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Frisco divorce lawyerDivorce is hard. Even the most amicable divorces involve feelings of sorrow, guilt, anger, or regret. While having a great divorce attorney who listens to you and understands the approach you want to take cannot help you resolve your feelings about your divorce, it can make an enormous difference in the ease and outcome of the divorce process. If you are considering divorce, you already know you have a wide range of family law firms available to you. Here are five tips for choosing a Texas divorce attorney that suits your needs. 

Knowledge and Experience

A great divorce attorney need not have been practicing for decades in order to provide you with the best representation. But if you hire someone straight out of law school, you may be taking a gamble even if you get a better price. Choose someone who clearly knows the law and is willing to put it to work for you. 

Realistic Expectations

As in other areas of life, if a prospective divorce attorney is promising you something that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Even if you have the greatest attorney in the world, you are not likely to get everything you want out of your divorce. An honest attorney will help you set realistic expectations while still respecting your needs and preferences. 

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Frisco divorce attorneysCouples seeking a divorce in Texas are often so focused on making sure their assets are split evenly that they forget to consider that other things besides assets can have a major impact on their future finances. A great divorce decree will make sure that assets are not only divided fairly, but that spouses are set on an equal footing moving into the future as well. 

This is where the tax implications of divorce come into play. While you may not file your taxes for a year or more after finalizing your divorce, you can bet that your divorce will be reflected in your next filing. Avoid unpleasant surprises by asking yourself these three questions about taxes as you negotiate your Texas divorce. 

Are You Splitting Roth and Tax-Deferred Accounts? 

Roth IRAs and Roth 401(k)s do not get tax deductions when you put money into the accounts, but the contributions are not taxed upon withdrawal if the money has been in the account for at least five years and the owner is over age 59 and a half upon withdrawal. In contrast, tax-deferred accounts like 401(k)s and traditional IRAs offer tax benefits up front but can have hefty withdrawal taxes and fees later on. If you are dividing these both in your divorce, consider your future plans carefully and whether you might need liquidity anytime soon. 

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"CollinIn some states, couples can pursue something known as a “legal separation” that allows them to address many of the issues that are normally handled in a divorce without formally finalizing a divorce. In Texas, however, there is no such thing as legal separation. Couples who no longer want to live together but do not want to officially file for divorce do not have the option to separate their property and establish child custody orders without getting divorced. If you are not sure whether you want a divorce but you no longer want to be with your spouse, speak with a Texas divorce attorney to explore your options. 

Reasons for Not Getting Divorced

Even though many couples no longer feel in love or may even struggle to be polite to each other, the thought of divorce may be unworkable. This may be for religious reasons, since some religions prohibit divorce, financial reasons, such as joint tax filing benefits, or social reasons, such as avoiding the stigma for divorce for the couple and their children. Whatever the reason, rest assured that you are perfectly normal and that many people have been in your situation before. There is no shame in discussing your situation confidentially with an attorney who can give you legal advice. 

Trial Separation

Many couples have benefitted from a trial separation in which one parent moves out on a long-term basis. While this can give a couple time apart, it does not resolve important issues like property division, alimony, or child custody. However, a separation may allow a couple to see what life is like without each other, to seek couples therapy, or take time to recover from an episode of infidelity. 

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Collin County divorce lawyerCouples in Texas and elsewhere across the United States frequently get divorced because of financial problems. Whether it is the stress of never having enough to make ends meet or the fiscal irresponsibility of one spouse that has driven the other spouse away, dealing with major financial crises during divorce is an exhausting and complicated endeavor. 

Perhaps no financial situation is more difficult than trying to manage bankruptcy during a Texas divorce. Unfortunately, sometimes divorce and bankruptcy unavoidably occur at the same time and spouses must then make difficult decisions about how to navigate their situation. 

Should We File for Bankruptcy Before Divorce? 

Bankruptcy is a federal process, meaning it takes precedence over divorce, which is a state process. When you file for bankruptcy, the bankruptcy court will put a stay on any creditor to prevent them from garnishing wages or collecting on debt. Because divorce involves issues related to a couple’s finances, such as dividing marital property and setting child support payments, a divorcing couple needs to get permission from a bankruptcy court to settle their financial affairs. It is generally difficult and impractical to try to remove a bankruptcy court’s stay so you can pursue a divorce during bankruptcy. 

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Texas alimony lawyerJust a few decades ago, women getting divorced in Texas could practically be guaranteed to receive spousal maintenance (also known as alimony) from their husbands. Women working outside the home, to say nothing of pursuing high-income careers, was a relatively rare phenomenon. 

Thankfully that has changed. As women achieve ever greater strides in workplace equity, there is a flip side to being the primary breadwinner in a family that many women do not think about until divorce: Alimony payments to an ex. Texas law provides spousal maintenance in certain situations, but it says nothing about the gender of the person making payments. Under the right circumstances, women in Texas may end up paying their husbands “manimony.”

How Is Spousal Maintenance Calculated in Texas? 

Getting spousal maintenance in Texas is not as easy as it used to be. In fact, Texas divorce cases begin with the presumption that alimony is not appropriate and the spouse requesting financial support must overcome that presumption. For a court to award spousal maintenance, the spouse requesting it must meet at least one of the following circumstances: 

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