If you are like most people, you want your divorce to go as quickly and smoothly as possible. You aren’t interested in a drawn-out legal battle; and, if you have children, the last thing you want is for your kids to get pulled into the process. You think your spouse is on the same page, and you have decided that it is time to bring your marriage to an end. So, what type of divorce should you pursue?

Many people are understandably confused about the various terms used to describe the divorce process in Texas. One particular area of confusion is the difference between uncontested, amicable and collaborative divorce.

Understanding the Differences Between Uncontested, Amicable and Collaborative Divorce

1. What is an Uncontested Divorce?

Let’s start with the term, “uncontested divorce.” When you file for an uncontested divorce, this simply means that you and your spouse agree that your marriage needs to be terminated. This is in contrast to a “contested” divorce, where one spouse wishes to remain married. In an uncontested divorce, the spouses still can – and generally will – disagree over issues such as property division and child custody, but they are able to work through their differences without going to court.

2. What is an Amicable Divorce?

The term “amicable divorce” is generally used to describe a divorce in which both spouses are willing to work together to reach an agreement without hostility or emotions getting in the way. The spouses acknowledge that they each have certain priorities, some of which may overlap, and they approach their divorce with the understanding that they will have to compromise in order to achieve a mutually-acceptable resolution.

3. What is a Collaborative Divorce?

A “collaborative divorce” is an uncontested or amicable divorce in which the spouses agree to abide by guidelines that are designed to ensure that their divorce does not end up in court. As a result, the term “collaborative divorce” refers to a specific process for getting divorced, rather than the nature of the divorce itself.

The collaborative divorce process begins with each spouse agreeing in writing that they will not ask a judge to resolve any issues on their behalf. If either spouse violates this agreement, they will be required to hire new legal representation for their divorce litigation. During the collaborative divorce process, the spouses can engage the services of professionals such as accountants, financial advisors and social workers to help them find common ground, and they must remain committed to doing what is necessary to achieve a mutually-satisfactory outcome. Pursuing a collaborative divorce isn’t necessary – or right – for everyone; but, when there are complicated issues to resolve, it can be an effective tool for avoiding contentious disputes. Learn more about the collaborative divorce process.

What About a "DIY" Divorce?

As you can see, none of these terms are used to describe a divorce in which the spouses have absolutely no issues to resolve. The reason for this is simple: Such divorces are extremely rare. If you and your spouse believe you can end your marriage through a “DIY” divorce, it is critical to make sure you haven’t overlooked any issues before asking a judge to issue a binding divorce decree.

Contact the McKinney Divorce Lawyers at Nordhaus Walpole, PLLC

If you have questions about the divorce process in Texas, we invite you to schedule a free initial consultation at our family law offices in McKinney, TX. To speak with one of our experienced divorce lawyers in confidence, please call (214) 726-1450 or request an appointment online today.