There are many misconceptions that people have about divorce.
Do you need a lawyer or can you do it on your own? Do you need to physically separate before starting? When and how should you tell your spouse? What happens with minor children? What will happen to property? Who pays the debts? What will it cost? Is what you know about divorce incorrect? Some misconceptions are caused by people talking about someone they knew whose brother got divorced or misconceptions that come from television and tabloids. Here are 5 of the most common misconceptions that we hear from our clients at Shannon Family Law.
Misconception No. 1: I have a simple divorce, so I don’t need a lawyer
ANSWER: First, you probably do not have enough knowledge to know if your divorce is truly simple. It is a good idea to counsel with an experienced family law attorney before you make your first move. Our staff can schedule a 30 minute attorney consultation. There is no fee for the consult unless you decide to hire our firm. If your divorce is truly simple, we will confirm it. If there are legal issues you did not know about, we will bring those to your attention.
Misconception No. 2: Lawyers cost too much
I cannot afford to hire a lawyer. Litigation can be expensive. ANSWER: It does not cost you anything to find out what the expense might be. Then you can make an informed decision. Do not make this assumption and learn later that a mistake cost far more than the lawyer would have charged.
Misconception No. 3: Lawyers make things too complicated
Lawyers stir-up conflict. Can I keep my divorce civil? We don’t hate each other. We just don’t want to be married anymore. ANSWER: We like to help you and your spouse find a low-conflict pathway to a Final Decree. During the In-Take we can describe the many processes available to help you get through at lower costs and lower conflict. Collaborative Divorce is one of those pathways. The Collaborative Divorce takes you outside the court system and keeps everything private and confidential. You get to work at your pace rather than being stuck with the court’s docket schedule. Courts are over-loaded with cases, so being in court can take longer than being in a Collaborative Divorce.
Misconception No. 4: I want a divorce but my spouse does not
Can my spouse prevent a divorce I want? Can I prevent a divorce I don’t want? ANSWER: Texas has a “no fault” basis (ground) for divorce. There is no defense! The spouse who wants out only needs to file a petition, get a setting before a judge, and make a statement. Truth of the statement is not subject to contest. However, you should consider asking your spouse why he/she wants a divorce. Ask why the marriage is not working for them. Ask if your spouse is willing to seek marriage counseling or pastoral counseling. If you ask, listen and reflect back to confirm you understood correctly. Do not be defensive –that will not help — even though you strongly feel you need to correct or deny.
Misconception No. 5: A Father can get possession of his children half of the time after a divorce
ANSWER: The short answer is that a father can get a 50-50% possession schedule by agreement. A father can ask a court for a 50-50% possession schedule, but there is no guarantee he will get it. Several factors influence a court’s decision. Ask you lawyer to discuss the chances a court might award a 50-50% possession schedule. Most court are granting an “expanded standard possession schedule” (ESPS). This schedule falls short of 50-50% but gives the father substantial possession time — approximately 42-45%. If you live within 50 miles, a father can get the ESPS unless you decline it or the court finds reasons to deny it.