Tips On Divorce Houston Texas
Going through a divorce is painful in many ways and that’s why we put together some tips on divorce. One of the greatest pains is the expense. Houston divorce lawyers cost money, and no one wants to spend a lot of money on attorney’s fees. For this reason, there is a large financial incentive to work things out without the need for involving the attorney. To some extent, this can be a good thing. Minor details can often be resolved between the spouses themselves. All the lawyer has to do is translate these agreements into an enforceable divorce decree. So far, so good.
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There is a huge pitfall that commonly occurs when this happens. Many of these conversations deal in generalities without getting into the specifics. While there may be agreement on these generalities, there may not be much agreement on the details, which can lead to miscommunication, anger, and feelings of betrayal. With divorce being such an emotionally charged process, these additional negative feelings can make things much worse than they are.
A typical conversation may go something like this.
Joe and Mary have decided to get divorce. Joe tells Mary that he wants this divorce to be as amicable as possible. Mary agrees with this. Mary says that she doesn’t want to spend a lot of money on attorney’s fees. Joe agrees with this. Joe states he just wants everything to be fair. Mary agrees with this.
Look at all these agreements; Joe and Mary now believe that this divorce is going to be relatively simple and straightforward. Unfortunately, this may not be the case.
There are a huge number of issues that need to be addressed when ending a marriage. The spouses themselves are often unaware of these issues. For example, in marriages with children, there is much more than custody that much be decided. How will parental rights, powers, and duties be allocated? Will there be a geographic restriction on the child’s primary residence, and if so, what will that geographic area be? What is the parenting time schedule going to be? Will it be the normal standard possession order, or will it be an expanded possession order? How much is child support going to be? Who gets to decide on extracurricular activities for the child? These are just a few of the decisions that need to be made; most spouses don’t have any idea that they will need to be addressed.
There are also issues involved in the property aspects of the divorce. Who gets the house, and how is the other spouse going to be compensated for his/her portion of the equity? If the house needs to be sold, how is this going to be done? Who gets to pick the realtor? Who gets to decide the asking price? Who gets to decide if an offer will be accepted? There are other issues relating to division of retirement accounts, allocation of stock options, whether spousal maintenance should be paid and, if so, how much and for how long?
Joe and Mary are probably not aware of most of these issues. Joe goes to his lawyer and announces that this is going to be a simple matter because he and Mary already agree on everything. Joe’s lawyer then starts going down the list of issues: How do you want to do this? How do you want to do that? Joe fills in the blanks with what he thinks is fair and equitable to both him and Mary. He then goes back to Mary and tells her this is how he thinks things should go. Mary doesn’t agree with a lot of this and is shocked; how can Joe do this? Clearly, he was never intending to be fair. Joe has been operating in bad faith. Joe is also surprised; how can Mary be so unfair when everything he has identified is based on his understanding of what is fair. Clearly, Mary had no intention of ever operating in good faith.
This is a frequent scenario in divorces, but it’s one that can be avoided. First, and most importantly, talk with your attorney before you talk with your spouse about details in the divorce. Get educated on all the issues that will need to be addressed. Secondly, don’t enter into any agreements with your spouse until after you talk with your lawyer. Say something like “This sounds like something that might work. Let’s go talk with our lawyers and let them work out the details.” Taking these relatively simple steps can diminish the chances of a potentially devastating misunderstanding between the spouses and can help resolve your divorce as quickly and inexpensively as possible.