Avoiding the trauma of the courtroom has become the preference of many divorcing couples in Texas. Most divorces are complicated affairs — especially when there are children involved. Fortunately, divorce laws allow couples to choose to resolve their issues through alternative dispute resolution methods.

Not only can you avoid the confrontational atmosphere that typically accompanies the fight to win a courtroom battle; you can also avoid the sometimes high costs related to litigation. All these methods require is the ability of the two of you to sit down and discuss important issues along with the support and guidance of your attorneys.
What are the alternative dispute resolution options in divorce?

There are two main types of alternative dispute resolution options for divorcing spouses:

• Divorce mediation involves a qualified and impartial third-party mediator to facilitate negotiations and encourage communication and compromise. A mediator may not provide legal advice, but each party’s legal counsel may be present to provide legal and moral support.
• Collaboration is a process that takes place between the two spouses — each with his or her attorney present — in formal settings with the aim to draft a divorce settlement.

What happens after successful negotiations?

In most cases, if couples manage to reach an agreement, the attorneys can draft a final settlement agreement that details the decisions made during negotiations — regardless of the method you used. The attorneys will then present the written agreement to the judge, and unless it shows obvious favor for one of you, the court will approve the settlement. The judge will then issue a divorce decree to finalize the divorce and to show the resolutions reached on the main issues.

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