Deciding whether to get a divorce can be one of the most complicated and emotional decisions that you ever make in your life period to be sure, even if you decide to ultimately get a divorce you will not have done so without a great deal of consideration and thought. Even then, you may have second thoughts about the divorce process even as you sign paperwork and begin the case. However, if you take the time necessary to think through your actions and consider your options, you can feel more confident that the decision-making steps that you took are appropriate for you and your family.
In our day and age, many people consider a divorce to be commonplace or just not that big of a deal anymore. As a family law office, our attorneys would be the first to tell you that every divorce is a big deal and matters intensely to the people involved. Even if you have gone through a divorce before you never know the emotional impact or other consequences of this divorce. For many of us come up guiding people through a divorce can even be emotionally draining for us as an attorney. It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day challenges of divorce for people that you have come to know well and gain respect. Our attorneys with clients develop strong bonds in their time together and we truly want what is best for you and your family.
when we talk about getting a divorce it would be impossible for me or anyone else to tell you with any degree of confidence what the case will mean to your family both now and in the come-on run. Every family handles divorce differently and you cannot expect 2 experiences or's in the same way that hey friend or neighbor did. Even if this person is a close friend or otherwise is someone that you trust a great deal there is no telling just how impactful your divorce can be are you and your family. What I would tell you is to think about the consequences of divorce as logically as you can and then decide about the case based on factors that go beyond your current emotional state. All of us can make rash judgments based on our current emotional state. However, you should not completely rely upon your emotions when making important decisions such as those involving divorce.
For this reason, I think it is a great idea to take a step back from your current vantage point when you are considering a divorce. To either decide to get divorced or two rule out a divorce without giving proper amounts of thought and context to the situation can be a huge mistake. Rather, I recommend that you and your family think about what is best and then decide from there with no reservations. If you all decide together that a divorce is not what you want while the case is filed, you can always pause the divorce or end it completely. However, I will say that once you begin a divorce something happens where the chances of reconciliation decrease substantially once that original petition is filed.
In today's blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, I'm going to share with you some thoughts on how to assess your current situation regarding getting a divorce. Whether you are on the fence about divorce, completely against the idea, or are fighting like crazy to save your marriage taking a step back and assessing the situation as objectively as possible is a great way to approach your case and can make a profound difference in your overall decision making. As always, if you have questions about the material contained in today's blog post please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our experienced family law attorneys can offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you and your family to learn more about divorce, have your questions answered, and otherwise gain a better understanding of the process that you may be entering into. No divorce should be rushed into but then again, no divorce should be put off into the future if going through it now serves your best interest. Speaking with one of our experienced attorneys can help you develop a better understanding of your case and how the law may impact you and your family both now and in the future.
Are you physically in danger?
This is a place that, unfortunately, some of you reading this blog post must begin your analysis as far as whether or not to move forward with a divorce. If you find yourself in a situation where you are in physical danger as a result of being in your marriage, then you need to strongly consider beginning that process. No, you do not need to immediately file for divorce. However, you need to begin the process of removing yourself from the dangerous situation along with your children. The question is: how to do this?
Some of you may be emotionally damaged to the point where you believe that you cannot or should not leave your spouse- even if you are being abused. This is the reality of abusive relationships- that you can be made to feel like you can’t do any better than your spouse and that you would be lost without him or her. This is an especially dangerous mindset to have if you are children. If you are not confident in your ability to leave the marriage for yourself then you should do it for your kids.
Work with your family and support network to find a place for you to stay temporarily to figure out your next week. However, once you move out this will likely need to be your "draw a line in the sand" move. It would be difficult under most circumstances for you to be able to move back in with your spouse after all of this. So, if you decide to move out a divorce is likely on the horizon. The real question is how you are going to prepare for it, pay for it and execute on the needs of your family within that case.
Shelters may be available in your area for battered spouses. You should begin to collect information about these facilities before moving out. If you are uncomfortable using your computer or phone to look up information, then you can physically go to a local church or other civic organization to find out information. While these shelters will almost certainly not be the best accommodations for you and your family, they will be light years better than staying at home with an abusive spouse.
If you are fortunate enough to have friends or family close by who can help you to find a place to stay then that is the best situation, likely. Remember that you need to stay in a place that is safe for you and your child while being comfortable enough for you to focus on the next steps for your family. If you are in this type of situation, once you move out it is a great time for you to start thinking about speaking with an experienced family law attorney. An attorney who practices primarily or exclusively in family law can help provide you with information about emergency temporary orders and temporary restraining orders that can prevent your spouse from coming near any home where you are staying, your business, or your child's school.
