It’s official: If you live in Texas and you are planning to file for divorce, your divorce will not be final until sometime in 2020. Texas currently has a 60-day waiting period (or “cooling off”) period for getting divorced from the time of the initial divorce filing. So, if don’t file on or before November 1, your marriage will last into the coming year. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t get started; and, if you and your spouse are able to work through the process diligently, you may be ready to finalize your divorce at the start of the New Year. If this is your goal, here are some tips from our Allen divorce lawyers to help you get there without sacrificing your legal rights:

1. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

In order to protect your legal rights to the fullest extent possible during your divorce, it is important to prepare thoroughly. This includes doing things like making copies of your income and tax records, identifying your “separate” and “community” assets, evaluating your post-divorce budgetary needs, and thinking about your goals with regard to legal and physical child custody. Addressing each of the items on this checklist is a good place to start.

2. Consider Your Options

While you will need to make many important decisions during the divorce process, here we are talking about your options regarding the means of establishing the terms of your divorce. In broad strokes, you have two options: negotiation or litigation. However, there are various means for negotiating an out-of-court resolution, from standard one-on-one negotiations (with advice and representation from your respective attorneys) to mediation and collaborative law.

3. Focus on Texas Law

If you look for information about getting a divorce online, you will find lots of articles, some of which are more useful (and more accurate) than others. When searching, it is important to be aware that the divorce process is governed by state law, and Texas’s divorce laws are unique in a variety of different respects. For example, Texas is one of the few remaining “community property” states in the country, and Texas’s community property laws differ from those that apply in other jurisdictions.

4. Focus on Your Long-Term Goals

No one plans to get divorced, and no one enjoys going through the divorce process. These factors mean that most people want the process to be over as quickly as possible. While this is understandable, it is important not to sacrifice long-term stability for short-term stress reduction. The terms you negotiate regarding custody, property division and financial support will impact the rest of your life (and your children’s lives as well), and they require thoughtful and careful consideration.

5. Seek Professional Help

Every year, new “low-cost” divorce options pop up online. However, the fact remains that there is no such thing as an “online divorce” in Texas; and, in order to avoid costly oversights, you will need to seek professional help. While this generally means hiring a divorce lawyer, it may also mean working with an accountant or financial advisor, speaking with a social worker, and consulting with other professionals to make sure that you are making informed decisions with your long-term best interests in mind.

Do you have questions about filing for divorce in Texas? Schedule a free initial consultation to learn more.