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Divorce and Coronavirus: Does it Make Sense to Wait?

Have you ever thought that waiting to do something was better than doing it right now? I think we have all been in a position at one time in our lives or another where we have considered whether or not to move forward with doing something or if it would be more prudent to wait. Whether it's to collect additional information or two delay the impact of a potential decision there are many good reasons for holding off on performing some sort of action. Sometimes those decisions are not very important ones. Waiting to decide what to make for dinner is not overly important to your life. However, sometimes those decisions are very important such as the decision whether or not to get a divorce. 

I think the most frequent response to making important decisions or having a lot of work to do would be to procrastinate. I can't be the only person who, when pressed to do something important or to make a decision, puts that decision off sometimes. Eventually, I will get around to doing it but sometimes putting off a decision is not necessarily a bad thing. I talk with people all the time who have considered whether or not to get a divorce. Sometimes these folks will immediately make a decision to get a divorce or will delay the decision in order to consider additional evidence and perspectives of people in their lives. You are specific circumstances will determine which course is appropriate for you. 

Overall, I think the decision to get a divorce is one that should take some thought. Simply making the decision to get a divorce without considering alternatives and consequences of doing so would be a tremendous mistake. After all, a divorce impacts not only you and your spouse but your children and other people as well. All of that is to say there are many different circumstances in your life that can play into whether or not to get a divorce. There is nothing wrong with contemplating each of these circumstances in order to arrive at the best decision for you and your family. Let's walk through whether or not waiting to get a divorce makes sense given certain circumstances that may be impacting your life. 

Should you wait to get a divorce if you don't currently have the money to pay for it? 

It shouldn't surprise you to learn but it does cost money to get divorced. While a divorce may not cost as much money as you would think there is a base line of costs associated with divorce simply to file the documents. You can get the most inexpensive divorce possible, but you cannot avoid paying the filing costs of a divorce with your court unless you prove that you are so destitute that those costs should be waived. For everyone else, you will find that there are filing charges in conjunction with your divorce. From the original petition for divorce all the way into the final decree of divorce there are basic filing charges for each document that you can look up on the district or County clerk's website. That way you can begin to learn what the basic costs of a divorce where you live. 

Next, you need to consider what the costs of an attorney are as far as hiring one to represent you in your divorce. There are many different family law and divorce attorneys in our area, and you are certifying that each of them charges a little bit more or less than the other depending on their location, level of experience, results, and operating costs. Hopefully you will be able to find an attorney whom you feel comfortable with in confident in and who charges fees that are reasonable in your opinion. Making the decision to hire an attorney based solely on their cost or solely on their personality would be a mistake. You have to consider these factors and many others when hiring an attorney. 

Let's assume that you estimate the total cost for your divorce to be $6000. These are not costs that can be spread out into the future and typically need to be paid immediately in order to have your attorney represent you and have your documents filed with the court. Then you add into those costs cost associated with things like missing work, mediation fees, expert witness fees if a trial is necessary as well as the costs of ad litem or amicus attorneys. While it is unlikely that all of these additional costs will be relevant in your case it is very likely that at least one or two will be. When planning and budgeting for a divorce you need to think about all of these costs combined when making your decisions. 

Keep in mind that You do not need cash to pay for a divorce. many law offices help clients by providing credit options in order to pay for their attorney’s fees. Of course, you can obtain loans directly from your banker credit union and are able to use your credit card to pay for costs that you do not have the cash for. For many people, this is a reasonable option to take advantage of Ann are ones you should talk to your attorney about prior to hiring him or her. 

The question that you need to ask yourself is whether or not going into debt is something that is in your best interests. Some of you may be more debt averse than others and do your best to shy away from these type of costs. However, others of you may be very comfortable taking out debt in order to pay for a divorce. 

Whatever camp you find yourself in you should be aware that eventually the costs of your divorce will have to be paid. Another factor to keep in mind is that, although credit is nice to be able to take advantage of if you simply lack the cash to pay for your divorce, having available credit tends to cause people to spend more money. If you don't believe me, simply Google the topic and look up how using a credit card impacts our spending. If you don't feel any pain in spending the money, then you are more likely to overspend. That is just as true if you are using your credit card at a vending machine as it is when you use your credit card in order to proceed with a divorce case. 

Ultimately, you need to consider whether you have the money to get rid of your divorce debts quickly after your case has concluded. Getting on the right track financially typically begins and ends with getting out of debt. The fastest way for you to build wealth for yourself and for your family is by eliminating debt and utilizing your income too begin to build that wealth. Even though a divorce may in your mind be extremely necessary it can still act as a hindrance towards your wealth building. While there are more important things and money simply having an emergency fund and some money in the bank for dry patches is very important period taking on debt in this way, even for divorce can hinder that process a great deal. 

How soon should you file for divorce if you and your spouse are not having success in marriage counseling? 

