Navigating Divorce: Tips for an Amicable Separation

June 14, 2024

Ending your marriage is hard enough. The last thing you want to think about is a long and bitter battle in the courtroom to uphold your rights. Fortunately, the vast majority of divorce cases settle outside of court. While it may not seem possible now, you can even get an amicable divorce through negotiation and without any serious legal battles. Below, our Houston family law attorney explains how to do it.

Acknowledge Your Emotions

Getting an amicable divorce does not mean always pretending everything is fine. Divorce is one of the most difficult things you will ever go through. You are bound to feel many emotions during the process. Do not ignore these emotions. Instead, acknowledge them and address them. Get help from family members, friends, or a therapist to help you through this extremely difficult time.

Gather All of Your Financial Information

Divorce is not just an emotional process. It is also a financial process. One of the best ways to prepare for it is to collect all of your financial documents. These include your previous tax returns, investment account information, retirement account information, bank account statements, and more. The more information you can gather the more you can show you are being transparent and trying to ensure the distribution of assets and debts is equitable.

Create a Fair Parenting Plan

If you and your spouse have children together, you will need to create a plan regarding custody and visitation. This plan will dictate when you spend time with your child and how much time you spend with them. There are a number of different elements to include in your plan, such as where your child will spend weekdays, weekends, holidays, and special occasions. It is critical that you cooperate and communicate with your spouse to devise a plan that is beneficial for everyone, keeping your child’s best interests a priority at all times.

Consider Mediation

Texas law does not require that you attempt mediation to resolve your disputes during divorce. Family law judges do have the discretion, though, to order couples to try mediation before bringing their case to court. During mediation, you and your spouse will meet with a neutral, third-party mediator. The mediator will not make any decisions in your case. They are only there to foster communication and compromise between you and your spouse so you can reach an agreement about the different terms of the case.

Even when it is not court-ordered, mediation has many benefits. These include:

  • Obtains an amicable divorce through cooperation and open communication,
  • Allows couples to maintain control over the process and make decisions for themselves, instead of a judge making all final decisions,
  • Faster and more cost-effective than litigation,
  • Reduce conflict and the emotional toll on both children and spouses,
  • Confidentiality,
  • Allows for customized solutions that meet the needs of the family, and
  • Allows for positive post-divorce communication and co-parenting.

Mediators do not provide legal advice. It is always recommended that you work with a Houston family law attorney who will ensure your rights are protected and that any proposed settlement is fair.

Consider a Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce is a process that also occurs outside of the courtroom. This approach involves attorneys, therapists, financial experts, child development professionals, and other consultants. Collaborative divorce involves negotiation and is results-driven. This means that if you cannot negotiate a fair settlement, your lawyer cannot continue working on your case if it enters litigation. This provides motivation for both the divorcing couple and the attorneys to reach an agreement.

Approach Property Division Fairly

Everyone has heard a story about how one spouse fought over an item that does not have a lot of sentimental or financial value just to spite their spouse. This only delays the process and increases the cost of divorce. During the property division process, it is critical that you remain fair and reasonable. While it is important to consider any sentimental attachments you have to certain possessions, it is also just as important to remain open to compromise.

Remain Reasonable About Alimony

If you feel as though you will need spousal support post-divorce, it is important that you are reasonable with your request. Work with an attorney who can help you determine how much you will need, whether your spouse can afford to pay it, and how you will eventually support yourself. If your spouse asks you to pay alimony, also remain reasonable. Try to consider their situation, compromise, and reach an agreement that is mutually acceptable.

Encourage Open Communication with Your Children

Again, divorce is extremely hard on children. Tell your children together, if possible, and reassure them that you will try to ensure their schedules and routines are as uninterrupted as possible. Reassure them that you both still love your children very much and that the divorce is not anyone’s fault. Never speak badly about your spouse to your children, even post-divorce. This is very harmful to a child’s mental health and, in the long run, will likely damage the relationship you have with them.

Addressing Shared Debts

For a smooth transition, it is critical that you address the shared debts and financial obligations of you and your spouse. Draft a plan outlining how you will manage and divide debts such as loans, mortgages, and credit card balances. Having a clearly outlined plan will ensure there are no disputes in the future regarding these debts.

Work With a Family Law Attorney in Houston for an Amicable Divorce

Regardless of how you choose to formally end your marriage, you need sound legal advice. It is essential that you work with a Houston family law attorney who can provide it. At Integrity Law Group, PLLC, our experienced attorney can advise you of your legal rights and obligations and negotiate with your spouse’s lawyer to ensure you receive the full and fair settlement you are entitled to. Call us today at (832) 280-9197 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation and get the legal help you need.

Back to top