by Houston Divorce Attorney Sam M. “Trey” Yates, III
If you are going through a divorce, or even just considering divorce, my advice is to find out all you can about the divorce process itself. Knowledge is power, so the more you know, the more engaged you will be in your divorce, and the more empowered you will be in determining its outcome.
Your divorce attorney and his or her team will be a helpful resource on all things legal during your divorce. Your role will be to ask questions, communicate often with your legal team and to quickly provide them with documents and information they need.
There is no doubt that you will be reeling with the emotions that accompany divorce, but you must get into the driver’s seat of this process immediately. Realize that the decisions you make now will significantly impact you and your children, if applicable, for the rest of your lives.
Meeting regularly with a therapist during this process can do wonders for you and your family in coming to grips with divorce, emotionally and psychologically. It’s also a good idea to ask for the support of close friends and family during this time. Then, when you meet with your legal team, you will be ready to focus on that aspect of the process.
One area that I make sure my clients focus on early in the divorce process is securing temporary orders. Temporary orders set the rules while the case is pending. For example, who pays which bills, who will be responsible for the children, etc. If abuse is an issue, it may also be covered in these orders. If you live in the greater Houston metropolitan area, it can take from six months to a year before a divorce is finalized. So, it is in everyone’s best interest to obtain temporary orders immediately after filing. Having temporary orders in place also will bring peace of mind.
Assisting your legal team in getting those temporary orders in place requires that you develop a budget of all household expenses. These typically include the mortgage payment, all utilities, car payments, etc. Temporary orders also require that you disclose any presence of abuse or threat of abuse. This also serves as part of the “discovery” process that each divorcing couple goes through. Each spouse’s legal team will require that all assets and debts be disclosed as part of the process of coming to an agreement of how the marital estate will be divided.
Since each divorce is unique, what is included in the temporary orders depends on each couple’s specific circumstance. A good legal team will walk you through all the necessary steps in navigating the divorce process and encourage you to ask questions so you remain engaged and fully understand what is going on.
Sam M. “Trey” Yates, III is a Houston-based Board Certified Family Law Attorney and creator of The Guide to Good Divorce seminars for women. If you have questions about your Houston divorce, please contact The Law Office of Sam M. “Trey” Yates, III, P.C. for a consultation.