Anyone reading today’s blog post who are football fans knows that the difference between winning a game and losing a game isn’t always necessarily about the plays that your team makes. Rather, winning or losing a game is oftentimes more about the mistakes that your team does not make. The big pass play down the field is fun to see and can contribute to a victory but limiting penalties and dropped passes are critical to your team’s success. The difference is that the dropped passes and the penalties don’t get near as much highlight time as the exciting pass plays.
Where am I going with all this? No, you didn’t stumble into a sports blog, but I do think that there are some parallels between winning a football game and proceeding with a family law case. With as many different family law cases as you and your family came being involved with, I think you must understand that there are many circumstances, but you cannot always predict how your case will proceed. However, the dynamics of a typical family law case involve some degree of family conflict and concern over how well your kids will handle the proceedings and their lives after the case has come to an end.
Regarding how you should avoid handling a family law case, there is also something difficult to answer, given that I don’t know your family’s specific circumstances. Family law cases rely particularly on the facts and circumstances of your case. This is as opposed to many areas of the law where the statutes contained in codebooks or determined how your case goes. With that said, I believe there are some common experiences that I can share with you for my time working with many families in Southeast Texas to help guide you as you begin to consider a family law case of your own.
Not filing your case because you’re afraid of the consequences.
If you are in a position where you believe that you need to file a family log case, then you should explore your options. There is no harm in meeting with an experienced attorney, such as those with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, to learn more about the case you would be filing and the long-term and short-term impacts of your doing so. Learning information is never a bad thing and developing a base of knowledge to make better decisions in the future sounds like exactly what you should be doing at this time.
Many people hold off on filing divorce cases because they are intimidated by their spouses. That intimidation could be related to your being physically intimidated by your spouse. That intimidation could be related to your family and what they will think about your filing for divorce. It could even be that you are intimidated by what your future will hold after you file for divorce. Can you make it on your own? Will you have to get a job? What about your kids? How are you going to fare as a single parent?
These are all relevant and fair questions to ask yourself. What you should do is gain answers to these questions and then decide either to move forward or not to. Staying perpetually in a position where you are considering a case but not comfortable moving forward due to these factors is not reason enough. Rather, you need to treat facts as your friends and begin to make a decision that will most favorably impact your family and yourself. Simply remaining neutral for an indefinite period is the wrong way to approach your circumstances.
Simply learning more about the family law world, including how a case is filed, the type of case you would need to file, how a case proceeds as far as a timeline, and what the results of your case could be. I’ve found that if you as a client can understand what to expect in a case, you will naturally become more comfortable proceeding. However, being able to make a decision one way or another is necessary for you to move on with your life.
In a way, this kind of gets back to the same sort of thing you were taught as a child. Just because someone else doesn’t like what you are doing or doesn’t necessarily agree with you does not mean that you shouldn’t do what you think is right. Only you have to live with the consequences of your decisions. That means you should consider your options and think hard about what you can do for yourself and your family by entering into a family log case. That does not mean that you should jump headfirst into a case before you understand the consequences. It does mean that you have options to consider before doing anything when it comes to family law cases. Learning those options and then making it a decision for yourself is what is most advisable.
Not talking with your opposing party throughout the case.
Let me begin this section of today’s blog post by saying that if your Co-parent, spouse, or the opposing party is a threat to you or your safety, then you should consider whether or not being in conversation with them is a good decision. Fortunately, the vast majority of family law cases do not involve the risk of harm to someone’s physical safety. However, if that is a concern for you, you should take the advice in this section with a grain of salt. This goes back to what I was discussing with you earlier in today’s blog post. Namely, the advice in this blog post is intended for a general audience and may not apply to you and your circumstances exactly; with that said, let’s talk about how critical it is for you to work with your Co-parent on important issues throughout your case.
The best example that I can provide you with is regarding a divorce case. I want to use divorce as an example of a situation that could warrant back and forth communication because divorce cases involve matters related to property, relationships, and children. You and your Co-parent need to be able to communicate with each other during a divorce case to not only ease the transition into post-divorce life for your children but to ensure that you all can communicate in negotiate on child custody schedules and property division.
First off, the issue that you and your Co-parent are probably the most concerned with is dividing time for a custody schedule. At first, it will be awkward and difficult for you to be able to share custody of your children. However, over time you will become used to this, and it will become just another part of your day when it comes to maintaining a shared custody schedule. However, until then, you all will need to acclimate to this new routine.
