Are you considering a divorce? If so, I can imagine that you have many questions circling through your head currently. Being an attorney, I find that the troubling part about having questions isn’t the questions themselves but rather the sheer volume of places where you can seek out answers to those questions. Being able to discern what is good information in what is bad information is tougher than having the questions in the 1st place. Where can you turn 4 legitimate and helpful information when it comes to preparing for divorce? 

Furthermore, how do you even know if getting a divorce is right for you? On the one hand, you don’t want to jump headfirst into a divorce that may not be in your best interests or your child’s best interest. On the other hand, you surely don’t want to delay a divorce because you are unwilling to make changes in your life. Whatever your current mindset is about the divorce the reality is that you need to be comfortable with whatever decision you make. There is nothing wrong with making either decision, either to get divorced or to knock it divorced. However, you need to make sure that the decisions that you make are based on your circumstances and not on someone else’s. 

To me, that is the biggest deficiency when it comes to getting advice from friends or even family members. Even if that person knows your circumstances pretty well you are more likely to get advice based on their perspective than on yours. That’s not downplaying the importance of getting advice from family or friends but it is a reflection of the reality that most people try to be helpful but have difficulty in doing so given their predispositions and biases. While their heart may be in the right place you may ultimately need to get advice from a party who can be unbiased and offer that advice from a position of knowledge rather than speculation. 

That is what family law attorneys are good for. While you may have never consulted with or even spoken to an attorney before I can tell you without a doubt that we don’t bite and what we say can help you. Simply talking to an attorney does not mean you have to sign a contract with one. All it means is that you should be looking for opportunities to gain knowledge from reliable sources. While I’m not necessarily here to tell you who is and who is not a reliable source I can tell you that an attorney who practices family law can offer you a perspective that no one else can including other attorneys we do not practice in this area. 

In today’s blog post I am going to share with you my thoughts on 5 tips that you should begin to look for and look to accomplish before moving forward with the divorce. You can think of these tips as performing your basic due diligence regarding divorcing. The reality is that from working with many people who have gone through a divorce before I can tell you that some people enter into a divorce without really comprehending the consequences or understanding its significance. As I am a fan of saying: you can wander into a divorce but you could not wander out of a divorce. This means that you need to be very sure of what your goals are and from the outset, you need to be very sure that you want to get divorced. 

Tip #1: see what you can accomplish directly with your spouse to resolve your problems 

Right off the bat, I am going to recommend that you seek whatever kind of assistance you can directly from your spouse when it comes to resolving the issues of your marriage. I think that if the problems in your marriage can be solved with direct communication between the two of you then that is for the best. Anyone who tells you to immediately get divorced when there are problems in your marriage is doing you a huge disservice. While getting a divorce may be ultimately what you need the reality of your situation is that the problems you are going through maybe solvable either in simple conversation with your spouse, behavior modification, or in seeking counseling or therapy for a professional. 

Many times you and your spouse may have simply let an issue go unchecked or unresolved for too long. That one issue may have festered within your marriage and cause problems to have legends to consider divorce. However, by simply airing your grievances and listening to your spouse’s perspective you could end up avoiding an unnecessary divorce. A good sign that your spouse is willing to work with you on the problems in your marriage would be a willingness to have this discussion with you or to attend counseling. 

All of us have different strengths when it comes to our marriages. One of the strengths you may not possess is that of being a strong communicator. If you know that you struggle when it comes to interpersonal communication then that is a good indication that you may require the insistence of a counselor or therapist. There is no shame in admitting this. And it is better to seek advice and counseling from a trusted source earlier rather than later. Your marriage may be hanging in the balance. 

Of course, if your spouse displays more than hesitancy to try and talk your way through the problems in your marriage then you may have bigger problems on your hand than you would have thought previously. By not acknowledging that there is a problem in the marriage or my knowledge that there is a problem and not being willing to work on it with you your spouse is giving up on one of the fundamental aspects of marriage: that of working with you solve problems through thick or thin. At that stage, you could still attempt to work things out but given a longer period if your spouse is unwilling to do so then he or she may have made that decision to get a divorce for you. 

Tip #2: After speaking with your spouse speak to an experienced family law attorney

 assuming that counseling and direct communication if your spouse was not fruitful, the next conversation you probably need to have is with a family law attorney. As I mentioned to you earlier in this blog post simply speaking to an attorney does not mean that you are signing your life over to him or her or that you are even signing I contacted him with her representative quite the opposite, an attorney will meet with you to simply answer questions and help you assess the state of your case and your life as it pertains to a possible divorce. 

For example, the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan offer free of charge consultations with potential clients six days a week. In these consultations, we will talk with you about the status of your case, the goals that you wish to accomplish within your case and will provide answers to your questions. While an attorney with our office does not automatically become your attorney based on having met with you in a consultation it can lay the groundwork for a potential attorney-client relationship. 

