Not only is divorce a relatively expensive process, but it takes away resources from that already expensive and time-consuming commitment that we all share called our day-to-day lives.
If you are considering a divorce and feel badly in need of one, I do not tell you that divorce is expensive to dissuade you from getting a divorce. I note that divorce is costly to alert you that if you don’t have your financial house in order, a divorce will cause you to do so.
Failing to prioritize your spending based on your circumstances is a recipe for disaster in a divorce. I have seen most people going through a divorce find solace, not in their support systems or family but spending on unnecessary items. First of all, this likely goes against the temporary or standing orders in your case- thus placing you in violation of a judge’s orders. Secondly, you take your finite resources and spend them on frivolous things.
Use your divorce as an opportunity to constrain your spending, prioritize your goals, and set a course for the remainder of the rest of your life. For the time being, consider that your monthly expenses will play a role in your divorce. This is especially true if you and your spouse cannot agree on temporary orders and need to proceed to a hearing in front of the judge. Today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, will get into this subject and a few others before the day is through.
Expenses in your divorce
In yesterday’s blog post, we discussed how income is calculated and considered in your divorce. Today we will shift gears and discuss what role expenses play in a divorce. I do not necessarily mean only legal expenses when I say expenses, although those are important. Expenses for your divorce mean the day-to-day living expenses that we all encounter. Remember- divorce is a family law case. It centers around the most sensitive and essential topics in our lives.
Your attorney will counsel you on the specifics of filling out an expenses sheet that will need to be provided to your spouse and the court. The more specific you can be (and the more accurate you can be), the better off you will be in the long run.
The reason being is that it can be used to help a judge identify the standard of living that you have been accustomed to. It will also determine how much money you would require to operate your household every month. If you are the spouse expected to pay temporary spousal support or receive the support, this can significantly impact you.
It is not in your best interests to attempt to overestimate your monthly expenses to try and get a leg up in negotiations with your spouse. Every line of that document would be discussed in a hearing, and the judge will ask you to account for each line item that you submit. If you cannot do so, then a judge is likely to disregard that expense item and then look at you with less credibility on this subject.
On the other hand, if your divorce proceeds into mediation (either for final or temporary orders), your spouse is not the person you should be exaggerating when it comes to your household expenses. Doing so would likely cause your spouse to become frustrated and possibly lose interest in negotiating with you further. Be accurate and reasonable in your costs listed, and you can expect to end up in a good position when it is all said and done.
Estimated, actual, and proposed expenses
Estimated expenses are based on what you have experienced during your marriage.
You take those previously incurred expenses and project them into the future to provide your spouse with an idea of what you expect your costs to look like in the future. This is especially helpful in a situation where you believe that you will need spousal maintenance to sustain yourself after a divorce has been finalized.
Next, actual expenses are pretty set in stone and not expected to change all that much from year to year. Rent, mortgage payments, some utilities, property taxes, and the tuition for your children are examples to consider for actual expenses. Remember that spousal maintenance payments in Texas are limited in duration and amount, so projecting costs decades down the line likely will not be fruitful for you.
Finally, the proposed expenses are those expenses that in your married life were not incurred, but because of your divorce will be a part of your new reality. Child care costs jump to mind when discussing this subject. Whereas you may have been at home and able to care for your child during the day or after your child gets home from school, you may not be able to now because of the need for you to work full time. Child Support is not intended to pay solely for daycare though you can use your child support to pay for any item related to your child.
What items will need to be presented to a court in terms of monthly expenses
Your family law court will want to see your expenses broken down into a monthly chart so that the costs are more easily understood. The items discussed above will all need to be disclosed in all likelihood in addition to internet, cable, insurance costs, food, vehicle-related costs, and any other thing that is a part of your list of monthly payments.
Failing to present a thorough list of expenses to the court can mean that a particular cost is not accounted for and therefore unpaid by spousal maintenance. Be sure to meet with your attorney at least one time before submitting your expenses log so that you have a chance to go over the list in detail.
Can your spouse be ordered to pay your attorney’s fees?
A comment that I receive quite a bit from clients is that because the divorce is not their idea or their spouse caused the divorce due to their infidelity and lousy behavior, their spouse should be made to pay the attorney.
If your spouse can pay your attorney’s fees and you display a lack of money to do so, then you may be in a solid position to ask for and receive an award for attorney’s fees and court costs. If you and your spouse are in similar financial situations, your work is weakened.
How is credibility related to disclosure of expenses?
You are playing the “long game” in a divorce. This means that you cannot focus on what is happening that day or even the following week. Instead, you are ultimately building the strength of your case for a final push in the trial- if you need to go that route. A judge relies on your honesty and openness when stating your income and expenses.
Provide your attorney with all of the information needed to be fully honest, and a judge should have no problems believing you to be a natural person.
Technology and divorce to be discussed in tomorrow’s blog post
If you are interested in how your digital life influences your real-world divorce, then head back to our blog tomorrow. We will discuss the potential impacts of your online presence on your divorce in detail.
If you have any questions for the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, please do not hesitate to contact us today. We offer free consultations with our licensed family law attorneys six days a week. We would love to hear from you and look forward to serving you and your family.
If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce”
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Spring, Texas Divorce Lawyers
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 one of our Spring, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our divorce lawyers in Spring, TX, are 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, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, 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.