Many people approach a divorce like it isn't an everyday sort of event. I imagine that years ago, the topic of divorce caught people's attention much more than it does today. Perhaps since fewer people got divorced years ago, it was treated as a much more serious topic. The topic of divorce had different connotations attached to it, and in earlier days, people who considered divorce did so only after completely exhausting there are other options. Whether we like to talk about it now or not, there was a stigma attached to getting divorced as recently as a couple of generations ago.
Let's flash forward to the current day. While there still may be stigmas associated with divorce in some cultures and some people, I think a vast portion of society doesn't consider divorce nearly as life-changing or severe compared to prior generations. We can go through why this is and my personal opinions, but I would like to go in a different direction. In today's blog post, I want to provide you with some context as to what a divorce is, how to get it, and what it means for you and your family to move forward.
The fact is that people enter into a divorce with an expectation of what the process is and what it means for their future, and they are often surprised by what they find once the divorce is filed. We all have an idea of what divorce is based on other people we know who have gotten divorced and stories from the media, but when you are involved in a divorce, the process can take on different challenges and have other impacts on your life. In a time like we're living through right now, where there is a great deal of uncertainty, we should understand that a divorce is permanent; it is not simple.
What is a divorce?
Put, divorce is a legal process by which you and your spouse utile eyes the courts to legally and your marriage. Even though the two of you may never see the inside of a courthouse, it is nonetheless a judicial process that requires filing a lawsuit. This is maybe the most striking thing about divorce, at least from the outset of a case. Most of us don't think about divorces like a contract dispute or a personal injury lawsuit. Those are "real" lawsuits. A divorce is more or less a family dispute that requires essential judicial intervention. That is what many, if not most people believe, in my opinion.
However, a divorce is a full-fledged lawsuit. There will be a petitioner in your case. That is the spouse who files the divorce. There will be a respondent in your case. That is the spouse who receives the petition in response with an answer. You and your spouse will each have defined roles within the divorce and will be referred to as petitioner and respondent. If this sounds like legal words you would find in a lawsuit, you would be correct again; you are filing a lawsuit or responding to a case in a divorce.
Next, a divorce costs money. I'm not even necessarily talking about hiring an attorney in the costs associated with doing so. What I'm referring to are the costs associated with simply filing a divorce lawsuit. If you are interested, you can go to the district or County clerk for your home County and look up a fee schedule for filing various family law cases. You will then have an idea of what it will cost to file a divorce, request the temporary orders hearing, and have your spouse served with divorce papers. This is In addition to the costs associated with hiring a process server to do the divorce papers and eventually hiring a mediator to help you and your spouse settle your divorce.
Attorney's fees and the impact of lawyers on a divorce
When determining the severe nature of a family law case, the following cost that we need to consider is the cost associated with hiring a lawyer. When it comes to a divorce, one can argue that a patient gets more serious the more zeroes are added to the final bill. You can look at your final divorce bill as combining the costs associated with filing your case, mediating your case, dividing up property and debts as well as hiring an attorney. With all that said, I would encourage most people to hire a divorce attorney before filing for divorce. Here is why.
If you are considering filing for divorce but believe that you do not have the money or need to hire an attorney, I would ask that you reconsider. Yes, you could be right in your case could be the unicorn divorce that does not require an attorney. Typically, divorces with little to no assets or debts and no children are ones that I would consider thinking long and hard about whether or not you need an attorney. Filing for divorce and getting a divorce is not overly complicated in and of itself as long as he can pay attention to details, meet deadlines and fill out paperwork. All of these steps would be made more accessible with the assistance of an attorney, but if you are predisposed not to want to hire a lawyer, these are the sort of characteristics of a divorce that would lead me to believe that you may not need one after all.
However, keep in mind that we are not living in regular times right now. While the family law courts are still accepting divorces and still are getting people divorced, the procedures have changed here and there throughout the process. If problems arise in your divorce case and you need the assistance I've been judged to settle disputes, you may have more trouble than usual getting your chance in front of a judge due to a consistent demand for court time and the reduced capacity of the courts right now. The coronavirus has led to government responses that encourage social distancing but discourage business as usual from transpiring. You would need to navigate the complex nature of a divorce and the more complex nature of Texas family courts in the coronavirus era.
For most everyone else reading this blog post, an attorney would be beneficial and necessary for you in your divorce. The simple truth is that while most of us may possess the required skills to divorce independently, what we lack is the time to do so. This is the component that I think many of us forget and neglect to consider when we take on additional responsibility either at work or at home. While the task itself is not monumental, the time responsibilities associated with the job may be. That is how I feel about divorce. At the same time, you may not speak to you returning every day or even every week of your divorce, no that they are working considerable amounts of time on your case. You need only review your bill at the end of each month from the lawyer to know that I am correct.
Since I am doing my best to convince you that a divorce is a serious matter, it is not as simple to wash your spouse's hands and then move on with your life; I would recommend that you hire the right lawyer for you and your family.
While the right lawyer for you and your family may be someone different than the right lawyer for your neighbor and their family, the right lawyer to represent you in a divorce share one characteristic with that of every other reasonable divorce attorney. That being a focus on family law. I would not recommend that you look to a higher, any different type of attorney other than an experienced family law attorney. You may know the most fantastic commercial litigator In Houston, but if he has never tried a divorce case before, then I wouldn't ask him for advice on your divorce or to have him represent you.
Family law attorneys focused their attention on people going through complicated family-related matters. At the top of the list of complex family law cases is divorce. You want a divorce attorney to represent you in your divorce because they will know what to look out for in negotiations, how to get your family through the divorce process with as little stress as possible, and can help you to preserve as much time with your children and community property as possible. Just like in any other area of the law were in any area business for that matter, family law has specific practices that only an experienced family law practitioner would be aware of. Please do not put yourself in a position where your spouse is an experienced attorney by their side, but you do not.
Time is a factor in a divorce.
I want to spend the last section of today's blog post discussing with you how time factors into a divorce. From the outset of a divorce, time considerations will be necessary to take note of. For instance, you should know that from the moment that a divorce lawsuit is filed until the divorce is made final by a judge can be no less than two months. That means a 60-day divorce is likely to be the minimum amount of time that you can expect to spend in your case. The reason for this is that in the state of Texas, once you genuinely consider whether or not you want to move forward with the divorce, that filing for divorce was not a spur-of-the-moment mistake on your part. So, the idea of an overnight divorce is not the reality for those of us who live in Texas.
If your spouse files for divorce and you are then the respondent in your divorce, you should know that you have approximately 20 days to file an answer from the day you are served with divorce papers. The Answer is the name of the document that responds to an original petition for divorce. Without the filing of an answer, your spouse could theoretically proceed with the divorce without your participation.
This is a big deal because in doing so, your spouse could create their final orders in the case and in submitting them to the judge. As long as the judge feels that they are within the bounds of fairness and as long as you have been appropriately served with divorce papers, you could be at a real disadvantage in your post-divorce life if you fail to file your Answer on time. As a side note, this is another reason why hiring an attorney is a great idea when going through a divorce. Managing the timeline of your case is a full-time job in a severe matter. Please do not treat your divorce like it is a common, everyday occurrence. Treat it with respect, and you will achieve fair results for you and your family in the case.
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; our staff and attorneys take a great deal of pride and being able to serve our community and look forward to discussing with you how our office can best help you and your family.