My name is Rex Dwyer. I have been practicing trial work for 33 years and assisting family members with family law matters for the last 18 years. Helping families allows me to assist members within my community and for whom the matter has special importance.
Is It Necessary To Hire An Attorney To Handle Family Law Matters In Texas?
A party should be represented by an attorney in any family law matter going before a court. In a child support matter being brought by the Attorney General of the State of Texas, an attorney will be representing the state. If you have no attorney and try to represent yourself, you will be at a significant disadvantage. If the matter before the court is a divorce, or is a suit affecting parent-child relationship and the other parent or spouse has an attorney, you again, will be at a significant disadvantage if you are not represented by an attorney. Generally, Judges give parties some leeway when they do not have an attorney but the court is still required to enforce the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure and the Texas Rules of Evidence. Without knowledge of those and how they work an individual not being represented by an attorney is likely to lose.
Is A Valid Reason Needed To File For Divorce In Texas?
You do not need a valid reason to file for divorce. Texas is a no-fault state. Once either party determines its time to file a divorce the other party cannot stop it.
Is There A Required Period Of Separation Prior To Filing For Divorce In Texas?
In Texas, there is no required period of separation before one can file for a divorce.
Does The State Of Texas Recognize Common Law Marriages?
Texas recognizes common-law marriages. If the parties meet the statutory definition for what constitutes a common-law marriage, then a divorce will be required to legally conclude the marriage.
What Role Does Mediation Play In A Divorce Scenario?
Most Texas courts will require mediation before the court will set a trial date. Mediation is a process wherein a 3rd party, usually an attorney, attempts to assist the parties in reaching an agreement to conclude their divorce or child custody matter. Mediation is generally better than trial because the parties have control over the outcome. If you go to trial, the court makes rulings on all issues of fact and law.
What Is The Process Of Divorce In Texas?
A divorce typically goes through the following steps:
- A lawsuit is filed called a Petition for Divorce.
- The other spouse or if it’s a child custody matter, the other parent of the child must either be served with process by a process server or must waive service of process to give the court jurisdiction over all of the parties.
- Temporary Orders are usually agree to by the parties or ruled upon by the Judge. Temporary orders are the rules the parties have to live by during the divorce proceeding. These rules include but are not limited to who’s going to live in the house, who’s going to be primary for the child, who’s going to pay child support and in what amount, who’s going to drive which car, and who’s going to pay what bills.
- Next, it is typical that the parties exchange an Inventory and Appraisement. This is a sworn document that lists all community assets and debts so that a calculation of the value of the estate of the family can be established.
- Once the value of the estate is established the parties begin settlement negotiations. If the parties cannot reach an agreement on their own, then the case will usually go to mediation.
- If necessary or by agreement, the parties attend mediation and attempt to settle all property and child issues.
- If the parties cannot reach an agreement. The case is set for trial and the parties try the matter before the judge with or without a jury.
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