Five most common myths about Divorce in Texas

Talk is cheap. We’ve all heard that expression used many times in our lives. What it means is that what you hear isn’t necessarily the truth. People tend to talk about events as if they have no connection to reality. Do you have a relative or a friend who will talk about anything under the sun regardless of whether he knows anything about it? That is what I mean by talk is cheap. What someone says or what someone tells you may not be the most accurate thing in the world.

So, when you hear people talk about divorce what do you think? Does your mind immediately go to the worst possible meaning for you? I can see why it would. There is something about being a human being and then having our brains automatically drift toward the worst possible scenario and outcome. Then we fixate on that. It doesn’t matter how unlikely that outcome may be. It doesn’t matter how reasonable we only are. An important issue in our lives plus uncertainty usually means anxiety is the result- whether we like it or not. When you hear about divorce from other people your mind tends to wander a great deal. Is what this person is saying true? Could it be that what you hear about divorce is how the whole process works?

That’s for you to determine. See, without ever having gone through a divorce you have no ability to determine how accurate any of this talk is. You are basing your perception of divorce on this talk from other people. Even the people that you ordinarily would trust wholeheartedly may not be able to paint the most accurate picture of a divorce and what it means to go through the process. Now that you do need to know what a divorce in Texas is like you probably don’t want to rely solely on what you hear from other people.

A man with experience is not at the mercy of a man with an opinion. Meaning: if you have gone through something difficult in your life you are not going to have to sit idly by and accept at face value everything another person says about that subject. If you have climbed Mt. Everest a dozen times you won’t be interested in the opinions of another person on climbing that mountain if that person has never done it before. Your experiences in life matter. The more experiences you have the better off you will be.

Going through a divorce is no exception. Once you make it through a divorce you will have stories to tell for years. Even the most uneventful divorce case has some lessons which can be re-told a time or two. However, by the time you have gained this experience, the divorce case will already be over. Hopefully, you never have to go through a divorce again. At that point, you will have gained the experience and would have lived to tell the tale of how you survived a divorce. With that said, the divorce will have been over, and you wouldn’t be able to help yourself with any advice at the beginning of the case.

What are you to do in a situation like this? For starters, you can seek information from someone who has gone through the process before. Start with an attorney. When time is important you can go to a divorce forum online and spin the wheel to see if it happens to land on someone who knows what he or she is talking about. That’s the trouble with the internet. A person that you would be suspicious of in your real-life interactions can pass by you online because you cannot see him or her. This is doubly true for attorneys, who can hide behind a nice suit and a grin that has been made to look better by the miracles of modern dentistry. You will struggle to be able to deduce whether these people are worth listening to or if their opinions matter. I suspect what you should be concerned with is not only what the person is saying but how he or she is saying it.

Attorneys are not always great communicators. This may be shocking to some of your reading today’s blog post. You see attorneys on television, and they are all snappy dressers with strong jawlines. Their looks aside, if you are interested in working with an experienced family law attorney then look no further than those of us with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. We work day and night to help the people in our community succeed in whatever family law scenario has been laid out for them. We want to do so with the heart of a teacher. What does this mean and how does it benefit our clients, exactly?

When we at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan talk about having the heart of a teacher, we mean that we are committed to helping our clients understand the law, their options, and how best to proceed given the facts and circumstances of your case. We don’t use the advice that we gave to a client two weeks ago, recycle it and then give that same advice back to you wrapped up in different packaging. Rather, we give advice based on your case and we take the time to walk you through all the relevant issues. Teaching and lawyering are not two professions that usually are thought of as being hand in hand. However, with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan that is not true. We will take the time to talk with you, listen to you, and then collaborate with you on the decisions that need to be made throughout your case.

In today’s blog post, we aim to set the record straight. We have five myths about divorce that we are going to discuss today. By our use of the word “myth,” you can probably tell that these statements about divorce are likely to be untrue. However, why something is untrue is just as important as determining whether that item is true or false. In many situations, the reason why something is false is even more important than determining the truth or falsehood associated with a comment.

As with anything else discussed in the law online, your results may vary. There could be someone reading this blog post who lives around you that this information suits perfectly. It may be the case that some of this information sticks with you, but some are irrelevant. If you have questions about what you read today, please take the time necessary to reach out to the Law Office of Bryan Fagan and set up a free-of-charge consultation with one of our experienced family law attorneys.

Rather than let ideas fill your mind and anxiety take up the rest of the space in your brain, why not get information directly from one of Houston’s most accomplished and experienced family law offices? Let’s walk through five of the most common myths that people have and hold about divorce cases and then work to dispel those myths. Again, don’t take our word for it. Come and speak to our attorneys about your concerns on divorce so that you can understand better what to expect. As President Reagan once said: Trust but verify. The information in this blog post is trustworthy but you should come by and verify what our office is all about.

