Starting your journey towards a winning family law case in Texas hinges on crafting a strategic plan. After carefully researching and choosing your legal representative, the next crucial phase is to proceed with hiring them. In today’s article, we’ll explore the developments in your case once you’ve enlisted an attorney’s expertise, setting the stage for a successful legal outcome.
Deciding to Hire a Family Law Attorney
Hiring an attorney is an important milestone in the life of your family law case. If no lawsuit has yet been filed you are basically confirming to yourself that filing suit (either a child custody suit or divorce) is the best thing to do for you and your family. Things can truly become “real” for you at that point and clients have told me that reality sort of snaps into focus once you meet with an attorney to go over details of representation, their contract with you and actually paying a retainer.
This is a great time to ask any questions that you would like to know the answers to prior to signing the dotted line of a contract. Questions about communication with the attorney, attorney’s fees, the expected length of your case, particular sentences contained in the contract, etc. are all relevant and reasonable questions to ask of the attorney you plan on hiring.
Hiring a Family Law Attorney: Putting Some Money on the Table
I have already referred to the word “retainer” in this blog in reference to paying your attorney to represent you. A retainer is non-refundable sum of money (a deposit) that you make in order to hire the attorney of your choice. A retainer will retain that attorney’s services for you to utilize in your case.
What does a retainer typically amount to? Well, that’s a great question for you to ask the attorney in your initial consultation. In a city as big as Houston you will find attorneys that have retainers of varying amounts. The attorney will come to an amount to charge for a retainer based on their experience and the complexity of your case.
The more complex your case is the more the attorney will likely charge. If you are hiring the attorney the day before an initial hearing in your case he or she will take that into consideration and move their retainer up a notch in terms of price.
Hiring a Family Law Attorney: Signing a Contract
Every attorney has a contract that you will be asked to sign at the same time you pay your retainer. This contract goes over our responsibility to you as a client and also provides you with information about the scope of our representation of you. Attorneys provide a copy of the contract to you so that you can read through it before signing it. This way there are no questions about what the attorney does and does not have a responsibility to do for the duration of their representation of you.
Hiring a Family Law Attorney: Filing Legal Documents, Sending Out Notice of Representation
Depending upon whether or not you will be the petitioning party (party who initiates the lawsuit) or the responding party (respondent) your attorney will file legal documents on your behalf with the court. Your opposing party and their attorney will then know who is representing you and who they should contact moving forward in your case.
Hiring a Family Law Attorney: Getting Information From You
At this stage of your case it is probable that you will be asked to complete some paperwork that will help your attorney learn more about you and more about your case. This is, for the most part, going to be basic information about you, your children, your children’s other parent and any other persons who are relevant to your case.
If yours is a divorce case then your attorney may end up asking you to start collecting important financial documents like tax returns, paycheck stubs, business invoices and things of that nature. The reason for this is that it is likely that your spouse will request this information in a process called Discovery at a later date in your case.
It is best to begin collecting and organizing this information now rather than waiting until the last minute. The more work that you can do in relation to this exercise the better off you will be. The less work that your attorney has to do for you means less that you have to pay the attorney down the road.
That Said, the Attorney Does the Heavy Lifting for You
A lot of people outside of the legal world assume that a family law case is mostly lawyers yelling at each other and parties yelling at one another. This is true to an extent but for the most part a family law case is comprised of negotiation and paperwork. Fortunately if you hire an attorney he or she will be doing the lion’s share of the paperwork for you.
It is your right as the client to view any paperwork filed before it is sent on to the court. The name of the game in a family law case is working to achieve a settlement rather than heading to court for contested hearings or a trial. Your attorney should be able to work with the other side on coming together on any issues possible in order to shorten the length of your case and to achieve a resolution that you can be satisfied with.
Winning a Family Law Case: The Length of a Case
Most family law cases settle before reaching a trial. In most Texas courts, you will likely participate in formal negotiations with your opposing party during mediation. Your attorney will not only accompany you but also actively manage the ongoing discussions, relaying your settlement offers and counter-offers to the mediator.
While hiring an attorney skilled in courtroom proceedings is wise, it’s equally important to choose someone proficient in negotiating and reaching settlements. You should see it as a missed opportunity if your attorney shows no willingness to negotiate or be flexible with offers and counter-offers with your opposing party. This flexibility can help you avoid extended litigation, allowing you to settle your case and move forward with your life.
Winning a Family Law Case: Completing the Final Orders of Your Case
After concluding your case, you and the opposing party must type out and sign the final orders. Your attorney will either draft these orders or review and revise them, sending feedback to the opposing attorney. This process is crucial to negotiate and agree upon the final language.
In addition, your attorney will typically handle other necessary paperwork, such as wage withholding orders and real property documents related to dividing home equity. These tasks are crucial in the final stages of your family law case.
Much of this is pretty intricate so it is wise to make sure that you hire an attorney that specializes in family law initially. When it comes to receiving child support on time or getting the equity out of your home that you agreed to in the divorce you do not want the paperwork to hold you back.
Questions about managing and succeeding in a family law case in Texas? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC
The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC stand ready to represent you in your family law case. If you have any questions about this process or seek clarification on the information that we wrote about today please do not hesitate to contact our office.
We offer free of charge consultations six days a week with our licensed family law attorneys. We will sit with you and answer your questions and address whatever concerns you have about your case or the process in general.
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”
If you want to know more about how to prepare, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “13 Dirty Tricks to Watch Out For in Your Texas Divorce, and How to Counter Them” Today!”
Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Texas Divorce and Child Support – Life Insurance Obligations
- The Basics Of A Will
- Why You Should Have a Will
- Texas Child Support Appeals
- In Texas are Child Support and Visitation Connected?
- Why Ignoring Child Support Obligations is a Bad Idea in Texas
- Texas Child Support – Trust and Annuities
- Special Needs Children in Texas Child Support Cases
- How to get above guideline child support.
Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC 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, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, 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.
Bryan Fagan, a native of Atascocita, Texas, is a dedicated family law attorney inspired by John Grisham’s “The Pelican Brief.” He is the first lawyer in his family, which includes two adopted brothers. Bryan’s commitment to family is personal and professional; he cared for his grandmother with Alzheimer’s while completing his degree and attended the South Texas College of Law at night.
Married with three children, Bryan’s personal experiences enrich his understanding of family dynamics, which is central to his legal practice. He specializes in family law, offering innovative and efficient legal services. A certified member of the College of the State Bar of Texas, Bryan is part of an elite group of legal professionals committed to ongoing education and high-level expertise.
His legal practice covers divorce, custody disputes, property disputes, adoption, paternity, and mediation. Bryan is also experienced in drafting marital property agreements. He leads a team dedicated to complex family law cases and protecting families from false CPS allegations.
Based in Houston, Bryan is active in the Houston Family Law Sector of the Houston Bar Association and various family law groups in Texas. His deep understanding of family values and his professional dedication make him a compassionate advocate for families navigating Texas family law.