What can I do to minimize Divorce costs?

An image of a wedding ring and a document about divorce

Going through a divorce can be one of the most challenging periods of your life. Things are likely to be difficult both emotionally and financially even if the split is amicable. Moreover, divorces can quickly turn messy and have the potential to be incredibly expensive. Unfortunately, time is often the only thing that can finally help to heal the emotional wounds, but at least you can attempt to make sure your divorce doesn’t also destroy you financially. Therefore, read on to learn everything you need to know to hopefully minimize your divorce costs.

Understanding the True Cost of Divorce

Simply saying divorce can be expensive is a bit of an understatement. The truth is that few if any, other events in your life can have as big and as instant of an impact on your finances. Depending on the terms of the divorce, you could essentially end up losing half of all of your money, property, and possessions overnight—no matter whether you were the family’s main or even sole earner.

Not only that, but you could potentially end up spending thousands in legal fees on top of that. Exactly how much you can expect to pay depends in part on where you live as both lawyer and court fees can vary quite drastically from city to city and state to state. Nonetheless, the fact that the US average for divorce costs ranges anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 should serve as sufficient evidence of just how expensive splitting up with your partner can really be.

Litigation Always Equals Increased Costs

Not taking into account any money or property you give up as part of your divorce settlement, the single biggest part of your total divorce costs will usually go straight to your divorce lawyer. A good family lawyer is never going to be cheap, but their knowledge and experience usually make it more than worth paying for their time.

The issue is that contested divorces can be extremely complicated. This can mean lots of hours of work on the part of your lawyer to help sort out issues with splitting up your possessions, alimony payments, etc. Things become even more difficult when children are involved since you now also have to negotiate custody and child support issues.

In this sense, the single biggest thing you can to do lessen the overall costs of your divorce is to come to some sort of agreement with your spouse beforehand. If your divorce ends up having to be contested in court, both you and your partner will be on the losing end due to the increased legal fees. Therefore, it is well worth trying arbitration or some other method of reaching an agreement. Absolutely anything is better than litigation in most cases since it can be incredibly destructive and expensive.

An Expensive Lawyer Doesn’t Necessarily Mean a Good Lawyer

Your choice of Dallas family lawyer can also have a huge impact on the total costs of your divorce. In this sense, it’s not only how much the lawyer charges per hour that’s important, but also what they do with their time. One thing you never want to do is hire a lawyer and give them carte blanche to bill you for as many hours as they want. Instead, it is better to either try to negotiate a fixed rate or at least make sure your chosen lawyer regularly gives you full breakdowns on the costs you’ve incurred so far. A professional legal firm should easily be able to explain exactly how their time was spent working on your case and why each of their actions was necessary or productive in terms of helping you achieve your goals.

The fact that divorce can be so destructive to so many different aspects of your life means it is essential that you get the help you need in the form of an experienced Dallas family lawyer. Attorney Robert Thornton has years of experience helping people get through their divorce in the most effective and efficient way possible, and this makes Thornton Law a fantastic choice for anyone worried about struggling with the expenses of their pending divorce. Therefore, don’t hesitate to contact us to see how our family law specialists can help to limit the damage caused by your divorce.

For more information on our Dallas Family Lawyer, please visit our site.

How is Spousal Maintenance decided and can it be Modified?

One spouse paying spousal maintenance to his ex wife

When a couple is married, it isn’t uncommon for one person to work while the other stays home to care for the kids. It also isn’t uncommon for one spouse to have fewer or less valuable assets than the other. In a divorce, the spouse who has greater financial resources may be ordered to provide cash payments to the one who has fewer financial resources.

How Is Spousal Maintenance Decided?

There are many factors that determine if a person is allowed to receive financial support from a spouse after a divorce is finalized. For instance, a judge may consider the length of the marriage as a key factor in their ruling. Generally speaking, a person is more likely to receive maintenance payments if a marriage lasted for 10 years or more.

A judge can also look at the earning potential of each spouse after the marriage ends. An individual who has a college degree and relevant job skills may receive less money or receive fewer payments compared to someone who lacks an education or job skills. However, an individual may be ordered to enroll in classes or take other steps to become employable in a reasonable amount of time.

