Advice for divorcing spouses during lockdown

Our lives had become a little bit more complicated over the past three months due to the coronavirus and the government LED shutdowns of the economy that were implemented in order to flatten the curve. Many of us have started working from home and even homeschooling our children because of the schools being closed as well. Roads have no traffic and businesses have had to shut down due to lack of patronage due to these lockdowns. Changes that we would have thought to be impossible previously have now become the norm and depending on where you live in Texas may end up extending out into the future months. 

The changes and challenges presented by the COVID-19 lockdowns have been felt acutely in the family law community. In many other areas of the law people’s business disputes and other problems that require judicial intervention haven’t put to the side to be dealt with at a later time. Anyone who has gone through a court battle or lawsuit can tell you that their case, no matter how trivial it may be in the future, is an extremely important endeavor at that moment. 

However, I think that family law cases are the most important matters that will ever go before a judge. That’s not to say that a divorce will be as valuable in terms of dollars as a business dispute. What it does mean is that a divorce is not something that you can Simply put up on the shelf to be picked up later at a time when it is more convenient for all the parties involved. A person can leave their business dispute at the office and return home to their family. what if the dispute is your family? 

People going through a divorce don’t have the luxury to set aside their legal matter and hopes of picking up where they left off when the pandemic passes. Rather, what we need to keep in mind is that people going through divorces are struggling to be able to provide stability for their children while remaining intact physically, emotionally and financially. For these reasons I don’t believe that there are any legal matters better more integral to a person’s life than a family law case.

How best, then, can you as a person who was going through a Texas divorce during the COVID-19 pandemic cope with the challenges presented to you, ready your children for a different way of life and do so wall having your rights advocated for properly? That will be the topic of today’s blog post. How best can you in your family succeed in a Texas divorce during the COVID-19 pandemic? 

Keep yourself organized as best as you are able 

I think the title to this blog post section should have been “Keep yourself organized as best as you are able- or get organized to begin with.” Many of us wished that we were more organized. We look around and we think to ourselves today is the day that I’m going to do this or do that to keep my affairs in order and better structured my life so that I have more time and energy to spend on what I really care about. The pandemic is offered us a perfect opportunity to identify areas of our life that need better organization and to begin to take steps to do so. 

Why is it so important to become or to remain organized during a divorce? The reality of the situation is that yes you will have an attorney to assist you in proceeding with your divorce. However, your attorney is not equipped to also step into your personal life and organize your affairs. Your attorney can offer advice and perspective on how important it is to be organized but the attorney cannot do the work for you. You must go through the steps to organize yourself so that the parts of your life that are not intricately related to your divorce can continue to operate during this time. 

As you are preparing to get a divorce, I recommend taking a few simple steps to get yourself ready for the divorce and to assist your attorney if you are planning on hiring one. For one, you should begin to collect username, password and login information for your computer and online accounts. Retirement plans that you have not checked in months are going to become very important in a divorce. it is better to have access to this information yourself rather than having to rely upon an ex-spouse to help you learn what is inside of your 401K. 

What having your login information and passwords will also do is to help you keep yourself protected in the event that your spouse attempts to access your information without your permission. You can remove your login information and passwords off of your computer and change passwords if necessary. While your spouse doesn’t have the legal right to access your email that doesn’t stop people from doing so. I recommend organizing your life in such a way that she removes any doubt that someone could access your information in this way. 

Next, you can begin to organize financial documents in advance of your divorce. You do not need to go all the way back to the beginning of your marriage to find old tax returns or other financial documents, but I think the last three to five years of your tax returns, investment account statements, another financial documents would be important to keep handy for your divorce. Especially if you plan on selling your home or receiving any of your equity out of the house in the divorce you should keep track of what your mortgage stands at and what you believe the house could sell for. 

