5 Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce
Nobody goes into a marriage planning on getting a divorce. The divorce process is riddled with emotions and can be a trying process for everyone involved. However, the Family Law Attorneys at Harris Cook, LLP work with our clients to help the process go as smooth as possible. Here are five frequently asked questions we receive in regard to getting a divorce.
What Should a Client Expect in an Initial Divorce Consultation?
In an initial consultation, you will meet with an attorney and paralegal for thirty minutes to an hour. Potentially longer if children are involved as there are more issues to address. The consultation is an opportunity for attorney and client to get to know each other and gain an understanding of the client’s goals for the case. We will also discuss retainer fees and explain what you may expect during the divorce process
How are Assets Divided During a Divorce?
Assets can be divided in many ways. Ideally, they will be divided based upon an agreement between the two parties. If an agreement cannot be made; however, the case is shifted from an uncontested divorce to a contested case. We will then proceed by exchanging sworn inventories that state the value of each person’s assets and total debts owed. Once inventories have been exchanged the parties will either come to an agreement or move to the next step which is mediation. During mediation, a mediator goes back and forth between the two parties to attempt to make an agreement on how to divide assets. If there is still no agreement reached, the next phase is to go to trial where a judge will decide how assets are divided.
Does a Divorce Have to be Filed in the Same State as the Marriage?
No it does not. In Texas, divorce jurisdiction is controlled by residence. So, you can be married in another state or country and still have your divorce preceding in Texas. You do, however, have to be a resident in the state of Texas for at least six months and a resident of the county in which you are filing for at least ninety days prior to the divorce filing.
What are the Most Common Financial Mistakes Made During a Divorce?
Many folks forget that Texas is a community property state. Unless you have a premarital agreement that says all of the income earned during a marriage is one person’s separate property and your spouses’ earnings are their separate property then all assets between the two spouses are considered community property. However, it is not uncommon that people get caught up in the idea of not wanting to divide their assets with their ex during the divorce process. They may go as far as not wanting to spend any money in hopes of storing it for themselves or, in the opposite direction, one might spend money frivolously as to treat themselves rather than give that money to their ex. However, when we get to the point of mediation or trial, the dollars are still going to have the same net effect. So there is no benefit to store up money or spend a lot of money in hopes that one’s spouse doesn’t receive it. In fact, if a judge concludes that one party has intentionally wasted assets, then that individual may be ordered to reimburse the community estate.
If I Am a Business Owner and I am Getting a Divorce, is My Spouse Entitled to Half of My Business?
Our Family Law Attorneys are deeply experienced in Business Law matters as well. In Texas, the value of the business is typically going to be community property. Often, depending on the business setup there may be an agreement between the partners or members of the company that prohibits a spouse from ever being an owner of the company. If so, then your soon-to-be ex-spouse may not be able to own the company but they may be able to force the company to buy you out or essentially force you to pay your spouse what they believe is the community share of the company. What’s more important than ownership of the company is the value of the company. As long as the company is community property, then no matter how it is set up, you can insist on being compensated for the fair market value of the company.
If you or a loved one are in need of a Family Law Attorney call Harris Cook, LLP at 817-473-3332.