Frequently Asked Questions
What is my case going to cost?
For a guideline on costs, please see the Fees and Expenses page. The type of case that is filed and the facts in your particular situation will largely determine the cost. The level of civility between the parties will affect the costs.
How much time will my case take?
In special circumstances, the law allows for a divorce to be granted under sixty days from the filing date. Most cases will take longer than this. The time it takes is affected by how difficult are the issues that need to be addressed and whether the partys and attorneys have a civil relationship. Cases involving modifications and enforcement of prior orders tend to be shorter. Your attorney should be able to give you a pretty good estimate after your initial meeting.
I don’t know where my spouse is, what do I do?
You can proceed with court intervention although you are not aware of your spouse’s whereabouts. There are several different ways to provide proper notice to another party. Proper notice to the other parties is essential if you wish the court to address your issues. Improper notice will only delay and could cease your case altogether. The type of “alternative service” will depend on your knowledge of the other partie’s location. For example their last known address or where their family resides.
How is child support calculated?
Basic child support is determined by a formula using the Attorney General’s Tax Table. After determining the adjusted gross income, 6.2% is subtracted for what is known as Social Security One, 1.45% is subtracted for what is known as Social Security Two, and Federal Incomes Taxes are subtracted. This will provide a “Net Monthly Income”. The net monthly income is then multiplied by a percentage depending on how many minor children are involved in your present case and taking into account children you may have from another person. Other factors may provide for an increase or decrease from the calculated amount. There is a maximum amount of Net Income that may be considered. Special needs of the children may be considered. Child Support and Spousal Support
What can I do if child support is not being paid as ordered?
An enforcement action can be taken to enforce the court’s order for child support to be paid. Under certain circumstances, the court may incarcerate the person in violation of the court’s orders.
My income dramatically changed, how do I change my child support?
You must file for a modification of the amount being paid for child support. Special rules apply for when you can file. The child support currently ordered will need to continue to be paid until it is changed by a court order.
I need to move to another state, what do I need to do?
This depends on your current living situation, the reason for moving, provisions of your last order, etc. The court’s is interested, if it is in the best interest of the children, in assuring that the relationship with both parents will be maintained. Issues of travel, costs, affect on the children and their school and social life and bonding time with the children will be important considerations. You will need to address a modification of the order.
How do I get reimbursed for the money I am spending on my children’s healthcare?
Depending on your order, there is usually a provision that provides that each parent will pay for one half of all unreimbursed medical expenses. You will need to provide the other party with receipts you have paid that were not reimbursed and there is usually a deadline for them to pay it. Some parents do this on a quarterly basis if their children are rarely ill; other parents with very medically needy children do it every time they make payment. You must, at a minimum, meet the deadlines that are in your order. If you do not have an order, you will need to seek court intervention.
How will our property be divided?
If the parties do not have an agreement, the court will make a “just and right division” of your property. This seems vague, and it is. Normally, the property may be divided 50% to each party of all assets and liabilities. However, this is a complex area of the law and the facts in your case are crucial to determining the division of property. Factors include making a determination of what is community and what is separate property; who will be awarded certain properties and how and when will equity be disbursed; will property be sold, the transfer of documents to transfer title and address credit protection issues; what if there are one or more businesses, retirements, debt?
Can we have an agreement on all of our issues and not go to court?
Yes, and you will have more control of your case and lives if you are able to do this. A good mediator can help you arrive at an agreement based on your interest. It is your lives, your children, and your property. You can divide your property between the two of you or you can share it with attorneys. Sometimes there is an imbalance of power between the parties and a trained mediator can assist in managing the process in this regard. Family Mediation
What is a fault divorce?
A fault divorce is where a divorce is granted in favor of one spouse on a specific ground such as adultery, abandonment, or cruelty. A divorce granted on “fault” grounds means that there is now another variable that the court may consider to award a party a disproportionate share (more than 50%) of the property.
I need a divorce and my spouse lives in another country, what do I do?
If you meet the jurisdictional requirements to file for divorce in the county in Texas where you reside, you may file for divorce in that county. Your spouse will have to be served by alternative service.
Can we mediate our divorce?
The Texas Family Code provides that the parties may mediate their divorce. The Court may also order mediation.
My spouse is hiding information from me, how do I find out what are our real assets and liabilities?
A process called “Discovery” is used to explore all information necessary to proceed with your case. The Discovery rules are significant and, in my opinion, do not lend themselves to be easily utilized by non-attorneys. Certain deadlines apply. Through discovery you will be able to ask the other party questions to be answered in a narrative format, questions to be either simply admitted or denied, get the potential list of witnesses, acquire “paper” information such as credit card statements, bank statements, business statements, titles, leases, receipts, check registers, stock and retirement information, etc. You will be able to “depose” witnesses.
I am abused by my spouse, what do I do?
Call the police and seek safety in any manner you can. Once you have done this, seek court intervention in the way of an application for protective order or restraining order. There are hotlines in most areas that you can call for immediate assistance. You have a right to be free of abuse and intimidation and you should seek it.