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Navigating the Emotional and Legal Maze of Divorce

A divorce is not for the faint of heart. While it may not be a walk in the park there are ways for you to manage the difficulties and stresses that come with getting divorced in Texas. The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are equipped to help you manage that process better than anyone. We are inside the courts and at the negotiating tables for our clients every day. It does not matter your situation or circumstances- we have an attorney who can help you achieve the goals that you have created for yourself.

Navigating the Emotional and Legal Maze of Divorce – Video

Don’t have any goals quite yet or don’t know where to start? That’s ok, too. We are equipped to walk with you through the divorce process. Unlocking the mysteries of divorce is what we do best. Have questions? Stick around today’s blog post as we discover more about how to navigate the emotional issues of a divorce case. We at the  Law Office of Bryan Fagan understand that there is more to a divorce than the law. You and your family are real people with real needs, hopes, and concerns. Our office prides itself on service and having the heart of a teacher. 

To find out more about our office or to have your questions answered please reach out to the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. We have experienced family law attorneys on our team who can walk you through your questions, provide you with answers, and then put the ball in your court to decide how to proceed. We know that you can’t feel confident in yourself or your case until you have sufficient information to move forward. That is why we take the time to educate and empower our clients and potential clients alike. 

Determining what you need in a divorce is not easy

If you are considering a divorce, then it is likely that you have come to this decision after a great deal of thought. Very few of us would jump into a divorce without first thinking long and hard about whether that divorce was necessary. There is just too much at stake in your case for you to not weigh all the possibilities before taking steps to file a divorce case. Even after all this deliberation and thought it still may be the case that you have questions about areas of a divorce that are important to you.

Can you think back to high school for a moment? Put yourself at a desk seated there in the classroom, waiting for your teacher to hand out a test. You get the test, write your name, and then start to look at the questions. A feeling of nervousness and unease creeps to the surface of your body as you realize that the information that you are about to be tested on is not what you had studied for. While the rest of your class starts to hurriedly write their answers you feel like the most unprepared person in the world.

The truth is that the way you and I may have felt before an exam is the way that many people in our community feel as they approach a divorce. You may know that you need this divorce. That you’ve tried counseling and that didn’t work. There is no chance of a reconciliation with your spouse. Rather, you are moving towards a divorce at this point. The only issue is that you feel so uneasy about the process. Almost like you have signed up for a test before you had a chance to study for it. 

Here is what we know about divorce- it is not easy, but it is something that you can prepare for. Where you can start is to consider what your life looks like, what you want it to look like in the future, and what needs to change to get you from Point A to Point B. Mapping out your life is hard enough with a spouse who you are on the same page with. Throw into the equation a reality that you and your spouse are not on the best of terms right now and that sort of planning may seem like a luxury you can’t afford right now. 

From experience, the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan can tell you that having goals is not a luxury- it is a necessity. The goals that you can create for yourself in a family law case will shape your life moving forward but also how you approach the divorce that you can engage in. Do not underestimate the importance of goal setting or how attainable your goals may be. For the first time in a long time, you may be in a position to be able to chart your course and make decisions for yourself. Do not take this opportunity for granted. 

The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are skilled at being able to help people just like you plan their divorce. Our attorneys know how to file a divorce quickly and efficiently, so you do not lose any time at the beginning of your case. Throughout the divorce, we will work hard to negotiate with your spouse and their attorney on the issues that are most important to you. We can help you brainstorm goals and develop a strategy for achieving those goals. 

Separating yourself from your spouse emotionally

The relational and emotional aspects of a divorce should not be overlooked. We often hear advice given that counsels people like you to think of a divorce as a business transaction. The purpose of this advice is to take the emotion out of the equation as much as possible. While I think we can see the purpose and intent of this advice it is difficult to put it into practice.

The reality of a divorce is that you are ending a major part of your life. Even if you are not happy in your marriage or happy with your spouse, you have still built a life with him or her. This can take a lot out of you to figure out that this relationship that your life revolved around is going to be finished. This is a lot of change in a short period. Imagine all the changes going on in the lives of your children. Couple that with your children not having the experience that you do as far as being able to understand what those changes mean, and you have a recipe for a difficult emotional time in your household. 

There is an emotional process that goes into deciding just to get divorced. Even before you hire an attorney, draft the paperwork, and have everything filed it can feel like a huge burden is placed on your shoulders even to consider getting a divorce. Some people will argue that there is no going back once you consider divorce as an option for your family. I don’t know that I would go that far but it certainly speaks volumes when you consider that a divorce is a better option than just about anything else for your family. 

To that point, it can be a good idea to take some time to think about whether a divorce is the best thing for your family. Consider the opinions of friends and family, to be sure. However, take some time to put away your phone, turn off the television, and just think critically about what you are going to do. Is this what you want for yourself and your children not only now but in the future? This is a huge step to take and should be one that you think through before taking that leap.

