If you’ve been contemplating divorce or if you’ve been presented with divorce papers, you probably have many questions. Perhaps you own a business and have many financial assets; you wonder what will happen to both. You may also have children you wish to protect.
In our practice, there are various questions we hear most often from couples moving forward with a divorce. Allow us to answer them for you here and hopefully deliver some peace of mind.
Answers to Your Common Divorce Questions
1. How Will My Property Be Divided?
Texas is a community property state. This means that marital assets and debts (property obtained during the marriage) typically will be divided equally between you and your spouse. If one spouse has less earning potential, however, they may receive a higher percentage.
Also, if you have personal debts with your name attached, you may be held solely responsible. The court will determine what’s best. Plus, an attorney can help you understand how to balance assets to make the outcome work for both you and your spouse.
2. Will I Need to Pay/Will I Receive Spousal Maintenance?
It’s possible to receive spousal maintenance or support in Texas. The spouse requesting the support must lack sufficient property such as income to provide for their minimum reasonable needs.
For a spouse to qualify, the marriage must have lasted at least 10 years and they must be actively trying to obtain sufficient income. If the marriage lasted less than 10 years, the requesting spouse must have suffered family violence within the past two years.
3. Can I Avoid Going to Court?
Not all divorces end up in court. If you and your spouse agree to the divorce as well as other issues such as property division, mediation is a great alternative. In mediation, you and your spouse will work with a mediator to finalize your divorce, keeping you out of the courtroom.
If your spouse doesn’t agree to the divorce or wishes to fight you for assets, you’ll probably need the assistance of the court. An attorney can help you decide which route is best for your unique situation.
4. How Much Child Support Will I Need to Pay/Receive?
Texas has set forth guidelines for the amount of support you can pay or receive on behalf of your children. For example, the guideline amount is 20% of your net monthly resources for one child and 25% for two children. In court, support is typically decided at the discretion of the judge who will examine the facts and circumstances surrounding your situation.
5. Is It Possible to Receive Full Custody of My Children?
Full custody is referred to as sole managing conservatorship in Texas. A sole managing conservator has the exclusive rights to make decisions regarding a child. Although it’s possible to receive full custody, specific parameters must be met.
For example, child abandonment, physical endangerment and abuse are all causes for the other party to receive full custody.
6. How Long Will the Divorce Process Take?
It depends. The process could take a matter of months or a year, depending on your unique situation. Factors such as the number of assets, business complexities and the age of your children will affect the process. Your attorney should be able to give you a better timeline after they review your case.
7. Do I Really Need an Attorney?
In a divorce with many assets, the complexities are many. And unfortunately, it’s easy to overlook assets and make mistakes without the support of a trained attorney. A lawyer will help protect your interests, so you’re able to move forward with confidence.
Plus, an attorney can help you pursue your fair share of the marital property and ensure your children receive a parenting plan that’s in their best interests.
8. Will My Past Affect the Outcome of My Divorce?
In Texas, you can file for an uncontested divorce, where you both agree that you have differences that must result in the dissolution of the marriage. You can also file for a fault divorce, where one spouse alleges infidelity or abuse.
A history of suspicious or criminal activity might affect the outcome of a fault divorce. It all depends on how long ago you were involved in any of this activity and its severity. Just make sure you tell your attorney everything, even if you don’t think it’s important. They’ll understand how to move forward to protect your rights.
9. How Will Divorce Affect My Business?
If you created your business before your marriage, the law considers the business separate property. If the business was developed between you and your spouse, it will need to be divided in some way. You may need to purchase your spouse’s interest to retain the business or you may need to sell the business and split the resulting finances. Your attorney can help you decide which option is best for you.
10. How Much Will My Divorce Cost?
It’s impossible to estimate the cost of a divorce. Length of the divorce process, time in court and other factors determine the overall cost. It’s best to retain an attorney who is open and honest about fees and pricing to ensure you’re kept abreast to cost.