Divorce proceedings litigated in court often become a time-consuming, stressful and expensive process for one or both parties involved. If the parties can eliminate many of the grounds of disagreement that led to divorce, then they might be able to arrive at some common ground. This would enable the entire divorce process to proceed more swiftly and with fewer problems. This is effectively what collaborative law in most states, including Texas, seeks to achieve.
How useful this process could be may be apparent in light of a Texas man’s recent claims of innocence against presumptions of bigamy. A Fort Bend man is facing the possibly of 10 years in state prison on a charge of bigamy because he believed his legal separation from his first wife in 2006 constituted divorce. He subsequently “remarried” in 2009 but later “divorced” this apparent second wife.
The first wife, who was married to the man for 34 years, recently brought the matter to Texas authorities after having learned of the supposed second marriage. She now lives in Tacoma, Washington.
According to the man’s attorney, the first wife’s interests are only monetary. She wants the man’s full retirement award as compensation on the grounds that his second marriage was illegal. Part of his retirement funds went to his second wife after their divorce.
Easier negotiations, openly exchanged information and less time and fewer expenses are some of the benefits of divorce through collaborative law. With or without legal counsel present, the parties are supposed to discuss issues relating to a divorce themselves, including property division, child custody and alimony.
Using this method to obtain a divorce can also minimize anger, hostility and bitterness after the parties divorce, as long as both genuinely want to end the relationship with minimal emotional turmoil and finances largely intact.
Source: Houston Chronicle, “Fort Bend Co. man charged with bigamy,” Heather Alexander, Mar 12, 2014.