Most people do not move towards a divorce eagerly. Begrudgingly, anxiously, nervously, angrily- insert whatever adverb you would like; most people are not all that excited to end their marriage legally. Sure, it may be in your best interests to do so, but you would rather have a functional, loving marriage. A divorce is admitting to yourself on some level that you have not been able to make the most important relationship you've ever been in work. On top of that, you are facing the consequences of that failed relationship- legal costs, time spent on the divorce itself, and a division in your family.
With all of those negative aspects of divorce in place, it should come as no surprise that some folks who hire an attorney do so to keep from having to do a lot of the painful parts of divorce on their own. Again, this is understandable. You may even count yourself among those that plan on doing the same thing.
Today's blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, will center around the subject many people seek to avoid preparing financially for a divorce. Hiring a reasonable and experienced family law attorney to represent you in your divorce is a good step in preparing for a divorce. Still, it is far from the only step of preparation you should embark upon.
The relationship between your finances and divorce
Most people going through a divorce will tell you that money became a problem in their marriage somewhere along the line. That doesn't always mean that there was too little money, but as you can probably attest to, there is a difference between making enough money and knowing where that money goes. I'd venture to tell most of you reading this blog make enough between you and your spouse to support your household. The issue that I have seen people struggle with is keeping track of where their money is going and doing enough to control spending to save for a rainy day. Easier said than done, however.
A divorce will require you and your spouse to divide up the property between one another. This can be relatively simple if you all have little property and a good understanding of your goals in the divorce. On the other hand, if you both own a great deal of property and disagree on how it should be divided, then your divorce may end up being longer and more drawn out than most.
Finances are always a touchy subject to get into with someone. The advice I am providing to you today is intended to apply to divorces, generally speaking. I understand that your divorce may have different circumstances affecting it than what I am about to describe in the remainder of this blog. If yours is like that and the topics we touched on today were not helpful, please contact our office to discuss your case with one of our attorneys. We can provide you with specific advice and knowledge about the issues affecting your case.
Begin to budget your money if you do not already do so
This is an easy one that every one of us should do. You probably know how much you earn but do you know where all the money you earn goes by the end of any given month. Every bill, every item purchased at the store, entertainment, and any other cost relevant to your family should be tracked so you can provide this information to your attorney. Knowing your income and outgo are each month is critically important in your divorce. If you need to request spousal maintenance or a higher than the standard level of child support, your monthly bills will be relevant to that discussion.
On top of those concerns, how your community estate is divided will be determined in part by need and circumstance. Suppose you have relatively little in the way of separate property and have a job that does not pay you a significant amount of money. In that case, you may be in line to be awarded a greater than 50% share of your community estate for making up for those deficiencies.
Listen to the advice people provide but be wary of accepting all of it.
While you may have numerous people in your life who have been through divorces and are all too eager to give you advice, I would tell you to be cautious about listening too closely. That's not to say that you should be overly dismissive or rude when and if a healthy meaning person offers you advice. It does mean that every divorce is different, and to rely upon one person's advice who doesn't know anything about your circumstances is not a smart move.
Instead, consider seeking perspectives from people with specific knowledge of divorces- like attorneys- and confide in those who are aware of your case's facts and circumstances.
Don't expect to go through your divorce without a fight.
Unless you have a truly uncontested divorce where all issues have been settled beforehand and the divorce amounts to a formalization of your agreement, your case will have its fair share of disagreements between you and your spouse. This does not mean that your case is about to turn into World War Three, but it does mean that you should expect to be dealt some blowback by your spouse when it comes to financial issues.
You can combat this by collecting documents early in your preparation for the case. This is especially relevant if you believe that you will eventually be forced to leave your house. The odds of you getting back into your house long enough to collect the information that may be very helpful to your case is low, so planning and getting the documents when you have a chance is an intelligent move.
What documents should you gather before your divorce?
Some documents are relevant to nearly all divorces in Texas. The issue for most people is tracking all of them down. I think we can all admit to not being as organized as we would like to be, and no other time does this come back to haunt people more than in a divorce. Scrambling through file cabinets and folders on your computer for tax documents is not my idea of a good time.
Why not start the process early by getting a year's worth of checking/savings account statements. Investment statements, retirement account information, credit card statements, and loan information are some of the items that represent the tip of your financial iceberg. What's nice is that most people, yourself included, most likely, do so much of their financial work online that it is easier to access documents when you are away.
Interested in more tips to prepare financially for a divorce in Texas? Head back to our blog tomorrow
Tomorrow's blog post will conclude our tips to prepare financially for a Texas divorce. We hope that what we have covered today has been full of relevant and practical information. It is not easy to go through a divorce, and it is tough to know how to maximize your time best when you have never been involved in a divorce. That's why we share this sort of information with you all to help you at whatever stage of the process you find yourself in.
Questions about divorce generally? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC
The attorneys and staff with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, thank you for your interest in this vital topic. If you have any questions about the content of today's blog or are just seeking clarification on a subject, please get in touch with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, today. We offer free of charge consultations six days a week with one of our licensed family law attorneys. From Baytown to Conroe, we represent people in our community just like you during the hard times in their lives. Talk to us today about how we can do the same for you and your family.