Your family is unique, and your divorce will be just as unique. This does not, however, mean that your divorce will not pass through the same basic stages that every other divorce passes through. Having a firmer grasp regarding what to expect as you move forward with your divorce can help ensure that you maintain your equilibrium and make well-considered decisions throughout the legal process. If you are facing a divorce, the surest path forward is with an experienced Fort Hood divorce attorney on your side. (Even the Simplest Divorce Can Benefit from an Experienced Divorce Attorney)
One: Making a Plan
The first stage of any divorce (that is not sprung upon you) is planning. As with anything else in life, you are better off having a plan in place when moving toward divorce. The first part of this is making sure that divorce is the answer you seek. If there is any doubt in your mind, taking a bit more time and exploring options such as marriage counseling, pastoral counseling, or attempting to work things out may be the first order of business. If, however, you have already made the difficult decision that divorce is your best option, it is time to begin making some plans.
Consult with a Dedicated Divorce Attorney
The best way to begin your divorce plan is with the careful guidance of someone who knows the legal challenges you face and who is adept at strategizing viable paths forward – an experienced divorce attorney. Ultimately, your divorce terms will directly affect your parental and financial rights, which makes the outcome far too consequential to leave to chance.
Set Your Divorce Priorities
Divorce is an emotional minefield, and there is little you can do to alter this fact. The only way past the emotional turmoil is through it, but you need to make thoughtful and focused decisions along the way. This is why setting your divorce priorities is so important. When you take a scattershot approach to your divorce terms – that is driven by the difficult emotions you’re coping with –it is not likely to do you any favors. If, however, you can pin down what is most important to you and what you are far more willing to let go of, it can help you and your divorce attorney carve out a strategy that works for you.
When you file for divorce, you become the petitioner in the case. There are some important administrative points that you will need to know as the petitioner, including:
At least one of you – you and/or your spouse – must have lived in the State of Texas for at least six consecutive months prior to filing.
At least one of you – you and/or your spouse – must have lived in the county in which you file for at least 90 consecutive days prior to filing.
Your divorce cannot be finalized until at least 60 days after filing.
When you file, you can ask the judge for a temporary restraining order that sets the ground rules for your divorce moving forward, including:
That neither of you can hide, spend down, give away, or otherwise disappear your marital assets
That you must endeavor to treat one another civilly as you proceed through the divorce process
If this is the case, the judge will schedule a court date within the next 14 days, and it is here that you will receive temporary orders (if deemed necessary) regarding applicable concerns during the pendency of the divorce, such as:
Use of marital property (Who Should Stay in the Marital Home During a Texas Divorce?)
Child custody and visitation with the children (Read more about co-parenting)
Bill payment and debt management
Attorney fees (10 Ways to Reduce the Cost of Divorce in Texas)
Spousal support (often called alimony)
If you do not obtain the temporary restraining order, your spouse has about 20 days to respond to service, and these matters will be determined at this point. Your temporary orders can be negotiated between the two of you or hammered out in mediation. The court’s intervention is generally a last resort.
Three: Negotiations Begin
Once you make it to the negotiation stage of your divorce, your work begins in earnest. This is the stage when you and your ex will attempt to find a middle ground on the major factors that must be resolved.
The Division of Your Marital Property
That property that you and your divorcing spouse acquired as a married couple is marital property, and upon divorce, it must be divided equitably, which means fairly (after factoring in the relevant circumstances of your marriage). This division of property will play a primary role in your post-divorce finances, which makes affording it the attention it requires paramount. That property that you bring into the marriage with you – and are able to keep separate – will remain your separate property, but the task of keeping property separate can be very difficult to accomplish.
Your Child Custody Arrangements
Texas addresses both legal and physical custody. Legal custody determines decision-making power as it relates to important life questions, such as the following:
Questions about your children’s education
Questions about your children’s religious upbringing
Questions about your children’s medical care
Questions about your children’s extracurricular activities
Physical custody, on the other hand, determines how you and your ex will share your time with your children. Both legal and physical custody can be either sole or joint.
Child support is the state’s answer to enforcing every parent’s financial responsibility to his or her children. Child support is calculated using state guidelines that focus on both parents’ incomes and the number of nights each parent has the children under his or her roof. Even, however, if you and your ex divide your time with the children down to the minute, the court will generally require whoever is the higher earner to pay child support.
Alimony is only ordered when one spouse faces a financial setback upon divorce that the other spouse has the financial resources to assuage.
Turn to an Experienced Fort Hood Divorce Attorney for the Legal Guidance You Need
Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard – proudly serving Fort Hood, Texas – is a practiced divorce attorney who has impressive experience guiding cases like yours toward optimal outcomes. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 today.