Friday, January 1, 2016

Considering Divorce?

'Tis the Season!

For several years, January has been a very popular month to start a divorce.  There are lots of reasons for that popularity, but mostly it seems to come down to the start of a new year being a time for fresh starts.

For those about to suggest a divorce or for those hearing about plans for a divorce from a spouse, it's time to take action.  That's true even if you don't want a divorce.  Doing nothing can be very dangerous.  With that in mind, here are five tips to keep in mind.

How to start -- The best first step is to consult with an attorney.

Yes, you may have to pay a consultation fee, but that is a small investment compared to what may be at stake.  Meet with an experienced family law attorney and find out what your options are.  There are several different processes that can be used to get a divorce, with varying degrees of cost, difficulty and damage. There's no "one size fits all".  You need to consider which way you prefer to proceed. 

Immediate concerns.  You need to think short-term to consider some of the following issues:
  • Who stays in the house?
  • How are the bills paid?
  • What do you say to the children?
  • How do you break the news to your spouse?
  • How can you get along with your spouse while the divorce is pending?

Plan ahead -- things to do before filing:
  • Gather records on your finances.
  • Have control of some money.
  • As odd as it may sound, try to be considerate and nice to your spouse. It's easier and better to divorce a friend than an enemy.
  • Make a plan for where you will live and how you will separate the clothing, personal effects and furniture.
  • If you have kids, plan how you and your spouse can share time and responsibility for the children.
Read up on the divorce process.

There's tons of information on line about divorce, although you should be careful to not read about other states.  Their laws are different and usually don't apply here. There's plenty of Texas information available.

Don't Do It Yourself! 

I recommend against DIY unless you have a very short marriage, AND there are no kids AND there is no property (other than personal effects) AND there are no debts.  If you have any of those, you should also have an attorney.  There's a lot to lose if you don't know what you're doing!
 Good luck, plan ahead and work with an attorney.

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