The decision to end your marriage is in no doubt an easy one. The first question you need to ask yourself is whether you need a divorce lawyer. The answer to this depends on the divorce laws in your state as well as the unique circumstances surrounding your split.
Divorces are lengthy and financially-draining. If you can do it outside of the court system, it will run more smoothly and you’re likely to solve your problems faster.
It’s no secret that court-led divorces can sometimes take years to settle. However, if you and your soon-to-be-ex can’t reach a mutual understanding, you’ll have no choice but to involve the courts to help you navigate the process. This is in a bid to ensure that no party feels shortchanged. It also means that you’ll need to retain the services of the best divorce lawyers in Houston.
But, do you need them? This guide will help you decide.
When You May Not Need a Houston Divorce Lawyer
The ideal situation when you decide to end your marriage is to work together with your spouse and iron out some of the issues that stem from the life you once shared. If you can get a neutral third-party mediator to help the process along, the better the results will be for both of you in the long run.
The major bone of contention when it comes to dissolving marriages has to do with spousal support, children, child support and/or sharing matrimonial assets like property. This is often where most couples fail to reach an amicable resolution and thus require the divorce court of Houston to decide what’s fair.
If you work together, you can avoid that whole situation to give you better control and a stronger say in what you want to get out of the divorce. If you have children, an out-of-court divorce makes the transition easier for them.
The ugly side of divorces is that they often leave kids scarred for life. If you can effectively shield them from that, they’ll have a much easier time adjusting to their new life.
Nonetheless, situations like these are few and far between. The very nature of divorces tends to evoke strong deep-rooted emotions that often make it quite difficult to reach a civil understanding without outside help.
When You Need the Best Divorce Lawyer Houston, TX
Choosing a divorce lawyer to represent your interests when dissolving your marriage is not a decision you should take lightly. You need to make sure that you hire the right one for your situation.
Ask as many questions as you can during the consultation to get a feel for what they would consider the best outcome for your specific circumstances. An example of a question you can ask is whether they would support a decision that seeks an out-of-court settlement. Validate their answer by checking for their track record for the number of divorce settlements they’ve been involved in.
If they are the type to zealously battle even the smallest issues in front of a judge you need to be clear that that’s the type of representation you’re looking for. But, bear in mind, this style of representation may cause your divorce to drag on for years before all the contentious issues are settled.
With that said, here are a few instances where you need to lawyer up in a divorce.
Joint Representation No Longer Works for You
Generally, a couple that is seeking to dissolve their marriage cannot use the same lawyer. This is in a bid to avoid the ethical issues that might arise as a result. But like most things, there are exceptions to the rule.
A joint representation can be allowed in the following instances:
- Both you and your spouse agree on the major issues in the divorce.
- You and your spouse are confident that you can adequately resolve the minor issues of the split.
- You both understand that having a joint lawyer means that they can’t fully represent either one of you during the process.
- You and your spouse have agreed to joint representation without any form of coercion by either party. This needs to be in writing.
- You both agree that the lawyer will draw up all the requisite paperwork.
Sometimes, when the decision to divorce is mutual, the couple may opt for joint representation at the beginning of the process. More often than not, however, some issues crop up further down the line that the couple fundamentally disagrees on. When this situation arises, the joint attorney will often transfer one or clients to other counsel.
You Prefer Collaborative Practice
For most couples, the faster they can settle their divorce the better it is for everyone to close that chapter in their lives and look ahead. For this reason, many opt for a collaborative practice where their primary goal of the divorce process is not to litigate.
Instead, their objective is to try to settle at all costs. This agreement has to be signed by the spouses and their respective attorneys.
The agreement further includes a clause that if they are unable to settle and the divorce heads towards litigation, they must find new lawyers to represent them. This effectively eliminates any financial incentives for the attorneys to prolong discussions.
There’s a Threat of Violence
Sometimes, divorces can take an ugly turn and bring out the worst in people. It’s not uncommon for one spouse to threaten the other with physical harm.
If you fear that your soon-to-be-ex could potentially harm you or your children, move to a safer place and get a lawyer to help you take out a restraining order against them. Domestic violence is serious and will be treated as such by your attorney. Your lawyer also needs to file a claim for immediate spousal support for the entire duration of the divorce process.
Get Legal Advice
While you can get court-provided documents to file for divorce, filling in these forms isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. Representing yourself in court may also lead to significant delays in finalizing the process due to the challenges you’ll encounter when dealing with the paperwork. Get the top divorce lawyers in Houston to help the process flow smoothly.
If you have more legal questions, you can also chat online with a Laws101.com attorney where you’ll be instantly connected to a lawyer who can give you legal guidance on your specific case or question.