Frequently Asked Questions
At Jessica McDonald & Associates, we know that divorce can be an incredibly confusing and overwhelming time for many people. Here are a few frequently asked questions we often get.
Reach out to us about your situation at 903-458-9108.
Do I need a divorce lawyer?
There are a lot of questions to ask yourself if you are debating whether you need a divorce attorney. If you have kids, you need an attorney. If you have substantial assets such as real estate, retirement accounts, or a business, you need an attorney. Attorneys are skilled negotiators who can produce the correct paperwork and know the process of filing along with deadlines. If you have children, you will need a specific plan for childcare, and custody agreements. If the paperwork is incorrect or incomplete, it will take more time. A divorce case that is mishandled could adversely affect your life and the lives of your children. Even if the divorce is amicable, it is best to hire an attorney. Jessica McDonald and her associate attorneys know the law in Texas. They know the judges in the courthouse and the process of divorce. They will draft the correct documents and make sure the bases are covered. Divorces produce a lot of emotions and can be scary to you. Having someone who is experienced with high emotions and stressful situations to fight for you is integral in divorce.
Will my divorce go to trial?
Not all divorces go to trial, but all divorces go to court. There are two types of divorce.
- Contested: when the parties do not have an agreement on child custody, visitation, or division of assets.
- Uncontested: most divorces are considered uncontested. Both parties agree to the division of assets, child support, and child custody.
After the entire process, they can bring the agreement before a judge for finalization. The agreement still must be drafted and presented before a judge, so it is usually helpful to have the assistance of an experienced attorney to ensure the final decree is drafted correctly and the agreement is presented properly before the judge.
What about the kids?
Considering being separated from your children is the scariest part for many people when they consider divorce. Before you start fighting for custody of your child, you must know what types of conservatorships the court can order. In most cases, the court orders what is called joint managing conservatorship.
- Joint managing conservatorship is ordered when the court decides that both parents need to be involved in the child's life. A joint parenting plan is created in which each parent spends time with the child. Those plans can differ depending on the age of the child, the geographic distance between residences of the parents, and other factors. The court makes the final determination.
- Sole managing conservatorship and Possessory Conservatorship is when the court determines joint managing conservatorship is not in the child's best interest. The sole managing conservator will have the child while possessory conservatorship will have visits with the child.
Who gets the house?
Texas is a community property state. The court will start with the presumption that all property belongs to both spouses jointly unless the spouses can prove that certain property is their separate property. Texas divorce law requires an equitable division of property. So, if one of the spouses gets the house, the other will receive other property or cash, in an equitable amount for half of what the house is worth.
Will I need to receive or pay spousal maintenance?
Texas law does allow either spouse to get alimony (spousal maintenance), however, it is certainly not awarded in every case. To qualify for alimony, one spouse must prove that they have been negatively affected financially by the divorce. Some examples of cases where alimony has been awarded include spouses who have a disability that prevents them from working to support themselves, spouses who are caring for disabled children, or spouses who have taken time off work to care for a child.
If you would like more information, contact us today to schedule your consultation at 903-458-9108.