Filing for a Divorce

Sep
17

What to Do if you are Served with a Divorce Petition, Citation, or Notice to Appear

A divorce proceeding is a difficult time for all parties involved. It is scary to be “served” with a petition for divorce. Fear, anxiety, and confusion are just some of the emotions that go through one’s mind when reading and absorbing an official Court document stating that a spouse wishes to end the relationship. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you are served.

First, it is not the total end of the world. Do not give into immediate impulses and passions or fall prey to threatening or aggressive messages. Remember anything you say or do, especially in messages, texts or emails, may be used against you at Court. Do not give your spouse free arguments for the divorce.

Second, DO NOT use social media to vent frustration or talk about the divorce. Anything you write to third parties on social media may and will be used against you in Court. It may be hard but for your own benefit do not engage in frustrated tirades regarding your spouse on Facebook.

Third, find an experienced attorney, especially if children are involved. Be smart. It is not always prudent to hire a lawyer based on what appears to be the best financial deal possible when your children and possessions are at stake. The old axiom “you get what you pay for” is true when it comes to legal representation.

Fourth, be wary of Pro Se representation. Pro Se means that you have chosen to represent yourself in the divorce case. This may end very badly for you. Many people believe that if they research enough and familiarize themselves with the Texas Family Law Code they just might be able to receive a good outcome and drive up the attorney cost for the other spouse. Attorneys go to school for many years for a reason. The outcomes for Pro Se clients are not usually good and do not be tricked into taking on an inexperienced attorney to save money.

Fifth, save all hateful and scandalous remarks made by your spouse that have been emailed, texted, posted on social media or any other proof that can be saved against your spouse. Delete Nothing! Allow your spouse to dig his/her own hole. All of both spouse’s comments may be used in Court.

Finally, do not listen to your Spouse about any type of perceived legal outcomes. “I talked to a lawyer and he said you better sign this or I will get everything…”. This is common in family law. Do not fall for the trap, seek experienced representation and let the lawyer deal with your spouse or your spouse’s attorney. Do not be tricked into settling or giving up your children or possessions without competent assistance and advice from legal counsel.

Follow this advice and it will greatly help your probabilities with obtaining a favorable and fair outcome in your divorce case.

By Nacol Law Firm | Divorce Checklist . Filing for a Divorce
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Oct
17

Divorcing a Narcissist

What is a narcissist? Narcissistic Personality Disorder or ‘NPD” is a mental disorder where the person has very inflated self-esteem issue and a serious need for admiration and special treatment from other people. Typical arrogant behavior and lack of empathy for other people causes many problems in all emotional areas of their lives and relationships.

Narcissists are also very aggressive and usually have impulsivity, dangerous lifestyles involving cockiness, selfishness, manipulatives and power motives. These individuals are usually very exciting personalities at first meeting, but later cause unfulfilling relationships resulting in anxiety and depression at the end of the day.

You have meet the “most exciting” person in the world who has self-esteem problems and can’t get along with anyone, including you! The big problem is you married this person and now you MUST FIND A SOLUTION TO THIS SITUATION AND GET A DIVORCE!

The marriage adventure is over. Your married life to your narcissist was a total disaster and you know that you need to get a divorce. Are you frighten that you could very well lose everything in this divorce from hell since you may lack the manipulating skills that your narcissist spouse skillfully uses on all aspects of his/her manipulative lifestyle?

Before you start the Divorce battle with your narcissist, you must “Stop Feeling and Start Thinking”! You have been emotionally battered and mutilated for years by this spouse, but now is the time to take over your life and your children lives and decide that Your family DOES NOT AND WILL NOT TAKE THIS ABUSE ANYMORE FROM YOUR SPOUSE!

Here are some tips on planning your exit from this marriage and Win control of your life and your family lives.

  • BE PREPARED! If you are thinking of going through with this divorce, start your preparations now!  You need total knowledge of your family’s financial situation.  On our website you can pull off a blog “Texas Divorce Financial Checklist” (http://www.divorcedallastx.com/texas-divorce-financial-checklist/) which will give you a guideline on your financial information needed.  Update this information immediately. Know who makes what and where all monies and assets are located. All banking and account information should be update for correct account numbers and balances. This will help you determine how much money you will need to live on and what you can plan on your part of the assets.  This will also give you an idea on what funds you can use to hire a competent attorney to help you get through the divorce.
  • RESEARCH PRIORITY ISSUES! Educate yourself on divorce issues, such as child custody and visitation, who gets the house, property separation, spousal maintenance and child support in your state.  Prioritize what is important to you and prepare questions to ask an attorney on what your expectations should be.  All or nothing does not work.  Set Reasonable goals.
  • START INTERVIEWING ATTORNEYS to find a good match to help you through this complicated divorce.  Look for an attorney who deals with difficult family law cases concerning emotional/domestic abuse, high conflict individuals, or contested child custody.  Even if you are served divorce papers, take your time finding an experienced attorney who will be your advocate in the divorce.  DO NOT HIRE A NARCISSIST ATTORNEY! This would be a disaster!
  • Help Plan your Divorce Game plan! No one knows your Narcissist spouse or family situation better than you.  What arguments/facts will they come up with to hurt your position? Discuss your entire situation with you attorney and work together on your divorce approach.  Your attorney will help you determine your final goals through experience from his previous experience in such matters.
  • STAY REASONABLE AND TRY TO KEEP EMOTIONS STEADY! Don’t let your narcissist spouse turn you into a narcissist! You cannot win this way! Think logical, use true facts, and don’t go overboard financially battling with him/her. If this gets settled, goes to mediation, or ever a jury trial, if will be over and you will greatly improve your life.

