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Family Law lawyer Q&A

When should I consult with a divorce attorney?

It’s never too early in the process to consult with an attorney. Contacting legal counsel early allows you to make informed decisions and avoid potential pitfalls, increasing your ability to achieve your goals. Remember that consulting with an Austin divorce attorney does not mean you will get a divorce; you may need information about the family law legal process. A common problem I see is that clients wait too long to contact a lawyer for legal advice and could have had a better outcome if they had been informed of their options earlier.

What should I bring with me to the initial consultation?

Because family law matters can be very stressful, it’s a good idea to write down any questions you have and bring them with you to the first meeting so you don’t forget anything important. You can also bring any documents relevant to your case if available, such as federal tax returns or documents relating to your assets and debts. If you signed a prenuptial agreement or any other type of property agreement before or during your marriage, bring a copy of it to your consultation.

I just received the divorce papers. What should I do?

You should hire a divorce attorney as soon as possible so that they can provide legal advice on what has been requested and any hearings that have been scheduled. Once retained, your divorce attorney will file a response on your behalf.

My spouse and I would just like to hire an attorney for our divorce. Is this possible?

In Texas, one attorney cannot represent both spouses. Nor can a divorce attorney hired by a spouse give legal advice to the opposing party. Do some research to find out if your state allows for attorney representation.

I understand that I must go through mediation for my divorce. Is true?

In Travis, Williamson, and Hays counties, mediation is required before a final hearing is held in a family law case. In mediation, a trained, neutral third party acts as a facilitator of settlement discussions between the parties and their respective attorneys. If an agreement cannot be reached during the mediation process, the parties may decide to resolve their issues through litigation.

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How long will it take to get a divorce?

The time it takes to work out the final terms of your divorce depends greatly on the number of issues to be resolved and the willingness of both parties to reach an agreement. In Texas, there is a statutory waiting period of 60 days after the petition is filed before the divorce can be finalized.

Do both spouses have to consent to the divorce? What if one of us doesn’t want the divorce?

Texas has a “no fault” divorce statue. This means that a divorce can be obtained, even if only one spouse wants it. You do not need your spouse’s agreement to file the original divorce petition or to file for divorce.

What does it mean when an attorney is certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Family Law?

A family law attorney seeking to become Texas Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization to take a one-day Board Certification Written Examination in Family Law Of the 78,032 attorneys licensed to practice law in Texas, only 691 are Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, or less than one percent of attorneys in the state of Texas .

* In addition to taking a written certification exam, family law attorneys seeking board certification in family law must have demonstrated extensive experience in matters such as divorce, property division, child custody, child support, paternity and other marital issues. Specific requirements include:

  • Must have been licensed to practice law for at least five years
  • Have devoted at least 35% of their practice to family law during the last three years
  • Have experience handling a wide variety of family law matters
  • I have received recommendations from fellow lawyers and members of the judiciary
  • Must pass a one-day written exam on family law issues such as divorce and child custody
  • Demonstrate regular participation in continuing education seminars in family law

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