Bear in mind that a divorce truly is a means to an end. A person I know who helps people learn how to cope with divorce will tell people that divorce turns marriage into a business transaction. This may not be the most pleasant way to think about divorce, but I have to say that it rings true often. Marriage is always about the two people involved in the relationship. You and your spouse have a history together, and for better or worse, that history is about to become a part of a legal case. Hopefully, that is something you have thought of before beginning the case.
That is just the nature of the beast. It is unavoidable for you to encounter some degree of dirty laundry in a divorce. Yours, your spouse’s, or both of you will have personal information that is less than flattering made known to at least your attorneys and possibly a courtroom full of people. Don’t think of this as a reason to delay your divorce or to not get one at all. Instead, it is a wake-up call to anyone out there who thinks that a divorce must go a certain way. Your destiny in a divorce is not the same as your neighbor’s. You can get divorced and have the experience be different than what you have been led to believe a divorce must be.
Above all else, you can minimize the amount of stress that you undergo because of the divorce by thinking ahead and being intentional about how to go about getting a divorce. In today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, I will share with you some thoughts on this subject. From the beginning of a divorce until its end, I will focus with you on what you can do to reduce stress and keep your eye on the prize of a successful divorce.
Be confident about needing the divorce.
Do not rush into a divorce. It may feel good to rush headfirst into a divorce case, but I can tell you that it is not intelligent to do that. Divorces cannot be undone. Theoretically, you can remarry a person you get a divorce from. However, there is an emotional aspect that you cannot undo. You can’t un-ring that bell. Is telling your husband or wife that you no longer want to be married to him or she is something life-changing. Those are words that you will never forget to say, and they will never forget hearing.
Wondering if you should have gone through counseling before filing for divorce is probably a good sign that you should have gone through counseling before filing for divorce. Don’t ignore your instincts in this regard. Listen to that little voice inside your head. It isn’t necessarily self-doubt that questions whether you need to get divorced. Sometimes it is the voice of reason trying to force you into slowing down rather than marching headlong into a complex divorce case.
Talk to your spouse about the possibility of going to counseling or therapy. Suppose you don’t think traditional therapy or counseling will work for your family after talking to your spouse. In that case, the two of you need to agree upon another avenue to talk through your problems together. It could be that a priest or pastor is willing and capable of lending a hand. Whatever option you ultimately choose, simply being able to talk through the issues in your marriage can go a long way towards helping you feel confident about needing to get a divorce in the first place.
If you feel like a divorce is right for you and your family, you should consider what the next steps look like for you. For most people who go through a divorce, that looks like hiring an experienced family law attorney to help guide you. Even if you have had friends or family members who have gotten divorced without an attorney, I still believe that it is essential for you to at least consider hiring an attorney before you make the difficult decision to get divorced without representation.
Hire the right attorney for you and your case
No two divorce attorneys are created equal. However, no two divorce clients are created equal as well. What you will experience in divorce is different from what your best friend experienced in his divorce. Since the fact patterns of every divorce are different, that means that you cannot entirely rely upon the advice and perspective of the people in your life who have gotten a divorce. By all means- ask them questions and get an idea about what their experience in divorce was like. However, to rely upon their advice fully would be a mistake.
This is especially true if you are told that you do not need to hire an attorney for your divorce. There is indeed no requirement under the law in Texas that you hire a lawyer to file your divorce case. People get divorced every day in our state without attorneys ever getting involved. However, just because you can get divorced without an attorney does not mean that you should or that you gain any advantage from doing so.
I get the impression that many people feel like they are getting away with something by not hiring an attorney to represent them. Almost like these folks are gaming the system by not hiring a lawyer. I think this is a mistake for most people going through a divorce. Here is my quick rule of thumb when it comes to hiring an attorney for a divorce case: if you do not have children in the divorce AND you do not have much or any property to divide, then you may be ok not to hire an attorney to represent you in a divorce.
On the other hand, if you have minor children before the court, you should hire an attorney to represent you in the divorce. Or, even if you don’t have minor children before the court, if you have a significant amount of community property to divide, then you should hire an attorney. Even to answer this last question requires you to have an attorney likely. Determining what community property is and what doesn’t likely require some degree of legal knowledge that you do not possess. When in doubt: hire an attorney. Interview multiple attorneys, ask them questions, listen to their responses, and go with the attorney with who you feel comfortable.
Not every attorney is built to represent you in a divorce. Like not every client feels comfortable with any attorney they happen to meet with. Instead, you must take the time necessary to visit an attorney before deciding to hire them. Once you give this subject some thought and then move forward with hiring an attorney, you will have peace of mind. Simply having someone in your corner to bounce ideas off and act as a sounding board is excellent.
