Divorce can be a frustrating, painful and stressful time whether your divorce is relatively simple or a high conflict, complicated divorce. Hiring a divorce attorney can help make the process less painful by allowing the divorce attorney to deal with the legal issues and the legal process to set you up for a brighter future. Divorce attorney Adam Kielich will work with you to design a property division that protects your financial and legal rights and build a custody arrangement that protects your relationship with your children. Hiring a divorce attorney does not mean you are gearing up for conflict in your divorce. It only means you are aware you are not an expert in Texas family law, valuing property and designing custody arrangements in post-divorce families and you want professional help protecting your rights. Let’s talk about how I can help you.
Your needs in a divorce
Divorce is about more than just ending the marriage. It’s about arranging the future of the soon-to-be-ex-spouses and the children. The key issues to address in your marriage are:
- Stability during the divorce process: While the divorce is ongoing there needs to be an arrangement to ensure the parents have access to the children and they are cared for. In a divorce it is typically to seek temporary orders from the court for these purposes.
- Dealing with assets and debts: You acquired property and debts during the divorce that are jointly owned by both spouses. Dividing this property is not just about cutting everything in half. There are meaningful ways to divide property to maximize the rights of each party and fairly divide liability for debts.
- Custody and the co-parenting relationship: Your relationship with your children is important. As part of your divorce it is vital that you preserve your access to your children and your parental rights. In doing so we have to consider what custodial arrangement is best for your children, best for your relationship with your children and your co-parenting relationship with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse.
- Financial support for your children: After the divorce you will need to think about the financial care for your children whether you are going to receive child support or pay child support. You need to ensure fair terms are established that will adequately provide for the wellbeing of your children.
- Dealing with the emotional aspects of your divorce: Your divorce will take an emotional toll on you and your children. It may have tough effects on your relationship with your children. These issues need to be dealt with for your own mental health and the welfare of your children. Although your divorce attorney will not take care of this need, by hiring a divorce attorney to care for your other needs you can focus on these emotional issues.
How I can help you with your divorce
As a divorce attorney I treat each divorce as a unique case with its own circumstances. What was true for the last divorce client I helped will not be true in your divorce or the next one. The way the law can be applied in your divorce and the way the divorce process works needs to be crafted to your individual needs. I advocate for my clients from a firm but reasonable position and employ the same litigation skills for my divorce clients that I use against large corporations and their big law firm attorneys on behalf of my employment law clients. Sometimes a divorce requires a more aggressive posture, sometimes a more cooperative approach gets the job done. I look at what needs to be done for the client instead of applying a one size fits all approach.
I apply my experience and expertise with financial assets to your property division. I have a decade of experience working in the benefits industry and four of those spent working with retirement plans at one of the largest financial firms in the world. I know a few things about valuing assets and the impact property divisions can have after a divorce even in marriages with moderate means. Typical consumer debts can go from manageable during the marriage to disastrous afterwards. Often people end up in divorces focusing on fighting over custody issues and just try to cut the assets and debts in half. That is not in your best interests. The custody issues are extremely important but the property division cannot be overlooked.
I recognize how the property division cycles back into custody issues. The relationship between the property division and custody issues in the divorce is a commonly ignored issue. Financial instability after the divorce can have a real problem for your relationship with your children. How will you afford child support if you’re drowning in debt? What kind of meaningful relationship will you have with your kids if you’re spending all your time working to pay the bills? Can assets be set aside for the benefit of the children? The more likely financial stability is after the divorce the more likely custodial stability will also occur.
I treat your relationship with your children as a long term commitment. It’s easy to reach for the custody agreement that makes sense right now and gets the divorce finished but your relationship with your kids is not a short term relationship solved by a quick fix. Your situation right now may be significantly different in six months or a year or five years from now. Balancing your short term needs against your long term needs reduces the likelihood that the co-parenting relationship will break down and you’ll end up in court fighting all over again.
Do I need a divorce attorney for my divorce?
I’m not going to tell you that you cannot get a divorce without an attorney but many people who go this route tend to regret it over time. You can handle your own divorce if you believe you have the expertise to divide assets in a meaningful way, to adequately protect your parental rights and access to your children, to maneuver the judicial process and obtain the information through the divorce necessary to make these decisions and you are willing to accept the risk of whatever happens if you are wrong. The truth is that most people do not have this expertise any more than they have the expertise to perform their own dental work, surgery, plumbing, or other work that requires a high level of expertise in a specific kind of knowledge. I’ve talked to a lot of people who handled their own divorce and as a result of how the divorce shook out they saw the relationship with their kids sour and financially struggled. I do not think that is a very good result and do not recommend people put themselves in that position.
