It happens on a somewhat frequent basis that potential new clients of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan will walk into our office for a consultation only a day or two before a Temporary Orders hearing has been set in their divorce or child custody case.
The potential clients are understandably apprehensive about the temporary orders hearing. What impact does this have on my divorce? What do I need to get ready for the hearing? Will the judge like me? Do I need a lawyer? These are all questions that have been asked of our attorneys in meetings with different clients.
This article will be the first in a series of blog posts that are intended to help the uninitiated parent/husband/wife prepare for what amounts to one of the most important days of any family law case in Texas.
What can you do to help your lawyer prepare for a Temporary Orders Hearing
- Make a list and write the reasons why your spouse should not be named the primary conservator of the children. Pretend you have a short amount of time to walk straight up to the judge and tell him and or her why your child should not live with their other parent and why that parent shouldn’t have any greater rights to make decisions for the child.
- Similarly, make a list of the reasons why you should be named the primary conservator of the children. If you had the same opportunity I mentioned above to go before your judge and literally plead your case, what would you tell the judge about yourself?
- If you want to named primary conservator, this means more than just being able to act like the boss to your soon to be ex-spouse. This means managing the time of your child on a day to day basis during the school year and when school is out.
- Fill out and complete the forms your attorney gives you detailing the financial state of you and your spouse. This includes assets, debts and other pieces of property as well as their estimated values.
- List all witnesses that you believe would be helpful at the temporary orders hearing. This means finding out each witnesses’ name, address, telephone number and a short paragraph on what they can tell the judge.
- Provide your attorney a timeline of events during the course of your marriage. Believe it or not, when you walk into a consultation with an attorney, no matter how furiously it looks like your attorney was taking notes it is likely that you were talking faster than anyone can write. Take the time to explain the events of your marriage in chronological order. This can help your lawyer understand the issues better and piece together information that might otherwise have gone unnoticed.
- Schedule a time (if at all possible) to meet with your attorney in person to prepare for the hearing. If you hire your attorney only a day or two in advance of a temporary orders hearing either you or your lawyer may have scheduling conflicts that make this difficult to manager. Meeting in person not only allows you and your representative to fine tune your arguments but to get comfortable with one another beforehand.
Financial Documents that are Necessary to Prepare for a Temporary Orders Hearing
Temporary Orders hearings are not all about emotional pleas to the judge about why your spouse is an unfit parent and why you should win Parent of the Year. Much of your temporary orders hearing will deal in the judge listening to testimony and examining the cold hard financial figures you and your spouse present in the form of financial information statements and similar documents. What other documents are needed and what are they used for?
Other documents that your attorney will ask you for include:
- Your prior year’s tax return
- At least the past three pay stubs from your job
- W-2s from the prior tax year
- Any other tax documents that can help to verify your income (1099s if you are an independent contractor)
- Health insurance and car insurance documents
- A breakdown of the insurance costs between what is needed to pay for the entire family vs. what is needed to pay just for the child
Not having each of these documents isn’t necessarily fatal to your case, but if your spouse has them ready it can negatively impact the perception the judge has of you.
If you’re ever going to be honest, be honest with your lawyer
When a new client signs up with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, one section of our New Client Information Sheet asks the person about skeletons in their closet. We do this not to be nosey or judgmental, but to get access to this information directly from you. The alternative is to learn about this information from an opposing attorney.
I had a case recently where our client failed to disclose that upon moving out of the marital home, he moved in with his mother. This in and of itself would not be all that out of the ordinary. However- he didn’t mention that his uncle (the brother of his mother) was a registered sex offender who past crimes included the molestation of a three-year-old child. The fact that our client’s daughter was also three made it all the more obvious that no judge in the world would award him visitation at his new residence if this information was made known.
As a result of having this information sprung on me at the last minute, the client’s hand was forced and he decided to settle outside of court for terms that weren’t all that rosy for him. Had he told me what his living situation was like prior to the hearing we could have prepared a settlement offer that could have allowed him more time with his children and a lesser amount of child support, potentially.
Part Two of our series on Temporary Orders Hearing Preparation is upcoming
Keep your eyes peeled for part two of our series on preparing for Temporary Orders hearings here on the website for the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. As always, if you have any questions about a family law situation do not hesitate to contact our office for a free of charge consultation with one of our attorneys.
If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce”
Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Do I need Temporary Orders in my Texas Divorce?
- Temporary Orders and Temporary Restraining Orders in Texas
- Getting Ready for a Hearing On Temporary Custody Orders
- The Divorce Temporary Orders Guide
- Temporary Orders and Temporary Restraining Orders in Texas
- What Wikipedia Can’t Tell you About Texas Divorce and Marital Property Division
- Texas Divorce Property Division Enforcement
- Separate Property in a Texas Divorce?
- Does it Matter Whose Name is on Title or Deed of Property in a Divorce in Texas?
Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Houston, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our divorce lawyers in Houston TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles Divorce cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.