Another step that you can take to make yourself feel even more comfortable with the divorce is to do some financial planning before you seriously start to consider a divorce. Many people talk about feeling anxiety in the period immediately preceding a divorce. This is understandable. However, before you start to think about anxiety as a medical condition you should think about it more as a way that your body is telling you that you have reason to be concerned. If your finances are not in order before a divorce you are taking a fire and adding kerosene to it. That flame is going to burn even hotter and even brighter if you are not in a good place financially. 

Legal complexities of divorce- who owns what?

When it comes to the property that you own it is difficult to begin to think about things as “his”, “hers”, and ours. However, that is exactly how a divorce in Texas is decided. You can take a yellow legal pad and draw two lines down the middle to make three columns on the page. That is essentially how property is divided in a Texas divorce. There are three classifications for property: your separate property, your spouse’s separate property, and community property. The tricky part is going to be how that property is characterized. 

The presumption is that at the beginning of your divorce, all property owned by you and your spouse is community-owned. This is important because community property can be divided in the divorce. Therefore, if you own any separate property you need to be prepared to prove that it is separately owned. Speaking broadly, separate property is any property that was owned by you before your marriage or was acquired by you during your marriage either by gift or inheritance. Separate property cannot be divided in a divorce by a family court judge. 

Ultimately, you and your spouse will be in the primary positions to be able to divide up property in your divorce. That responsibility will fall to a judge if you all cannot come to a settlement. However, nobody knows your situation better than you and your spouse. As long as you can provide sufficient information and evidence to prove the separate property nature of specific items you will be in a good position to divide your assets. From there, a method for dividing community property will need to be established by you and your spouse. 

Do you own a small business? What about debt? Does your spouse earn a lot more money than you or vice versa? These may seem like basic questions to ask but in the context of a divorce, they become extremely important. For that reason, it is recommended that you consider contacting an experienced family law attorney to learn more about the property division portion of your case. What ends up happening in this area can impact your life for years to come.

Child custody and conservatorship- where the legal and emotional come together

Divorce cases are unlike any other legal matter that you can face. The reality is that a divorce case combines the emotional and legal worlds uniquely. You will need to be prepared to handle not only the legal matters related to your marriage but also emotional and relational subjects, as well. There is no other part of a divorce that combines these elements as much as child custody and conservatorship.

If you and your spouse have not already been doing so, the divorce will put you in a position where you need to be able to navigate shared custody. This means taking into consideration issues like visitation, possession, child support, and everything in between. It is a strange thing to have to give up possession of your children to your co-parent consistently. You may wonder who your child likes spending time with more or if your co-parent is taking care of the kids well. Learning how to balance your concerns along with other elements of child custody is a huge part of your divorce. 

It may be a good idea to think about your divorce as a trial run as to how you and your spouse are going to co-parent your children. This is a period of trial and error. Figuring out how to get your kids ready for weekend periods of visitation, how to best communicate with your co-parent, and how to emotionally handle not being with your kids as often as you would like is a serious challenge. Balancing all of this along with the concerns you may have with the emotions of your children and their mindset makes child custody an issue that you need to be prepared for. 

For parents who work atypical schedules or who live far apart it is important that you can nail down a schedule that fits your family. Many times, a family will come up with a visitation schedule that does not take into account the specific needs that they have. By the time you get to the stage of your divorce where you are going to negotiate on child custody you may be fatigued and are just looking for a reason to complete the case and move on to the next stage. While this is understandable, you need to focus your attention on each portion of the case so that you have no logistical issues with visitation once the case is done. 

Parental alienation- an emotional outlet to avoid when it comes to your divorce

It can feel like you are all alone at points in your divorce. The changes and emotional difficulties associated with a case can be troubling to the point where it seems like you have no outlets for your feelings. With that said, one of the ways that some parents will attempt to combat this issue is by trying to manipulate their children into thinking less of their co-parent. This is known as parental alienation. You or your co-parent could be working to undermine or alienate your children from your co-parent.

This is not a wise behavior to engage in at any point during or after your divorce. The simple truth is that your children will do better in life when they have two parents who are working together and actively engaged in their lives. When you work to undermine your co-parent at every turn you may think that you are making yourself look better by comparison. However, what you are doing is putting your children in a position where their most significant support system is being weakened from the inside. 

Even when your emotions are being tossed around during a divorce it needs to be repeated that the best interest of your children is what matters most. If you can manage your divorce effectively and develop a game plan to accomplish goals, you will find that you can control your emotions much better. From there, you can place the focus of your case on your children- where it ought to be.

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 how your family’s circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case. 

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