Texas divorce FAQ: How can I help with my case?


Be sure to coordinate your efforts with your lawyer to make sure you are being effective. Generally speaking, the more organized you are, the more help you are to your lawyer. Organizing your thoughts about what you want from the court and the facts supporting why you should get it can be very helpful. Also, gathering and organizing financial records can make your lawyer’s life easier and save you money. Keeping a journal of your interactions with the children is a helpful task in a custody case.


Tips on how to keep costs down during a divorce.

Dallas divorce attorneys are frequently asked by their clients how they can keep the costs of a divorce down.  Here are several tips to keep in mind:

1.  Begin tracking down all of your financial documents.  In almost every divorce case your attorney will need to see copies of your bank and savings account information as well as your 401K statements.  Getting a head start by gathering up this information can save you the time (expense) of having your attorney track down these documents.  It is also important to remember to gather up complete documents, not simply the cover page or summary page of the statements.  Your attorney will need the complete statements in order to effectively present the information to the other side. 

2.  Start making a list of all the property that you own.  Again, in almost all divorce cases each party will have to complete a document called an inventory and appraisal which lists all the property and liabilities each party has.  Getting a head start on gathering the information which goes in the inventory and appraisal can cut back on the amount of time your attorney has to spend preparing the inventory and appraisal.

3.  Communicate with your soon to be former spouse.  If at all possible (i.e. if your divorce is relatively uncontested) a lot of attorney time can be saved by negotiating the terms of the division of the property with your soon to be ex.  Although this may not be possible in every case, if there is a open line of communication available, use it to your advantage! 

Hat tip to Dick Price's blog for the idea behind this post. 



How to get the property you want and help keep costs down.

As a Dallas divorce lawyer, one of the most frequently asked questions I receive is how can a client control the costs of his or her divorce.  Understandably, clients expect top notch service in a cost effective manner.  One of the more costly aspects of any divorce involves dividing up the community estate.  I recently came across a great blog post that offered some practical ways to help keep costs down in dividing the community estate.  Although the focus of the post dealt with dividing personal property contained in the home, a lot of the suggestions are applicable to dividing other parts of the community estate.  Here are the tips:

1.  One spouse makes two lists of the personal property.  The lists should contain property roughly of equal value and the spouse who didn't make the list gets to pick which list of property they want.  Because the spouse who didn't make the list gets to pick first, there is an incentive to make the lists as equal as possible --- otherwise the drafting spouse will get burned in the process. 

2.  Hold a silent auction.  This creative method allows the parties to ensure they get the property that they really want.  In the silent auction approach, each party blindly puts a dollar value next to a piece of property that is listed out on a sheet.  Since the parties don't know what dollar amount the other placed on the property, the process is pretty fair to all involved.  The spouse with the highest "offer" on a certain piece of property gets to keep it.  Once the auction is over, then the parties add up the total winning bids and divide the property accordingly.

3.  Arbitration.  Alternative dispute methods, such as arbitration, are frequently used in divorce cases.  Although there is a cost associated with using alternative dispute methods, couples can use an arbitrator to divide the community estate which is typically less expensive than presenting the matter to a judge.

4.  Rotating lists.  In this method, the parties simply make a master list of all their property and then take turns selecting one item at a time that they want to keep.  Spouses can simply flip a coin to see who gets to go first. 

Bottom line is that there are many creative ways to divide up property fairly, and in a cost effective manner.  Hat tip to the Minnesota Divorce and Family Law Blog for the idea behind this post.