An individual’s age at the time of a divorce can also be a factor in how much spousal maintenance is awarded. Typically, older individuals are more likely to receive payments as they may be seen as less likely to be able to obtain a job that maintains a reasonable standard of living. Dallas family lawyer Robert Thornton may be able to explain in greater detail how these or other factors may apply in a spousal support ruling.

Can Spousal Support Be Modified After an Order Is Granted?

It is possible for a spousal support order to be modified for a variety of reasons. In fact, requests for spousal support order modifications occur in roughly 80 percent of divorce cases in which it is granted. Just as there are many reasons for creating spousal support orders, there are many reasons why they could be modified.

For example, a payee could have lost their job or encountered other unexpected expenses. If a recipient gets married, that may also influence their eligibility for future payments. Speaking with Dallas family lawyer Robert Thornton can make it easier to understand how or why an order may be modified and the impact it could have on your finances.

Those who have questions about the process of obtaining spousal support or modifying an order should contact Robert Thornton today. Working with a Dallas family law professional may make it easier to understand your rights and obtain a favorable outcome in your case.

For more information on our Dallas Spousal Maintenance Lawyer, please visit our site.

My spouse had more debt when we married, do I have to pay?

Dallas Divorce Debt Attorney

Finances may not be the top concern when a marriage comes to an end but sooner or later, you are bound to find yourself asking important questions about who is responsible for the debt. How debt is divided in a divorce can depend on many factors, including the type of debt, the agreement with creditors, and when the debt was acquired.

California is a community property state which means all income and debt earned during a marriage belong equally to both spouses. The key is this only applies to debt that is earned during the marriage. Debt that existed prior to the marriage date is treated very differently during divorce.

How Premarital Debt Is Treated in Divorce

If your spouse came into the marriage with pre-existing debt, you will not be financially responsible for the debt. Just like the income and property each spouse had before marriage, any debt that was incurred before the marriage is considered separate property. Even if a married couple chooses to pay down separate debts together with marital income, the remaining pre-existing debt in a divorce will still belong to the spouse who incurred the debt.

Separate debt can become marital debt in two ways: if you have your name added to a pre-existing debt or you agree to take over the debt in the divorce. This is sometimes the case with pre-existing secured debt.

Secured Debt in a Divorce

Secured debt is secured by some type of collateral, usually a home or a car. It’s not uncommon for secured debt to be in the name of only one spouse even though both spouses use the collateral. For example, one spouse may enter into the marriage with a home and a mortgage but both spouses live in the home and use the marital income to continue paying the mortgage. The home has also appreciated in value which does create community property.

Let’s say for example one spouse owns a home before marriage and it is never occupied by the spouses together or used as a marital home, the mortgage is paid off, and no marital money is used to maintain or pay for the home, the other spouse has no right to the home or any passive appreciation. When both spouses contribute either sweat equity or money to the home, it’s considered active appreciation and the other spouse may have a right to some of the home’s value.

This can also affect the mortgage debt itself. Even though the debt may be in one spouse’s name and the home was bought before the marriage, both spouses may agree that the other spouse will keep the home, especially if they have primary custody of the children. In this case, the court may try to make the division more equitable by awarding the spouse who bought the home with additional assets.

As a general rule, you don’t need to worry about being responsible for or paying for a spouse’s debt that was acquired prior to the marriage. Still, debt can become complicated in some cases, especially when it involves a home or marital assets and income that comingles. It’s usually best to discuss debts with a family law attorney like Robert Thornton before deciding if any debt should be paid before the divorce. Contact Thornton Law for a consultation with a Dallas family lawyer to discuss your concerns and protect your interests in a divorce.

For more information on our Dallas Divorce Debt Attorney, please visit our site.

Why it’s important to speak to an experienced Trial Attorney

A gavel and some law books out of focus.

From celebrities to everyday working people, issues surrounding Family Law can have a big impact on people’s lives. A recent Time magazine article stated that while divorce rates in the United States have been declining, still approximately 17 of every 1000 individuals experience a divorce each year. Along with divorce comes a myriad of other issues. Child custody, child support, division of assets and the payment of debt obligations are just some of the issues which may arise in a typical divorce.

