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Tragic end to bitter Texas divorce case

One older Texan must now serve in 40 years in prison. The sentence follows the 69-year-old man's guilty plea in a devastating 2010 altercation with his wife; the attack resulted in the woman's death.

A little over two years ago, the couple had been engaged in a difficult divorce battle. In Texas, options such as collaborative law and divorce mediation have sprung up to help couples avoid such nasty disputes. The emotional intensity of traditional divorce can often prove overwhelming, as it appeared to be in this case out of Fort Worth.

In the summer of 2010, a family law judge ordered the husband to pay not only spousal support, but also the legal fees of his wife. Just one day after the ruling, the North Texas man drove a sledgehammer into the door of his estranged spouse's residence. He then fatally shot the woman in her yard.

After the disturbing incident, the man drove to a police station and voluntarily turned himself in to authorities.

While countless factors combine to cause deadly events, the intense stress of divorce can easily become one of them. In Texas, the family law system has responded progressively to this problem, offering couples in the midst of a split the chance to collaborate instead of compete.

Divorcing couples can use collaborative law to avoid court, since the process involves advance agreement that contested issues will stay out of the courtroom.

While collaborative law still has attorneys representing each party to a divorce, the lawyers are trained in the collaborative process. In addition, there are also neutral professionals who are themselves well-versed in collaborative law. The end result is a focus on mutual benefit and a conclusion that sits well with both parties.

Source: The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, "Man gets 40 years for killing wife in Arlington," Nov. 27, 2012

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Attorney Christine K. Lincoln

Christine K. Lincoln offers sound counsel and legal services to protect clients and their families facing divorce and other family disputes.

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