Deciding to seek a divorce from your spouse can be a difficult decision to reach. Whether you and your spouse were together for many years or not, it can feel like a crushing disappointment to realize that your marriage will not go the distance. Despite these feelings, facing reality and moving toward a better future for yourself and your spouse takes bravery and resolve.
Even after making the decision, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Unlike a breakup between a non-married couple, a divorce involves a complicated and often time-consuming legal process that can have serious and wide-reaching implications on your life. It is important to take the time to ensure you are properly prepared before filing for divorce.
Here are five steps that can help prepare you for making the decision and beginning the process:
#1. Seek Support
Many people going through divorce find themselves awash in a tumult of emotions. Some of those emotions might be expected whereas others may catch you off guard. Feeling sadness, anger, resentment, or guilt when making such a life-altering decision is natural, and it's important that you have support as you learn to adapt to the changes - good and bad - in your life.
Having someone non-judgmental yet supportive throughout the process can help reduce these feelings of distress. Friends and family members may have gone through similar experiences that allow them to offer advice about how to handle certain situations or tell you about resources they used in their divorce proceedings that could be beneficial for your situation. Loved ones can also provide emotional comfort as well as validation that your feelings are valid during this trying time.
Professional therapy can also offer support and assistance with managing the feelings you may be experiencing as a result of your divorce, especially if there has been any trauma connected with the marriage. Divorce is a major life event, and it’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the emotions involved. Feelings of grief and loss can accompany the changes that come with divorce, and it's understandable to want or need professional support during this time.
#2. Educate Yourself about the Legal Process
Learning about the divorce process and what to expect can help you feel more in control of your situation, even if it’s still difficult. It’s important that you are familiar with the laws and regulations of your state when it comes to filing for divorce so that you understand how different decisions may affect both of you down the line.
You should become familiar with the basic legal processes that are involved in divorce proceedings in Texas, including:
It may also be helpful to look into how mediation or collaborative divorce options might affect your situation, as well as any tools for protecting yourself financially that are available. You should have a clear understanding of the possible outcomes before you make any decisions. Taking the time to educate yourself can help ensure you make the best decision for your unique situation.
#3. Gather Important Documents and Information
Accurate records are essential for filing for divorce in Texas, so it's important that you begin gathering relevant documents early on in the process. This will include identifying any assets or debts that were acquired during your marriage.
This can include documents regarding:
- Bank accounts
- Real estate holdings
- Business interests
- Vehicles owned jointly or individually by either spouse
- Debts such as mortgages, car loans, credit card debt, or student loans
- Tax records
- Insurance policies
- Retirement accounts
- Pension plans
- Any other assets you and your spouse may have acquired during your marriage
By having all of this information in one place before filing for divorce, you can save yourself time and energy later on. It may also help both parties agree more easily about how to divide the marital assets equitably. If you are unsure if a document is relevant, make a copy of it and give it to your attorney. An experienced divorce attorney will be able to advise you about what documents you need.
#4. Prepare Financially
Preparing financially for a post-divorce life is an important step in the divorce process. It can help ensure that you can maintain your current lifestyle and make any necessary adjustments to accommodate a single-income household. Creating a budget for your current income and expenses is key to making sure you have enough money to cover all of your necessities, as well as preparing for any unexpected costs or changes that may arise after the divorce has been finalized.
When creating a budget for post-divorce life, it’s important to consider both your immediate needs and long-term goals.
Here are some steps you should take when creating this budget:
- Calculate Your Income: Determine how much money you will be bringing in each month from all sources such as wages, alimony, child support payments, etc., including any potential tax deductions or credits associated with these payments.
- List Expenses: Create a list of all regular expenses such as rent/mortgage payments, utility bills, car loan payments, etc., along with occasional expenses like vacations or home repairs. Make sure to include estimated amounts for things like food and entertainment so that you don’t end up overspending.
- Make Adjustments: Analyze your income and expenses, and make any necessary adjustments to ensure that you are living within your means. This may mean cutting back on certain expenses or finding a way to increase your income.
By taking the time to create a budget for yourself, you can make sure that you will have enough money to cover all of your essentials and also prepare for any unexpected costs that may arise after the divorce is finalized.
#5. Seek Legal Support from an Experienced Divorce Attorney
The divorce process can be an incredibly stressful and emotional experience, and it’s important to have the help of a professional when dealing with such a complex legal procedure. While going through a divorce is never easy, being prepared and having the right support can make a big difference during this trying time. An experienced divorce attorney who is knowledgeable about Texas family law can provide invaluable advice throughout the process and represent your interests in court.
Whether you decide to go through an alternative dispute resolution process like mediation or you end up having to go through litigation, a reputable attorney will help ensure that your interests are protected through every step of the process. At Cynthia Tracy, Attorney at Law, P.C., our experienced legal team is dedicated to helping Texans through the divorce process as efficiently and effectively as possible.
With over three decades of experience in family law, Attorney Cynthia Tracy is committed to helping families through the divorce process so that they can rebuild their lives in the best way possible after such a difficult decision. We are here to help you through these difficult times and to help ensure that you come out of it feeling empowered and ready for your new future.
If you are considering filing for divorce or have any questions about the process, contact us online or call us at (281) 612-5443 to get started on your journey toward rebuilding your life post-divorce.