Have a plan in place before trying to leave the home. Many times your spouse will feel an overwhelming sense of control over you. By attempting to leave the home you will be making a move away from him physically and emotionally. This could anger your spouse and create an extremely hostile situation. When you are ready to go- do so, with your child and follow the plan that you have created. Have clothes, medicines, and other essentials packed away in an overnight bag where your spouse cannot find them. Grab the bag, have your keys handy, and leave the home.
Rest assured that there are mechanisms within Texas family law to protect spouses and children from abuse. Protective orders and the like can be obtained but there is a process that must be followed to do so. Working with an attorney who does not understand this process can not only delay your case but can also be a major safety issue for you and your family. Fortunately for you, you don't have to look very hard to find the type of attorney who values you as a client, supports your positions, and advocates for you zealously. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan has the kind of attorneys that you need to succeed in a divorce.
Have you tried counseling or therapy?
One of the untapped resources that can lead to great success before starting a divorce is counseling or therapy. Sometimes all it takes to avoid a divorce and get your marriage back on track is to work with someone who can help you and your spouse develop the necessary communication skills to work your way through whatever issues you are experiencing in your marriage today. It is not a given that you have the communication skills necessary to do this on your own. For this reason, going to a therapist or counselor is less of him or her trying to determine a "winner" of the fight than it is to provide communication skills to put into your toolbox for use at a later date.
Therapy visits may also be covered by your health insurance. You can contact your health insurance provider to determine which therapists and counselors are covered by your insurance plan. This way you can find out in advance which professionals in your area can care for you at a reduced cost. The costs of therapy may not hinder you as much as you would have believed. However, you should call ahead and make an effort to determine these details before committing to therapy. That way you will not begin sessions only to find that the cost will prohibit you from attending more consistently.
The specific problems of your family will determine the degree to which you all need to attend therapy consistently. For instance, suppose that there is an ongoing problem in your marriage regarding money or infidelity. In that case, you may need to attend multiple therapy visits to work out these issues on an ongoing basis. Sometimes the therapist may even recommend that you and your spouse attend therapy individually. Attending each therapy session and making an effort to improve in certain areas recommended by your therapist means that you will derive the maximum amount of benefit out of each session.
On the other hand, you and your spouse may be better served by attending therapy on a more limited basis. Sometimes all the two of you would need is a session or two to learn communication skills and de-escalation techniques that can serve you well for the rest of your marriage. When you feel that a fight or an argument is coming on you can resort to communication and methods to bring down the acrimony rather than escalate it through argument and raising the stakes of the situation. Even reading this blog post you likely know what sort of situation you are in as far as needing ongoing therapy or a few visits to just “brush up” on some communication skills that may have become rusty.
Finally, if you do not have health insurance or are not interested in therapy from clinicians or traditional counselors, then you may be able to talk to your pastor, priest, or another religious leader to figure out if he or she has any resources that you can take advantage of. There may be someone in your congregation who can talk with you and your spouse about these issues directly. Or, your religious denomination may have a structured environment for the two of you to engage in during tough times in marriage. Either way, these opportunities are only available if you ask. Sometimes this is the most difficult step of all.
Where are you financially?
This is very likely to be an important factor in your decision to get a divorce. If you have your source of income then the decision to get a divorce is a little easier to come by. On the other hand, if you have not worked in some time then you may be more hesitant to get divorced. Your essentials in life: food, clothing, shelter, and health insurance are things that you rely upon your spouse for. To suddenly have to risk going without one of those items for an extended period can be quite intimidating.
Spousal support is possible to obtain during a divorce. You need to display a proven need for support based on your household budget. Next, you need to be able to show that your spouse can provide you with spousal support and still be able to pay their bills including child support if that is relevant to your case. This is not always easy to do. Additionally, you would also need to show a judge that you are taking steps to find suitable employment. Spousal support during the divorce is temporary. Spousal maintenance or contractual alimony can last for much longer.
The other financial aspect of divorce that may impact your willingness to move forward with a case would be the division of your community estate. Even if you don’t have much separate property that is going to you in the divorce and even if your spouse cannot afford to pay you spousal maintenance it is still possible for you to end up with a sizeable amount of property after the divorce. This could be done through a division of your community estate that is disproportionately divided in your favor.
Consider the factors in play for you and your spouse: your ages, work experience levels, health, education, and the role that either of you may have played in the breakup of the marriage. The judge can base their decision on all of these factors and more when dividing community property. When you have a lack of resources available to you immediately after the divorce then the community property that you obtain takes on added importance. Also important- is your ability to work with an experienced family law attorney during a 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 a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your family's circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.