Have you ever made an assumption about something or someone only to be shown that you were incorrect in that assumption later on? If we're honest with ourselves, we would all have to say that we have been in this position before. At an early age, each of us begins this process by telling our parents that we don't like a certain food, only to try it later on and realize that we love it. As a father of three little kids, this is something that I experience on a near-daily basis with my children. However, it is from little examples like this that entire lifetimes can be spent making incorrect assumptions.
Thinking something is one way when it is another is all a part of the growth in the maturity process. The less experience you have, the more likely you will make assumptions that are later proven to be incorrect. As we grow and mature, we gain life experiences, and hopefully, from those life experiences, we can make fewer poor assumptions or perhaps make fewer assumptions overall. Making assumptions can damage us both in the short and long term and may cause us to delay or not take steps that would have otherwise benefit us.
Many of the more prevalent assumptions that I am exposed to when it comes to Texas family law regarding divorce in the divorce process. Gone are the days where the divorce was so infrequent that there was simply a lack of experience as far as knowing others who have gotten divorced previously. We are now in a situation where many people in our lives have gotten divorces, and their experiences have shaped our opinions about divorce and how to go about getting a divorce.
These expectations and assumptions we form can determine our course of action should a divorce become an option in our own lives. If you rushed into a divorce thinking that it would be easier a process than it truly is, then you likely made mistakes along the way in getting your case to the finish line. You may not have prepared sufficiently, hired an attorney, and could have missed important steps that may have benefited you or your family. Taking a look at your final divorce decree shows that you didn't focus on certain areas of your case that could have been extremely important.
Likewise, you may have unnecessarily delayed a divorce for any number of reasons. Some of these reasons might be legitimate, but many could have been based on assumptions proven to be wrong. Having misconceptions about certain things in life is not uncommon. Not judging a book by its cover and things of that nature are lessons we learn from childhood stories and fairy tales. However, I'm here to tell you that these are lessons that you can apply to your own life regarding your family and family law matters.
In today's blog post, I would like to spend some time discussing with you what are some of the top misconceptions that people I have encountered have regarding divorce in Texas. It is important to point out that not having misconceptions can hurt you in the short term and the long term. If you have been wondering about divorce, I would recommend that rather than speaking to someone who may be giving you slanted or biased information about the process, you seek out objective and truthful commentary and information from sources like our law practice. This blog post is a great place to start if you are trying to clear up misconceptions that you may have about divorce in your mind and instead move towards a more secure and fact-based future regarding this important step that you may choose to take.
Misconception #1: you need an attorney to get divorced
this may seem like a strange place for a family law attorney to begin A blog post about incorrect divorce assumptions, but I wanted to start by showing that I can be objective when speaking to your divorce. While I always recommend that you interview and learn about an attorney before deciding whether or not to obtain representation, it is not always necessary to ultimately hire a lawyer for your divorce. The fact is that you can get divorced in Texas without a lawyer and that this may be the best option for you.
I think people hold the misconception that an attorney is necessary for a divorce in Texas simply because divorce lawyers are so ubiquitous among attorneys and for the simple fact that counsel represents most people who get divorced. Divorce cases are so common in our society. We see advertisements 4 family law attorneys frequently on television and in other places. This level of saturation in our minds contributes to the misconception that having an attorney is essential to get divorced.
There is no legal requirement in Texas for you to have an attorney when getting divorced. Some of you out there will find that your divorce is simple enough that you could take all the responsibility of representing yourself and have a divorce go just fine without counsel. However, I think most people reading this blog would benefit from having an attorney represent them in a divorce. You should ask yourself on a basic level whether or not either of these two circumstances will be involved in your divorce.
First of all, you should ask yourself whether or not you have children. No, I don't mean to say that you could be in doubt whether or not you have children, but you need to understand that if you have children under the age of 18, they will play a role in your divorce. Issues like custody, Visitation, possession, child support, and many issues in between will be a part of your divorce if you have minor children. When your relationship with your children, as well as a great deal of money, can be at stake, I would not recommend getting a divorce without counsel.
Likewise, if you have a substantial community estate, a home, a small business that you own, or investments of any kind, I would not recommend going about a divorce without an attorney to represent you, very, very simple divorces that do not involve children or property can be handled adequately in some cases without an attorney when all you're doing is formally ending the marriage and maybe switching out the names on car titles or things of that nature that the lawyer may not be necessary. Otherwise, hiring an attorney is a good idea for most of you reading today's blog post.
Misconception #2: getting divorced is expensive
Has anyone in your life ever complained to you about how expensive things are getting? From a gallon of gas to a cartload of groceries to a college education, we hear all the time about the expenses of modern life. As with anything, perspective is everything. Consider that a gallon of gas may be more expensive now than it was 40 years ago. However, a flat-screen TV is less expensive now than ever, and you can still purchase a very nice car for $10,000; the basic cost of many groceries and clothing items are roughly the same as they were 20 years ago. Again, perception is everything, and it is easy to make misconceptions about things when your perception is off just by a little bit.
