Learning about the basics of a military divorce means that you have to be aware of not only Texas State laws regarding divorce but also how the military in general treats divorce cases. Additionally, depending upon the branch of the military that you or your spouse serve in you may need to be aware of specific attributes that pertain to divorce is in your particular branch. This is a lot to bear in mind and can be a lot to take on for you as an individual. This is one of the most important two reasons why having an attorney to help guide you during this process is important. Do not underestimate the importance of having a lawyer who is experienced not only in divorces but specifically in military divorces. You can read through our blog here on the website for the Law Office of Bryan Fagan to learn about the experiences we have had serving those just like you who have served our nation.
It may sound silly but the benefit of having an attorney is being able to ask that attorney questions and received feedback regarding your case specifically. Unfortunately, divorce is all too common in the military. With that said you have probably heard from fellow military members or their families about how divorce is handled. You may have a somewhat jaded perspective on divorce given what other people have told you about their experience in their life. For that reason, while that person may have been well-meaning I have tried to do something good for you the result may be you become worried or upset about a circumstance or two which is not even relevant to your divorce.
One things that military members and simply civilians alike are most concerned about are the cost and time to make it necessary for your divorce. If you are in a position where you are not deployed but are still not living in Texas then you may need to follow through with your divorce remotely from wherever you are located. By the same token, if you are deployed overseas and your spouse has filed for divorce from you in Texas then your attorney can explain to you the benefits of the civil service members relief act which bars your spouse from divorcing you while you were on deployment. This is a great advantage for you given that it would be nearly impossible for you to go on with the divorce while on deployment simultaneously.
As far as the costs of a military divorce are concerned, they can vary depending upon the specific circumstances of your case. Generally speaking the more complicated your divorce and the more contentious it becomes the more expensive your case will be. On the other hand, a simple divorce or a divorce where you and your spouse can negotiate through most of the issues typically means a shorter and less expensive case. Either way, we need to be prepared to pay a retainer to your attorney which can be seen as a down payment for their services. After that, a monthly payment will be made to your attorney for the duration of your case. Some circumstances require that you pay a second retainer at the end of your case if your divorce goes to a trial.
These are just some of the helpful advantages that you will have in having an attorney represents you in your divorce. This is also not an exhaustive list that contains every advantage I can think of that other attorney would provide you with a period, however, in a military divorce where time is money and you cannot afford to mess around having an attorney also ensures that you will take advantage of every opportunity presented to you when it comes to resolving the issues of your case fairly and amicably. We can’t choose every circumstance in our divorce but one we can is deciding to work with an experienced family law attorney such as those with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our lawyers are honored to serve alongside you and your family in whatever circumstances you find yourselves in related to a divorce or child custody matter.
What degree of spousal support could you or your spouse be entitled to?
Divorces have both short-term and long-term impacts on families when it comes to their finances. For one, a divorce may thrust you or your spouse back into the workforce for the first time in a long time or possibly even for the first time. Consider what may happen if your spouse has been a stay-at-home mother her entire life but is now being asked to re-enter the workforce due to your divorce. Not only can this be stressful for her but it may also be stressful for you considering the extent to which you may be responsible for her immediate needs from a financial perspective. Certainly, you do not want to leave her in the cold and especially do not want to leave your children hanging out to dry period however, you also have a limited budget and needs of your own. How can the needs of your family be met while simultaneously considering your own needs as an individual?
Every state in the United States including Texas has some log on the books regarding spousal maintenance or alimony. Interesting Lee, Texas was the last state in the country to pass laws regarding special maintenance. With that in mind, quarts in Texas are not overly generous or aggressive in handing out awards of spousal maintenance after a divorce trial. That doesn’t mean that your spouse can’t when spousal maintenance in a trial setting but it is not incredibly likely. This is due in no small part to the fact that most divorces in Texas settle before trial rather than going all the way 2A trial scenario. More than likely your trial will never come in your case will instead settle in mediation.
When we consider the purpose of alimony or spousal maintenance the reason why courts allow for either type of support is to avoid a situation where either you or your spouse comes out of a divorce with no ability to care for yourselves from a financial perspective. We can look at a divorce as a significant life event in that you or your spouse may find yourself leading many different lives at least in the short term after the divorce comes to a close. This may be because instead of being able to rely upon two incomes you may now need to rely upon only one period additionally, that income may be significantly smaller than what you are accustomed to. As a result, you may be facing a significant lifestyle change in the sense of not being able to afford or live a life that you had become accustomed to previously.
Spousal support and contractual alimony are intended to not only help you live a decent life but to essentially meet your basic and immediate burdens from a financial standpoint. That is the true purpose of spousal maintenance and contractual alimony. Namely, to help you meet your minimal basic needs in terms of day-to-day life. You can forget about the scenes from movies where a spouse is paid an exorbitant amount of support to allow him or her to live a life that they have become accustomed to as far as luxury and extravagance. Rather, spousal maintenance and contractual alimony are intended to only pay you enough money animal needs that examine it. It is only in extreme circumstances involving wealth beyond what most of us can even imagine where courts will get into lifestyle maintenance and things of that nature. For our purposes, we need to consider spousal support as being something to allow you to live life in a modest and basic way rather than thinking about it as maintaining a certain lifestyle.
