When you first choose to divorce your spouse in Houston, TX, it may seem like a straightforward process. But once the proceedings get underway, many people realize this process is both financially and emotionally draining. A family law attorney can ease the burdens you feel, provide expert advice, and ensure court deadlines are met – even if you and your spouse seemingly agree on the many details that must be considered.
8 Reasons You Still Need a Houston, TX, Family Law Attorney in an “Agreed Divorce”
1. Understand the Legal Process
The legal process is complex, and even attorneys continually study and research case law to increase their professional knowledge. Divorce is no different. It, too, can be complicated, with a number of steps and court documents that must be completed correctly within a specific window of time. If a deadline is not met or paperwork is not properly submitted, the courts in Houston, TX, may dismiss your case.
Specific laws also pertain to the division of assets and debts, child custody, child support, and spousal support – meaning you’ll need a firm grasp of these to navigate your own divorce. Otherwise, the process can take significantly longer.
Hiring a lawyer, on the other hand, can streamline the process and avoid costly mistakes. A lawyer can also explain the court’s expectations of you and your spouse as well as the laws that will govern your proceedings. And each time you have a question, your attorney will be right there, ready to provide an answer you understand.
2. Manage Difficult Situations
Although you and your spouse may agree on every aspect of your divorce, you may have a difficult situation without realizing it. If you have children, for instance, you’ll need to develop a parenting plan that includes you and your spouse but keeps the children as the primary focus. A lawyer can help you craft this in a way that makes sense for everyone involved.
Similarly, if one or both of you own a business, dividing assets can become messy. The courts may deem the business community property, and that allows both spouses to potentially claim a portion of it. Military divorces can also quickly grow complicated because of healthcare and military retirement packages. Consideration must also be given to a spouse who might be deployed or stationed elsewhere and the impact this situation can have on minor children.
3. Craft a Fair Agreement
A family law attorney can review the agreement you and your spouse have arranged so you get what’s rightfully yours. Divorce laws in the state of Texas state that all income and assets accrued throughout the marriage belong equally to both spouses. Without professional guidance, you may not get the best deal – a fact that can haunt you in the future, regardless of how you feel right now.
4. Handle Unexpected Disagreements
5. Ensure Full Financial Disclosures
A family law attorney will work to get the full picture of your spouse’s financial situation. This is crucial to fairly dividing assets. Divorce is life-changing, and you need to craft the best possible situation for yourself so you can afford housing, health insurance, and other expenses that, up to this point, were shared between you and your spouse.
6. Diffuse Stress and High Emotions
Part of an attorney’s job is to help you overcome an emotionally difficult time. Even an “agreed divorce” can take its toll as one door closes and another opens. It’s therefore understandable that you will feel stress during this time – stress that can spill into other aspects of your life, including parenting and work.
A well-qualified attorney will listen to your concerns and allow you to express your emotions in a safe and confidential environment. They may even know counselors who can provide additional emotional support if you need it. And by explaining processes and providing guidance, you’ll know you’re on the right track. This in and of itself can help you feel calmer as your divorce proceedings continue.
Keep a Cool Head
Many couples find themselves getting into heated arguments before their divorce is finalized. An attorney will keep these emotions from taking over the case. They’ll focus on the law and facilitate negotiations with a cool and professional hand. This is the best approach to a fair resolution, especially in deciding custody of children.
7. Represent You
A divorce lawyer can only represent one person in proceedings. This means your spouse’s counsel is not on your side and will not advocate on your behalf, regardless of how nice they may seem. That lawyer may even have a duty to undermine you and act to your detriment. Hiring your own attorney will balance the situation and advocate for what is rightfully yours.
8. Devise a Debt Repayment Plan
The debt acquired by a couple during the course of a marriage does not disappear with divorce. In fact, dividing debt is often more tumultuous than splitting assets. Under Texas family law, debt can be classified as any other property – either separate or community. Both spouses are typically responsible for bills incurred while they were married, regardless of who actually spent the money.
But an attorney can argue on your behalf and help protect you from financial obligations that should be attributed to your spouse. Trying to do this by yourself, on the other hand, can prove frustrating and futile.
Even if your divorce right now seems like a simple process in which you and your spouse agree on everything, you should still consult with an attorney. We can fight for what’s important to you and help you move confidently to the next phase of your life. Schedule a consultation today by contacting Skillern Law, PLLC.