You married a Narcissist and now you are divorcing him/her.  You must be prepared knowing that your spouse will now be able to participation in the greatest show of their lives, “THE DIVORCE”. Your spouse will try to show what a horrible, ungrateful, unworthy person/parent you are and how badly you hurt your innocent victim/martyr spouse.

Irrelevant are your feelings and emotions. By thinking and planning your divorce strategy with a qualified attorney you will be prepared for battle and to live your life as you choose.

Remember the focal point of his/her narcissistic behavior is the fear of abandonment and threat to his/her self-worth. Be well-prepared for the battle ahead. The key is to not respond emotionally and let it drain you. Observe their behavior as a disorder, and don’t absorb it as a literal or personal attack on you.

If you mitigate for his drawn-out narcissistic rage and know that he may attempt to destroy you, you will less likely feel bullied or defeated. Be forewarned, you will be less victimized by something you expect.

By Nacol Law Firm | Divorce Checklist . Filing for a Divorce
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Apr
16

Divorce’s Emotional Stages: Are You There Yet?

In 2014, The United States at 53%, had the 10th highest divorce rate in the world! According to the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology: 50% of first marriages, 67% of second marriages and 74% of third marriages end in Divorce in the United States.

Marriages do not break up overnight. There is not one incident or one party that ends a marriage. Your emotional break up usually extends over several years with the marriage parties continually at different stages in the emotional process.

Just remember,” no marriage is totally bad nor totally good!” Do not go fault finding!  Both partners stay in a marriage for a longer period of time because there are good things about it. Now the couple is divorcing because the “bad” things make the marriage not work anymore.

A new divorce survey by Slater and Gordon Law Firm (survey of 1000 divorced people) recently came out with some very interesting results:

  • The average person will spend about 2 years thinking about a divorce before they file.
  • During this time the average person spends 18 months really trying to fix their marriage and working to save it.
  • 76% try to fix their marriage problems before deciding on a divorce
  • 53% discuss divorce with someone besides their spouse before filing
  • 36% spoke with an attorney before deciding on a divorce

What are the emotional stages a couple will experience leading up to a divorce?

1. Disillusionment of one / two marriage partners ( not verbalized to other partner)

  • Continued, ongoing feelings of discontent, pent up resentments and breach of trust
  • Emotional feelings of anxiety, anger, denial, depression ,fear, grief, guilt ,and  love
  • Real problem but unacknowledged
  • Developing greater distance, lack of mutuality, and increase in arguments
  • Consideration of pros and cons of possible divorce and/or separation

2. Verbalized Dissatisfaction ( no legal action yet)

  • Feelings of anguish, doubt, emotional, grief, guilt, relief, and tension after expression of discontent is now in the open!
  • Marriage counseling and giving “one last try” for the marriage

3. Decision to Divorce ( no legal action yet)

  • Feelings of anger, anxiety of the future, guilt, resentment, and sadness
  • Other partner now in emotional stage one and both parties feeling victimized by each other.
  • Realizes this decision is usually not reversible

Divorce Decision Action (the legal process begins)

  • Feelings of anger, blame, shame, fear, and guilt
  • Emotional and physical separation
  • Going public with decision to family and friends
  • Dealing with the “Children Problem”. No way around this one.
  • Hiring an attorney and start the divorce process

4. Acceptance of Divorce / Single Life ( during the legal process or after)

  • Many life adjustments: emotional, mental, and physical
  • Realization that the marriage was not fulfilling or happy
  • Dealing with your children and helping them to understand they are loved and did not cause the end of the marriage
  • Work on developing the “new single you”, new identity and a plan for the future!

This emotional roller-coaster may take years to complete, but keep focused and you will get through it.  Surround yourself with competent legal professionals who will help you through this life changing event.

Just remember this: the divorce emotional stages are a normal occurrence when going through a divorce.  Outside of a death, divorce is one of the most life changing events in an individual’s life.  This list is very basic and you will probably add many other emotions on to the list You are not alone. It is a grieving process and you will recover.

By Nacol Law Firm | Filing for a Divorce
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Nov
24

Love and Marriage ….and Divorce!

With the U.S. marriage rate at an all-time low, 51% of adults were married in 2011 (US Census Bureau), only 29% of all divorced adults say they would marry again with women definitely in the negative on remarriage.  Americans are also not in a hurry to marry.  The median age of first marriages is a record high of 29 for men and 27 for women (US Census Bureau).