Another concern that I have seen from families is that spousal maintenance or contractual alimony acts as a deterrent for punishment for you or your spouse who has had an affair. While adultery can play a role in your divorce you are being awarded or having to pay spousal maintenance is not a punishment or reward for adultery either way. Rather, spousal maintenance is awarded and ordered by necessity above all else. Do not assume that because your spouse cheated on you that you will automatically receive maintenance. Rather you should look at the financial circumstances of your case and make intelligent guesses based on those circumstances above all else.
Another factor to consider is that the spousal maintenance you receive they only be temporary. This means that you may receive spousal support only for the duration of your divorce. Or, you may be awarded special maintenance as a result of your divorce and it may last no more than a few years after the conclusion of your divorce case. Again, spousal maintenance is seen as a bridge for you to be able to re-enter the workforce, complete your education or earn a certification that may allow you to support yourself independently from your spouse. Spousal maintenance in Texas is not seen as a permanent windfall for you to be able to not work unless you or your child have a significant physical or mental impairment.
Do you need an attorney to get a divorce in Texas? This is a pretty common question that we are asked frequently. Going through a divorce is an unpleasant subject all things being equal. With that said, many people simply do not want to bother with hiring an attorney to assist them in their divorce case. This could be for several reasons foremost among them being cost. The thought is that attorneys cost too much money and they are not worth what you have to pay to hire one. The question remains do you need to hire an attorney while getting a divorce?
The answer to that question is no. There is no requirement in the Texas family code for you to have an attorney. People get divorced without lawyers in Texas every day. However, there are some factors that you need to be aware of before taking the plunge into divorce without a lawyer. Let’s walk through these issues to allow you to gain a better insight into whether or not having an attorney is worth it for you and your family.
The first factor is one that many people are not aware of as they begin to consider the costs and benefits of having a lawyer. Simply put, having an attorney can greatly speed up your divorce in terms of the time necessary to complete the case. For one, there are certain processes and procedures that you must follow to get divorced. In this way, a divorce is not dissimilar from anything else we do in life. You follow the rules and you get the divorce by meeting deadlines, filing documents correctly, and generally knowing what you’re doing. Having an attorney provides you with someone who has been there before Ann knows how to while all the rules and meet whatever deadlines you have in your case. Failure to meet various deadlines oftentimes means that you will have to go back to incorrect mistakes that you made previously. this could end up costing you time and money.
For instance, I have been in courtrooms where parties representing themselves have made it to the end of divorce only to find that a judge will refuse to hear their case for entry up their divorce decree until their paperwork is reviewed by a lawyer first period the court will then point the parties to the county law library where an attorney came to review their paperwork. Or, the court may have attorneys on staff at the courthouse who can perform this action.
Either way, it can be extremely frustrating to have followed the same rules as parties with an attorney only to find that a court is requiring you to perform an extra step of diligence. This is because judges oftentimes run into issues with parties who don’t have lawyers making mistakes in drafting paperwork. As a result, it is better to make sure that you don’t have to follow this step if you want the simple divorce that almost everyone desires.
The other factor that you need to consider is that all things being equal an attorney allows you a chance to when a better result in your case than not having an attorney. Attorneys help you to negotiate better and prepare better for trial. Think about hiring an attorney the same way that you would in terms of getting your car serviced or getting your teeth cleaned. These are not tasks that you would perform on your own. Almost none of us change our oil anymore or even perform basic maintenance on our vehicles. Rather, we trust a professional in this regard because although it costs money to hire these folks to perform these services the idea is that the results that we can get from a professional in any of these areas are greater than the results we could get performing the task ourselves. If we apply this logic to something as routine as changing the motor oil on our vehicles why wouldn’t we think about hiring an attorney in the same way?
However, there are circumstances in which not hiring a lawyer for divorce is not the worst thing in the world. However, you need to examine the issues of your case and decide whether or not hiring a lawyer is right for you and your family. A divorce where there are no children and a divorce where there is little property to be divided would be about the only type of divorce where I would recommend even considering not hiring a lawyer.
The reason why I would even give me the idea to consider not hiring an attorney when you have a divorce that has no children and very little property is that less is at stake in the case. Case this means that if you make a mistake and have to repeat steps in your divorce or otherwise are not that committed to the case then the chances of suffering a great deal of harm both for you and your family is minimal. Contrast this with a divorce that features children in a property where you could suffer a great deal of harm in the event of a mistake being made at some point. Do not underestimate the mistakes that can be made in a divorce even if you and your spouse are committed to working through a case amicably.
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 as well as about how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.