Family Law FAQ

Family Law Solutions for You

Frequently Asked Family Law Questions

To what extent are you able to tell me how much my case will cost?

Our attorneys can provide a great deal of information on the potential cost of your family law case. Family Law attorneys bill by the hour. This means the more hours spent on your case the more your case will cost. These cost may include a retainer (upfront payment that secures an attorney’s services on your behalf) hourly fees, as well as costs associated with attending court you can learn about an approximate cost of your case in a free of charge consultation with one of our experienced Family Law attorneys.

What does it mean to be represented by an attorney with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan?

There are advantages that come with hiring one of our attorneys. Your attorney will file your case without delay. Next, you will be provided all updates as hearings or mediation are set. Most Importantly, you will have an opportunity to meet with your attorney to have questions answered, discuss a strategy for your case, as well as prepare for mediation or a temporary orders hearing. When it comes to answering discovery or preparing for a trial, no attorneys are better suited to represent you than those with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan.

Do the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan practice only in family law?

99% of our practice (or close to it) is devoted to serving our clients in family law matters. Whether you are involved in a divorce, child custody, enforcement, modification or other type of family law case it is important to know our attorneys and staff have your best interests at heart. We are advocates inside and outside the courtroom. However, we take a great deal of pride in having the “heart of a teacher” when it comes to the law. We will provide you with information, answer your questions and do so with patience.

Is divorce a part of family law or its own specialty?

Divorce generally falls under the category of Family Law in Texas. The two most frequently filed family law cases are divorces and child custody cases. There can be child custody components to a divorce case if you and your spouse have children under the age of 18 together. Divorces can frequently be complicated. But having diligent representation from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan can help you in developing goals and acting intentionally towards achieving those goals.

What can I expect in a free-of-charge consultation with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan?

Our team takes a lot of pride in offering free of charge consultations if you are interested in learning more about a particular area of family law. You can expect to meet with us for 30 minutes by phone, in person or via video. You can ask questions, listen to feedback from the attorney and generally get a better feel for family law and the way we practice law and advocate for clients in these consultations.

What is an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce is one in which all issues related to your case have been settled upon prior to the beginning of your divorce. If you have children then this means all child custody issues have been agreed to in relation to visitation, possession, conservatorship, child support and health insurance. For property division this means you and your spouse will have agreed to designations regarding community/separate property and how to divide community property. Needless to say, these types of divorces are rare, given the difficulty associated with agreeing on all issues related to your divorce prior to the start of a case.

Do I have to hire an attorney for my divorce case?

Not necessarily. There is no requirement in the Texas Family Code for you to hire a lawyer to represent you. In divorces that do not involve children or significant amounts of property it may be possible for you to adequately represent yourself. However, in most divorce cases it is recommended you have representation. Division of community property, conservatorship, alimony and legal issues regarding the sale of your home are just the tip of the iceberg. It is better to have assistance and guidance than to have regrets years later about not having sought out experienced representation.

What is the first step in the divorce process?

If you are the spouse who will be filing for divorce, then the Original Petition for Divorce is the first pleading filed for your case. This document identifies you, your spouse and any children you have together who are under the age of 18. The document will state your fault grounds, (if any) for divorce as well as the relief you are seeking from the court. On the other hand, if you are the spouse who has been served with divorce papers including the Original Petition for Divorce, then your responsibility will be to file an Original Answer as the Respondent. The Answer is typically a general denial of all allegations made against you in the Original Petition. You may introduce allegations and ask for relief of your own in a Counterpetition for Divorce.

Is there such a thing as “legal separation” in Texas?

There is no established legal separation status for spouses in Texas. While you may physically separate yourself from your spouse this does not change the nature of your marriage. You are just as much married to your spouse on the day you move out of the family home as you were on the day that you got married. This is technically still true even after you file for divorce. You are not officially divorced until a judge signs their name on the Final Decree of Divorce after the conclusion of your divorce case.

To what extent do attorneys with your law office practice family law?

99% of our practice at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan focuses on family law. Divorce cases, child custody cases, grandparent rights cases and Child Protective Services cases are our bread and butter. We put forth so much effort on family cases because there is a need in our community for client-first advocacy in this area of the law. With an ever-changing landscape in the law, we know each of you who are considering a family law case need effective representation that takes into account your specific circumstances.