So what about the 48% of adults currently married?  A new divorce report by the Slater and Gordon Law Firm in England who surveyed 1000 divorcees has reflected some very interesting findings:

  • The average person spends about 2 years thinking about getting a divorce before they file.

  • During this time the average person spent 18 months really trying to fix their marriage and working to try to save the marriage.

  • 53% discussed divorce with someone besides their partner before filing.

  • 36% spoke to an attorney before deciding to file a divorce

  • 76% tried to fix their marriage problems before deciding on a divorce

  • 53% said their split was amicable and 45% said they are still friends

  • 31% have no contact with their previous spouse at all!

     How would you fit into this survey?

The Nacol Law Firm PC has expressed 8 of the top causes of Divorce!

  1. Lack of communication: A successful relationship constantly keeps in touch! When there is a loss of open ended communication on all issues affecting the marriage, families may fall apart quickly. Share your feelings, tell your partner what is happening, and listen to your partner.

  2. Money and Finances: If there are constant money problems or major disagreements on financial issues, you may have a serious martial problem. A team effort at all times bodes for a better marriage.

  3. Alcohol and Drug Addiction:  Addiction is one of the most damaging and challenging problems spouses will ever face in a marriage. Because additive behavior touches everyone in a family most marriages are severely damaged years before a decision is reached to end the marriage.

  4. Domestic Violence/ Intimate Partner Violence: Family Violence is the willful intimidation, physical and/or sexual assault & battery or serious mental and verbal abuse perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. The frequency and severity of domestic violence varies dramatically and may include physical or sexual violence, threats, and emotional abuse. The violence is often accompanied by irrational and controlling behavior and is intended to result in total dominance and control over the other spouse /intimate partner or other family members.

  5. Trust and Infidelity Issues: Do you truly trust your spouse? Are their jealousy issues that occur with one spouse when other people are involved in your lives? A successful marriage is very difficult absent trust.  If you do not trust your spouse the marriage is vulnerable!

  6. Spouse cannot understand or fulfill your needs and desires: this includes personal and sexual needs and common courtesies to each other. We all have different needs and desires. If you or your partner won’t acknowledge each other’s needs and try to accommodate, the marriage is vulnerable!

  7. Inability to resolve conflict: Often couples have very serious trust issues with each other and cannot get past the needs of one vs the needs of the family.  Smart couples will seek out a 3rd party “referee” to help resolve these differences before the marriage is irretrievable.

  8. Children: Enough said! The married couple must decide on a united front in child rearing and discipline.  The child cannot be in charge or subject to multiple contradictory directives!

Deciding to divorce is a very sad and financially devastating family decision. If you and your spouse are still at the point to possibly change things for the better, explore all other opportunities! There was a reason for the initial attraction and your family will love you for it.  Otherwise, consult a qualified legal professional who can help guide you through this trying period.

 

By Nacol Law Firm | Filing for a Divorce
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Texas Divorce – How Long Will It Take to Get Divorced and Other Important Facts

To file for a divorce in Texas, you must be a Texas Resident for 6 months, and you must have lived within the county you plan to file in for at least 90 days immediately prior to filing of your divorce petition. Time spent by a Texas resident outside of Texas, while in the military, satisfies the residency requirement in Texas for a divorce.

Texas does not recognize legal separations.

It is possible to get a divorce even though the other party does not want the divorce to take place. Texas is a “no fault divorce state.” “No fault” means that one spouse does not have to prove the other spouse has done anything wrong in order to obtain a divorce. You cannot be held to a marriage because your spouse does not want to sign or refuses to participate in the divorce process. The court will enter divorce orders even if the other party refuses to sign them.

Texas requires a minimum 60 day waiting period before any divorce can be finalized. The 60 day period begins to run from the time the Original Petition for Divorce is actually filed with the court. In other words, the shortest time it will take to finalize a divorced in Texas is 61 days. On occasion, in domestic violence cases, there is an exception to the 60 day rule. If the parties are in agreement, a divorce proceeding can be finalized immediately following the sixty-day waiting period. On average, however, the time period is more likely to run 90 to 120 days in an uncontested divorce due to the crowding of court dockets and the time necessary for counsel to draft necessary legal documents and obtain the agreement of both parties regarding the wording of the final documents. If the parties are not in agreement, the time necessary to finalize the divorce will depend on the conduct of both parties and their attorneys, the court’s schedule, the matters in controversy and the complexity of the contested issues. From start to finish, the divorce process may go through a number of phases which might include temporary orders, exchange of financial information, psychological evaluations (in child custody cases), alternative dispute resolution, trial, and appeal. A divorce in which the parties are deeply in opposition to an agreement on some or all of the core issues may take anywhere from several months to several years to complete.

As to the division of marital assets, Texas is a community property state. For more information on community and separate property, see our blog, Divorce: What is separate property and what is community property.

It is important to remember that, although the statutory waiting period to finalize a divorced is 60 days, it is more likely than not that your divorce will “not” be finalized on the 61st day following the filing of your petition for divorce.

By Nacol Law Firm | Filing for a Divorce
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