How many years have you been handling divorce and family law cases?
I have been handling divorce and family law cases for approximately 28 years.
Why do I need to hire an attorney?
Whether you need to hire a professional in any field is based on your expertise in that given field, and what expertise is required of the task that you are trying to accomplish. For example, lets imagine that you scraped your hand. You probably have enough expertise to care for the wound yourself, without calling a doctor. Now let’s imagine that you broke your hand. Do you think that you have the expertise to diagnose and treat the injury? The same common sense that you used in the latest scenario, is the same sense that you use in determining whether you need to hire an attorney.
What does it mean to be Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization?
The Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS), certifies lawyers and paralegals that have substantial, relevant experience in select areas of law, completed continuing legal education hours in the specialty area, and passed a rigorous exam.
There are approximately 87,957 licensed lawyers practicing in Texas, according to the 2015-2016 Attorney Statistical Profile. Less than 1% of all licensed attorneys in Texas are board certified. There are several thousand paralegals in Texas. Fewer than 400 are Board Certified by the TBLS.
The fact that we offer an attorney and a paralegal, both Board Certified in Family Law by Texas Board of Legal Specialization, to assist you in your family law case, ensures that your case will be handled by specialists who understand your needs and will strive to meet those needs.
What type of cases do you handle?
Full range of family law cases we handle:
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Visitation / Access / Possession
- Grandparent Rights
- Termination / Adoption
- Enforcement / Contempt
- Prenuptial Agreements
- Property Division
- Same Sex Marriage / Parenting
- CPS litigation
What is an ‘uncontested divorce’?
An uncontested divorce is when the parties are able to agree to the resolution of their family law case, and present a court order (signed by both parties), reflecting their agreement.
It is not strange to see people appear in court without the help of an attorney, and present a signed decree to the court. This typically occurs when the parties have not accumulated property during their marriage, and do not have kids. However, it is not uncommon for the judge to read the decree and not grant the divorce until the language of the decree is modified to comply with certain legal requirements.
It is important to understand that even if you have an agreement, it has to be presented in the form of a divorce decree that has to be approved by the court. If you have property, or kids, it is best to retain an attorney to help you with your divorce. Drafting a divorce decree can be complicated, as the division of the estate and orders pertaining to children, often requires a skilled and knowledgeable hand to draft it. That is why I often encourage people to hire an attorney, even when it comes to drafting an agreed decree of divorce.
How soon can I get divorced?
Generally, a court cannot render a final judgment for divorce until at least 60 days after the divorce suit was filed. The exception is that a court can grant a divorce
The 60-day waiting period is not required if (1) the respondent to the divorce has finally been convicted or received deferred adjudication for an offense involving family violence against the petitioner for divorce or a member of the petitioner’s household; or (2) the petitioner has an active protective order against respondent and that order is based on a finding of family violence committed by respondent during the marriage.
The petitioner is the person who files the suit for divorce, and the respondent is the person against whom the suit is filed.
How much will my case cost?
According to a recent survey published in Nolo, there is a wide range in what attorney’s charge per hour. In some instance, some people reported that they paid their attorney as little as $50 per hour, while a few reported paying as much as $400 to $650 per hour. But the vast majority paid between $150 and $350 per hour, with $250 being the most commonly reported fee.
Our hourly rate is $315.00 per hour. These are based on the fact that the attorney and the paralegal handling the case are both board certified in family law, and have an excess of 38 years of cumulative experience in handling family law cases. Filing fees vary. The filing fee for a divorce is almost $400.00. Other fees, such as those for financial experts, investigators, and other professionals, can affect the cost of the case as well.
What is a SAPCR?
A Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR), is a lawsuit that has to do with children. This can range from a divorce with children, to suits brought by grandparents, to child support cases.
What is mediation?
In mediation, the mediator (an impartial third party), facilitates communication between the parties to promote the settlement of a case. In legal cases, each party is typically accompanied by his/her lawyer. This is important because the mediator cannot provide legal advice to either party or order the parties to settle their case. Most family law cases are referred to mediation. This is because the mediation process allows the parties the opportunity to attempt to settle the cases without the emotional and financial expense of a trial. The key to a successful mediation is to retain a lawyer that understands the process and who will prepare your case, just as if he/she were preparing your case for trial.
I was married in another state. Can I still get divorced in Texas?
Generally, yes. In order to file for divorce in Texas, you must be domiciled in the State of Texas for the six months preceding the filing of the divorce.
However, where your child or spouse resides, will also have a bearing on where your divorce should be filed. Each case requires a careful case, by case, analysis.