When Should You Go to Divorce Court in Texas?

Most of the clients I represent would prefer to settle their cases outside of court. However, sometimes my clients or their spouses are insistent on going to court and having a judge hear and decide their case.

I believe they have a romantic idea that going to court will be like in the movies. This is until they get there and see that the court room is packed. There are Lawyers in the front of the room, waiting for the day to start and the judge to arrive.

Some lawyers are stressed, some look bored, others relaxed. Behind the wooden gate are the spouses packed into wooden benches who are often confused on what happens next. They wonder how long is this going to take and few if anyone is happy.

The reason they and everyone there is to get divorced. Or is it?

Why do Spouses go to Texas Divorce Court?

Everyone who comes to see me tells me how agreeable and easy their Texas divorce is going to be. If that were true we could be in and out of the court room quickly. Once in front of a judge it normally takes 5 minutes or less to prove up an agreed divorce.

Statistically 90% of all divorce cases settle. However, most Texas divorce cases are not uncontested right from the start despite what all my consults tell me. I usually tell my consults a couple things:

  1. I will let them know if their divorce case is uncontested after its over and
  2. I can get them divorced as fast as the slowest person in the relationship

Usually after I tell them this there is usually a pause. I believe the pause has to do with it clicking in their heads that it does not matter how agreeable they personally are if their spouse is not agreed then their case is not an agreed divorce.

Usually when people come to see me it is not because they are getting along well enough with their spouse to:

  1. amicably divide up all their property and
  2. decide how they will co-parent their children

If that were the case they might not be getting a divorce in the first place. What many people do not realize is that a Texas divorce is more involved than just ending a marriage. It is really 3 lawsuits all at the same time:

  1. Ending the marriage
  2. Dividing up the property and debts and
  3. Placing orders in place regarding the children

Usually when people go to divorce court it is more involved than just ending their marriage. One of the worst reasons to go to court is because someone wants to fight. Someone is angry and upset and wants to punish their spouse. Which interns causes their spouse to be angry and upset and want to fight as well.

Some people want to go to court so they can tell the judge their story. They expect justice.

However, these people do not realize even if they do go to court, they will never be able to tell the judge their story. The Judge is not interested in their story. The judge is interested in only certain facts so the judge can make a ruling and get them out of the courtroom.

You Should do a Cost Benefit Analysis before looking for Justice in the Courtroom

When I hear, potential clients talk about how they want justice or that it is for the principle of the matter. Justice is not necessarily what everyone thinks it is.

It makes me think about the lyrics from the musical “Jesus Christ Super Star” when Pontius Pilate says “What is truth? Is truth unchanging law? We both have truths. Are mine the same as Yours?”

When something does not go a person’s way in court you will hear that person talk about how “they got shafted and the judge is corrupt.” These people say they want what is fair however in their minds they believe fairness means that the Judge will side with them.

However, fairness does not necessarily mean the Judge will side with you. Through the Texas divorce process you and your spouse will be encouraged to try and resolve the case outside of court. However, if you are not everyone is able to do this.

There is a legal procedure that is in place to resolve cases in which spouses are unable to agree. That procedure is to go to court and be heard by the Judge. The judge’s job to do what you think is fair. It’s the judge’s job is to decide to be the tie breaker.

The Judge has a lot of discretion to make decisions. However, there are also laws put in place by our legislature that guide these decisions. It is a judge’s job to follow these laws. Sometimes my clients get upset and do not like the laws a judge must follow.

An example of this would-be child support. In Texas, there are guideline child support laws that a Judge must follow. I tell my clients if this case goes to court a Judge is going to follow the guideline child support laws unless we can explain why it is in the best interest of your child that we deviate from guideline child support.

However, outside of court if we can reach an agreement there are things we can do to make sure we can push your agreement through the court.

Manage your Expectations of what Justice Looks Like

Everyone is the hero of their own story. I believe most Judges try and apply the law to the facts they hear in the courtroom and make a decision that is reasonable. However, if you insist on getting your Justice from a Judge it may not be what you want or expect.

It may not be what you spouse wants or expects either. You both may both may be walking away with a decision that you are far unhappier with than if you could have resolved the case outside of court.

You and your spouse are also looking the case with different lenses. An example of this could be that one spouse has been a stay at home parent and looking at the divorce wondering how they are going to now support themselves. The other spouse is looking at it from the lenses that all the money that has been earned has been by their efforts.

In many of my cases those two perspectives clash and result in a fight. For the stay at home spouse they often think that Justice does not provide them enough after the divorce. For the other spouse, they often believe that Justice provides the stay at home spouse too much. When you add the perspective of the Judge to the mix you can see the court system is a mixture of many ideas about justice.

Where to get Justice for Your Divorce Case?

As you can see from above the outcome of your case when going to court involves some uncertainty. If going to court means you might not get what you want then why got to divorce court at all?

There ae two good reasons for going to divorce court in Texas which are:

  1. To prove up an agreed divorce or
  2. If you are unable to reach an agreement with your spouse because they are being difficult or unreasonable

Generally, it is better if you can resolve divorce issues in mediation and through negotiation. This is because you and your spouse will craft how your lives will look after the divorce not depend on the judge. Their will certainty rather than uncertainty in the outcome.

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Other Articles you may be interested in:

  1. Common Law Marriage and Texas Divorce Guide
  2. I Want a Texas Divorce but My Husband Doesn't: What can I do?
  3. Am I Married? - Marital Status in Texas
  4. Can I sue my spouse's mistress in Texas?
  5. When is, Cheating Considered Adultery in a Texas Divorce?
  6. 6 things You Need to Know Before You File for Divorce in Texas

Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Houston, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our divorce lawyers in Houston TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles Divorce cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.

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Spring Divorce Attorney
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