At the Sisemore Law Firm in Fort Worth, we often hear clients say, “My Texas divorce and child custody case will be a simple one.” For some, this may be wishful thinking, after all, divorces typically cost less when they’re resolved quickly. Others may assume they can wrap up their divorce pronto because minimal assets are involved, say a house, a retirement account and a little bit of debt. What clients underestimate in both scenarios is how complicated divorce can become when child custody comes into play.
Just look at Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who originally filed for divorce back in the fall of 2016. They probably would have been divorced years ago, yet their divorce continues to drag on due to ongoing disagreements about child custody and visitation.
The average duration of a Texas divorce is longer when kids are involved
While yours may not be a Hollywood marriage gone awry, divorces in Texas that involve children do take longer to resolve and cost more on average. According to the Martindale-Nolo research firm, the average duration of a divorce in Texas is 9.75 months without kids, compared to 14 months with kids. Cost-wise, the average cost of a divorce in Texas is $15.3K and $23.5K respectively.
This rings true at our Tarrant County family law firm, where we often find divorces with children are even more complex than highly complex property division cases. One of the big reasons why many child custody cases drag out is that the couple’s marital life and ability to co-parent have gone completely off the rails.
Think about it. If you can’t get along well enough with the other parent to be able to drop of your child for a custody exchange, your case typically isn’t going to be simple. It’s probably not going to get over with quickly either.
Texas family courts want parents to figure out how to co-parent
They’re also going to make it painful for you if you don’t try co-parent civilly, and it’s likely to cost you more money if you resist. Believe it or not, that’s all by design here in Texas. Judges want parents to learn how to peacefully co-parent because it’s in the best interest of the child.
The temporary custody and visitation orders that parents must follow during a divorce with children are just that – temporary. They allow parents time to work through issues that come up in the early stages of a divorce, like the best location for custody exchanges and how to address holidays and vacations.
During the divorce process, we also encourage our clients to live by the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This is especially when children are involved. Sure, in the short run, it can be frustrating. You may feel like you’re doing everything right, following the instructions in the temporary orders, while the other parent is not.
However, if you buck up and live by the Golden Rule, the judge will be more likely to view you – and your behavior – as positive and in your child’s best interest. It will also increase the likelihood that the judge will side with you on custody and visitation over the parent who doesn’t take peaceful co-parenting seriously.
Have questions about divorce and child custody in Texas?
The divorce and child custody attorneys at the Sisemore Law Firm in Fort Worth are here to help. To schedule a confidential consultation with our founder Justin Sisemore, contact us today.