Roughly 40% to 50% of all marriages in America will end in divorce if current trends continue, according to Americans for Divorce Reform.
Second and third marriages have a higher rate. While divorce must be a last resort, no one needs to live in an unhappy relationship…especially when it is volatile.
Try to work things out amicably. But if there are any “I want this, I want that” points of contention, a divorce that enters ‘messy’ territory can cost upwards of $10,000 for each side. This begins with a sizeable retainer for legal services upfront. After this point, legal fees are typically assessed on an hourly basis.
It’s easy to think—at least at first pass—that “I’m automatically entitled to 50% of this and that marital property.” While the law is true on its face, if the other party contests anything (i.e. you may want the house or retirement account, but so does your mate), then the situation can quickly escalate.
If you are thinking about divorce, here are some very important things you should consider before going any further:
- Find a reputable attorney with whom you feel comfortable. Just as you choose a doctor, you should interview several different lawyers until you sense a good fit. Ask friends and family too, as well as the Dallas Bar Association. Be sure to ask questions about how billing is handled, retainer fees, and other matters.
- Some divorce attorneys may promise you the moon, such as offering their services for an extremely low cost. Another possible red flag is a lack of contact between you and the attorney. Make certain that you will be regularly updated on the status of your divorce proceedings.
- Seek counseling; divorce can be hard on your emotions and those of your children or others involved. The fact that one household is being split in two—like dissolving a partnership—can have serious consequences for everyone’s state of mind.
- Consider a pre-nuptial agreement. Increasingly more common, such a document provides more of a safety net than not having one because it spells out how everything would be divided if the marriage were ever to end.
- Find a roadmap. Books like Childless and Loveless: What You Need to Know About Divorce in Texas, which can be downloaded free from our website, provide valuable insight into exactly what you may be getting into along the path of divorce, from discovery and mediation to divorces that are contested. Written by a Dallas divorce attorney, the book clearly covers various aspects of Texas law and helps take the confusion out of the divorce process.
We are here to guide you through intricacies of divorce as smoothly as possible, with the experience and professionalism to handle all your needs. Working together as a team, we will decide on the best approach for your particular situation.