Four Ways to Protect Yourself in Your Divorce
Divorce can be an intensely emotional and stressful process, and you may feel you deserve as much as you can get due to the sacrifices you made for the sake of your marriage and family. Depending on your circumstances, you may need to go to court for your divorce, but most states, including Texas, encourage spouses to use alternative forms of dispute resolution whenever possible.
Whichever route is the most appropriate for your situation, if you go into proceedings with the wrong mentality or have inaccurate expectations for the results you will get, you will probably be disappointed and even frustrated with your options. Furthermore, you can seriously hurt your chances of dissolving your marriage quickly and economically and obtaining the favorable outcomes you deserve.
Of course, you want the best possible results from your divorce, and the San Antonio divorce attorneys of Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P. can help.
Prepare for Your Divorce
Some may argue that no one really “wins” in any divorce. The process takes a mental, emotional, and financial toll on all involved, and it affects the dynamics of a family forever. However, there are things you can do to increase your chances of getting the results you want, whether you go to court or reach an agreement through mediation.
Don’t have a “me vs. you” mentality – You may be hurt by the actions of your spouse that led to your divorce in the first place, and you may want to do all you can to hurt them back for the pain they have caused. However, if you “play the victim” or constantly try to “one-up” your spouse, your efforts can backfire. It’s also best not to make false accusations or try to villainize your spouse, especially if you have no documented evidence of wrongdoing.
It’s best to approach the process as a business transaction and keep your emotions in check. Furthermore, you can be complimentary of your spouse and try to work with them instead of against them throughout the process. This will help ease tension and facilitate more productive negotiations that can help you out in the long run.
Have realistic expectations – As a community property state, Texas allows both divorcing spouses an equal share of marital assets and property. Although most people file no-fault divorces, you can file for divorce because of adultery and other legitimate reasons.
If you file for divorce and use adultery as a cause, for instance, the court may award you a greater share of the marital assets in the form of maintenance, such as if your spouse used marital funds to pay for hotel rooms or bought the other person expensive gifts, etc. You may also obtain more favorable custody and support awards depending on the nature of your spouse’s wrongdoing. For the court to accept your grounds for divorce, you will have to prove wrongdoing on the part of your spouse with photos, texts, and other evidence of the affair, as well as associated financial transactions on your shared accounts.
Keep in mind, however, that any favorable awards are usually at the court’s discretion and may not be as substantial as you had hoped. For no-fault divorces, you can expect the court to award an equal share to each spouse that it deems “just and right.”
Understand what you have and what you could lose – You must obtain statements of all of your bank, investment, and retirement accounts, along with credit cards and other credit statements and all other financial documents you have. You should also have appraisals of any expensive artwork and jewelry, etc. so that you have a clear understanding of your complete financial status.
Hire an attorney – Although you can file for divorce without a lawyer and represent yourself throughout the process, without a comprehensive understanding of the law and experience with the procedures, you may find yourself in over your head very quickly.
A good divorce attorney will have your best interests at heart, as well as your children’s, and they should be assertive in protecting your rights and advocating on your behalf.
With the right lawyer on your side, you greatly increase your chances of getting the favorable outcome you seek from your divorce. The award-winning divorce lawyers of Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P. are ready to help you, and you can contact us at (210) 349-9933 to request a consultation.