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Posted on in Divorce

texas divorce lawyerEnding a marriage is always a difficult choice, but spouses face another hard decision once the choice has been made: How to get it done. There are several ways to get divorced. Some methods, such as mediation and collaborative divorce, contribute to a more peaceful and productive tone than others. However, depending on the facts of your case, collaborative divorce may not be right for you. Here are some facts about how collaborative divorce works in Texas. 

What is the Difference Between Collaborative Divorce and Mediation? 

Mediation is a process wherein a neutral, trained third-party mediator helps spouses resolve conflict. Spouses still have attorneys, who often join spouses in meeting with the mediator. Attorneys are not explicitly working together, but rather are advocating for each spouse’s interests from across the aisle. 

In contrast, collaborative divorce requires spouses and their attorneys to work together in a dignified and cooperative manner to resolve marital issues outside of the courtroom. Other professionals, such as child specialists and accountants, are usually part of the team. Collaborative divorce tends to reduce conflict, which in turn benefits everyone - especially if there are children involved. 

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plano divorce lawyerCouples facing the prospect of divorce understandably have many questions about what the divorce process looks like and what they can expect. Well-publicized celebrity divorce trials may give the impression that divorce litigation is common and that divorcing couples should brace for the worst. 

Fortunately, reality suggests otherwise. Less than 10 percent of divorces in Texas reach the trial stage because alternative dispute resolution techniques are highly effective and encouraged by everyone, from Texas courts to divorce attorneys. Mediation and collaborative divorce give spouses much more control over important issues and make the divorce easier, faster, and less expensive. However, for that small percentage of divorces that do go to trial, spouses should know what to expect. 

What Happens in a Divorce Trial? 

Domestic violence, hidden financial assets, and one spouse’s refusal to cooperate are just a few of the reasons that a divorce might go to trial. Whatever the reason, the process is the same. The person who filed for divorce - the petitioner - must try to prove their argument with evidence and witnesses. The other spouse - the respondent - must then argue their own case. The two sides often go back and forth several times, responding to and refuting each other’s arguments. 

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plano divorce lawyerDivorce is a complex and unpleasant process that can be made substantially worse when one partner attempts to hide marital property from the other. Wishing to avoid losses during the division of marital property, one spouse may attempt to conceal income and assets in an effort to come out on top after the divorce is finalized. 

In addition to being illegal and carrying substantial penalties, hiding, concealing, or otherwise dissembling about marital property can backfire because it so often makes the divorce process longer and costlier. Here are four signs that your spouse may be attempting to hide marital property in your divorce. 

Sudden Financial Secrecy

A spouse who is attempting to hide income or other assets may suddenly divert their personal or business income from a shared marital account into a separate, private account. They may no longer be paying bills on time, or fail to disclose which bills have been paid and which have not. If you ask legitimate questions about shared finances, they may become hostile and withdrawn. If these behaviors are uncharacteristic for your spouse, he or she may be attempting to hide their true income. 

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plano divorce lawyerDivorcing couples in Texas who have been married long enough to hold bank accounts, property, or other assets in common must divide these assets as part of the divorce process. Some states are “equitable division” states, meaning courts divide community property in a way that is fair rather than equal. Texas, however, is a “community property” state, meaning that courts presume that all property acquired during the marriage by either spouse belongs to both spouses equally. 

 Spouses may own separate property, but to keep this property separate during the divorce process, spouses must prove it is not community property. In this article, we will examine the difference between marital and separate property, and how these categories can influence the way property is handled in your divorce

Community Property vs. Separate Property

 Separate property consists of assets that fall into one or more of the following categories: 

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Plano divorce lawyerThe divorce process in Texas can be complicated and unpleasant. Between the paperwork, negotiation, stress, and expense, most people are glad when their divorce ends. Unfortunately, people often make mistakes that prolong their divorce, cost them more money, and make it more difficult to obtain a favorable outcome. Although the following list is not comprehensive, avoiding the following mistakes can help your divorce move faster and more smoothly, saving you time and money in the long run.

Failing to Comprehensively Understand Your Finances

In order to negotiate wisely and achieve a division of assets that works in both your short- and long-term favor, you need to understand your entire financial situation. This includes your assets, but also your monthly expenses and debt obligations. On top of this, you will need to estimate your and your family’s future expenses without the benefit of two incomes. Working with financial professionals like accountants and money managers can help with this process.

Fighting Over Unimportant Things

Nobody gets exactly what they want in a divorce. Couples often prolong the asset division and custody allocation process by haggling over things that appeal to pride more than to practicality. There is truth in the unfortunate stereotype that couples can litigate away all of their wealth, often ending up with much less than if they had managed to compromise. Carefully choose the things that are of crucial importance, and let the rest go.

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