Do I Really Need a Divorce Attorney if My Spouse and I Are in Total Agreement?
Divorce is universally stressful. This is true even if you and your divorcing spouse are in total agreement regarding every term. When you got married, you intended it to last, and divorce is the dissolution of this intention, which makes it stressful. To top things off, your divorce terms set the foundation for your ongoing parental rights and for your post-divorce financials, which means that it behooves you to take the matter very seriously. The best thing you can do to protect your rights is to retain an experienced Belton divorce lawyer as soon as you realize your marriage may be ending.
Even if Everything Goes Exactly According to Plan
Right now, you and your divorcing spouse are in total agreement on every term that must be resolved, including:
The division of your marital property
Your child custody arrangements
Child support for your children
If this is the case, that is great. In fact, some divorcing couples never waiver on their agreements, and everything goes according to plan. These couples are to be commended, but this does not alter the fact that, if you are divorcing, you owe it to yourself, to your children, and to your future to consult with an experienced divorce attorney.
The truth is that divorce is complicated and has lasting implications. As such, taking the time to consult with a dedicated divorce attorney who better understands the far-reaching ramifications of your decisions is always a good idea. This doesn't mean that your soon-to-be-ex is out to get you or that anything nefarious is afoot – it simply means that it is a good idea to have a legal professional on your side when you are signing off on terms that will directly affect you and your children’s future.
The Best Laid Plans
Another thing you must consider is that, regardless of how simpatico you and your divorcing spouse are at the outset, things can quickly go south. The anxiety associated with a transition of this magnitude can push even the most levelheaded among us to do things that are out of character. If you and your spouse do manage to remain on the same side throughout and never falter on your decision to work as a team, you’ll be ahead of the game. If this is the case, having an attorney in your corner will provide you with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your decisions are solid and that your parental and financial rights are well protected. Ultimately, your legal fees will be minimal if you and your divorcing spouse remain on the same page throughout the divorce process, but the potential consequences of your divorce are simply too serious to move forward without the counsel of an experienced lawyer.
The Division of Your Marital Property
In the State of Texas, those assets and those properties that you and your spouse acquire throughout your marriage are considered marital property that is to be divided equitably in the event of a divorce. Equitably here means fairly given the circumstances involved in your marriage and divorce – and does not necessarily mean equally or straight down the middle. This term of your divorce will likely be its most important financial component, and it is in your best interest to get it right.
While the terms involving your child support, child custody arrangements, and even your alimony can be modified after the fact, the division of your marital property will remain set in stone (barring misconduct). Your accomplished Belton divorce attorney will help ensure that you and your children’s financial rights are well protected in the division of your marital property, including careful considerations regarding your tax implications.
It’s important to note that those assets you and your spouse bring into the marriage with you – and that you keep separate throughout – will remain your separate property upon divorce. The fact is, however, that the line between marital property and separate property can easily be blurred. If you believe you own separate property, you may have to defend this stance, and the best way to do so is with a stalwart divorce attorney by your side.
Your Child Custody Arrangements
If your divorce involves shared children, hammering out child custody arrangements that are in keeping with both you and your children’s best interests is a primary concern. In Texas, child custody boils down to both legal custody and physical custody.
Legal custody relates to who will be making important decisions on behalf of the children, including:
Decisions related to your children’s education
Decisions related to your children’s extracurricular activities
Decisions related to your children’s religious upbringing
Decisions related to your children’s medical care
Legal custody can be either sole or joint.
Physical custody has to do with whom your children live with – and according to what schedule (or parenting plan). Physical custody, too, can be either sole or joint. If you and your divorcing spouse remain in agreement regarding your child custody arrangements, the court will almost certainly uphold your decisions. If your child custody arrangements, however, do become a sticking point, which is not at all uncommon, you should know that the court is motivated by your children’s best interests. Further, the court believes, in general, that children’s best interests are best served by continuing to develop their relationships with both parents – and thus, by spending time with both parents.
Your Child Support
Both parents are responsible for supporting their children financially post-divorce. The state’s mechanism for ensuring this happens is child support payments, which are calculated according to exacting state guidelines. There are, however, extenuating circumstances – such as a child’s special needs – that can play a role in this calculation.
Many divorces do not involve alimony. If, however, one of you will experience a financial deficit post-divorce and the other has the financial means to help, alimony may be deemed appropriate.
Your Dedicated Belton Divorce Attorney Can Help
Divorce is a serious legal process – the results of which set the course regarding your parental and financial rights. Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Belton, Texas, is a practiced divorce attorney who understands your desire to keep your divorce as amicable as possible and who is committed to helping you do so. We are here to help you, so please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.