How Can Thompson Law Help Me Settle My Divorce Amicably?
A common misconception is that all divorces are expensive, long, complicated, and bitter. This is false. Many Texas divorce cases are resolved outside of court by agreement. Indeed, uncontested divorces are more common than you might think.
Whether it’s a child-related dispute, a disagreement over financial details, or strong personal feelings getting in the way, most issues in a Texas divorce can be overcome through communication and resolved by agreement outside of the courtroom. When possible, this reduces the time, expense, and anxiety for everyone involved.
An amicable divorce can be efficient, friendly, and lead to desirable outcomes. An amicable divorce may be more feasible than you would expect. By taking the right steps, you can get off to a good start toward an amicable resolution of your divorce case outside of the courtroom. You will want to know what an amicable divorce is, how to get started, and how the right attorney can help.
What is an Amicable Divorce?
An amicable divorce is one that is civil, with both parties acting in good faith. For example, spouses who openly and honestly disclose financial information to the other spouse can reduce the time and expense of discovery, which is the formal process of exchanging documents and information in a Texas divorce case. With accurate information and a willingness to make compromises, spouses often negotiate good-faith resolutions of their divorce cases outside of the courtroom.
Often, an amicable divorce will involve both parties agreeing on the specifics of child custody, child support, the division of financial assets and liabilities, and other core details that must, by law, be resolved in a Texas divorce case. Most key details of the divorce can be resolved outside of a courtroom with the assistance of an experienced family law attorney to help you through the legal process and break any deadlocks along the way.
While every divorce is unique, it is possible to have an amicable divorce. If both parties behave reasonably, you can avoid long courtroom battles and otherwise unnecessary emotional and financial expenses in many Texas divorces. In fact, in most uncontested divorces, the parties never even set foot in a courtroom. In many cases, especially those involving children, divorced couples can work together and set the stage for a productive next stage of life.
How Do You Start an Amicable Divorce?
The first step to starting an amicable divorce is deciding to undertake an amicable process and, in many cases, discussing it with your spouse. By mutually agreeing to have an amicable divorce up front, spouses often set the stage for civil and efficient divorce proceedings. These types of divorce conversations will often, though not always, start well before any paperwork has been filed by either party’s lawyer.
It’s important to be certain that your divorce attorney understands both you and your spouse’s priorities and goals. In some cases, this could have to do with child custody or could be related to financial assets or real estate. In other cases, this could be to simply have a smooth divorce process. Being on the same page about the big ticket items can set the stage for both parties to productively determine the remaining terms of their divorce.
In other cases, however, disclosing an intention to divorce can be harmful. For example, it might be unwise to discuss divorce with your spouse before actually filing for divorce in a situation where your spouse is likely to hide or spend assets. An experienced family law attorney can help you decide when and how to divorce and how and when to talk to your spouse about it.
In the next stage of an amicable divorce, each spouse will typically exchange documents and information with the other spouse in good faith through each spouse’s lawyer. This means that each spouse openly and honestly discloses the existence and nature of all of the couple’s assets and liabilities that that spouse knows about. This process is known as “discovery,” and an experienced divorce attorney can help minimize the cost and burden of this process in amicable cases.
Once the spouses have exchanged the documents and information necessary for each spouse to make informed decisions, the next step in the process is to negotiate and try to agree upon the terms of the divorce. This may include issues ranging from child custody to complex asset and debt division to tax and other issues. Even when both spouses put their best foot forward, there still may be details that need to be sorted out through more formal processes, such as mediation or even the courtroom, because amicable resolutions are not possible in all cases.
What Role Does an Attorney Play in an Amicable Divorce?
Not every divorce will be easy, but the right divorce attorney can help to turn a complex, tricky situation into an amicable proceeding. Many cases that result in an agreed resolution outside of the courtroom do not start that way. An experienced divorce attorney can help to navigate the process and make an uncontested or agreed divorce possible.
Disagreements that exist at the beginning of a divorce can often be resolved with the help of a family law attorney. Sometimes, the other spouse has unreasonable expectations, and it takes an experienced divorce attorney to convince the other spouse of this fact. Emotions can also get in the way, particularly early on in the divorce process. An attorney can help focus the parties on the process rather than emotions.
