Divorce Frequently Asked Questions
Divorce is a topic that is discussed in movies, news reports, books, and in our every day lives with friends and loved ones. Because divorce is a prominent topic on social media and in the movies, a lot of misinformation is distributed. For that reason, it is important to know what the law actually is in your state before making decisions about divorce. Relying on incorrect information when you are making decisions about your family, your children, and your money is extremely dangerous.
Our clients do their homework! They typically find information online after performing research on divorce, reputable attorneys, and alternative options to divorce. Knowing the basic information about divorce is important so that you can build on these basic principles when you speak with an Austin divorce attorney at Kirker Davis LLP. Call us at (512) 598-0010 to speak with one of our knowledgeable lawyers.
How Long Will My Divorce Take?
In Texas, there is a 60-day minimum waiting period for divorce cases. That means that in between the date that you first file for divorce and the date that you request the Court to sign your Divorce Decree, there must be at least 60 days. On average, most cases take at least four months to resolve. However, there are always exceptions. If you and your husband or wife have an agreement as to the rules about your children and the division of your community estate, it is possible that an attorney at Kirker Davis LLP can help you draft all of the required paperwork, including a Divorce Decree, and assist you in obtaining the Court’s signature on the Decree on the sixty-first date after the filing for divorce. This is the fastest possible outcome.
Finalizing your divorce in that short window of time is possible for some families. But often, it takes time for people to determine what their community estate is and then reach agreements as to how to divide it. Even if you believe your divorce to be relatively simple or easy, it is possible that you have not considered something that could provide a benefit to you or your children. It is a good option to have an attorney at Kirker Davis LLP review any potential agreements that you have reached so that you can consider your options and reduce risk in your divorce before signing on the dotted line of a Divorce Decree.
How Do We Divide Our Stuff Up?
One of the first things that we ask our clients to do at Kirker Davis LLP is to provide us with information about their vehicles, real property, bank accounts, mortgages, credit card balances, brokerage accounts, inheritances, businesses, business interests, trust accounts, retirement accounts, stock, restricted stock, and other assets. When we have a complete list of what you own, we can then discuss how you’d prefer to divide it up. Providing information to your attorney is the first step in our process. Exchanging that information with your spouse and their attorney is typically the next step in our process. Reaching an agreement between a husband and a wife about how to divide it all up can be the most complicated part of the divorce. Depending on what you and your spouse agree to, it can be an easy task, or it can be drawn out and complicated. If your community estate is valued in the millions of dollars, you will want to have it thoroughly reviewed to examine the implications of its division so as to not put at risk hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. If husbands and wives cannot agree to the division of their estate after exchanging information between themselves, a court may divide the estate up after notice and a hearing. It is imperative that parties have the assistance of an attorney at those hearings given the thousands of dollars at stake.
Is legal separation an option in Texas?
While Texas does not recognize a formal legal separation, we work hard at Kirker Davis LLP to help you consider your options when you are not quite ready to file for divorce. Our attorneys believe that speaking with potential clients weeks before they discuss divorce or move forward with any decision is the best course of action so that the potential client is as informed about their options as possible.
At Kirker Davis LLP, we have helped families create rules for their temporary living situations, rules for the payment of temporary liabilities and expenses, rules for temporary possession schedules for children while parents live apart, and a process by which a husband and wife can exchange information about their estate, assets, real estate, liabilities, brokerage accounts, mortgages, stocks, bank accounts, trusts, vehicles, and college savings accounts in the event that they do decide to move forward with a divorce. Because Texas does not recognize a formal legal separation, it is imperative that you discuss a creative legal alternative with an attorney at Kirker Davis LLP by calling (512) 598-0010.
How is it possible to include a business in a divorce?
If a business was created before a marriage, there is an argument that the business should not be included in the divorce. If the business was formed after marriage, it may be community property. If it is community property, it could be divided in the divorce process. A community estate is comprised of assets that have accumulated during the marriage. Our goal at Kirker Davis LLP is to provide business owners and their spouses the information they need to proceed with their divorce without impacting the success of the business they worked so hard to build.
At times, people do not quite know whether or not their business is community or separate property. The characterization of the business may be one of the most crucial questions of the entire divorce. It makes sense, then, to speak immediately with an attorney at Kirker Davis LLP to determine what your rights are, and how you can begin to protect your important assets.
How do you put a value on the business?
You may need the assistance of a business valuation expert to help assign a value to the business interest if it is community property. You may need to speak with an attorney about the value of the rest of the community estate to ensure that the business can be awarded to the business owner and a fair amount of the remainder of the community estate to the business owner’s spouse. Oftentimes, speaking with an attorney weeks before considering the divorce process is beneficial to the business owner or the business owner’s spouse so that you can begin to gather the necessary information that will be needed in the divorce.
How is property divided?
During the divorce process, spouses must determine which assets and debts that they have accumulated over time are community property. Because community property is divided between spouses when they divorce, it is important to discuss with an attorney what assets and debts were created during the marriage, and what assets and debts were created before the marriage, if any. If a person inherited money during marriage, it may be separate property and not allowed to be divided by a Divorce Court. If a person received a gift during marriage, it may be separate property and not allowed to be divided by a Divorce Court. The characterization of these assets is very fact-intensive and should be done with the assistance of an attorney. Consider the impact of incorrectly characterizing an asset as community instead of separate property: you may be able to protect that asset instead of dividing it in half!
What does divorce mean for my children?
To most people, no other aspect of a divorce is more important than those regarding their children. Most parents want to minimize the impact the divorce will have on the children. In order to do that, a parent needs to communicate with their attorney about their goals, their children’s interests, and their children’s schedules. Determining an appropriate possession schedule for the children, calculating an appropriate amount of child support, and negotiating the decision-making for educational, psychiatric, and medical decisions between parents is something no parent should do by themselves. The attorneys at Kirker Davis LLP can help you determine whether or not a 50/50 possession schedule or a Standard Possession Order is a best fit for your family. They can also help you answer questions about the Texas Child Support Guidelines, which are a good starting-point for discussions regarding your children’s needs.