How To Protect Your Rights When Served With A Divorce Complaint
According to statistics gathered by the American Psychological Association, nearly half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. Whether you see it coming or not, when your spouse files a divorce complaint, there are specific steps you should take to protect your rights regarding support, custody/possession, visitation/access, and the division of marital assets under Texas community property law.
Hire Competent Legal Counsel
If you have any interest in fully protecting your rights, don’t represent yourself in a divorce proceeding. An experienced attorney will understand the complexities of Texas laws governing possession and access to minor children, as well as the availability of child and/or spousal support. Furthermore, Texas community property law can be complex and confusing, so you want knowledgeable counsel to ensure that you get your fair share.
Your attorney also will be familiar with the documents that need to be filed in response to the divorce complaint and when to file them. Making sure your response is filed in a timely manner should be your first priority, as failing to meet the deadline can result in a default judgment being entered against you.
Consider the Potential Impact on Minor Children
Be willing to view the effects of your divorce, and your conduct during and after the divorce, on your minor children. Any decisions regarding your children that you make jointly with your spouse must give priority to the children’s best interests. Any decisions from the court will follow the same rule. If you behave badly, the court may use that bad behavior as a basis for limiting access to your children. If you have disputes with your ex, keep them between the two of you. Putting your children in the middle only hurts them.
Find Support Among Family and Friends
Even when a divorce complaint is expected, it can still have a devastating emotional impact. Unfortunately, you must file an answer to the complaint within a short period of time, and that requirement can aggravate already-raw emotions. It may be tempting, but don’t try to contact your spouse in the days immediately following receipt of the complaint. Your heightened emotional state can lead to lapses in judgment, and you may do or say things that you’ll regret. Look to friends and family for an emotional outlet.
Get Your Finances in Order
In virtually all divorce proceedings, finances ultimately become an issue. Disputes can arise over who owns what or who has responsibility for which bills. Your spouse may seek child support and/or spousal support. In many instances, your disposable income after divorce will be significantly less than it was before. You should open your own bank account to deposit all future income, and you should immediately look at ways to minimize your monthly expenses. Let your attorney provide you with guidance regarding jointly-owned assets, including bank accounts and investments.
Served With A Divorce Complaint? Contact Bailey & Galyen Today
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we offer a free initial consultation to every client. For an appointment with an experienced Texas divorce and family law attorney, contact us by e-mail or call us at 844-402-2992. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.