This is a question that we received quite a bit at our office. If you and your spouse are taking the time to go through marriage counseling, then it is likely to be true that you all have your eyes set on not getting a divorce. This is a good thing. No family law attorney is going to encourage two spouses to get divorced if they can avoid it at all costs. Going to a few therapy sessions and working with your spouse in counseling is not that high a burden to bear. In fact, it is a relatively modest burden to bear considering the potential benefits of remaining married to a person that you are able to have a good relationship with. 

For those of you who are interested I would recommend that you take a look at different studies that show married people tend to live longer and earn more money in their lifetimes than single people. I'm no sociologist or demographer but the evidence that other people have put together in this regard is pretty compelling. It seems to me that it is a pretty safe statement to make that married people tend to accomplish more, earn more money and are generally happier than single people. There are of course exceptions to every rule, but personal experience and studies tend to show that this is true.

None of this matters, of course, if you are in an unhappy marriage. All of these statistics in the world and some divorce attorney telling you their opinion doesn't matter one iota if you are in a marriage that isn't working for you. In this regard, everything is subjective. What is tolerable for you in a relationship may not be tolerable for me and vice versa. What I consider to be a happy marriage maybe to you something much less than happy. Since that is the case, I cannot tell you what is and what is not a good marriage. I can give you my opinions based on personal experience in my experiences working with other families in our community but only you can tell me whether or not you were in a marriage that meets your standards for happiness and contentment.

One of the ways people try to search for an objective standard for what is and what is not a good marriage is through marriage counseling. Whether it's with a professional marriage counselor who has a degree in counseling or therapy or is with a pastor or priest through your church there are many different ways for you to attempt to bolster or save your marriage through counseling. Different couples need different types of help and there are as many different types of marriage counselors as there are married people. You can even use your health insurance to pay for counseling in certain situations. 

It would be my advice for both you and your spouse to attend counseling sessions together. If you are on different schedules as far as work is concerned, then I would even recommend attending virtual counseling sessions as possible given the advancements in technology that we have all seen over the past few years. If anything, doing things virtually shouldn't be something that we are now more comfortable with after the first eight or nine months of this pandemic. Simply having a person that you can bounce ideas off of and get their opinion of in regard to your marriage relationship can be extremely beneficial.

I would also talk to your spouse about what your expectations are and how you are going to gauge whether or not your efforts to attend therapy and counseling have been effective. What you do not want to do is to enter into a situation where you are spending a great deal of time attending counseling with no end goal in mind. The idea that any degree of talking and working with a counselor will end up being beneficial to your marriage is not goal oriented or intentional. People can wander in and out of counseling without taking any concrete steps towards helping their marriage. Do not be among that group of people.

what I would do, if I find myself in your position would be to speak both to your spouse and to the counselor at the beginning of therapy sessions about what are some concrete, intentional Anne clearly thought out goals that can be reached during each session of therapy and each period of therapy that you undergo. I understand that progress in this area cannot be measured linearly but I think it is reasonable to expect that certain goals can be reached and surpassed in increments of time. Doing this will allow you and your spouse to get a better feel for therapy and whether or not it is working period if therapy has not proven to be effective then you are better able to tell whether or not filing for divorce is in your best interest. 

Should you delay your divorce due to the coronavirus pandemic? 

This is probably the most FAQ that we receive at our office. So much of the news is still spent discussing the pandemic and the changes to our lives as a result of it. A humongous change that doesn't involve closures of schools or changes in your work schedule has involved A prevailing theory of being around other people out of the abundance of caution for spreading the virus. Nobody wants their actions to directly lead towards another person getting sick and as a result most of us pretty well adhere to the social norms surrounding distancing, hand washing and mask wearing. Whether or not these steps will ultimately prove to be effective at limiting the spread of the virus is anyone's guess at this stage, but it is the prevailing theory that it will. 

So, I suppose the question we need to ask ourselves is does getting a divorce during this pandemic increase your or someone else's chances of getting ill with the virus? While I cannot offer any kind of medical advice on this subject, I would pose to you that filing for divorce in the year 2020 does not require a great deal of person to person contact. Consider that you can hire an attorney and interview an attorney over the phone or via video, pay for that attorney services through an online checking account or credit card, attend hearings virtually, attend mediations virtually and negotiate with your spouse over the divorce without having to be in the same room as him or her. 

All of this is to say that if you believe a divorce is in your best interest, I would not let the Corona virus pandemic stop you from getting that divorce. As we have seen, there are many legitimate reasons to delay getting a divorce. Depending on your perspective the coronavirus pandemic may be one of those reasons. However, it's my opinion that if you believe a divorce is necessary and everything else tells you to get divorced, I would not let the pandemic in and of itself cause a delay in your divorce filing. 

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 about the circumstances that are leading you to consider a divorce or child custody case. 

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