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What is Collaborative Divorce in Texas? 

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 cps lawyerFinding out that a caseworker from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) is investigating you can be frightening and confusing. You may wonder what the allegations are, who reported you, and whether you face losing custody of your children. 

This blog answers common questions about DFPS and Child Protective Services investigations and what parents facing an investigation can do. If you are being investigated, you have the right to an attorney at any point during the investigation. 

Why is a DFPS Investigation Happening to Me? 

When someone in Texas believes child abuse or neglect is taking place, they are legally obligated to report it to DFPS or the police. Child Protective Services (CPS) is the division of DFPS required by law to investigate abuse allegations. Neighbors, divorced parents, and even older siblings can make reports of child abuse. 

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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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