If you and your spouse can’t agree about sharing custody or splitting up your property, then you will have to litigate your divorce to resolve these matters. You will file a contested divorce and gather evidence. You will then use your documentation to explain your side of the situation to the judge presiding over the divorce.
Contested divorces can increase the bad blood between spouses and make the entire process last longer. Uncontested divorces are faster and can be a stepping stone to a healthy co-parenting relationship rather than a means of causing more damage to the relationship between former spouses.
Thankfully, there are certain alternative dispute resolution tools that could help you turn your contested and possibly litigated divorce into a faster, uncontested filing.
Rather than fighting with your spouse, you can choose to work with them while planning for your divorce. A collaborative divorce involves spouses cooperating with one another to decide how to split up their property or share custody of their children. The process often involves negotiation between attorneys, with the individual spouses approving the final details at the end of the negotiation process.
Sometimes, you just need a different perspective on the matter. A judge can hear both sides of the story and make a decision about what is fair and appropriate.
An arbitrator can do something similar. They listen to both sides of the situation and then make a decision based on what is appropriate given state law and fair, given the family circumstances. Unlike a judge, an arbitrator does not have the authority to enforce their decision unless the people attending sign an agreement, but they can help a couple end a log jam that prevents negotiations from proceeding.
Sometimes you don’t want someone else to make a big decision about what is right but still need help to figure out ways to compromise. A mediator is a professional who can negotiate with both sides and help you find a solution that everyone can approve. Like with arbitration, mediation isn’t necessarily binding unless the spouses both sign an agreement afterward.
Any of these three tools could help you and your ex sort out your remaining divorce disagreements. If you reach a settlement before you go to court, finalizing your Texas divorce may be a much quicker process.