If you’re considering divorce, or perhaps your spouse has already taken the first steps to file for divorce, you need to be very careful with your next move. Divorce is a complex process, and one misstep early on can have disastrous results down the road. Hiring divorce lawyers is the safest way to ensure a fair and equitable divorce for both parties in Houston, TX. Your partner might already have a head start.
For many, the shock of divorce can lead to inaction. While we know that divorce is a stressful time for everyone involved, it’s important to get your legal affairs in order as soon as possible. If you wait too long, you might find yourself on the phone with your spouse’s lawyers. What should you do if you start to get phone calls from your spouse’s legal team? Here’s some sound advice from experienced divorce lawyers.
If My Spouse’s Divorce Lawyers Call Me, What Should I Do?
Listen and Take Notes
If you pick up the phone and find your spouse’s lawyer on the line, the first thing you should do is find something to write with. The lawyer should introduce themselves as such and promptly explain the reason for their call. They will likely ask you for your name or to confirm that you are indeed the spouse they intended to reach. You can confirm who you are. Write down their name, as well as their explanation for the call.
Everything the lawyer has to say is important, so be sure to take notes on the rest of the call. Listen to everything. You may ask some follow-up questions, like if a motion for divorce has actually been filed and when that happened, if applicable. However, keep your questions business-oriented at all times. Do not ask about your spouse. Do not ask what the lawyer has heard regarding the motives for divorce. Another important note: Don’t offer any information.
Don’t Offer Information
You never know how your words can be interpreted later on. Your call with a law firm may be recorded, and the words you say on that call could be used against you later. Even if the call is not considered admissible evidence in court, what you say could give your spouse’s divorce lawyers an advantage. If the lawyer starts asking you questions about yourself, you shouldn’t provide any answers. Do your best to avoid reacting to startling information.
If this is the first time you’re hearing about divorce, then you will understandably be shocked and perhaps angry. Be careful not to say anything you might regret later. Do not agree to any terms or any court visits at the moment. You do not need to affirm anything with the lawyer on the phone. Instead, what you should do is instruct the lawyer to direct those questions to your legal team.
Refer to Your Lawyers
If you already have legal representation, the best thing to do is to refer the lawyer calling you to your legal team right away. Immediately after acknowledging who you are, feel free to interrupt the lawyer and provide the contact information of your attorney. As your legal representative, they have the responsibility to answer questions on your behalf. In fact, your lawyers would vehemently tell you not to speak to your spouse’s lawyers without them present on the call.
But what if you haven’t hired a divorce attorney in Houston, TX yet? It would be best not to let your spouse know about your lack of legal representation. Instead, since you have been taking notes, politely tell the lawyer that you appreciate their call and have written down their name and number. Explain that you will get in touch with your attorney and ask them to reach out.
Why You Need a Divorce Attorney in Houston, TX
If you haven’t hired an attorney, you might think that it’s unnecessary. Rest assured, if your spouse already has legal representation and you don’t, you are at a massive disadvantage. Courts are always more favorable to lawyers than they are to individuals representing themselves. Furthermore, experienced divorce attorneys know what courts are likely to approve. They will offer settlements that exceed this. You may agree to give away much more than you should without a lawyer to review your agreement.
Having a lawyer on your side can also help you with more complex divorce cases. Few divorces are ever simple, but some are particularly complicated and call for lawyers on both sides to mediate and reach a mutually agreeable settlement. Consider some of the cases where a lawyer can make a major difference in the final result.
Child Custody and Child Support Cases
When child custody is on the line, divorces can become extremely contentious. To obtain full custody of your children you’ll need to prove that you will provide the children with a better environment. This may require you to discredit your spouse to some extent in court. Custody disputes, as a result, can become quite heated. Having lawyers handle these arguments alleviates some of the tension and can help maintain civility, both during and after your divorce.
Child support payments are another factor to consider. Houston, TX adheres to state guidelines when assigning child support payments. However, it’s possible for judges to deviate from those guidelines. Your spouse may present arguments to try to get more than what the state usually calls for. In these cases, having a lawyer help you could save you thousands of dollars over the coming years.
One of the most tedious parts of a divorce is dividing property. While you might think this part is fairly simple since property is easy to tally up, how each side accounts for property will vary wildly. For example, suppose you bought your home a few years before getting married. You would consider this separate property, but your spouse who’s lived in the house for a decade might consider it marital property held jointly.
Who wins that argument depends on who has the best divorce lawyers. It’s not enough to have bought property prior to marriage if the property was used jointly and maintained by both spouses for a considerable time. Likewise, the value of certain items may be called into question, especially in a high net worth divorce. Art, jewelry, and antiques could all have different values depending on who appraises them.
Alimony, formally known as spousal support in Texas, is another item that may come up for debate in a divorce. Like child support, there are guidelines in Texas state statutes that judges can use to determine the amount and length of these payments. The duration of spousal support depends on how long your marriage was, but there is some room for judges to set the terms. An experienced divorce lawyer can help you get the best arrangement possible.
Obtain Legal Representation for Your Divorce
If your spouse’s lawyers are already on the phone, it’s past time to seek legal help. If you are considering divorce or have had one thrust upon you, it’s in your best interests to get legal representation from experts in family law. Contact the Skillern Firm of Houston, TX today to speak to one of our representatives.