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The best questions to ask your attorney before filing for divorce

For some adults, considering a divorce is even more frightening than thinking about marriage. When people plan their weddings and think about their future after getting engaged, it will likely focus on positive considerations.

Those thinking about divorce often fixate more on perspective negative matters, such as the possible loss of custody rights or losing access to the home that they have helped slowly fix up and remodel. As someone considering divorce, you will undoubtedly have numerous concerns in mind. Asking your attorney the right questions as you contemplate divorce may hope you feel more comfortable pursuing your happiness and freedom.

What does Texas do with my property?

Texas is a community property state, which means that the courts will split your assets, obligations and even income earned during the marriage. Unless you and your spouse signed an agreement about property division or support matters, you will either need to decide on your own how to split your property or provide information about your marital estate to a judge so that they can divide your property.

What determines custody arrangements?

As with property division matters, parents can settle custody issues outside of court or they can litigate. If a judge has to create the custody order dividing parenting time and decision-making authority, they will try to make decisions that are in the best interest of the children in your family.

Judges operate under the assumption that parents will cooperate as co-parents rather than fighting each other. Showing that your ex is very contentious, that they bad mouth you or that they deny you parenting time could actually help you get more time with your children.

What determines if there will be spousal support?

Alimony or spousal support is often one of the most controversial parts of a divorce. A spouse who stayed home to raise the couple’s children may feel strongly that they require support, while someone who has worked for the entire marriage might feel strongly about not paying the other after the divorce.

The courts may issue temporary or rehabilitative support, provided that there is a discrepancy in financial circumstances. However, long-term or permanent support is unlikely unless there are unusual circumstances, such as a divorce occurring because one spouse has a medical issue that renders them unable to support themselves.

How long will your divorce take?

The more contentious the divorces and the more you rely on the courts to resolve matters, the longer the process may take. Those hoping to divorce quickly will usually benefit from negotiating to secure an uncontested divorce filing rather than waiting to litigate, which may take a year or longer depending on the volume of cases making their way through the courts at any given time.

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