Divorce is not a one-size fits all journey for families. Each married couple has a unique story and their own reasons for dissolving their marriage. At Renken Law Firm in Houston we work with divorcing couples to get the results they are looking for in their case.
DivorceNet.com helps explain some of the different divorce methods below:
A default divorce occurs when you’ve filed for divorce, and your spouse doesn’t respond. You’d likely see this, for example, if your spouse has left for parts unknown and can’t be found.
Assuming you’ve complied with the court’s rules and regulations, a judge can grant the divorce despite the fact your spouse hasn’t participated in the court proceedings. On its face, this may seem like the ideal situation. No one is there to contest what you’re asking the court to give you. But be aware that there are pro and cons to a default divorce.
If you and your spouse are at loggerheads over one or more marital issues, to the point that you can’t come to an agreement, then it will be up to a judge to decide those issues for you. This is what’s meant by a contested divorce.
Contested divorces are stressful, time-consuming, and expensive (think mounting attorneys’ fees). You’ll go through a lengthy process of exchanging financial and other relevant information, mandatory settlement negotiations, and court hearings for temporary relief, such as interim alimony, for example, if warranted.
And if you can’t resolve the case after all that, there will be a court trial. The burdens of a contested divorce are why the vast majority of divorce cases ultimately settle at some point before trial.
Before filing for divorce, options are available to you if you need assistance in trying to resolve your differences. These are referred to as “alternative dispute resolution” (ADR) methods. One of those is divorce mediation. Here, a trained neutral third party (the mediator), sits down with you and your spouse to try to help you resolve all of the issues in your divorce.
It’s not the mediator’s job to make decisions for you. Rather, mediators offer guidance and help you communicate with each other until, hopefully, you reach a meeting of the minds. A successful mediation usually ends with the preparation of a property settlement agreement.
Another ADR option is “collaborative divorce”. This entails working with lawyers who are specially trained in this method of settling divorces. The spouses hire their own lawyers, each of whom is obligated to work cooperatively, with the sole purpose of trying to settle your case. Each spouse agrees to disclose all the information that’s necessary for fair negotiations, and to meet with each other and both lawyers, as often as necessary, to attempt to reach a settlement.
You all must agree that if your divorce doesn’t settle through the collaborative process, your original attorneys will withdraw and you’ll have to hire different attorneys to take your case to court. This is done to ensure that all participants, including the attorneys, are acting in good faith, with nothing to gain from veering away from the goal of settlement.
In states that allow it, a third form of ADR is “divorce arbitration”. This option is the most similar to a trial, because the arbitrator (usually an attorney or a retired judge) will make a decision on your marital issues, after being presented with the facts of your case and reviewing the documentation you would ordinarily produce at trial.
The benefits of arbitration are that it’s typically conducted in an informal—and thus less intimidating—setting than a courthouse (usually the arbitrator’s office) and, as with the other forms of ADR, allows you the flexibility of picking meeting times that fit your schedules. This makes it more cost-effective than having to make court appearances, which often involve sitting around racking up attorneys’ fees while waiting for a judge to become available.
The potential downside to arbitration is that, unlike mediation and collaborative divorce, the arbitrator’s decision is almost invariably final. You give up your right to appeal it; a right you would have in a standard court trial. It’s something of a roll of the dice in that regard, which is why arbitration isn’t as popular as the other ADR methods.
Filing For Divorce in Houston
If you are considering filing for divorce, Renken Law Firm in Houston can help you. Our team has experience working with couples to help them find a divorce process that fits their needs. If divorce mediation is not a successful path for your family, we can represent you through your litigated divorce. Reach out to us today to learn more about your options for divorce.
Best Divorce Attorney in Houston
Renken Law Firm is here to help couples who wish to dissolve their marriage, whether that be through divorce or legal separation. We are here to help those who are ending marriages that have been contested, uncontested, or collaborative. We are fully prepared to help you navigate the specifics of your case. We proudly serve the Greater Houston area, including but not limited to Brazos County, Cypress, Fort Bend County, Galveston, Houston Heights, Houston, Humble, Katy, Kingwood, Memorial Houston, Montgomery County, Montrose, Richmond, Rosenberg, Spring, The Woodlands. All marriages are different, making each divorce equally unique with its own set of needs that must be addressed. Contact our law office to explore your options moving forward, and find out how we can help you.
Renken Law Firm, PLLC
11500 Northwest Fwy #618
Houston, TX 77092
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