Last weekend, the Dallas Morning News published an article by writer Wayne Slater, which examined the life story of Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, including her two divorces. Included among the many opinion pieces sprung from that initial article were revelations about Davis’ second divorce to Jeff Davis in 2003 — a divorce in Jeff Davis was awarded custody of her youngest daughter and Wendy Davis agreed to pay child support.
This revelation surprised a great number of observers, who wondered why she was the one paying child support and why she wasn’t the one taking primary custody of her child, and speculation about her motivations and reasons found their way into various opinion pieces.
But a Texas Tribune article published four months ago discussed the situation they faced when they decided to end their marriage. Essentially, they came to the agreements together based on what was best for their children. Here’s the key passage in the article.
“In 2003, as Davis’ political career soared, her marriage fell apart. After Jeffry Davis filed for divorce, Wendy Davis traded their 4,300-square-foot home for a one-bedroom apartment. The house, which was in her husband’s name, is where Amber and Dru had grown up and that’s where they wanted to stay, their mother recalled.
The final, agreed-to divorce decree in 2005 gave Jeff Davis primary custody of Dru, who was then 17, and Wendy Davis agreed to pay $1,200 a month in child support, records show.
Having grown up without the benefit of child support herself, Davis said it was the right thing to do.
“My girls wanted to stay in their family home,’’ she said. “I did feel like as the non-custodial parent that that was my obligation.” Today her daughters are constantly at her side and Davis calls the trio “incredibly close.”
While we’ll (gladly) leave political talk to other blogs positioned on both sides of the aisle, we applaud both Wendy and Jeff Davis for working together to determine answers for questions they faced, in a way that best served their needs and their children’s needs, even though others might have found those answers unconventional then and even now.
Collaborative law allows couples to do what they did — making their own decisions about solutions for themselves and their children, based on their principles — with the bonus of lawyers, mental health professionals, and financial professionals working together as a team, giving guidance in what solutions work to best meet everyone’s needs, and getting them there in as many meetings as they need to negotiate terms. Collaborative law offers divorcing couples the flexibility and confidentiality needed to work out solutions — which more and more people are finding to be a preferable option to fighting it out in court and letting a judge decide what will ultimately happen with children and assets.