Myth #1: Texas is a “50/50” divorce state where mothers always win custody

We will start our blog post with a two-for-one special. When we talk about a “50/50” state what does that mean? Property is divided in divorce and when it is the one way that many people assume that theirs will be divided right down the middle. This makes sense in many ways, and it may end up being the case in your divorce. However, when dividing up property a family court will consider a handful of factors. What are those factors?

Your age, your work history, your earning potential, your role or your spouse’s role in the breakup of the marriage as well as the value of each of your separate estates will matter a great deal to a family when it comes to determining how property is going to be divided. The stronger your positions are regarding these categories and the weaker your spouse is by comparison, the greater the likelihood that your spouse will receive a disproportionate share of the marital property. Disproportionate means greater than 50%. Therefore, do not assume that you can waltz into a divorce and then waltz out of the divorce with 50% of the property without lifting a finger.

Rather, you need to be prepared when it comes to submitting evidence to a court for the property division portion of your case. For example, if you and your spouse are arguing about whether a piece of real estate belongs in the portion of your estate which is divisible then you need to be ready to submit the evidence needed to show why the property is or is not part of the community estate. If you think that the property is not divisible then you need to be prepared to argue why it is your separate property.

Myth #2: When you file for divorce you are likely headed to a trial

This is one of the most common myths that our attorneys encounter frequently. Consider why you may currently believe that once a divorce is filed that you and your spouse are likely headed to court as a final resolution to the case. I am willing to bet that you think this because, at least in part, you have seen television shows and movies that portray divorces in this light. The drama of a good movie or TV show have you thinking that you may as well camp out at the local courthouse because it is a foregone conclusion that this will be the end of your case.

Not so fast, my friend. While we may hear about divorce trials for the wealthy and famous ad nauseum, the reality for the rest of us is that most of you reading this blog post will not go to a divorce trial. I would estimate that roughly 80% of divorces filed in Texas (perhaps higher than that, even) are resolved through negotiations and do not require the use of a family court judge to resolve the outstanding matters. To that end, courts require that you take certain steps to best ensure that you do not have to go through them to finish your divorce.

You will be required to attend mediation before your temporary orders hearing and before your trial. Mediation allows you and your spouse to mutually select a third-party mediator (usually a practicing family law attorney) to be able to intercede in the case and help you all negotiate through whatever issues are outstanding. Hopefully, you and your spouse have been able to work through most of the issues in your case well enough that mediation is just an opportunity to dot the I’s and cross the T’s, so to speak. If not, your mediator will convey settlement offers, play devil’s advocate, and help you all craft a deal that is acceptable to both sides.

Only women receive alimony

In Texas, the concept of alimony is different than in most other states. In Texas, alimony is known as either spousal maintenance or contractual alimony. Spousal maintenance can only be ordered by a judge after a trial. There are limits, both in terms of dollars and years, regarding how much spousal maintenance can be ordered by a court. It is also a relatively new concept under the family code in Texas, that spousal maintenance. Most attorneys that you speak to will tell you that family court judges hesitate to award spousal maintenance and, in most cases, will do so only as a last resort.

Contractual alimony is negotiated between you and your spouse before a trial. It is optional to engage in but many times parties will do so when it is obvious that a judge would be aware of spousal maintenance in a trial. Contractual alimony is tricky in some ways given that it is based more so in contract law than in the family code. As a result, some specific issues will arise if you attempt to enforce an order of contractual maintenance, for example.

However, the bottom line is that a family court will not assign spousal maintenance because of your gender. There are other factors that a court will consider- the length of your marriage, your ability (or inability) to provide for yourself after the marriage, and whether family violence has been an issue in your marriage to that point.) However, whether you are a man or woman is not a factor that matters or can be considered by the court.

Adultery means losing custody of your children

Adultery can mean losing custody of your kids as a factor. However, in most situations, it is just one factor that a court will consider. Unless you or your spouse has engaged in serial adultery where the children have been made aware of the adultery, witnessed something particularly offensive, or are involved in other ways in the adultery then it may not be a major factor when it comes to the assignment of conservatorship rights and duties. In a situation where your spouse had an affair or a one-night affair, the truth is that a court may not consider that act to be worth considering when assigning conservatorship rights and duties. The nature of the adultery matters, in other words.

A family law attorney is not worth the money

Right off the bat, I think it is worthwhile for you to consider hiring an attorney for your divorce case. There is so much that can go wrong in a divorce where you can seriously regret not paying for a lawyer. Second, an attorney may be more affordable than you otherwise would have thought. Third, there are almost certainly at least a handful of good attorneys in your price range and budget. That doesn’t mean that hiring an attorney is a small investment. However, it may prove to be worth every penny.

Before you listen to what a friend said about their overpriced attorney, I recommend that you reach out to an experienced family law attorney with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. We can talk to you about your case, listen to your concerns and questions, and provide you with honest feedback. We hope that you enjoyed reading today’s blog post and hope that you will join us again, tomorrow.

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