The title of the blog says it all. Most people who come in for a free of charge consultation with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, will ask me some variation of the question: “What can I do to make sure my divorce doesn’t cost me an arm and a leg?” It’s almost presumed that it will cost you an arm or a leg, but that is preferable if you can save a limb.
To answer that question, I have several responses waiting to respond with. In yesterday’s blog post, we went through a few of them, and today we will discuss several other ways that you can ensure that your divorce will cost an arm and a leg. I will say that sometimes an expensive divorce is unavoidable if the issues are correct and the circumstances are difficult. However, anyone who tells you that a costly divorce is likely or a given is telling you untruths.
If any of these scenarios hit close to home, you are best served by contacting a licensed family law attorney sooner rather than later. The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, offer free of charge consultations to people like you who have questions about divorce.
Pick your lawyer carefully, or risk paying a lot for even a simple divorce.
If you’re ever at home during the day and find yourself watching television, you will likely come across an advertisement for any number of personal injury attorneys. These folks tend to come across as aggressive, in-your-face lawyers and do so for a reason. If you are injured in a car accident and are dealing with a hostile insurance company, sometimes it pays to be aggressive and in your face. This isn’t always true, but it can be beneficial for those who feel like they are getting taken advantage of by an aggressive attorney.
What those attorneys are promising you is that they will advocate for you. They will take what rights you have and represent them in court, at the negotiating table, and any point in between. The same should be said for your family law attorney. If you hire a lawyer to represent you in your divorce case, you want someone who is assertive and will advocate for you; however, if you choose an attorney who comes across like one that would see on daytime television, you may have signed up for more than you can bargain for.
Often, your attorney (who is likely more bark than bite) will spend more time stirring up the waters that you and your spouse are trying to swim in. Intentionally acting like a bulldog may have won your attorney a new client (you) but that attitude and demeanor does little for winning you goodwill with your spouse and their attorney. When you consider that the vast majority of divorces in Texas conclude in a mediator’s office rather than a courtroom, this is a counterproductive mindset to have for the most part.
If you become entrenched in your positions because of hard work with an attorney, your rights are being harmed, and you are paying for the harm. Going to court is the outcome is no resolution can be reached directly with your spouse. This means extra time and money added to your case. There is no guarantee that you stand to get a better outcome for yourself from a judge than from working with your spouse to settle the outstanding issues in your case.
With all of this said, your job as a potential divorce client is to interview as many lawyers as you can before hiring one. Suppose you get a recommendation from a friend or family member; go and speak to them. Learn what services the lawyer provides and how much they charge for them. Talk to them about their experience handling divorces like yours and what sort of outcomes have been achieved. The tricky part of the interview is that you need to determine if you feel comfortable with that attorney and anticipate that the lawyer will represent your interests first and foremost. You can only get a good idea about these issues by talking to as many lawyers as possible.
Special needs children can sometimes drive up the cost of your divorce
Understandably you and your spouse will want to do what is best for your unique needs child. Unfortunately, your idea of what is in your child’s best interests may not line up exactly with what your spouse believes to be in your child’s best interests.
Does your child require medical attention on a near-daily basis? Are doctor appointments a weekly, if not bi-weekly, a fact of life? If so, your child will likely need to live with a parent who has greater job flexibility than in many families. Suppose you cannot work because you need to be available for your child’s medical treatment. In that case, your attorney will likely need to negotiate for a greater than guidelines level of child support as well as spousal maintenance, if applicable. Even if your spouse agrees that you need to be the parent who lives with your child primarily, there may be a more extended than average period of negotiation on the support issues.
On top of these problems that need to be overcome, you and your spouse will need to agree on sharing the rights and duties with your child. Suppose you believe that you need to have independent authority to make medical decisions for your son due to your spouse being unavailable on a day-to-day basis due to work commitments. In that case, you will want to push for this in negotiations. On the other hand, your spouse may want to be consulted or share in the decision-making process regardless of their work commitments.
These issues will all need to be sorted out between yourselves, or you will have to go to a trial to have a judge do the dirty work for you. Regardless, you are looking at factors that will drive up the cost of your divorce. As I mentioned at the outset of today’s blog post, some unavoidable issues in a divorce and are worth the extra time and money commitments. Making sure your child is well taken care of is one of those issues.
A final rundown of cost-increasing factors in a divorce will be discussed tomorrow.
On behalf of the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, I appreciate your desire to learn more about managing the costs of your divorce case. While there are no surefire ways to prevent the high costs of divorce, it shows good judgment on your part to question why divorce needs to be expensive and how best to avoid a lengthy, expensive, and challenging divorce from your spouse.
Tomorrow’s blog post will conclude our series of blogs on this subject. The topics we touch on tomorrow are among the most important issues discussed with you, so I recommend returning to spend some more time with us.
In the meantime, if you have any questions about divorce, child custody, or any other family law case, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. We offer free of charge consultations to our community members six days a week. Our goals in these consultations are to answer any questions that you ask us and do our best to go through the possible outcomes of your case. If you have goals, we can discuss those and how best you can achieve those.
From Angleton to Baytown, up to The Woodlands, and over to Waller, the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, take great pride in representing our neighbors in a wide array of family law cases. To learn more about our office and us, please contact us today.