Is a divorce in your future?
Maybe you’re feeling that something has shifted in your relationship with your spouse. You may be seeing “the handwriting on the wall,” and things are not going well. Maybe your spouse has dropped a hint or two and you’re not sure what to make of it. Or perhaps you and your spouse have had a discussion on the subject, and you’re not sure what to do next.
Divorce is a personal decision and exclusive to each couple considering it. No divorce attorney can tell you for sure if it’s the right thing for your marriage, or if it’s the right time to file.
Even if you’re just considering a divorce, speaking with a divorce attorney at the outset will give you a better idea of what’s involved, and what to expect. A divorce attorney can address concerns about unknowns that can help you to understand your options well in advance, instead of being surprised by a process server. Gaining an understanding of the process means you can get through it knowing what you might be facing should you and your spouse decide to go through with it.
Should you discover that your spouse has already consulted with a divorce lawyer, you have the option of speaking with one of your own. (You won’t be able to speak with the same lawyer.) By doing the same thing, you will be able to get a better understanding of your options, as well as your rights should your spouse decide to file for divorce.
However, if your spouse is hiding and/or diverting assets, you should also consult with a divorce attorney to avoid them dumping everything out of reach of the courts. Filing for divorce can protect and preserve assets and property, and consulting with an attorney can determine whether or not a filing is needed.
Preparing For The Meeting
Before you meet with the divorce attorney, you’ll need to collect some information to present in the meeting.
- Date of your marriage, and current state
- If there has been any wrongdoing in the marriage by your spouse (infidelity, gambling, financial mismanagement, etc.)
- How many children were born from the marriage, and your relationship with them
- Your past and current employment situation, as well as your educational background
- Your current financial situation
- Financial documents, including:
- Bank statements
- Credit card statements
- Investment account statements
- Retirement account statements
- Brokerage account information
- Business operating agreements
If you’re unable to locate something, your attorney will be able to find it in the discovery process.
It’s also important for you to be open and honest with your attorney, discussing this very personal time with them so that they can help you.
Going through a divorce is not a static process; you will be involved in each step. There is more to a divorce than just filing a petition and taking the children home, or leaving them with the other parent and spending a couple of weekends a month with them.
Have An Idea Of What You Want
Should you and your spouse decide to move forward with the divorce, think about what you want when it’s done:
- Do you want to keep the marital home, or start over?
- What kind of parenting plan do you want with your spouse?
- What is your current financial state? Where do you want to be when it’s over?
- Do you have what you need to support yourself and your children going forward?
- What other areas of your life will change, and what do you need for them?
Even if you’re not completely sure of what you want, give it some thought, and establish some baselines as well as deal breakers that your attorney can work with during negotiations.
Don’t assume that it’s just a discussion even if it’s just something you and your spouse are thinking about. Take it seriously, and consult with a divorce attorney sooner rather than later.
Note that just having a consultation with a divorce lawyer doesn’t mean you’re committed to filing for a divorce. You and your spouse may decide to undertake counseling and divorce may no longer be an option for you. But a consultation will help you gain an understanding of what’s involved, and what you need to know.
Fort Worth’s Compassionate Divorce Attorney
Wendy L. Hart is an experienced family law attorney helping people throughout Tarrant County who need help in a divorce. As a divorcee herself, Wendy understands the process as well as the difficulties involved. We represent both men and women. We’ll make sure you’re treated fairly and will protect your interests and your children.