Marriage can be complicated. Whether you’re married for a year or twenty years, couples agree that marriage isn’t always easy. Many marriages experience a healthy combination of good and bad times. However, when the tough times become more frequent, couples can reach a breaking point. When that happens in the Bayou City, parties hunt to find the best Houston divorce lawyer for their case.
Whether you had a big beautiful wedding or a small and intimate ceremony, you didn’t envision your marriage dissolving. If you’re considering a divorce, you’ve likely run through a list of to-dos and aspects of your marriage you aren’t ready to let go of yet. There may be children to consider, assets, unresolved feelings, and even pets you can’t begin to think about separating without feeling an immeasurable amount of pain.
What you’re feeling when thinking about divorce is completely normal, and you are most certainly not alone. There are about 750,000 divorces each year. Of that amount, the divorce rate in Texas as of 2019 is 2.1 divorces per thousand residents. With over 2 million people living in the Houston area, that’s more than a few thousand divorces per year alone.
6 Tips To Hire The Best Houston Divorce Lawyer
I understand that divorce can be both painful and stressful. However, if you’re seriously considering a divorce, there is information you should know to find the best Houston divorce lawyer for your case.
Get An Idea Of Your Attorney’s Specialty And Qualifications
Some attorneys take on divorce cases, and then other attorneys specialize in family law. This particular type of law includes areas such as:
- Child custody
- And others
It’s a good idea to ask an attorney which particular area of practice or specialty they focus on most often. Especially with children involved, it’s important to have an attorney who is familiar with the process. An experienced divorce attorney can keep up with all of the details and procedures involved. This increases your chances of finalizing your divorce with an outcome that works for you.
Additionally, you should ask for other qualifications such as:
- Law school and other academic degrees
- Years in practice
- Experience with similar cases
These are all standard questions to ask to help you make an informed decision.
Talk About A Timeline
Talk to an attorney and determine a timeline for when your divorce will be finalized. It won’t be entirely accurate down to the day. But you should have an idea of how quickly your attorney works and whether their timeline fits your schedule. Keep in mind that, on average, a divorce takes about 60 days to be considered final if both parties can agree on terms. Furthermore, a divorce can take much longer if both parties can’t reach an agreement.
Know When And How To Reach Your Attorney
It’s okay to question the availability of an attorney you’re thinking about hiring. It’s essential to know how often they’ll be available. You should also inquire about the different channels you can reach them on like email, office phone, cellphone, etc. Also, find out if they would be willing to assist you with one-on-one time in the event of an emergency.
Learn More About Included Services
In addition to asking about availability, be sure to go over everything included in the services they offer. As an example, if you know you’re in for a drawn-out divorce, you want someone who can offer their full support throughout the process. Even quick divorces will require all kinds of detailed steps such as responding to an Original Petition for Divorce, research, and meeting court requirements. Additionally, you may need other services down the line, such as child custody and child support enforcement.
Understand The Financial Aspects Of Your Divorce
A true professional should be upfront about their costs before you hire them. Ensure you understand everything they offer and ask for a comprehensive walkthrough of their process. There might be some services that are not part of the initial price you pay, including:
- Court and filing fees
- Proving fault (Texas is a no-fault divorce state)
- Negotiation time
- Mediation time
- And more
Agree On A Strategy With Your Houston Divorce Lawyer
In your initial consultation, you should know whether your divorce will be contested or uncontested. A contested divorce is a more lengthy process and involves disagreements over issues on one or both sides. A divorce that will be uncontested means both parties agree, and no further action is necessary. After reviewing this information, your attorney will have a plan of action in mind to be mapped out further upon being hired. It’s important to become familiar with the way they work, what approaches they prefer, and if your values align.
Top 3 Divorce Mistakes People Make
Still not convinced a divorce attorney is right for you? Here are some of the most common mistakes I see others make when it comes to their divorce.
1. Miscalculation Of The Community Estate
Right at the top are couples who inaccurately account for their community estate. Estate is a broad term, but community estate means explicitly any property or assets bought or accumulated during the entire marriage. For example, cars, homes, retirement funds, and other assets are community property. It’s easy to get confused about the details and end up completely lost. This is why you should have an attorney help you sort out the details of your community estate and have it on record moving forward.
2. Attempt A Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Divorce
On top of fleshing out the details of your community estate, you must meet other requirements during a divorce proceeding. The two main reasons a DIY divorce is not encouraged is because you’re more likely to:
- Have an incomplete agreement
- Miss necessary procedures and court requirements
- Prolong the process, preventing you from moving forward
Doing it yourself can cause a delay in your divorce or have your case thrown out altogether.
3. Hiring An Overly Aggressive Attorney
Many people assume they need a combative lawyer to go through with a divorce. But this is untrue. You’re under enough stress and pain as it is. Hiring an overly aggressive attorney could create more problems for you in your case and with other relationships. Also, it could cost you more in the long run as it takes more time to solve further issues.
Now, more than ever, you need a lawyer that can guide you through this difficult process without causing more issues. Instead, hire a family law attorney who uses a firm yet professional strategy you can agree on to win your case.
Cassandra Daniels Is Your Houston Divorce Lawyer, Helping Protect What Matters To You Most
Marriage can be challenging. And divorce can take an extensive toll on your confidence, bank account, and judgment. This is why you need an attorney who can view the bigger picture and be the fierce representation you need. Cassandra Daniels is the attorney who works for you, with personal attention and communication at the forefront of her practice.