Is it time for you to contact a family law attorney? Part Two in a Series

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 your goals.

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 contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. A free of charge consultation with one of our licensed family law attorneys is only a phone call away.

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