Portrait of John K Grubb

Texas Divorce and Prenuptial Agreement

4550 Post Oak Place, Suite 201 • Houston, Texas 77027-3139

Phone: 713-877-8800 • Fax: 713-877-1229

Lessons from a long divorce

When people get married, they think that they will be with their spouse forever. Through thick and thin, in good times and bad, it’s “I do until death do us part.” Divorce doesn’t enter the minds of most people.

When couples break up, the dream is shattered. People become bitter. After all, didn’t each promise to love the other forever?

Even divorcing lawyers, it seems, aren’t immune to seeking revenge on the other spouse. An Ohio couple, both law professors, filed for divorce in 1996 after 10 years of marriage. The children are now grown, one spouse has remarried, but court battles still continue.

Generally, marriage dissolutions involving children can be completed within one year with no more than 400 court entries. The now divorced Ohio counselors have filed 28 post-decree suits against each other and accumulated more than 1,400 court entries, which includes judges’ complaints citing nonobservance of court regulations.

As early as 2003, the Court was disgusted by inappropriate behavior. The parties were censured for “unrelenting hostility,” legal maneuvers to deprive one spouse contact with the children, and disregard of court orders. A new spouse has publicly weighed in on the battle, upsetting efforts to bring legal proceedings to an end.

Houston has had its share of past acrimonious divorce cases. Movies have been made about the more infamous Texas cases. Despite murder and money in past Texas break-ups, nothing can top the Ohio case in terms of length.

Houstonians can learn lessons from this nationally-headlined divorce to apply to their own case.

Tips for Avoiding a Long Divorce

  1. First and foremost, select a Houston divorce attorney who will be honest and advise you when you have reached a fair settlement. The attorney you choose should have experience with Harris County’s Family Courts judges’ mannerisms and their individual court rules.
  2. Always take the high road when dealing with an unyielding spouse. Be willing to listen and compromise for a mutually agreeable resolution. Listening and the willingness to make concessions help shorten your time in court.
  3. If you have children, think of them first. A family’s break up affects children no matter what age. While they’re dealing with the changes in their lives, the worst thing you can do is have lengthy court battles.
  4. Negotiate your divorce settlement in good faith. Being honest and forthright impresses the attorneys (both your own and your spouse’s), mediators, judges and other professionals involved in your case.
  5. The Houston Family Courts do have limits on their patience. Tactics such as unsubstantiated rescheduling and disregard of court orders can result not only in angering the judge on your case, but in fines and/or jail time.

Keeping a level head will prevent a case for dragging out for a generation. Who wants to continue a fight in Houston Family Court 20 years down the road?

At any rate, the two irascible Ohio law professors are due back in court September 6.

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