Failing to educate yourself about the process options that might be workable and more efficient can really cost you in all sorts of ways.
Lisa Decker, a Certified Financial Divorce Analyst, uses this quote she heard from a Family Court Judge, to explain why clients should not rush into a divorce without seriously considering their process options.
For example, many people do not realize that in Texas, once children reach the age of 18 and graduate from high school, their parents’ obligation to support them is over.
I am regularly asked by new divorce clients what the other parent’s obligation will be to pay for college; they are often shocked when tell them, “Your soon-to-be ex has no legal obligation to help you or your children reach that dream of a college education.”
Sadly, in many cases, it is not because of the law, but because of the animosity between parents that causes one parent NOT to contribute to their children’s post-high school education.
If the parents engage in litigation that results in great expense or the parties make irreparably damaging statements or other harmful actions against the other party, the incentive to work together for their children’s future education can be lost. If one parent alienates the children from the other parent or just generally makes the other parent’s life miserable for revenge or bitterness, one way that the parent who feels mistreated will respond is to not help with the children’s post-high school education.
Once parties start the litigation process, it can become an out-of-control snowball of expense, including hearings, discovery (written questions, requests for production and inspection of documents, and depositions) along with a formal mediation (which will cost thousands of dollars for the mediator and each attorney to prepare and attend the mediation), then if the case does not settle at mediation, a trial, all told easily costing the typical price of at least one if not more than one child’s college education.
In contrast, in the Collaborative Divorce process, the process is structured with a road-map, agendas, regularly scheduled meetings to keep the case moving, and the use of financial and parenting plan specialists to assist with much of the case at a lower cost than the attorneys’ cost.
This process enables the children’s (and the parties’) financial futures to be planned and protected by the parties with the support of a trained and experienced team. In Collaborative cases, because the entire team is working together to problem solve rather than fight, parents can even plan for their children’s post-high school educations and work together to make their children’s dreams come true.