If you are at all familiar with the blogs that we post here on our website, then you know that I will often advise you to be intentional when it comes to preparing for a family law case. Being intentional means that you should consider your options, go about selecting the best option for you and your family and then set a course for how to accomplish your goals. You will be faced with many different options to choose from as far as paths to proceed down during a Texas family law case. It is up to you, with the assistance of your attorney, to select those options and determine the goals that will put your children and yourself in a good position after your divorce.
The trickiest part of a divorce case is determining how to initiate the case. Even if you and your spouse have been going through rough patches in your marriage it is still a huge leap of faith to move towards the divorce. You may feel that the marriage is over and that there is nothing left for you to do to salvage it. However, it is a big jump from feeling that way to moving towards an actual divorce. Thinking to yourself that hypothetically speaking a divorce wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for you to actually filing for divorce and planning to get a divorce is a substantial leap for you to make.
Do not underestimate the immediate changes that your life will undergo when you decide to move forward with the divorce. This is true even if your spouse and you have talked about getting divorced and if he or she is anticipating you to make this kind of move. There are financial, emotional, familial and so many other factors to weigh in this decision that you should not be anything but intentional about how you go about beginning the divorce process.
I think one of the things that people tend not to do, that they probably should, is to truly take some quiet time to yourself and think about whether or not the divorce is something that you really want. While it is true that you and your spouse can always back out of the divorce and go by the process of attempting to reconcile, I can tell you that most people who start a divorce end up getting divorced. The idea that you and your spouse will look at each other over a mediation table in rekindle some lost love is basically a fantasy. If you go through a divorce case, then you will end up getting divorced more often than not.
When it comes to the planning stages of a divorce there is no road map that can work for every single person. Yes, a divorce and the laws that apply to divorce apply equally to all persons in Texas. However, just because you and your spouse are equal under the law does not mean that your divorce is equal to the circumstances of any other person who is getting divorced in our state right now. You all likely have scenarios and circumstances within your marriage that necessitate you coming up with a unique exit strategy that can help you build momentum into your divorce.
Consider all of the different factors in your case and in your life and that will inform you as to how best to proceed. Do you have children? Do you own a home? What are your goals for divorce in terms of custody of your kids and ownership of your home? Do you have the financial wherewithal to survive independent from your spouse for a period of time? In today's blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan I would like to provide you with some information That will hopefully be able to help you prepare for a divorce in Texas. While I don't believe that every tip here will be relevant to you and your family, I do believe that much of what I provide you with today will be helpful for a majority of you reading this blog post.
On the other hand, if the information that I provide you with here still has you asking questions and leaves you in doubt about your particular divorce scenarios then I would recommend you contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan today. Our attorneys are eager to talk with you about your circumstances and to listen to what your concerns are.
We will walk you through the divorce process and help you to pinpoint those issues that may be most important to your divorce. A consultation with one of our licensed family law attorneys is free of charge. We offer consultations in person at our office, over the phone and via video. We want to make this experience as convenient and easy as possible for you so that you can get back to your family and planning out the next stages of your life.
Planning your divorce when you have children in the house
if you are a parent who has children under the age of 18 then you will need to think long and hard about those kids and what your goals for them would be in the divorce. To simply pack your bags and leave the family house with your kids remaining with your spouse is probably not a wise idea for many perspectives. For one, it will likely be very difficult for you to leave your children and not take them with you. I can't put myself in any of your shoes who are considering a divorce but to be apart from my children for any length of time is tough for me. You probably feel the same way and would need to really think about whether or not you could emotionally handle being away from your children in this way.
On top of that, you need to consider whether or not you seek to become the primary conservator of your children after the divorce. A primary Conservatory has the right to determine the primary residence of your kids and receive child support on their behalf. These are two major advantages within a custody situation, and you need to think about whether or not this is something you are interested in and whether or not you realistically have a chance to be named primary conservator when compared to your spouse.
Assuming that you do have goals to become primary conservator of your children after the divorce it would probably be foolish for you to simply leave the family home with her children behind. Although there may be mitigating circumstances in play a judge would be very Unlikely to view this behavior as something that will be becoming of a primary conservator. Think about it for a moment: you are leaving your spouse to care for your children by him or herself without your assistance. The reason you left the home was too begin a divorce and start a separate life. These are not the best optics to begin a divorce case with.
Planning your divorce when you do not have children in the house
The situation becomes somewhat easier to manage when you do not have children under the age of 18 living with you and your spouse. Although spouses in Texas have a duty to support one another under Texas law there is no added pressure for you to be able to care for your children both from an emotional and financial perspective when you don't have kids that are minors. In this case, my recommendation If you are considering a divorce would be to get yourself organized well in advance of leaving so that you start off your divorce on the right foot.
The reality of your situation is that you may not be able to reenter your home at any point soon. Or, if you are able to reenter the home, you may only be able to do so for a relatively short period of time in order to collect your belongings and head back to wherever you are staying. In that case, you can expect your spouse and other people to be in the home keeping a close eye on what you're doing. These are not the best circumstances for you to attempt to get yourself organized before starting a divorce. Here are the steps I think you should take when preparing to leave your marital residence.
First, you should make sure that you have access to files and information on your computer when you are away from the house. In the old days, this might mean taking a zip drive in copying files from your home computer so that you have access to them when you are away. However, in this day and age so much information being stored on “the cloud” you may not even have to do this. I would still look through your computer and find any documents that you may need for your divorce, such as tax forms, retirement account information, and title documents, and have copies available for yourself.
The other step I would take if you are preparing to leave your marital residence would be to photograph every room in your home, including the closets, in order so that you may keep track of what property is in your home the moment you leave. The reason I make this recommendation to you is that you may be surprised to learn that sometimes items at a home just tend to “walk away” once you are gone. If you own firearms, other valuables, or have a significant amount of cash in the house then I would advise you document how much of each item you own and then photograph where everything is stored.
This way you will have proof of what was in the home at the time he left in the event that there is a future dispute. You do not want to put yourself in a position where you are having to argue your word against your spouse’s when it comes to what property you all alone. Again, you may not be getting back in the house and this may be your best opportunity to document in inventory your personal property.
Planning a divorce in relation to your family home
Finally, I wanted to spend some time discussing the family house. For most of us, the family house is our most significant asset. As such we want to make sure that in a divorce it is cared for and dealt with appropriately. In the event that you have children in want the house to remain yours after the divorce you should not leave the family house for any reason, for any period of time I must order to do so by a judge. Again, my general thought on this is that once you leave the house it is difficult to get back inside literally or figuratively. Showing your willingness just stay by your children and care for your home during difficult times should be a positive in the eyes of your family court judge.
The other point that I would like to make in regard to the family home is that if you cannot afford To remain in the home after the divorce you should not attempt to do so. Do not assume that your spouse will be paying you spousal maintenance after the divorce and therefore you have the wherewithal financially to stay in the house. Do not assume that you will receive a disproportionate share of your community estate and therefore be able to sell a portion of it to pay off your mortgage or is into divorced life.
You need to start a budget for yourself based on your anticipated income after the divorce and determined whether or not the mortgage payment, taxes, insurance, maintenance and general upkeep of the home are too much for you. If you have any second thoughts but your ability to financially care for the home, then you need to make the decision to either allow your spouse to take full ownership after the divorce, or move to sell the home and split the proceeds from the sale. A house is not a blessing when you are not financially capable of caring for it.
Questions about the material presented in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about the material presented 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 consultation six days a week in person, over the phone in via video. We appreciate your interest in our blog post today and hope that you will join us again tomorrow as we post additional content about the world of family law in Texas.