That brings us to the topic of getting a divorce. We have already covered how you do not need an attorney to get divorced in Texas. A great deal of the cost of a divorce is associated with your attorney and being represented by counsel. I could talk to you all day and all night about why it's worth it for you to hire an attorney, but then we would move on in this blog post today. I will point out to you the simple truth that hiring an attorney will cost you money most likely.
However, that should not stop you from asking multiple attorneys and different resources whether or not there is a chance you could be represented for free in your divorce if you truly cannot afford to pay for an attorney any other way. Attorneys oftentimes do represent clients on a pro bono or for free basis. However, it is up to you to seek out those attorneys who can represent you on this sort of basis and prove to them that you need free-charge representation.
There is no specific financial need for most of us to the point where you could obtain free of charge legal representation. If you have a moderately complex divorce and do want representation, you will have to pay for an attorney. This is where the biggest misconception about the cost of divorce comes in. Most people assume that divorce cases cost an arm and a leg and, more frequently, will cost additional parts of the body. Hiring an attorney is indeed a short-term investment in your long-term future. However, I would also offer you that hiring an attorney is one of the best short-term investments you can make.
Depending on your budget, there will be a range of lawyers that you could hire to represent you in your family law case. You can probably surmise which attorneys charge the most based on their level of experience and location in the city. All of us have a budget when we go out to dinner or when we go out to look for a new car. The same goes for when you are hiring an attorney. The most important part to keep in mind is that if you stick to your budget and are known for what value you get in return for what you pay an attorney, you will set yourself up for success.
One point that I will make regarding the cost of a divorce is that it can cost you money not to have an attorney. There are two points I can make to back up this assertion. First, keep in mind that there are likely to be financial considerations relevant to child support; spousal maintenance is a division of your community estate. Having an attorney available to help you through negotiations makes you better equipped to end up with a fairer deal than if you were negotiating without an attorney's experience and guidance.
Next, I will point out that time is money, as it has been said many times. By having an attorney available to file your lawsuit and help you proceed through the stages in a moderately efficient fashion, you are saving yourself a great deal of time. Filing a divorce on your means leaping faith when it comes to ensuring that you are not making mistakes and will not have to go back later on and correct those mistakes. Just like any other process, divorce has certain steps that cannot be skipped. Making mistakes in the filing or paperwork associated with the divorce can cost you time which eventually will cost you money. Having an experienced family law attorney by your side is the best way to ensure that these types of mistakes do not occur.
Misconception #3: getting a divorce means making yourself vulnerable financially
one misconception I hear quite a bit is your regards to filing for divorce in making yourself susceptible to financial problems in the short term. It usually goes something like this going you are a spouse who is not worked in many years or has never worked because you have stayed at home to raise children. Now that the children are older and out of the house, you are interested in possibly filing for divorce from your spouse for any number of legitimate reasons. However, you have always held back on doing so because of concerns over how you will pay bills both during and immediately after your divorce.
If you find yourself in this position, men are concerned about your basic needs being met before you can find a job, then you should know that there are ways for you to keep your head above water both during the divorce and immediately after. Temporary spousal support is available to you during the divorce if your situation demands it and if your spouse can meet that burden. He can negotiate for or ask for temporary social support in a temporary order hearing. If you show that you cannot meet your minimal basic needs during the divorce, then that is where temporary spousal support comes in.
By the same token, You can also be awarded contractual alimony or spousal maintenance after a divorce as long as you show a need for it and have been married for at least 10 years. The length of your marriage will determine the maximum length of a free reward of special maintenance. You may also be able to negotiate for contractual alimony in settlement negotiations with your spouse. If he will need time to apply for and landed a job after your divorce or need time to finish your schooling so you can find a job, then spousal support like this may be essential for you.
I will take this opportunity to point out that it is no sure thing that you will be able to be awarded either of these forms of spousal support in your divorce. Keep in mind that there must be available money in your spouse's budget to be able to pay you spousal support either on a temporary or post-divorce basis. This means that you will need to come into a hearing or Charles setting prepared with all of your ducks in a row as far as your finances are concerned. Additionally, you may need to cut back on your lifestyle to an extent to accommodate the changes in your income that will surely come after your divorce. However, the misconception that getting a divorce will hurt you from a personal finance perspective is not necessarily true.
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 take a great deal of pride in serving our community by offering free-of-charge consultations six days a week. These consultations can be had in person, over the phone, and via video. You can find our attorneys working in the family courts of Southeast Texas every day of the week. Our support staff and paralegals work around the Clock phone cases ranging from divorce to child custody to grandparent rights.