I am often asked: “How long does it take to get a collaborative divorce?” Honestly, the time it takes depends a lot on you and your spouse. The real question is: “How ready are you and your spouse to reach a settlement agreement on of all the issues?” Some couples can move through the process quickly and can be divorced on the 61st day while other couples take longer to reach an agreed settlement. (Texas courts may not grant a divorce before the 60th day after the date the suit was filed unless a spouse has been convicted of an act of family violence. Tex. Fam. Code §6.702.)
At a minimum, it will take approximately 3 joint team meetings for a collaborative divorce. The first collaborative joint team meeting typically consists of signing all the necessary legal documents and identifying both your and your spouse’s interests and goals. In other words, what do each of you envision your divorce relationship to look like when it’s all said and done? For example, is it a goal for you and your spouse remain friends after the divorce? Is it a goal to keep your 401k intact? Identifying your goals and interests in the collaborative divorce process is important and should not be skipped because the collaborative team strives to move towards your goals and interests each step of the way.
If you are ready to move forward on the fast track, the second joint meeting consist of option development in dividing your marital assets and liabilities and finalizing any parenting plan issues. Lastly, the final meeting is typically a reviewing and signing the agreed final divorce decree.
Not all couples are able to move this quickly collaboratively to finalize their divorce. To do so, requires you and your spouse to be emotionally ready and well prepared for every meeting. If more time is needed that is not a problem, the end of your marriage sometimes can not be rushed and the collaborative team is there to help.
In the collaborative process, Texas Family Code Sections 6.603(f) and 153.0072(f) require the parties to file periodic status reports with the presiding court until a settlement is reached or the collaborative process is terminated. The 1st report is required no later than the 180th day after the date of written agreement to use the collaborative procedures. If need, the court is required to grant the continuance if the status report indicated the desire of the parties to continue to use the collaborative law process.
There is a 2 yr time limit. If the collaborative law procedures do not result in a settlement on or before the 2nd anniversary the suit was filed, the court has the options of setting the suit for trial on the regular docket or dismissing the suit without prejudice. Tex. Fam. Code §§6.603(g), 153.0072(g).
To reach The Law Office of Shannon M. Sears, P.C., please call 817-442-9880 or 214-709-3409