The other important factor to consider here is that attorneys offer the ability to represent you in various ways in a divorce- or not at all. The traditional attorney-client relationship is one where they begin to represent you at the beginning of the divorce. It will have its duties discharged once the judge signs the divorce decree. However, this does not mean that you must follow these methods. For instance, you could hire an attorney to represent you only in hearings or trials. Next, you could hire an attorney to review the paperwork that you have drafted. Or, you may want to have an attorney present with you in mediation. Either way, have a plan created before the divorce regarding whether you will hire a lawyer. Having a clear-cut expression for your goals is a great way to move forward with confidence and be relatively stress-free in your divorce.
Follow the deadlines provided by the court.
Family law cases proceed upon a timeline for all aspects of a case. Many of these timelines are regarding filing documents with the court. For example, if you are provided discovery questions, you will typically have thirty days to turn in responses. It would be a great benefit to you and your case for you to meet this deadline and file your responses and objections to the questions asked of you. This will not only keep your case on track but will not delay it any further.
Many courts also provide deadlines for having your case set for a temporary order hearing or trial. Asking for an extension on the trial date may be an option, but it is not one that you should choose to take advantage of without a great deal of thought. Instead, it would help if you spent time thinking about what you need to do to ensure that your case is not delayed unnecessarily. This means performing an analysis that focuses on determining whether you will need to pause your case for any reason. If not, it is entirely up to you how quickly you move your case along.
Be willing to communicate with your spouse.
This piece of advice may sound ironic given that you are going through a divorce in no small part since you and your spouse have a hard time communicating. However, there is no better time to learn those communication skills once a divorce has been filed. Doing so will not guarantee a full-on reconciliation between the two of you, but it will help bridge the gap between you. Remember that you will need to negotiate with this person toward the end of your divorce. Additionally, if you and they have a child, this is more reason to learn the skills necessary to communicate. Many people feel like a divorce is a road to nowhere. However, with the right attorney and the willingness to communicate complex ideas, I think you and your spouse can work well together. This is not excessive optimism, either. This is based on my years of experience helping families go through a divorce here in southeast Texas.
Don’t let the small things in your divorce stress you out.
This is easier said than done in many regards, but I cannot tell you how important it is for you to focus on the big picture and block out the noise that comes along in a divorce. Petty squabbles with your ex-wife must be set to the side once the divorce starts. Instead, you need to focus on those parts of the divorce that will likely help you accomplish your leading objectives in a case.
For example, if you want to ensure that you have primary conservatorship of your children, you should focus on that from the beginning of your case. Communicate this to your attorney. Ask them what kind of steps help you accomplish these goals. Once you have established what kind of goals you have for a case, the rest of this is just a matter of keeping your eye on the prize. For the most part, I recommend devoting your divorce to those areas that most impact your children and a division of your community estate.
When you lose track of what is most important to you in your case, you typically find that arguments and petty behavior will ensue. During long stretches of a divorce case, I am familiar with how husbands and wives can tend to get on each other’s nerves. There may even get to a point where you and your attorney start to get on one another’s nerves. Most of us are familiar with the phrase familiarity breeds contempt. That is exceptionally true in the context of a divorce. You and your spouse are already plenty familiar with one another and have enough contempt to go around. Even those friendly with you can cause you to stress in a stressful situation.
My advice is to focus as much of your attention as possible on those areas of your case that will be the most important to you and to disregard anything owls. Let your attorney handle the day-to-day running of the case and interactions with the opposing attorney and respond to settlement offers. Maintain communication as you will be responsible for making the decisions in your case. However, the less you can fixate on issues that are not critical to your case, the better.
Do not put off until tomorrow what you can do today.
The primary temptation in a divorce case is to delay doing what you must do because it is unpleasant or takes a great deal of work period, for example, when your spouse submits discovery requests upon you and your attorney, your lawyer will likely ask you to look at the questions and answer as many as you can. They can further clarify the questions you don’t understand or offer objections to the questions where that is appropriate. However, they cannot answer the questions for you. As a result, most of the work when answering questions, providing documentation, or even physical evidence falls on your shoulders.
You do not want to delay in fulfilling your obligations in this case. Delaying responding to discovery requests or providing information to prepare for mediation can cause delays. This costs time and money if you can’t find them harmful to you and your family. Instead, complete assignments as soon as they are given to you will find that you will experience a much less stressful divorce.
Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are an excellent way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law and how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case. I appreciate your interest in our law practice, and we hope you will join us again tomorrow as we share more information on our blog about relevant topics in Texas family law.
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
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- When is Cheating Considered Adultery in a Texas Divorce?
- Six things You Need to Know Before You File for Divorce in Texas
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Spring Divorce Lawyer
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it’s essential to speak with ar Spring, TX Divorce Lawyer right away to protect your rights.
A divorce lawyer in Spring, TX, is skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Waller County.