Could one of Texas’ alternative divorce approaches be right for you?

Traditional divorce litigation is not the only way to dissolve a marriage in Texas.

Are you thinking about ending your Texas marriage? If so, you may worry that you'll end up stuck in protracted divorce litigation that eats up months of your time and costs you a pretty penny. Thankfully, the "worst case scenario" of a lengthy divorce-related court battle is rare. Most couples can resolve their differences without resorting to a lengthy and emotional trial.

For couples who can cooperate and are willing to do some of the legwork involved in getting a divorce, there are alternative fee structures and approaches that may be more cost-effective, quicker and satisfactory than "traditional" methods.

Flat-fee divorce

Some firms, including the office of Patricia L. Brown and Associates, now offer a flat-fee divorce option. This means that you will know beforehand the basic cost of your proceeding and what it will entail. There are various types of flat-fee payment structures, with variables like the amount of assistance you receive, additional costs associated with filing fees, and the amount of effort required on your part resulting in cost differentials. We offer two types of flat-fee, uncontested divorces.

For example, you could hire a law firm to review a divorce decree you and your spouse have drafted. Since you have already done the bulk of the work yourself, the attorney fees will be much lower, but you still have the benefit of legal counsel to give you peace of mind. You should never sign an agreement drawn up by your spouse without consulting an attorney. We have seen spouses sign egregiously one-sided agreements when under stress and pressure from their spouse. Should you choose to have your lawyer prepare all the necessary documents, your flat-fee cost will be higher but still less than if the matter has to go to court.

Flat-fee options are best suited for couples who have no contested issues and have made the majority of crucial decisions (such as whether alimony is appropriate, division of marital debts and assets, etc.) but want the added security of having legal assistance prior to dissolving their marriage. Remember: a mistake made here may be painful for decades.

Of course, even if you have made all the important decisions already, you would be wise to have someone with in-depth knowledge of the divorce process at your side. Hiring an attorney - even for an uncontested matter - lets you move forward to end your marriage with confidence knowing that your interests and those of your children are protected.

Collaborative law

Another alternative divorce approach is the collaborative law process. Collaborative divorce is similar in many ways to mediation, in that it is appropriate for couples who are willing to treat each other with respect and cooperate but need some help making important decisions. The collaborative process involves the added counsel of a panel of experts from various fields (psychology/psychiatry, financial planning, business valuation, etc.) who can provide honest feedback about the divorce and can outline the pros and cons of proposed solutions.

As you can see, there is no "one size fits all" solution for every couple. No matter what method you choose, though, if you are thinking about ending your marriage, you should consult an experienced Texas family law attorney. The office of Patricia L. Brown and Associates is eager to save you time, money, stress and anxiety.

Keywords: divorce, uncontested divorce, flat-fee divorce, collaborative law