Questions To Ask A Divorce Lawyer In Texas – Make no mistake: Divorce is heartbreaking. It is a kind of death—the death of your dreams, your marriage, your plans. The picture of your life suddenly turns to ashes. And to make matters worse, you are left to clean up a legal, emotional, spiritual and financial mess.
Hold out. If you commit to small changes every day—small victories—and connect with others in vulnerable relationships, you will become stronger. I’ve put together this divorce checklist to help you take care of yourself, your finances, and your future.
Questions To Ask A Divorce Lawyer In Texas
Let’s be clear: I hate that I have to write this article. I rarely, if ever, encourage divorce. In almost every situation, I want people to save their marriages—to work hard and rebuild stronger, more beautiful, and lasting unions.
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But if you are facing the difficult reality of divorce, this checklist will guide you through the steps to prepare for divorce. So grab a cup of coffee or tea and let’s get started.
Divorce feels lonely and cold. Some days you just want to crawl into bed and never come out. Sometimes it’s good to pull back and feel the dark sadness. But it shouldn’t be your primary coping strategy.
You need to take care of yourself (more on that soon). For now, here’s the most important thing I’ll say: You can’t do this alone. You need other people. Not your kids and not just your parents. You need a gang. A tribe. A car loaded with ride-or-die friends 2 am. These people should have good boundaries, thick skin and your best interests in mind.
Do two things when choosing your support team. First, choose people who can support you in different areas—because divorce affects every square inch of your life.
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Second, let everyone help in their own way. Your lawyer is not your therapist. Your therapist is not your friend. Your friend is not your lawyer (unless they really are). Instead of expecting people to do things they can’t do unfairly, stick to the expertise they can provide in their niche.
Sometimes, talking to a trusted family member or friend can do the trick in a time of need. But I always recommend seeing a professional counselor or minister. Especially if you’re dealing with major trauma—such as domestic or substance abuse, or childhood trauma triggered by divorce. You may only need one session, or you may need deep healing. Either way, let your friends be your friends and rely on the professionals to do the heavy lifting.
During a breakup, your body goes into fight-or-flight mode and produces a lot of adrenaline and cortisol. Keeping those stress chemicals in your system for long periods of time is unhealthy. So take care of your body, and pay attention to your needs even if you don’t like them. Go to the gym with a friend. Go for a walk with a work colleague at lunch. Eat well. Get a full night’s sleep. Choose less caffeine, less alcohol, less Netflix and less solitude.
Maturing together, most people need a divorce lawyer. A good lawyer will help you understand your rights, responsibilities and all legal considerations so you can make an educated choice about your future. Make sure your lawyer has the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a nuclear demolitions expert.
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Hear me out on this: You’re not going to win if you use your lawyer as a weapon to wage war on your ex. You might get a house, a closet or a dog. But you will lose your dignity and hurt your children. You win when you let your attorney help you legally close the relationship, then move on. Also, every exchange with a lawyer costs money. You’ll save major time and money if you keep your emotions in check and make a list ahead of time of what you want to discuss with your attorney.
Financial changes will be some of your biggest stressors, so talk to a financial planner. They have helped other clients through divorce and can help you make good financial decisions.
You should also look carefully at all of your insurance policies (more on that later). For now, find a reliable local broker that can give you the best rates and the most coverage.
Divorce causes deep pain in your soul. You may question your values or judgment: How could this person leave you? How can you choose someone who will hurt you so badly? What’s wrong with you? What is wrong with them?
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If you are a person of faith, you may question your place in your religious community, your relationship with God or even your salvation. People will come out of the woodwork saying stupid, misguided things about you, God and your future.
But the fact is—regardless of your beliefs—you deserve love and respect. God has not left you. You are precious. Find a compassionate person who will walk with you and say, “Man, this sucks. I don’t know the answer. But we will do this together.”
Divorce hurts children. Relationship strain, protracted court battles, trashing your spouse, using your children as bargaining chips and hiding things from them all create lasting trauma.
On your emotional support team! You are on their side. It is your job to love, protect, support and connect with your children. It doesn’t matter if they are two or 22 years old, they will struggle with the consequences of their parents’ separation. And they will probably feel like it’s their fault.
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Children—especially young ones—see themselves as half mother, half father. So, even though your potential ex may be horrible, make up your mind
Talk bad about them in front of your children. When children hear those poisonous words, they also absorb the poison. They believe half of them are bad. The breakup was already painful—don’t hurt them more with unkind words.
Don’t complain about them to your partner either. Your children are not spies to pick up on what your spouse is saying or tools to “win” the divorce. Don’t force them to play that role.
Instead, model what sadness looks like—in age-appropriate doses. Tell your children that you are in pain. Let them see the tears. . . and healing. Let them see you with friends or turn off the TV for a walk. Hold on tight and say “I love you” every day.
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And find people to help you support them—like a youth leader, their favorite coach, or a school counselor. Because even if you reassure your children that they can talk to you, they may prefer someone who is further away from the situation. And that’s okay!
During a divorce, you will feel alone, scared and overwhelmed. Some days it will be pitch black and the curtains closed. Other days, you’ll feel like singing (preferably an 80’s rock song). Gather your team to love and support you and your children
Finding your support team takes time. So while you’re attracting people, prepare for divorce by gathering these four types of personal information:
Some of this information about you and your partner is for practical or security purposes. What you once shared needs to be private now. It might not be a big deal if your ex uses your Disney+, but they can do some serious financial and emotional damage if they have access to your mail, email or bank account.
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You may need to change your password, get a new email address, or get a P.O. box where you can safely receive mail from your attorney. These boundaries may be difficult to set, but they are critical.
And some of this information helps with the legal process. Your attorney will need proof of residency to comply with your state’s divorce laws. And the judge needs to know how much you and your spouse earn so they can award alimony and child support.
Talking about the history of your marriage will hurt. But you must choose to be vulnerable and brave by sharing these details with your attorney:
• Every date and time you and your partner visit a marriage counselor together—or when you go alone if your partner refuses to go
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Lean on your support team as you gather this information. And remember: This list is for your attorney, so be professional and precise. Don’t write, “Because that lying idiot cheated on me for 10 years.” Save those rants for your counselor. For attorneys, write, “Unfaithful throughout the marriage.”
If you’re further along in the process, you or your partner may already have some temporary orders. If so, keep this document handy:
This may sound strange, but you may not need information for all of your children. So let’s define which children we mean.
You may have to find each child’s information, which is not fun even if your partner helps. Wait there. You can do this. You need:
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Sometimes, vengeful spouses hide documents about themselves, their children or even their exes. If this happens, don’t roll in the mud with the pigs! Meaning, don’t end up with a more childish attitude. Instead, ask your attorney how to file a formal motion to obtain these documents.
Part of a divorce is deciding who gets what. It’s tempting to take personal property to punish your partner. But don’t. Everyone loses that way, even you. So be fair and have integrity.
The first step is
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