In other cases, the spouses have a good-faith disagreement about what is a fair division of property or what is in the best interest of a child. Sometimes, the best way to reach an agreed result is to demonstrate the power of your position by demonstrating to your spouse that you are prepared to proceed in a courtroom if necessary.
Other cases are just the opposite. Some couples are able to work together to decide upon many of the terms of their divorce without lawyers negotiating directly on their behalves. Even in these cases, however, the best divorce lawyers will facilitate this process by identifying for you the issues that must legally be resolved in a Texas divorce, how the law is likely to be applied in your case, and prepare you for that discussion with your spouse. Otherwise, most Texas couples would not be able to identify all of the many issues that must be addressed in a court order for divorce, such as specific parental-decision making rights (e.g., consent to child’s enlistment in the military before age 18) or certain real estate documents related to a marital home (e.g., owelty of partition). There’s simply no reason why most Texas couples would know these things, which is why the involvement of a divorce attorney early in the process is typically advisable.
While every case is different–because every family is different–an experienced divorce attorney can help most Texas couples reach an amicable resolution of their divorce, respecting the dignity of the other spouse while protecting the things most important to you.
Can Mediation Help Our Divorce be Amicable?
Often, mediation is used by those seeking an amicable divorce. This process involves both parties using a mutually selected, impartial mediator acting as a neutral to assist both parties in resolving any differences through negotiations and the details of their divorce in a binding agreement known as a Mediated Settlement Agreement.
A successful mediation is not the end of the story, however. The terms of the settlement agreement must be converted into a final court order, which is signed by a judge to finalize the divorce process. The agreement must address all of the issues and contain all the Texas courts’ terms and conditions. An experienced divorce lawyer will do that work for you, as well as ensure that the terms of your settlement agreement are accurately reflected in the legal language of the court’s final order.
It is most often advisable for each party to be represented by their own attorney in mediation. A lawyer will help each party understand what “fair” based upon how a judge would likely decide the case if mediation failed and the case proceeded to the courtroom is. A good lawyer will also help their client to understand when to push back and when to agree during mediation based on the strengths and weaknesses of each case. Many of the best divorce mediators will not work with spouses unless each spouse is represented by a lawyer, which is a practical reason why it’s often a good idea to involve an attorney early in the process.
Successful mediation requires both parties to act in good faith. The good news is that mediation is intended to lead to mutually beneficial outcomes, but, like most amicable proceedings, mediation will require a level of compromise on each side. In a successful mediation, neither party gets exactly what they would want in an ideal world.
Mediation takes place outside of a courtroom, preventing legal headaches, costs, and complications that could take place through litigation, which is the process of taking legal action in court. While mediation is a great process for many couples, it does not work in every situation. Cases involving domestic violence or child abuse, for example, are often not good candidates for mediation.
In a successful mediation, both parties agree to mediate, they agree on the selection of a particular mediator, they openly and honestly exchange documents and information both before and during mediation, and they agree upon each and every single issue that must be decided in a Texas divorce, using the mediation process.
How Thompson Law Can Help
Thompson Law is here for you, in any manner you see fit. We will review your case and will offer an honest assessment. Should you choose Thompson Law, we will offer a fair, firm, and reasonable approach to your divorce and help guide you through an amicable process, if possible.
Thompson Law is amicable when possible and aggressive when necessary. If your divorce is on a path toward being amicable, that is great. However, you should remember that even if all parties are acting in good faith, there are still many details that could slow down or derail uncontested proceedings. Experienced divorce attorneys can help avoid any mishaps and keep your divorce proceedings on track.
Unfortunately, not all situations will be amicable, and we can be as aggressive as necessary and still strive to turn a challenging situation into as smooth of a process and as fair of an outcome as the circumstances allow.
Regardless of your situation, Thompson Law can review the current status of your divorce and current proceedings. If we feel it is in your best interest, Thompson law can represent you. If you are ready to take the next step, call us today.