That means that you all can consider one another schedules and needs when it comes to creating a possession schedule in the first place. Both you and your Co-parent want to maximize your time with your children. The difficulty of everything comes into play when you have circumstances that arise that need you all to become flexible regarding a custody schedule. For example, if you work nights and weekends, having a standard possession word order probably would not work out well for your family. In that case, you may need to; I doubt they end create a personalized position schedule but deviates from the norm. There is nothing wrong with doing this, but it does require communication, patience, and understanding with one another during the negotiation phase of your case.
Discussing issues like this during your divorce sets you and your co-parent up for success after the divorce is finalized. It will happen where one of you runs into traffic, gets sick, is held up at work, or has an emergency arise that requires you to be late for drop off or pick up of your children. For some families who do not communicate well with each other, this could be a potential for disaster and, at the very least, the potential for arguing. On the other hand, if you and your Co-parent communicate with each other throughout your divorce case, then you can build a level of trust understanding with one another where small issues like this do not threaten to overturn any degree of goodwill that you and your Co-parent have with one another.
Next, in a divorce case, there is frequently division regarding property issues. Texas is a Community property state which means that your community estate will be determined and subject to division. Determining how your property is going to be divided is up to you and your Co-parent and spouse. The property does not have to be split down the middle exactly in the specific circumstances of your case can and should be utilized in making that determination. However, the degree to which these decisions are made must be accounted for by you and your Co-parent specifically.
Some of the most frustrating situations for parents and spouses who have to divide up the property involve circumstances where 1 spouse will not allow the other into a family home to retrieve their personal belongings or conduct an inventory through the property inside the home. I advise clients to inventory the home by using their cell phone camera as soon as they plan on filing for divorce or as soon as they are served with the divorce papers. The reason is that you have no guarantee that you will be able to access all the property of your home or even gain entry to the home after a certain point. As such, I think it is a good idea to keep tabs on your property as soon as you can and not leave it to chance.
It is much easier to negotiate on dividing up a sometimes complicated marital estate when you and your Co-parent are on talking terms. Subjects like retirement accounts, savings accounts, and possibly even the equity in your home will all factor into a division of your community estate. Given that these subjects are quite complicated when it comes to a division, you have a situation where you should be aware of the possible ramifications on a long-term basis of dividing property and the need to discuss these matters throughout the case with your spouse and Co-parent.
Truly, you want to avoid a situation where you and your Co-parent avoid speaking to one another throughout your case only to re-engage during mediation. Not only will there be a lack of trust between the two of you duty or not having engaged in conversation with one another for an extended period, but you will also find yourself having to clear up misconceptions and talk each other down from positions that you could have been spending the past few weeks going over. That may be hey pressing the issue for you and your Co-parent, but unless you all talk through the problems with one another, you both will struggle when it comes to sorting issues out towards the end of your divorce case.
Placing blame entirely on your shoulders
The reality of any family law situation is that it takes two to tango. What I mean by this is that cause of your divorce or the child custody case falls on your shoulders and those of your Co-parent. We can often put ourselves in a position where we feel like we are the cause of all the problems in our lives, and we put too much pressure on ourselves to resolve them. The reality, of course, is somewhere in the middle. While you and your Co-parent certainly have a role to play in the case, many factors will weigh on the need to get divorced or have a child custody case. Do not put the blame solely on your shoulders for this.
At the beginning of a divorce or child custody case, I will oftentimes talk to the client about their feelings about the case and their family moving forward. Attorneys often spend so focused on objective measurements of success in a divorce or child custody case that we can lose track of the relational and emotional issues involved in a family law case. With that said, I think it is important to be able to not only understand the emotional and relational replications of a case but to absolve yourself of the idea that you caused the bad results of a divorce or child custody case.
I think this is incredibly important from the perspective that your children may hold a similar view of themselves about your case. There is something in the psychology of a child that if they see negativity around them, they tend to internalize that negativity and blame themselves for it being experienced in the first place. My experience is that if you are a parent or placing too much pressure on yourself in this regard, your children may feel the same way. This is not an ideal situation for your family to be in. However, to blame yourself and not consider the totality of very circumstances would be a huge mistake.
As viewing the situation with the glass half full mentality. It is best to take a long-term view of the divorce and its meaning for your family with anything in life. Do not set goals for yourself that are only meaningful in the short-term period, the same token. Do not assume that the short-term feelings you are experiencing associated with the divorce will forever be set in stone for your family. Instead, I recommend bringing the situation the one that can evolve and change over time; in the meantime, work with your Co-parenting styles to resolve issues and complete.
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 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 and how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case. I appreciate your interest in our law practice and blog.