This is another area where Your attorney and their staff will be able to assist you during the case. However, it can be very expensive to have an entire attorney’s office devoted to helping you sort through boxes and boxes of statements from financial institutions. I can tell you from experience due to needing to do this for past clients of mine. Remember that family law attorneys billed by the hour and for every chunk of time that your attorney and their staff is spending going through documents that is time that is billed to you. You can avoid this expense and any possible delays in your divorce case by becoming organized and doing this work yourself ahead of time. 

Use this time wisely if you would like to attempt to reconcile with your spouse 

every couple that goes through a divorce finds themselves in a unique position. You may know people who have gotten a divorce but their particular circumstance is likely to be much different than your own. There are no two people that are exactly like you and your spouse and your circumstances change and evolve as a result of those unique qualities. When you are going through a divorce it is important for you to understand the core reasons why the divorce has been filed and whether or not you all can do anything to stop the divorce from happening. 

The tough part about reconciling with a spouse after a divorce has been filed is that while it only takes one spouse to file for divorce it takes 2 spouses to stop a divorce. Just because you are on board with attempting a reconciliation with your spouse does not mean that he or she will feel the same way about you. That can be an extremely hurtful realization to come to that you want to do everything possible to attempt to save your marriage while your spouse is doing everything possible to end your marriage. 

It is part of your job while this divorce is ongoing during the pandemic to figure out whether or not a reconciliation is possible. Not only should you figure out whether or not it is possible but whether or not your spouse will put forth the effort required to save your marriage. It may be that there are simple communication changes that the two of you can make in order to salvage the relationship. Meeting once a week or so with a counselor or therapist can go a long way towards healing communication divides between couples. 

On the other hand, if your divorce was brought about due to a lack of trust caused by infidelity or any other issue related to trust then you may have a more difficult time at reconciling with your spouse. I have seen men and women file for divorce due to financial infidelity almost as regularly as do too marital infidelity. If you have filed for divorce because your husband or wife were unfaithful during your marriage and that has left a deep scar on the relationship. So, too, can financial problems have brought about by secrets and lying. if your spouse has been hiding spending from you and that’s pending his cause problems in the relationship or in the structure of your household, they can feel very similar to marital infidelity.

If you have nothing but time on your hands during this lock down, it may be a useful application of that time to talk with your spouse about the problems in your marriage. You can turn off the television and any other distractions and put your focus squarely on the other person. It may be uncomfortable for you all to do this at first, but I think it is necessary if you want to begin the process of reconciliation. Most people who file for divorce end up getting the divorce that they’re after. That doesn’t mean but you and your spouse have to count yourselves among this group of people, however. 

Begin to work with an attorney if you are contemplating a divorce 

it is difficult enough as it is to file for divorce and represent yourself. There is so much that you don’t know about the divorce process that no number of online articles or blog posts can teach you. This is no different than your own job. You could take two or three hours to describe to me all the essential functions of your job. But, if I were to step into your shoes and perform your job duties the following day there will be many, many things that I would not know how to do even though you took so much time to go over the job duties with me. There is no substitute for experience in this regard. 

The law is no different. Yes, you can file for divorce on your own. Yes, you can get a divorce without an attorney.  However, given the challenges presented by the lockdowns in the uncertainty with win quarts or resume normal operations it is imperative that you have up to date information and how to best file for, negotiate and conclude a divorce. An experienced family law attorney is the person best equipped to help you through this journey. 

Attorneys are more flexible than ever on how you would be able to reach us to learn more about your situation. For example, our law practice offers free of charge consultations by phone, via video and now in person. As the governor further opens up the economy and the lockdowns begin to cease, I believe that we will see some degree of normalcy return relatively soon. Until then and while the virus is still a part of our lives, I think it is great advice for you to seek the assistance and advocacy skills of an experienced family law attorney. new paragraph  

Questions about going through a divorce during the COVID-19 pandemic? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan 

if you have any questions about the material that we have shared with you today in this blog post please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultation six days a week where your questions can be answered, and our attorneys can share with you the services that we can provide to you and your family as clients of ours. thank you for choosing to spend part of your day with us here on our blog. 

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