court.

There are many benefits to ending a marriage in an uncontested, or amicable, way. These might include the following:

• Complete privacy, as opposed to public court sessions

• Reduced conflict, which is especially beneficial for children

• More flexibility in finding solutions that both spouses can agree with

• Teaches problem-solving and communication skills

• Often more cost-effective and less time-consuming than litigated divorce

Each method of uncontested divorce may have different benefits and limitations, and may not be the right choice for everyone. Therefore, it is important to understand how each method works.

How does mediation work?

The mediation process involves a neutral third party who conducts sessions with the divorcing couple to assist them in reaching agreeable resolutions to their disputes. This third party is often a certified mediator, or may be an attorney with mediation experience and qualifications. Mediation is best when both parties are able to discuss matters calmly and rationally, and leave hard feelings out of the process. Mediation may take one to several sessions to complete, and may only cost a fraction of the cost of a litigated divorce. Each spouse may choose to have an attorney present during the sessions or to look over the divorce agreement before signing.

What is collaborative law?

During a collaborative divorce, each spouse has his and her own attorney. Other professionals may be consulted, including child therapists, tax advisors and financial consultants. Collaborative law is often beneficial in cases that involve complex property disputes or issues with parenting plans. An agreement is made to avoid litigation, which may give each party the motivation to resolve their disputes outside the courtroom. If no agreement can be reached, the attorneys must resign from the case and each spouse must start over with new attorneys.

If an uncontested divorce sounds attractive to you, you may wish to speak with an experienced Texas family law attorney. In some cases, amicable divorce may not be possible or the best option. This includes cases involving domestic violence, substance abuse or either partner being uncooperative. An attorney will listen to your situation and may be able to help you decide on the option that is best for your case.

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