THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE YOU BEGIN YOUR DIVORCE
When starting your Divorce it’s imperative and detrimental to your case to let an experienced Family Law Attorney do a personalized case evaluation. This divorce evaluation will help you determine and understand what is at stake legally, emotionally and financially. Many people begin the divorce process without an educated plan and true perspective of what is to come in the future for them and/or their children.
At Mark Lane Law Offices we offer a free consultation specifically designed to accomplish the aforementioned plan. Our attorneys and staff understand Divorce in Texas can be an unnerving and frightening experience. We work hard to help you navigate the scary aspects of your case.
Here are some important things you should know BEFORE you proceed with divorce:
1) No matter what stage you are in your life, Divorce is certain to change your life significantly. The result of your divorce will have a lasting effect on you and your children.
Evaluate whether the attorney fits the following criteria.
Is the attorney experienced;
Does the attorney trial experience
Does the attorney have the ability to be aggressive with others, but compassionate with you
Does the attorney convey an understanding of your objectives in the case;
Does the attorney’s staff appear to be competent;
How accessible is the attorney going to be to you; is he willing to give you a private email or cell number?
Is the attorney and/or staff able to clearly explain his or her retainer fee and billing procedures;
Does the attorney’s personality compliment yours;
Does the attorney inspire your confidence
Do you feel safe with your divorce in the attorney’s hands
2) Every divorce client should consider the risk of family violence. Maybe you would never suspect your spouse of becoming violent, however the strong emotions that the initial separation and ensuing divorce bring on can be extreme and unpredictable.
Use common sense. Avoid any physical altercations with your spouse. Avoid situations that might bring on violence.
Be smart and be prepared. Have a safety plan for you and your children in place.
In some cases, an emergency protective order may be issued by the court.
3) Where do you stand financially? What are your assets and what are your liabilities?
Make copies of your financial documents such as: tax returns, bank statements, investment accounts, retirement plan statements, closing documents, auto loans, credit card statements, etc.
4) The rules for characterizing property as either community or separate property may seem fairly simple, there are many special circumstances involved in an estate that must be discussed with an attorney during your divorce. This is an area you cannot begin to manage without an attorney. The risk can be great without supervision of an expert.
Here are some simple definitions of types of property:
"Community Property" is that property, other than separate property, acquired by either spouse during marriage.
“Separate Property” consists of: property owned by a spouse prior to marriage; property acquired by a spouse during marriage by gift, devise, or descent; and the recovery for personal injuries sustained by a spouse during marriage, except for a recovery for loss of earning capacity during the marriage.
In a divorce, only the community property of the parties is subject to division by the court, however as previously discussed this is almost never a “black and white” area.
5) No matter what you have heard and/or seen on TV Divorce is not a single event. A divorce cannot be finalized for 60 days after the date the case is filed in court. It is rare that a divorce is ever finalized on the 61stday, typically there is always one, two or multiple issues that prevent this.
Your case can be delayed for many reasons, a couple of examples would be; discovery process and the time required for each side to exchange information regarding marital assets and debts, issues with children, issues with the courts, and much more.
6) While your divorce is pending, you are “under the microscope”, so to speak. You need to remember that your activities, your spending, your behavior towards your spouse and your children are under close scrutiny by your spouse, opposing counsel and, in some instances, even the court.
The impression you make on the people involved in your divorce, from the judge to his bailiff, from custody evaluators to the teacher’s aide at school can have a lasting effect and specifically determine the outcome of your case.
Family Law is based upon evaluations of other people, it’s a necessity that you be your best even when things are at their worst.