Texas couples who know their marriage isn’t going to last have options. Many people think that the only choice for a divorce is to have the family courts make all the major decisions. However, you and your spouse can speed up the divorce process and reduce how much it costs by filing for an agreed or uncontested divorce.

Agreed divorces often stem from pre-existing legal documents, such as a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. These marital contracts are often the result of intense negotiations and outline everything from shared custody arrangements to the division of your personal property and debts. Still, even if you don’t have a pre-existing agreement, you may be able to set terms before you file for divorce.

As with any other kind of divorce, agreed divorces are subject to the 60-day waiting period necessary for all divorces in the state. Beyond that, however, an uncontested divorce could be faster and simpler for your entire family.

Dividing complex assets in an uncontested divorce

Texas supplies the community standard in the division of assets. They try to come up with a solution that fits your family circumstances. After a review of factors such as the length of your marriage, the contributions of each spouse, your individual economic situations and even your custody arrangements, the courts will do their best to split your possessions and debts in a reasonable manner.

Unfortunately, that means you have zero control over the specific terms that result from a contested divorce. You could lose assets that you treasure. In an agreed divorce, you and your ex can hash out all of the details ahead of time, helping to ensure you’re both happier with the terms.

For example, if your ex wants to stay in the family home with the kids, you may agree to that request, provided that you get to retain the full balance of your 401k. An agreed divorce gives you more control over negotiations and helps you secure specific assets or terms that matter the most to you in your divorce.

Handling child custody in an agreed divorce

Setting custody arrangements can often be as difficult if not harder than agreeing on property division terms. Your family will have its own unique needs that the courts may not be able to work into a parenting plan.

Filing for an uncontested or agreed divorce lets you and your ex hash out specific arrangements for custody that work optimally for your family’s circumstances. Then, as with the division of your assets, the courts only need to approve the terms that you set. Provided that you and your ex can agree to cooperate, an agreed divorce gives you more control over the outcome of your divorce and can help you keep the costs low and the details of your divorce private.