Divorce can be one of the most difficult life experiences, especially if you never imagined you'd be considering it one day. In thinking about everything that comes along with a divorce, from child custody to property division, you may feel overwhelmed. Decisions about these things cannot be made lightly, as they will have an impact on your life and your children's lives for years to come.
Once you've decided you want to proceed with a divorce, hiring an experienced family law attorney may help lighten the burden in navigating legal issues. Throughout the entire process, it is important to act wisely, even if you may be feeling emotional. Here are things you should do, and things you shouldn't do, when dealing with a divorce:
What to do:
• Act reasonably toward your soon-to-be ex and cooperate throughout the process as much as possible. Compromises will have to be made, and the more reasonable you are, the easier it is to get through the divorce case quickly and with the least amount of pain.
• Keep your spouse in the loop about the children, their whereabouts and come up with a temporary agreement until the case gets to the permanent custody agreements.
• Be there for your children. Being supportive to them is important as the process may be harder for them than it is for you.
• Be honest about all your property and assets. If you try to deceive the court, the court can throw out the divorce decree based on deception.
• Research the divorce process, and understand the forms you'll need, child custody, child support, spousal support and divorce trials. Ask your attorney to help you understand the entire process, so you know what to expect.
What NOT to do:
• Do not let your anger and frustration get the best of you. Try to get along as best as possible with your spouse and children throughout the entire process.
• Do not violate temporary custody agreements, as the court could view this unfavorably when deciding permanent custody agreements.
• Do not give away property to friends or relatives in hopes that you will get it back later, after the divorce is final. Your spouse can take you back to court to settle those assets later.
• Do not make huge financial decisions or impulsive life plans, like moving to a new state and starting over. Moving could slow down the divorce process. Wait until the divorce is finalized to decide what you want to do.
• Do not feel alone in the process. Your attorney is there to help you from start to finish.
Can I get a legal separation in Texas until we divorce?
Texas law does not recognize legal separations. However, it allows spouses to have an agreement in writing about dividing property, debt and payment of spousal support while a divorce suit is pending. In the meantime, this could be an option for those wishing to separate before the divorce is final.
Divorce can be complicated, especially if there are children involved. Consulting with a skilled family law attorney could be one of the best things you do in order to remain at your best during this trying and emotional time.