Today’s blog post will be the second and final post in a series of
articles written by the
Law Office of Bryan Fagan on the topic of the appropriate time to hire a
family law attorney for your divorce case. Obviously there is no one size fits all
rule for anything in the law, but broadly speaking I believe the situations
and circumstances that we will cover in these two blog posts will cover
you and your family pretty well.
With that said, let’s jump into our discussion today about the types
of divorces and how an attorney will be able to assist you in handling each.
Know your family and you will know what type of divorce you are facing
One of the areas that only you (other than your spouse) will be able to
make an accurate judgment on is the sort of divorce that will be necessary.
That last sentence is not meant to imply that there are multiple sorts
of divorces and that special rules apply to each. Everyone files for divorce
in Texas, waits the sixty days (with a few exceptions) and then is divorced
at some point after the sixty-first date. However, the sort of issues
you and your family are dealing with in areas like child custody and property
division will ultimately determine the level of involvement that your
case will undergo.
If you and your spouse are pretty much in agreement on the big picture
items of your divorce a family law attorney will most likely just need
to work with you on fine tuning that agreement, reducing it to writing
and then the production of a final decree that is fit for a judge to review and sign.
On the other hand, if you and your spouse cannot agree on who should be
the primary parent of your children, how your business is to be divided
up in the divorce and if spousal maintenance will be an issue then it
is likely that a longer, drawn out divorce is upcoming. In that case you
will need to seek representation to ensure that no ground is lost on the
field of negotiations while simultaneous preparations are being made to
try your case in front of a judge if necessary.
Let’s go over the main types of divorces. It is likely that your
divorce will fall into one of these categories.
Straightforward and simple divorces
Many people come into a consultation with one of our lawyers with the concern
that he or she has World War Three on their hands in terms of a potential
divorce. The feeling from within the marriage and within the physical
confines of the family home is that nobody is happy, each spouse is out
for blood and nothing short of an all out war will satisfy their spouse.
However, once the layers of the problem are peeled back you and I will
likely come to learn that there aren’t as many issues as once thought
and the depth of the problems that do exist can be solved with compromise.
If you are a parent you will want, essentially, the same things for your
child as your spouse does. Your motivations may be different, your means
of achieving those goals for your children may differ as well. However,
if raising happy, well adjusted and healthy children is your goal it is
likely that your spouse would check those same boxes as well in terms
of a “wish list” for raising your children.
In terms of a property division, the fact is that most folks don’t
own a ton of property. You and your spouse may own your home and a few
vehicles but outside of those items and a retirement account it is unlikely
that your property division will be complicated. I always tell clients
that if you’re concerned about who gets the silverware in a divorce
then that is a great sign, because ultimately, the silverware is a pretty
insignificant discussion to be having in the context of your divorce.
Divorces with conflict and issues to be resolved
On the other end of the divorce spectrum are divorces in which you and
your spouse are not only unable to agree on solutions but are unable or
unwilling to communicate about them. When there are problems to be solved
and no means to do so a family law attorney is absolutely necessary to
bridge the gaps. Your attorney will wear many hats in a divorce like this:
counselor, therapist, negotiator, motivational speaker and if necessary
courtroom advocate. A successful family law attorney is typically a person
who balances great people skills with a willingness to see an issue from
multiple perspectives. If your divorce is intense and the issues between
your spouse cause you to be unable to see them for what they are then
a divorce attorney offer the sort of assistance that is necessary to accomplish
It is likely that neither you nor your spouse want to have your divorce
end up in a courtroom with a judge deciding who gets what. Judges try
their best to be fair and to make decisions based on the evidence presented
to them but the fact remains that their access to information is limited
by time and the rules of evidence. Not everything you would want the judge
to know about your family will be able to come out in a trial. The same
goes for your spouse.
Typically agreements and settlements arise in mediation. Mediation allows
you and your attorney to hone in on what are the most important parts
of your case and to prepare for and negotiate on them in a setting that
encourages discussion and problem solving. Having an attorney who is experienced
in mediating divorce cases can make a tremendous difference for you. Knowing
what to emphasize in terms of your strengths and how to minimize potential
weaknesses from a bargaining perspective can help you keep your goals
within reach. Saving time, money and stress for your family are more added
benefits of being able to take advantage of an opportunity to settle in
mediation rather than risk your case in front of a judge.
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan: Advocates for Southeast Texas Families
Thank you for the opportunity to discuss not only when it is appropriate
to contact a
family law attorney but what the benefits of doing so are. If you have questions
for us, please do not hesitate to
Law Office of Bryan Fagan. A free of charge consultation with one of our licensed family law attorneys
is only a phone call away.