Did you know that there is more than one way to get divorced if you live in Texas? Most states have multiple means of divorce available, but couples who are headed towards divorce or who have begun the process may not realize that they have options.

Understanding the laws and procedures surrounding divorce can be confusing. That’s why it is always in your best interests, regardless of which type of divorce you end up choosing, to work with a local divorce attorney who can explain what your rights are and give you the best legal advice for your specific circumstances.

If you’re still in the exploring phase, here are some of the different types of divorce in Texas and what benefits and drawbacks are associated with each!

No-Fault Divorce Vs. Fault-Based Divorce

Any state requires you to have a reason for why you are getting divorced before you do, because it is a significant legal undertaking.

In most states, all you have to claim is that your marriage is beyond the point of hope of continuing; incompatibility, irreconcilable differences, or (as it is called in Texas law) “insupportability” is enough of a reason to get divorced. This means that the end of the marriage isn’t necessarily either spouse’s “fault”, legally speaking, but it just didn’t work out. This is known as a no-fault divorce.

Texas, however – and unlike in many other states – allows spouses to place blame if blame exists. There are many grounds for divorce that are possible to claim, including adultery (one of the most common), felony conviction, cruelty, abandonment, psychiatric confinement, and more.

Even if adultery or one of the other grounds is the real reason for your divorce, legally, you can still choose to seek a no-fault divorce as opposed to fault-based divorce. Here are a few reasons why you may or may not want to do that.

Pros Of A No-Fault Divorce:
It’s faster, and less expensive. There’s not as much paperwork involved as in a fault-based divorce, which means that you save time and money on court fees.

It’s easier on you, and your kids (if you have them). Generally, even if no-fault divorces result in conflict later on, they start out amicably; the more amicable you and your spouse can be, and the less stress you incur, the better you and your children will feel.

Ideal for people in abusive relationships. If a person in an abusive relationship isn’t ready to confront the abuser, doesn’t want to call them out publicly, or fears retribution, a no-fault divorce allows them to simply leave the marriage without having to testify in court about what they have been through.

Decisions made are based on pure fact rather than history. This could fall into the pros or cons category, depending on how you look at it and what side you are on, but any sort of monetary support that is set up will be based solely on need and contributions, rather than on what happened to cause the divorce.

Cons Of A No-Fault Divorce:

It may not provide as much closure. If you were the wronged spouse, choosing to file without grounds can leave you feeling like your spouse “got off the hook” or wasn’t held accountable for their part in causing the divorce.

It can be one-sided. In Texas, only one spouse has to choose the no-fault option for that to be the case going forward. (The other spouse has the option to object, however.)

It makes divorce more accessible. Because you can essentially get divorced on a whim in Texas, many people may rush into the process without taking the time to work through their issues or make all the necessary considerations that should go into a divorce.

Mediation/Collaborative Divorce Vs. Litigation

Even if you choose a no-fault divorce, you still have options as to how your divorce will unfold, though your spouse will also have a say. Just because the divorce wasn’t necessarily anyone’s fault, technically speaking, doesn’t mean that it can’t be extremely contentious. Divorce usually always involves disagreements and fighting – that’s a given. What’s not a given is how you and your spouse will resolve divorce conflict in order to arrive at an arrangement.

Essentially, it boils down to two choices – you can make decisions together, or you can let a judge make the decisions for you in court. Mediation is a form of divorce resolution where you and your spouse (and both of your attorneys) will meet with an unbiased third-party professional who can work with you to set up mutually favorable terms. Collaboration, which may not explicitly involve a mediator, likewise prioritizes negotiation and working together with each party’s attorneys to keep the divorce out of court.

Litigation is the flip side. This is what happens when you and your spouse simply can’t agree, and have to go to divorce court to duke it out. Litigated divorces can get particularly nasty and can drag on for many months or even years, depending on the circumstances. Hembree Bell Law always recommends litigation as a last resort, if mediation and collaboration don’t yield fruitful results, but some couples don’t want to try other methods and would rather go to court first.

Here are a few reasons why you may or may not want to try to avoid litigation!

Pros Of Mediation:

The process is confidential (compared to litigation, which is public).

It’s cheaper, and faster, and easier on kids, for the same reasons that a no-fault divorce is – less time spent on paperwork and in court, less legal fees involved, less fighting.

It allows you to be more creative. You can divide up assets or work out a custody plan that fits your family’s needs, but that may be a bit more unorthodox, while a court would likely not set forth these flexible solutions.

It gives you more control over the outcome. When you work in a room to resolve your issues, you know what the outcome is going to be, and you have an equal say in it. When you go to court for your divorce, you have no idea what a judge will decide, and you have no control. A judge is a stranger who isn’t aware of your family history and dynamics beyond just a legal level, which is probably the most important reason to strongly consider mediation or collaborative divorce instead of jumping to litigation.

Cons Of Mediation:

It’s not binding in the sense that a mediator can’t impose a settlement on your spouse. Acting as a mediator, a mediator isn’t a judge or a lawyer, and they can’t force any terms of divorce on you. You and your spouse have to compromise. This is good in one sense, but may lead to frustration if your spouse refuses to act like an adult and cooperate.

Speaking of compromise – you may have to make concessions. Mediation requires a little bit of give and take sometimes. While the goal is never to end up with an agreement you are unhappy with, and is instead to find creative solutions that make everyone happy, sometimes this just isn’t realistic or possible. You may need to sacrifice some of the desires you had in order to resolve differences.

It doesn’t always work, and it may result in litigation anyway. While mediation is a tool to avoid litigation, going to court may be inevitable if you and your spouse are not able to reconcile your differences and work out your issues during your mediation sessions.

Want To Learn More?

Our Texas divorce lawyers have helped thousands of clients navigate the divorce process with clarity and confidence. We’ll fight hard but smart to protect you, your money, your kids, and your rights, in court if necessary, but we are well-versed in mediation and other collaborative divorce solutions that can lay a stronger foundation for your life after divorce. Schedule a free case evaluation with us to discuss your options and next steps!

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