While some divorces are resolved amicably and equitably, this is not always the case. When disputes arise, the resulting stress and anxiety can take a heavy toll on all of the parties involved. For most people engaging in a custody dispute or a divorce, it is a new and sometimes very difficult experience. The disruption to lives that occurs during the dissolution of a relationship can take a heavy emotional toll on everyone involved.

In addition, Texas law surrounding the resolution of these issues can be quite complex. In these types of situations, it is both prudent and wise to retain an attorney to serve as a guide through the legal system. If the need should arise for a trial, it is vital to arrange for competent legal counsel to represent your interests in the courts. Failing to do so could result in court rulings that could have an adverse impact on your life for many years to come.

Attorney Robert Thornton is a knowledgeable and experienced guide who can help you navigate your way through the legal system. Even in an amicable divorce is a good idea to have someone ensure that you receive a fair and equitable settlement. In more difficult situations, an attorney will ensure that your rights are protected under Texas law. You need an advocate who will stand up for you and your rights during this difficult period in your life. Our law firm can help you.

If you have already been through a divorce, you may still find yourself in need of a Family Law attorney. Due to life changes, you may have a need to renegotiate custody arrangements. In addition, a recent United States government census report indicated that less than half of custodial parents who had received a child support award received full payment of that amount. Attorney Robert Thornton can assist you in obtaining the child support payments awarded to you.

If you are in need of a Family Law attorney, Thornton Law PLLC has a lengthy and strong track record for helping families in the greater Dallas area. Robert Thornton can provide you with guidance and the legal expertise to help you through this difficult and stressful time in your life. His legal knowledge and experience will ensure that you receive what is fair under the law and that your rights are protected.

For more information on our Dallas Trial Attorney, please visit our site.

What is Joint Custody?

Child custody can affect a child's life forever.

Child custody is called conservatorship in Dallas. Child custody agreements must conform to the Uniform Child Custody Act. The Act seeks to decrease the possibility of conflicts when parents live in different states. Conservatorship is fluid and parents usually rely on family law lawyers like Robert Thornton to explain the complexity of joint custody.

What is Joint Conservatorship?

Joint custody is the legal right for both parents to live with and make decisions about their child. This custody option often requires both parents to make discuss decisions and come to an agreement about issues like where their children go to school. Joint custody is an alternative to sole custody.

Sole custody is granted to only one parent. They may decide where the child lives and/or how they are raised depending on the type of custody arrangement they have. The other parent receives visitation right. Visitation allows the other parent to spend time with their child. It may be supervised or unsupervised. Supervised visitation means a third party watches the parent and child interact. Abuse or neglect is usually the reason for supervised visitations.

Joint Custody Has Two Options

Joint custody is separated into two legal rights: legal and physical joint custody. A legal joint conservatorship allows both parents to make decisions about how their child is raised. For instance, parents decided where their child attends school and what type of medical care the child receives.

Joint physical conservatorship focuses on where the child lives. Joint custody gives each parent 50 percent custody rights. This means the parents must agree on when the child lives with each parent. It often takes some negotiation because parents aren’t always on speaking terms. Also, the negotiations are tough because they must come up with the right parenting schedule that agrees with each parent’s work schedule.

What Happens if Parents Who have Joint Conservatorship Don’t Agree?

Parents sometimes don’t agree on an issue such as which religion a child will practice. Many parents rely on their family law lawyer to help them take the heated emotions out of the negotiations. If negotiations fail, either parent can seek legal recourse in court.

A family law hearing is scheduled. Both parents present their cases. The presiding family court judge makes a ruling. The ruling may be in favor of one parent or hybrid ruling where both parents get what they want. It could be a ruling that both parents are don’t like. This can happen because a family court judge always bases their ruling on what is in the best interest of the child, not the parents.

Always Contact a Family Law Lawyer about Joint Custody

Raising a child requires a lot of decision-making. Child custody is also ever-changing. Thus, parents need to make sure they are following Dallas child custody laws and work together when they have joint custody. A parent needs a family law lawyer like Robert Thornton to help them understand child custody issues, and get the best possible outcome available in their situation. A family lawyer is always a good idea to represent them in court hearings too.

For more information on our Dallas Child Custody Attorney, please visit our site.