If you wanted to, you could learn a great about the divorce process in Texas just by looking at blog posts and articles online. It is amazing the sheer volume of resources that are made available to us these days at the click of a mouse or a slide of your finger across your phone's screen. In generations past people struggled to find information- they didn't have enough. It could be argued that in our day and age, we have almost too much information available to us.
What can we do with all this information? Ideally, we can pitch the information that’s not relevant or not accurate and then take in all the information that is helpful to us. Again, that’s in an ideal world. We never know how much information to take in because the problem in front of us often seems insurmountable while the available information never seems like enough. The problems that we face are usually very surmountable while the information is usually too much. My point is that we as modern people have so much information at our fingertips that we sometimes suffer from too much information, too quickly.
Paralysis by the analysis
Sometimes when we encounter too much information as well as a problem that we believe to be humongous we can feel like we can't move. On the one hand, we have a big problem to deal with- let's say a divorce. It's something that we've been worried about and thinking about for some time. The issues in divorce are so many that we couldn't count them on one hand. We want to get through the divorce in one piece but are worried about all the horror stories that we have been told about divorce cases from other people. In short- you want to get through your divorce but don't exactly know what to expect.
On the other hand, you have a vast array of internet sources as well as stories from well-meaning friends and family. You can look up every statute on divorce in Texas via the Texas Family Code. You can read about every subject under the sun when it comes to divorce on a thousand different attorney's websites. Then, your best friend, your sister, etc. are all ready to tell you stories about their divorce and what happened to them. Cautionary tales or warning signs to not go through with the divorce in the first place?
Here you are, stuck in the middle of too much information and too much fear. One feeds the other and you end up with paralysis by the analysis. You feel like you can’t move an inch one way or the other. You can’t win. You can only lose. We’ve all experienced this sensation whether it is about a divorce or a different subject altogether. It’s not a fun situation to be in. However, we at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are here to tell you that this is not the only way to go through a divorce, or even through the planning stages of a divorce.
In today's blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, we are going to provide you with some information and opinions about what everyone should know about getting divorced in Texas. We are going to share information that we have accumulated over our decades of combined experience working on behalf of clients who are also our neighbors here in southeast Texas. That information is going to be intended to be as helpful as possible. No "fluff" information will be shared in this blog.
Included in that information will be opinions about how that information can be best used in a general divorce case in Texas. Of course, we don’t know your exact situation so we couldn’t give you specific advice on how to handle your divorce. For that, you should schedule a free-of-charge consultation with one of our licensed family law attorneys today. We can walk you through a divorce and take into consideration your specific circumstances. That way we can provide you with better information that is personally tailored to your divorce and your family.
For now, we invite you to stick around as we share the most pertinent and important information that you need to know about getting divorced in Texas. We hope that by reading this blog post some of the fear or anxiety that you have surrounding a divorce can be removed. That way you can make better decisions for yourself and engage in a divorce if that is what you believe to be in your family’s best interests. Having clarity and peace of mind will make it so you don’t feel so stuck in the mud and can make decisions to move forward, one way or another.
Divorce does not need to cost an arm and a leg
Let's start by discussing the costs of a divorce and how those costs do not need to set you back financially for months or years. Yes, divorce cases do cost money. There are some of you reading this blog post who may be in a position to have a relatively inexpensive divorce for several reasons. You may have no assets, no job, no prospects for employment, or anything else that would trend in a positive direction as far as money is concerned. However, if you find yourself in a dangerous, abusive marriage then you may be able to talk to a shelter, legal aid society, or private practice attorney about how to file for divorce at little or no cost. Many attorneys represent clients on a pro-bono basis from time to time. Pro bono means without cost to you, the client. The attorney would provide you with the same quality of service that he would to a paying client, bear in mind.
Even if you wouldn't necessarily say that you have no assets or no job, you could potentially file for a divorce and then ask the court to find that you cannot pay court costs or fees associated with maintaining a divorce. Divorce not only costs money in the sense that you will likely choose to hire an attorney but filing a divorce in a county court will cost money. The fee schedule for your county will be posted on the internet. You can look it up to see what it will cost you to file a divorce petition, request for temporary orders, citations, copies of documents, etc. It can all add up over time.
You would need to show a court that you are either unemployed, underemployed, or have a legitimate reason why you are not able to afford to pay the costs associated with your divorce. Taking care of a disabled child or being disabled yourself is a good starting point. If you are receiving any kind of government benefits for food or shelter you should provide proof of that to the judge. The court would be looking for extraordinary circumstances as to why you could not afford to pay your court costs in a divorce setting. The more thorough you can be in providing this information to the judge, whether in an affidavit or a hearing in front of the judge, the more likely you will be to have your court costs waived.
