Divorce in and of itself is not uncommon in our world today. What is uncommon, however, is a person entering into the divorce process with as much information as he or she needs to be successful. Many people wait until they have hired an attorney and actually filed for divorce before learning about divorce. Their lawyer will handle it, after all! Not so fast, would be my response.
If you are interested in succeeding in your divorce, achieving your goals and setting yourself and your children up for success in the next phase of your lives you really ought to learn the important lessons of a divorce before filing. It’s better to learn about divorce late rather than never, but it is far from ideal. In today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC we will continue our discussion on this topic from the past few days.
Debt: Surprise! You may have debts you weren’t aware of
A popular radio show host is fond of saying that some people keep debt(s) around for so long that they start to treat them like pets- members of the family, in other words. Now, whether or not you treat debt this way or have debt at all is something I have no idea about. What I can tell you with some certainty is that you will not be happy to discover that you have previously unknown debts as a result of having filed for divorce. Let me explain to you how this could happen to you.
Even if you have been diligent about the loans you take on, your spouse may not have been as diligent. What’s more- he or she may have been deceitful and taken out debts in your name without your knowledge or permission. What results is either a debt that you learn about during your divorce that you and your spouse now need to figure out how it is going to be divided. Either way- the debt is in your name and you are having to rely upon your ex-spouse to pay it off while you are divorced.
Believe it or not, this is actually the best case scenario, as far as unknown debts are concerned. A worse fate could befall you if you learn about debt after your divorce has already wrapped up. What if you tried to take out a car note or open up a new credit card after your debt only to be denied? The reason for the denial could come back as your having taken out too many loans recently. To your surprise, you pull a copy of your credit report and there end up being loans listed that you knew nothing about.
What a helpless position to be in. To have had your ex-spouse commit financial infidelity against you and legal fraud in obtaining those loans. While you can always pursue criminal charges, that will not change the fact, most likely, that your credit has been harmed and your finances are in even more disarray now than they were before your divorce began. How could you have prevented this?
One thing that I always advise clients to do at the beginning of their divorce is to pull a copy of their credit report and to review what is listed. If there is a debt that you do not recognize it is wise to address that with your spouse during the divorce while something can actually done about it. After the divorce means that your options are very limited as far as seeking to have your spouse pay the loan under a court order. Now it is too late. Just to protect yourself, pull a copy of your credit report now and take a look at any active/open accounts. If something looks suspicious you can contact the credit bureau and discuss any issues with your attorney.
How debt is divided up in a divorce
But, wait- there’s more! I think debt is such an important topic that I wanted to spend some more time discussing the ins and outs of how you can expect debt to be divided in your divorce. Often times (as I noted earlier in this blog post) debt is divided up between spouses where your spouse may be responsible for a credit account that bears both of your names. This puts you in an unenviable position to rely on your ex-spouse to pay a debt where you could be held responsible for it not having been paid.
This is due to the fact that just because your final decree of divorce orders your spouse to do something, does not mean the creditor is able to alter the legal relationship that you have with the debt. A decree is a contract between you and your spouse, essentially, not between you and Bank of America, VISA, etc. If the debt was taken out by each spouse then both of you bear legal responsibility in the future- even if your final decree of divorce says otherwise.
This is why a refinance of certain loans- home and auto come to mind- should be attempted in order to clear up any issues that could come back to be a problem for an innocent spouse in the future.
Filing for divorce does not take boatloads of money- but it helps
You may be in a position where since your spouse held the purse-strings in your family that you have no idea how much money you all have in the bank. You may also have a fixed amount of money that you live on as a result. Even if this describes your situation very well you should be aware that you can request temporary support from your spouse both in the form of spousal support and child support.
Basically, a court will want to maintain the status quo as much as possible in your life and that of your children as much as possible. If your spouse has been the breadwinner for the majority of your marriage it will not suddenly expect you to bear the same responsibility when it comes to paying bills just because a divorce has been filed. Your spouse will be ordered to continue to provide everything that he or she has been accustomed to leading up to the point of filing for divorce.
Now, that doesn’t mean that your spouse will be perpetually paying bills for you even after your divorce. You will likely need to re-enter the workforce at some point in order to provide for yourself and your children. But, the worry that you are unable to do so now and that this should hold you back from filing for a divorce is simply not necessary. Filing for divorce requires some degree of financial wherewithal, but not to the degree than many people believe is necessary.
Consider an attorney’s assistance when filing for divorce
If our blog posts from the past few days have shown you anything, it is that divorce is as varied, complex and intricate a process as you are likely to become involved with.
While there is nothing wrong with filing for divorce on your own the simple fact is that divorce is not something where it is advisable to attempt to begin the process without the assistance of an attorney. I can tell you without reservation that many of our current and former clients came to our office for help after attempting to represent themselves in their divorce.
Questions on divorce or any other issue in family law? Please contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC
Thank you for spending time with us the past few days as we walked some of the most important aspects of divorce in Texas. To learn more about family law and our office please contact us today in order to set up a free of charge consultation with one of our licensed family law attorneys. We take the time to meet with you, answer your questions directly and talk about how our office can benefit you and your family through our representation of you.
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”
Other Articles you may be interested in:
- 6 things You Need to Know Before You File for Divorce in Texas
- I Want a Texas Divorce but My Husband Doesn't: What can I do?
- Am I Married? - Marital Status in Texas
- Can I sue my spouse's mistress in Texas?
- 6 Tips - On How to prepare for a Texas Divorce
- Roadmap of Basic Divorce Procedure in Texas
- Child Custody Basics in Texas
- 6 Mistakes that can Destroy Your Texas Divorce Case
- 10 Quick Tips About Parental Visitation
- Does it Matter who Files First in a Texas Divorce?
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 important 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 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.