If you are considering filing for divorce or if you’ve been served papers, there are specific matters you should be prepared to discuss during your first meeting with your divorce attorney. It is a good idea to write down a list of questions you’d like to ask, and be prepared to discuss the specifics of your situation, including your family, your finances, and your goals moving forward.
Below are the top five questions you should expect to answer. Review them carefully, so you know what to expect to discuss while talking about your divorce.
Why do you want to get divorced?
One of the most basic questions is the reason for pursuing a divorce. Whether you or your spouse filed, there might be a specific reason stated in the legal document, such as
- Alcohol or drug dependency
- Domestic violence
- Lack of communication
- Criminal activity
Are you and your spouse Texas residents, and for how long?
An attorney will likely ask about you and your spouse’s residency. In Texas, a couple must meet the residency requirements to file for divorce. The requirements include:
- Live in Texas for at least six months before filing
- Be a resident of the county where the filing takes place for at least 90 days prior
If you or your spouse don’t meet these residency requirements, your lawyer cannot proceed with your case.
Do you and your spouse have kids?
Child custody battles can turn ugly without proper planning. Your attorney must understand the relationships you and your spouse have with your kids. The courts mission is to rule in the child’s best interests when deciding custody.
Discuss whether you want primary or shared custody and how you envision visitation schedules. The conversation should also include plans to seek child support from your spouse or avoid paying them child support. The attorney you meet with needs to know your expectations so they can determine what they need to do to try to accomplish your goals.
What assets do you share with your spouse?
Since Texas is a community property state, the court will divide marital property in a manner it deems just and right. Any property acquired during the marriage is subject to community property laws. That could include:
- Life insurance policies
- Real estate
- Bank accounts
- Retirement plans
- Motor vehicles
Your lawyer needs to know the assets you and your spouse share and the property either of you acquired before the marriage. You should be open and honest about all separate and marital property, so you receive the assets you are entitled to following the divorce.
Do you and your spouse live in different homes?
Your lawyer will need to understand your current living situation to help you figure out what will happen next. One of you might have decided to move out after deciding to end the marriage. This is not uncommon because living with someone you’re about to divorce will naturally create various challenges. Although state law does not require a couple to live in separate residences before filing for divorce, it might seem like the smart decision to ease tension and stress.
However, you should carefully consider whether you find another place to live during the legal proceedings. It could affect asset division.
Texas is a community property state, but if you already live elsewhere, when the judge reviews your case, it might be difficult to convince them to let you move back in later. It can be particularly complicated if there are children involved and your spouse already lives with them in the marital home.
At Hargrave Law, PC, we understand what you are going through, and are ready to put our experience and to work for you if you are considering divorce. You can count on our Texas divorce attorney to advocate for your rights and fight to protect your interests and future.
Hargrave Law, PC, has represented Grapevine and Bedford clients in divorce cases since 1999. Call us for your confidential case evaluation at (817) 282-0679 today.