On New Year’s Eve, we gather together to sing that old acquaintance be forgot. For you, that might mean heading to divorce court in the New Year. In fact, January is a popular month for couples to begin the divorce process.
When you get divorced, you want to do it right. You need to protect yourself with the help of a divorce lawyer, and you want to do everything that you can to have the process go smoothly and resolve in your favor. Here are 10 tips for starting a divorce:
1.) Start Collecting Paperwork
In a divorce, it’s up to you to prove that you deserve a certain share of the marital assets. Before you can get to that step, you have to document what the marital assets are. As soon as you think you may be headed to divorce court, start gathering records of bank accounts, real property and anything else that you own. If you own big-ticket items like a boat or multiple cars, photograph them and make copies of the titles.
2.) Divorce Petitions Should be Drafted Carefully
What you say in your initial filing document matters. If you don’t ask the court for primary custody or alimony, you may lose your chance to ask for it later. Little mistakes can create big problems on down the line. A divorce lawyer can help you make sure that you draft your divorce petition accurately.
3.) Know Where to File Your Divorce Petition
To make your divorce case official, you must file your divorce petition in the right court. If you try filing your divorce petition in the criminal court, you’re not going to get anywhere. Make sure that you file your divorce petition in the family court where you live for the 90 days before you file. You must also live in Texas for six months before you file.
4.) Be Certain About Service
You must officially let the other side know that you’re filing for divorce. They must get copies of the paperwork. There are strict rulesfor how to officially serve the other side with your divorce paperwork. If you don’t get it right, it may take you longer to finalize your divorce.
5.) Take Advantage of Discovery
Even if you think your case is cut and dry, you should take advantage of formal procedures that allow you to learn about things your spouse may be hiding. The process of demanding this information through the court is called discovery. You can make written requests for information or even hold a deposition of your spouse.
6.) Consider a Financial Restraining Order
Many times, a spouse tries to gain the upper hand in a divorce by hiding assets. They might sell things to friends, transfer titles or just fail to disclose that they own the asset. If there’s a chance this might happen to you, you can consider getting a court order to prevent the other side from dissipating assets.
7.) Put Your Best Foot Forward
The court may make decisions based on your conduct. Now is not the time to pick up a new criminal charge or begin an affair. Stay on your best behavior because things like custody and property division are on the line.
8.) Diligently Prepare Your Case
You might think your spouse will agree to a reasonable settlement. However, preparing your case gives you options in case they won’t agree at the last minute. In cases where the other side doesn’t want to agree, diligently prepping for trial can help them see that you have a strong case.
9.) But Explore a Non-Trial Resolution
Most divorces resolve before trial. Even if your case seems difficult, there’s a good chance you’ll reach an agreement without a formal trial. Working with a divorce lawyer can give each side a realistic picture of the case and help with the negotiation process.
10.) Work With an Expert
An experienced divorce attorney can help you avoid errors in the divorce process and strategize with you to build a strong case. Call our law offices today at any of our convenient locations and get a free consultation.
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