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Do you Need a Same-Sex Divorce Attorney?

Posted on in Divorce

Frisco, TX same-sex divorce lawyerThe Lone Star State was very conservative compared to other states when it came to recognizing same-sex marriages. But times have changed. In 2015, the Supreme Court ruled to allow same sex marriages in all states and now there are more than 41,000 same-sex married households in Texas. Recognizing same-sex marriage means judges also have to grant same-sex couples a divorce. At The Law Office of Linda Risinger we understand that every divorce is unique and we also understand the special intricacies involved in a same-sex divorce.

Difficult Decisions

Although same-sex divorces can have unique challenges compared to heterosexual divorces, for the most part, they are the same. No matter who you love, if your marriage is broken, you may be thinking about divorce and it is understandable to be scared and worried while having a million questions all at once. A skilled same-sex divorce attorney will be able to guide you through the process of your divorce as you make decisions about these key areas:

  • Child custody, visitation, and child support for any children under 18 or still in high school

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Collin County divorce lawyerImagine you are in the middle of a divorce. The stakes are high, and you are worried about whether you will get a fair property settlement and a fair custody arrangement, to say nothing about how long the process might drag on. Suddenly, you begin to suspect your attorney is not pulling their weight - despite paying them on time, he or she seems sloppy, unprepared, or uninformed. You hear from their office less and less. 

Unfortunately, for some people seeking a divorce in Texas, this hypothetical situation is all too real, leaving them desperately scrambling for competent legal representation at the worst time possible. Fortunately, Texas law does allow you to switch your attorney in the middle of divorce - but if you choose to change your attorney, take care to ensure that doing so will not negatively affect your case. 

What Is a Texas Divorce Attorney Supposed to Do? 

Some people hold off on replacing an attorney who seems incompetent because they are unsure of what an attorney’s responsibilities are supposed to cover. At a minimum, you should expect the following from a divorce lawyer: 

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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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