Reconciliation Agreements in a Texas Divorce

Attempting to reconcile a marriage that is on the brink of a divorce can be one of the most frustrating yet rewarding experiences of your life. Undoubtedly, going through a divorce is not something that you probably have much interest in. Your marriage was supposed to be something that was going to stand the test of time however, you may have seen problems develop in your marriage where if you are unsure of whether a divorce is in your best interest. This is not an abnormal position to find yourself in. Many people have trouble in their marriage and then contemplate whether a divorce is right for them. 

It is certainly not the norm that people can successfully reconcile their way through marriage difficulties while a divorce is ongoing. Rather, most people who begin a divorce we’ll wind up getting their marriage dissolved. There is something about beginning a divorce process that puts people on a timeline and focuses them on completing the case. It is hard to serve 2 purposes within the case. Meaning that if you have started a divorce case it is difficult to then attempt a reconciliation while also moving the divorce along. One of those two efforts will suffer. Either your divorce will not be able to move along well, or you and your spouse will not be able to work on a reconciliation of your marriage in earnest.

 you and your spouse need to make a concerted effort towards deciding what camp you fall in. Namely, whether the two of you are going to make a concerted effort at reconciliation or whether the two of you can comfortably move forward with your divorce. Understandably, if you and your spouse are not on speaking terms now there is no real way for the two of you to gauge whether a divorce is more likely than a reconciliation or vice versa. This may also be a good sign that the two of you being on non-speaking terms may be telling you that it is more likely than not a divorce is what will be the likely outcome for the two of you.

what many people going through a divorce who attempt reconciliation wound up wanting to know is whether it is possible to pause the divorce while attempting to reconcile. Most family law courts put your case on a pretty hard and fast track towards either granting the divorce or dismissing the case. A dismissal means that you and your spouse would have to start the process over from scratch. This means paying any filing fees or other costs associated with the case for a second time. Since no one wants to spend unnecessary money on costs associated with the divorce then you and your spouse need to decide about where you all stand preferably from the beginning of your case. Do you have a realistic chance of reconciling your marriage or are you more likely to need the divorce?

Assuming that you and your spouse are on speaking terms and are willing to work at a reconciliation it is probably more advantageous for you all to pursue that goal before rather than after your divorce has been filed. The reason is that you can spend a concerted amount of effort on reconciling the marriage without having to be concerned with possible deadlines involved in the divorce. Going into the process and the trouble of actually filing the divorce, responding to it, hiring attorneys, and preparing your children for the divorce means that you need to think critically about the next steps that you are going to take in your life. What are some of the tangible steps that you can take to improve your chances at reconciliation if that is what you want to accomplish?

Attempting  to get marriage counseling

Probably the most critical failure that many people would go through a divorce seeing their marriage is problems with communication. When it comes to problems communicating in your marriage most of the issues arise either due to a simple lack of communication skills or a lack of desire to do the necessary work to talk through the problems in the marriage. A marriage counselor can help solve these issues by working with you and your spouse in a low-stress environment to help you identify problems in your marriage and help you to develop the skills necessary to communicate your way through the problems.

One of the ironies of this season of the pandemic that we have been going through is that most of us assume that the more time we had at home the fewer problems that we would have in our relationships and marriages. Any problems that we have experienced would surely be solved simply by having more time at home. However, many people found that this was not the case at all. Just because you have more time at home does not mean that the problems in your marriage will be solved by being near your spouse. Rather, many of the issues that arise in marriages cannot be solved simply by saying any old thing to your spouse period rather comma concerted, and intentional communication needs to be attempted.

Unfortunately, walking through problems in your marriage through communication is not the same as having a conversation with your spouse about any other subject. Rather, what you find is that the type of communication that you and your spouse need to attempt to save a marriage needs to be specific and intentional. The reality of this type of situation is that most of us do not have the skills necessary to communicate our way through many of the problems in our marriages. That isn’t to say that you have any specific shortcomings it’s just that talking through challenges in your marriage is difficult. It takes a special type of communication skill that most of us just don’t have naturally. This is a skill that you can work on throughout your marriage but may not be one that you possess right now.

That is where an experienced marriage and family therapist can intercede. A marriage therapist can help you and your spouse not only identify specific problem areas in your marriage but can help you to walk through those areas and learn how to work your way through those issues. It may be that you think that you are incredibly effective when it comes to solving problems associated with your marriage period however, you may be surprised to learn that your tone, manner of speaking, or even the words that you choose to use may be working against you. While it is never fun to learn that you are not adept at something or are less skillful than you would have thought previously that does not mean that you should bury your head in the sand. Rather, you can take the skills learned in marriage and family therapy and apply them to the rest of your life.