For everyone else, you need to be aware that there are divorces for every budget out there. The main, driving factor when it comes to determining the costs of a divorce is not your attorney. Many people assume that hiring an attorney automatically makes your divorce extremely expensive. This is not the case. Yes, most attorneys who represent people like you in divorce cases charge for their services. However, hiring an attorney by itself does not mean that you are going to have to spend the arm and leg that we mentioned earlier for your divorce. An attorney is only to be utilized when necessary. Therefore, you and your spouse will largely determine how necessary it is to use your attorneys.
The more contentious your divorce is the more you will need to use your attorneys. Family law attorneys bill by the hour. This means that the more you need to utilize the services of your lawyer the more you will have to pay him or her. You and your spouse can have a relatively inexpensive divorce if you work problems out together instead of continually needing to resort to calling your lawyer. That one phone call will cost you money. The subsequent phone call from your lawyer to the opposing attorney will cost both you and your spouse money. So on and so forth. Did I mention that you and your spouse will both technically be using community property to pay for your attorneys, most likely? You are both paying for each other's lawyers, in essence.
Think about your behavior in the divorce and how it may cause your spouse to need to contact their attorney, set up court hearings, and generally increase the workload for your case. The more work you cause due to your actions the more expensive your case gets. By considering your behavior and the things that you do regarding your divorce you can have direct control over the costs of your case. Consider this as you stare at the ceiling at night in bed, worried that you cannot afford to get divorced. You have much more control over that than you otherwise might have imagined.
Beyond your actions, you can also keep the costs of a divorce at a minimum by wisely selecting the attorney that will represent you in a divorce. When I mentioned earlier in this blog post that one of the places that you could get information from online was from one of the thousands of family law attorneys on the web, I was not exaggerating. It is not difficult to find an attorney to represent you in a divorce case. Drive down the main street in your area and you can likely find a sign for a family law attorney. Speaking of too much information- what do you do when you have too many options for legal representation?
First, I’d recommend slowing down and considering that you should think first about hiring an attorney who primarily represents clients in family law cases. Divorce cases are a subset of family law. Just like any other area of the law, there are specific things about family law cases that make it so a person that does not practice in this area may not be able to have all the knowledge and experience that you need to succeed in your case.
You may be hiring a great bankruptcy lawyer but if he has never tried a divorce case in his life then you are at a disadvantage against an attorney who practices family law primarily. Look for a family law attorney to represent you in a divorce. You can save money by minimizing mistakes and leaning on the lawyer to help you find solutions to the issues in your case that is found outside the courtroom. The more time you spend in court the more expensive your divorce will be. If your attorney is an effective problem solver, then you should spend relatively little time in court.
Next, once you have settled upon a family law attorney as the type of attorney that you need to hire for your case you should consider which family law attorney you want to hire. Factors would include your location, proximity of your lawyer to your home, the experience of the attorney, and other factors like how your attorney makes you feel when you are around him or her. If you feel uncomfortable with the lawyer it does not matter how experienced he or she is, or the results he or she got for another person. Trust your instincts and move on from that lawyer.
You can also look at the lawyer’s office and get a feel for how he or she prioritizes office space, furniture, and other costs. It sounds silly, but if you are meeting with an attorney who has little experience but a fancy office that may not be the best attorney for you to hire. It is not easy to meet with an attorney and to have the wherewithal to determine whether that attorney is the right person for you to hire. It can be intimidating to have to talk to an attorney about a private and personal matter like a divorce. Having to make judgments about the attorney and their methods of charging clients for services and whether or not those charges are appropriate is an entirely different subject altogether. However, doing your best to determine whether the attorney is charging you based on their experience and results or based on the payments for their furniture may be a necessary step for you to take especially in an environment like this where money is tight.
Help is only a phone call away
You have probably heard that help is only a phone call away in many different contexts in your life. The same can be true when it comes to hiring a divorce attorney. One of the conveniences that are offered by many attorneys is either phone or virtual consultations where you can meet with a lawyer from the comfort of your home or any other location. This makes it easier for you to be able to learn more about the attorney, and how they operate and to be able to ask questions about the lawyer and what you may expect when you begin a divorce.
The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan offer free of charge consultations six days a week. That means you can meet with us on your day(s) off, on your lunch break, or at any other time that is convenient for you. We understand that carving out enough time to meet with a lawyer can be a challenge. We want you to know that you can meet with us in person, over the phone, or via video. A consultation involves you gaining information and you being able to ask us questions. Both parts of the conversation are important, of course.
We hope that the information provided to you today about attorneys, divorce, and hiring a lawyer can help you build confidence in your ability to proceed with a divorce and not break the bank. Make no mistake, a divorce can be complicated but it is not an impossible one. You have every opportunity to seek out information that can help you and we hope that you will consider our blog and our attorneys as a place where you can obtain information that you can trust.
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.