Once you have spoken with an experienced family law attorney about your circumstances you can feel more at ease about the decision to get a divorce. Ultimately the decision is yours on whether or not to hire an attorney to represent you. A basic rule of thumb that I apply when it comes to hiring an attorney for your divorce is that if you have children or a significant amount of property you need to hire an attorney. The risks are too high if either of these circumstances or both, apply to you and your spouse. 

Family law attorneys offer competitive pricing to represent you and your family. Keep in mind that family law attorneys with our office are also willing to represent you in what is called limited scope arrangements. For example, you could hire one of our attorneys to represent you in a particular hearing, in mediation or simply to review documents at the end of your divorce. If an arrangement like this interests you then I would recommend reaching out to one of our experienced family law attorneys today to set up a free of charge consultation. 

Tip #3: Before filing for divorce figure out your goals and act intentionally to achieve them 

There is no way to avoid the reality that getting a divorce is fun pleasant. Even the most simple and relatively straightforward divorce offers challenges that you and your attorney do need to overcome together as a team. There are so many components of a divorce that make it difficult from an emotional, financial and relational level that we don’t have enough time to go over all of them today in this blog post. Suffice it to say, a divorce will be challenging for you and your family. 

With that said, the key to a divorce is to make the process as well-filling and productive as you can. While nobody enjoys getting a divorce you can make use of your tongue to accomplish things that need to get done for yourself and your family moving forward. The third piece of advice that I would provide you with is that you need to be able to develop specific, manageable, and attainable goals. Once you have to create goals for yourself then you can work to be as intentional as possible to accomplish those goals. 

For example, simply having the goal to get through your divorce is not good enough. The reality is that you will get through your divorce one way or another. But you need to focus on our specific goals regarding your children and your property. Do you want to be able to become the primary conservator of your children? Do you want to be able to secure spousal maintenance after your divorce for two years while you work to complete your college degree? These are the types of specific and manageable goals that you should be considering as you begin your divorce. 

The other part of goal setting in a divorce that I find to be particularly important is developing an intensional type mindset where you can best accomplish your goals that you have set for yourself. A goal is a great thing for you to have but you need to be able to develop the right kind of mindset to be able to accomplish that goal. Going into a divorce with goals but no plan to accomplish the goals is a recipe for disaster. It is easy to become disheartened and frustrated during a divorce if you do not have long-term goals and a strategy on how to accomplish those goals. 

The best way that I can describe to a person what it means to have an intentional mindset is that you should perform every action, say every word, and approach every encounter within a divorce to accomplish your goals. Do not waste opportunities to negotiate with your Co-parent because you are frustrated with him or her at the moment. Do not let a moment go by without building on your relationship with your children during the case. Direct every action of yours towards your goals and you will be best served. 

Tip #4: begin a basic inventory of your property 

The reality is that you do not know exactly what your living situation is going to be once your divorce is filed. For instance, you don’t know if you will be moving out of the house, if your spouse will be moving out or if neither of you will be moving out. Because of this, you need to make sure that the property in your home is accounted for in advance of actually filing for divorce. One of the many tricky things about a divorce is that somehow, someway in many divorces property in a house just grows legs and leaves after ‘spouse leaves the home. 

This puts you in a tricky situation because you are having to account for the property without actually being able to get inside the house every day. While you may be allowed a day or two to remove personal items from the home that you need daily if you are the spouse who ends up moving it is not as if you can go over to the house unannounced anytime you want in all likelihood. For that reason, I recommend you performing one simple action before leaving the home to make the best account of the property. 

My recommendation is that you take your phone out and photograph every room in your house before leaving. This includes going into drawers, dressers, and closets to take photographs of items that are in each of those places. If you own a safe then you should take a photograph of the contents of the safe as well as any other financial accounts that you may not have access to after you leave the home. These sort of accounts are probably limited in this day and age of using the Internet but if for some reason there is a financial account that you only have access to at your home you should document its contents immediately. 

Tip #5: Develop a mindset geared towards negotiation rather than litigation 

I think because movies and television shows show divorce cases only existing in courtrooms that most of you reading this blog post has an idea that the likeliest outcome for your divorce would be to end up in divorce court with a judge issuing rulings on all the important areas of your life in the case. The reality is that the vast majority of divorce cases settled before a trial is necessary. The key thing for you to be able to understand is how to ensure that this can happen for you. 

Nobody is in a better position than you are to decide your case than you and your spouse. Even if you two don’t see eye to eye on every particular issue in your case you were still able to negotiate with him or her on important subjects. A judge, even after a divorce trial, will still not know your circumstances nearly as well as you or your spouse. My advice would be to gear your case towards settling issues together rather than assuming that a judge will have to determine the fate of your case at its conclusion. Not only are you more likely to achieve a desirable result with this attitude but you can make the case run a lot smoother. 

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, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or a child custody case.