For some people that I have had the opportunity to work with, I have been hesitant to go to men Ridge or family therapy because they think that the whole purpose of therapy is to place blame on one spouse or the other. As if the marriage therapist is supposed to play referee or tiebreaker. While there may be an element of this type of service provided by the therapist the real and true purpose of therapy is 2 help you identify problems in communication and then help you and your spouse develop the skills necessary to work through those problems.

A marriage therapist needs to be someone that you trust. However, trust can be hard to develop with someone that is a stranger to you. For that reason, I would recommend attempting to meet with and talk to multiple counselors before you and your spouse decide to hire one or the other. You may find that a counselor that you like is not one that your spouse is particularly fond of or vice versa. In that case, the two of you should work together to determine what you are looking for in a counselor and then continue your search. While marriage and family counseling can be effective if only one of you engages, I think it is by far more effective when both you and your spouse attend counseling sessions together. This is especially true when you are staring at a divorce.

For many people, going to marriage and family counseling ends up being something that he’s a lifelong activity. This may sound like something that would never be the case for you, but I have witnessed people who were skeptical of going to counseling end up being the biggest fans of the process that I’ve ever seen. Having someone that you and your spouse can build a relationship with and develop a rapport around the subjects of your marriage can be extremely helpful. Do not underestimate how much benefit you and your spouse can receive from simply being in a position where the two of you can have a safe place to go and discuss issues. 

For example, have you and your spouse ever gotten yourself into a position where you attempted to have a productive conversation about a difficult subject only to find that the two of you ended up fighting more than you did discuss whatever it is you set out to talk about? This is not uncommon. Again, if you throw hurt feelings, difficult subject matter, and uncertainty about how to communicate the subject to one another altogether you have a potential recipe for disaster. Rather than continue to bang your head against the metaphoric wall in trying to work through marital problems that are beyond your skill level a marriage or family therapist can help you to develop your communication skills in a comfortable environment. The therapist can stop conversations that are not productive and steer the conversation towards areas that may allow you and your spouse to succeed in solving problems and developing positive communication skills.

Where to find a marriage or family therapist

One of the parts of the pandemic that may have been a positive thing is that it increased the availability of counseling options for many people. It used to be that you had to attend in-person therapy if you ever wanted to see a mental health counselor. However, now that we have been exposed to virtual counseling, meetings, and all different sorts of online activities we have seen the number of doctors available to meet with you online increase a great deal. There are even apps for your phone that allow you to find a counselor local to your area who can assist you through certain issues that you are facing in your life. Marriage and family counseling would be among those issues, but you could potentially find someone to meet with you over the computer.

Next, there are always traditional methods of meeting with a counselor over the phone or in person. I know that some people have a regular time each week that they meet with their counselor in the office. Now that many if not all counselors are back to meeting in person with their clients you can probably find that there are more options available to you when it comes to counselor visits. If you are out of town or otherwise unavailable for in-person meetings, then your counselor may be available by phone during your normally scheduled office hours. 

Additionally, you may even be able to go through your church to find a counselor. For example, if you are a Christian then you may have a preference with your spouse to seek counseling with a Christian counselor. If this is the case, then you can always reach out to your priest or pastor. The leader of your religious congregation may be able to assist you directly even if he or she is not a licensed marriage or family therapist. Rather, he or she may have a great deal of real-world experience in being able to help you and your spouse identify problem areas in your marriage and help to further develop your communication skills. You simply need to ask him or her and you may be surprised by the resources made available to you.

Finally, I would recommend that you walk through the available counselors or therapists with your health insurance provider. If at all possible, you should seek to determine whether or not your health insurance covers therapist visits like this. If so, then working with an in-network provider of care would be ideal. You can either contact your preferred provider directly and ask whether or not your health insurance is accepted by him or her period or, you can reach out to your health insurance provider directly to make that determination. Either way, not having cost be a major concern associated with receiving treatment can be something that can potentially make you feel a great deal better about going to get therapy.

Final thoughts on reconciling a marriage

No matter what anyone else tells you the circumstances of your marriage and potentially of your divorce are unique to you and your spouse. Assuming that it will be impossible for you to communicate your way through the problems and your marriage would be a major mistake. This is especially true if you believe so only because you have been told how difficult it is by other people. Just because the problems in someone else’s marriage were too much for them to work through doesn’t mean that the same will be the case for you. Rather, you and your spouse should exhaust every resource available to you when it comes to trying to save your marriage.

If the two of you are on the same page and you believe that reconciling during a divorce is in your best interest, then you should attempt to do so. This is true even if your family members, attorneys, or anyone else drive to tell you to just get along with the process of getting divorced. Not attempting to reconcile even during a divorce may end up being one of the biggest regrets you ever have. However, this is a discussion that should start at home. You and your spouse can and should have discussions that are frank while being respectful of one another and your feelings. You may be surprised to learn that he or she shares many of the same concerns that you do regarding any aspect of your marriage. In that case, you all can work towards reconciling with one another with or without the assistance of a counselor or any other professional. 

Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free large consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.

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