If you’re thinking about getting a divorce, there are many important things to consider when discussing it with your partner. The division of property and rights can be a sensitive process that requires agreement from both parties. If you’re ready to start the divorce process, the attorneys and legal team at Renken Law Firm are here to assist you.
Our dedicated professionals can provide advice and information to help you navigate this challenging time and ensure you get what you deserve. Contact us to schedule an appointment and protect your rights. We offer a free one-hour consultation with no obligation. Reach out to us today to learn how we can help you navigate the process and reach a fair agreement that suits your unique needs.
If you’re thinking about divorcing your spouse in Texas, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. Divorces can be complex and emotionally and financially challenging. Many couples postpone filing because of these difficulties. However, even a simple divorce can take several months or longer to complete.
In Texas, the minimum time for a finalized divorce is 61 days. If child custody, complex finances, or shared property are involved, the process can take months or even more than a year. Texas law requires a mandatory 60-day waiting period before finalizing a divorce, starting from the day the Original Petition for Divorce is filed.
Starting a life of your own comes with a bunch of to-dos. Here are some of the most important.
- Protect your credit. Divorces have the potential to harm your credit, so you might want to consider opening a new credit card in your name. However, check your state laws first, because if you open a credit card while you’re still married, a court may consider this to be a community or joint credit card. Once you are separated, though, opening a new account in your own name will help you maintain your credit after the divorce.
- Line up a bank account. If you and your spouse have joint checking and savings accounts, go to your bank and open a new account in your name only. Again, check your state laws to figure out if you should wait until you are formally separated before opening a bank account in your name only. Establishing a new bank account will help you keep track of your finances and the account will be readily available for you to use once the judge finalizes the divorce. It’s important that you do not move your direct deposit to your new account until your lawyer (if you hire one) or the court tells you to. In many states, both spouses’ earnings are joint property, and removing those funds from joint accounts could later impact your divorce.
- Protect your information. Get a secure email address and change any passwords you’ve used in the past. It would be best to change passwords to any social media accounts in your name, especially if you think your spouse might access this information to use against you in the divorce.
- Set up a P.O. box. If you have a lawyer or expect to get other mail related to your divorce or the process of separating from your spouse, get a P.O. box in your name so you can receive important documents without your spouse gaining access. If you can’t afford a P.O. box, consider asking a family member or friend to allow you to have your lawyer send mail to their addresses.
- Find health insurance. Begin exploring your options for health care if you depend on your spouse’s employer for insurance. If you are unemployed, you can start the process of looking for health care on the Affordable Care Act website or contact your local Health and Human Services Department to determine if you qualify for state assistance.
- Itemize your belongings. Create a list of personal items that belong only to you, like family heirlooms or gifts. If necessary, secure these items with a family member, but be sure to disclose them in the financial or other disclosures when the court or opposing attorney asks. Make sure you include any inheritances from before and during the marriage.
- Update insurance documents. Most if not all states don’t allow divorcing spouses to modify estate planning documents and insurance plans until after the judge finalizes the divorce. You should update your documents as soon as allowed, though. Additionally, if you have powers of attorney that grant your spouse the right to make medical or financial decisions for you if you’re incapacitated, but you no longer want your spouse to have that authority, you will need to update your paperwork. Speak with an attorney if you’re unsure how to change these important legal documents.
If You Have Minor Children, Prepare for the New Parenting Arrangement
Divorcing parents have a lot to think about, but here’s a good way to start.
- Sketch out a plan. Learn about your state’s custody process and begin creating a proposed custody plan, including each parent’s visitation with the children, holiday and school break schedules, and other special occasions.
- Create a calendar. Create a calendar where you can keep track of the children’s time with each parent. Include issues with communication, transportation (if applicable), canceled visits, or expenses you’ve paid.
- Learn about child support. Begin considering whether you will need to pay or receive child support after the divorce. If you need child support while the divorce is pending, and your spouse won’t agree to pay it, you can ask the court for a temporary support order when you file your petition or response.
Collect Marriage Documents
Start a documents file by gathering paperwork related to your marriage and estate planning.
- Agreements. Find copies of any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements and all estate planning documents. For example, locate copies of wills, living wills, trust documents, powers of attorney, and advance healthcare directives.
- Marriage license. Find your marriage license and place it in a secure location.
- Life insurance policies. Gather copies of life insurance policies for either spouse.
If you haven’t filed your petition yet, the experienced divorce attorneys at Renken Law Firm can assist you. Our legal professionals are dedicated to providing the best support for your case. Contact us today to learn more about filing for divorce in Texas and to schedule your free one-hour consultation.
Why Choose Us?
Attorney Dawn Renken has dedicated her career to helping families find solutions for their needs. In addition to having years of experience practicing as a family law attorney, she is also a Licensed Mediator through ADR Services International Inc. She is able to use her hands-on knowledge of divorce cases and agreements to help couples work together to reach divorce agreements. This includes helping divorcing couples work together to divide property, assets, debt, child custody, and more.
Schedule a consultation with our team to learn more about your options for divorce.
Family Law Attorney in Houston
Renken Law Firm is a trusted resource for family law matters in Houston, TX. Our team of family lawyers is dedicated to providing personalized attention as you navigate through complex family issues, such as custody disputes, divorces, and other familial conflicts. We offer a range of services, including family mediation and adoption, aiming to help our clients find resolutions without the need for costly court litigation. Our clients engage our family law attorneys at Renken Law Firm to ensure the protection of their rights and the best interests of their families.
While every family law case is unique, understanding the process can alleviate some of the stress and anxiety that accompanies it. At Renken Law Firm, we have a team of committed professionals who will guide you through every step of your case, from beginning to end. We believe that knowledge is empowering, and we will work tirelessly to provide you with the information and support necessary to make informed decisions for yourself and your family. Contact us today to schedule a consultation, where we can discuss your individual situation and address any questions you may have.