What if my spouse and I already agree on the terms for the divorce?
Great! The more the parties can cooperate in the divorce the higher the probability that both parties will leave the divorce in a healthy position and that is truly important when kids are involved. I often help people with agreed divorces. It is important to consider whether the agreement is fair and make sure that my client understands the implications of the agreement. It is never my goal to create conflict and undo an agreement unless the agreement is detrimental to my client and my client and I are on the same page about looking past the initial agreement.
How much will my divorce cost?
There’s no hard and fast rule about what your divorce will cost unless you have a truly uncontested, agreed divorce. I do offer uncontested divorces on a flat fee and you can see those fixed prices by visiting the uncontested divorce page. For all other divorces it depends upon the complexity of the issues involved, the amount of conflict between the parties and how deep into the judicial process your divorce goes before a resolution is reached. When hiring a divorce attorney you have to think not only about what you can afford but the value of what the attorney offers.
How long will my divorce take?
Under the Texas Family Code a divorce cannot be granted in less than sixty days unless domestic violence is an issue. There is no maximum time period to get a divorce and sometimes divorces take years to resolve. However, the average divorce usually reaches a conclusion in six to nine months. The time involved in your divorce will depend upon the complexity of your divorce and the conflict between the parties. The more time you want to fight over minor issues or use the judicial process to air out your emotional conflict the longer (and more expensive) your divorce will be.
Do I have to go to trial?
The vast majority of divorces will reach a settlement through mediation or an informal agreement between the parties (and their attorneys). Very few divorces go to trial. Taking a divorce to trial is extremely expensive and often leaving your divorce up to a stranger (the judge) or a group of strangers (a jury) is less than ideal. You may have to attend hearings before the divorce where you may be asked to testify, such as a hearing for temporary orders.
Will everything be divided 50/50?
Under the Texas Family Code property is divided in a manner that is “just and right” applying our strange community property rules. That does not mean everything the spouses own will be added together and cut in half. Some property is the separate property of either spouse and is not subject to division in the divorce. The community property owned jointly by the spouses will be divided in a just and right manner. That does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split down the middle but usually something close to an even split. In a fault divorce (compared to a no fault divorce) the division may be further away from an even split to account for the bad acts but the costs of proving the bad acts may be more than the advantage gained in the property divorce as a result.
Dividing property is not just about balancing the financial value of what each party gets but also what property is actually received. For example, if you keep the house and your spouse moves into an apartment then there is no reason to divide the lawn care equipment just say to everything was divided in half. The apartment dweller has no use for a lawn mower. We need to make sure the property division is fair and purposeful.
Will I get spousal support in my divorce?
Texas law is not friendly to the idea of mandatory spousal support. Spousal support can be ordered when there is a significant difference in financial resources between the spouses and even then only to cover one spouse’s minimum reasonable needs. Sometimes spousal support is temporarily ordered while the divorce is ongoing but may not be ordered after the divorce. The parties can also agree to spousal support contractually through the divorce decree. Any form of spousal support is not the norm and neither party should assume it will be ordered in their case.
Can I change my name in the divorce?
If you changed your last name when you were married then you are entitled to restore your maiden name in the divorce with no additional fees or special processes. If you want to change your name to anything else then that can be done along with your divorce but you will have to pay additional fees and follow the normal background check procedures for a name change.
Do I need a divorce attorney who is aggressive/a pitbull/etc.?
Sometimes divorce attorneys advertise themselves as being a pitbull or aggressive or whatever because some people relish the idea of causing agony to their spouse in the divorce. (It may even be well deserved.) Sometimes these attorneys are just marketing to that type of client. Sometimes these attorneys are hostile and turn everything into an opportunity for a fight. Whether you need this type of attorney depends on where your priorities lie. If causing agony to your spouse is your primary concern then that might be the right approach.
Generally I do not find this approach creates an advantage for clients. Often I find cases with these types of attorneys string out too long and ultimately the person who has hired this pitbull attorney ends up in the same or worse position than an attorney with a more cooperative personality could achieve but having paid significantly more in attorney’s fees. Sometimes this approach works with attorneys who have sensitive personalities or lack confidence but that isn’t me.
It’s my opinion that being tough but professional produces far better results for clients.