Do your attorneys prepare with clients for mediation?

Yes. Our attorneys not only advocate for our clients inside the courtroom but also inside the mediation conference room. Mediation is a formalized settlement negotiation which can take place at the office of an experienced family law mediator or via video. The mediator is trained in helping assist parties who go through divorce to manage their settlement negotiations, create solutions to problems and most importantly avoid a date with a family court judge for a trial or temporary orders hearing. Our family law attorneys understand mediation is an opportunity to negotiate a settlement, rather than litigate towards a judge issuing orders.

What sort of paperwork do I need to get ready for my case?

Once you determine a divorce is necessary you should begin to collect information related to your children and your property. Bank statements, retirement account statements, investment balances and information about your mortgage are good places to start when it comes to your finances. Regarding your minor children, school report cards, health insurance information and documentation on school disciplinary issues or other accommodations may also be helpful in negotiations. A household budget and an inventory of your personal property inside your family home will certainly be necessary at some point in your case.

What if the divorce doesn’t go my way? Can I come back to court to change orders in the future?

It is possible to modify prior court orders either in a divorce or child custody case. You would need to show a court there has been a material and substantial change in circumstances for you, your ex-spouse/co-parent and/or your minor child (if any). Furthermore, any changes you request regarding your children would need to be in the best interests of the child in the judge’s opinion. The position of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan regarding modification cases is simple: we want to get your case right the first time so that modifications aren’t necessary in the future. This means considering your current circumstances and anticipating any future needs of your family, as well.

Can I get divorced without going to court?

This is one of the most commonly asked questions that our attorneys receive in a consultation setting. It is understandable to not want to find yourself having to go to court for your divorce. Most people would prefer to do everything virtually and never actually have to step foot in a courtroom to complete the process. You will be happy to know that the courts will oblige in this regard. However, the tricky part is that you and your spouse need to be able to agree on the important components of your case to allow this aspiration to become a reality. Here is what I mean by that. If you and your spouse can work with one another respectfully and diligently then you absolutely can avoid going to court for most aspects of your case. Many people are right under the wrong impression about family law cases. Namely, those divorces are always determined, as far as their outcome is concerned, by the judge. I think people believe that this is the case because well-meaning but oftentimes misguided people in our culture oftentimes go on and on about the difficulties of divorce without first being honest about the realities of the case. The starkest reality of a divorce is that if you and your spouse can work together on your case then there is no reason why you all cannot negotiate your way through these issues as a team. Even if the two of you disagree on the vast majority of subjects in your life, the two of you should be able to set aside your differences with the understanding that if you fail to do so it will be a family court judge who more than likely makes the final determinations on a host of matters related to your case. Even the most disagreeable of spouses are better equipped in most circumstances to make decisions for their lives than a family court judge. For that reason, I certainly recommend going to whatever lengths possible to avoid going to court and two-position yourself to be able to work out a settlement with him or her using negotiation and mediation. The courtroom will always be there for you if the two of you fail to settle your case between the two of you. However, if you can set aside even some of your differences then I believe you will be in a good position to be able to avoid going to court for your divorce. This saves you time and puts the power of decision-making in your hands rather than in judges.

How long will my divorce take to complete?

This is one of the most important questions that you can ask regarding a divorce case. Nobody wants their divorce to take any longer than absolutely has to. A divorce is oftentimes one of those experiences where people are eager for the case to get started and eager for the case to be over with. With that said, the length of your divorce has a lot to do with the prior subject that we just finished discussing. Namely, the more willing you and your spouse are to work together to settle your case outside of court the better and more likely you will be at being able to avoid costly delays in otherwise lengthening your case unnecessarily. This is the hidden trick of a divorce that most people failed to disclose to those who ask questions about divorce. Namely, that you and your spouse have a lot more decision-making authority than you may be led to believe otherwise. Namely, but if you and your spouse choose to set aside your differences and otherwise approach your face from the perspective of people who would like to avoid litigation you can almost certainly do so. It may require putting aside some pride and some ego but the two of you almost certainly can work to conclude your case in a reasonable amount of time. A divorce in Texas must take at least 60 days to complete. This is because from the date your divorce is filed until the date a judge can sign your divorce decree 60 days must have passed. This is a cooling-off. For people such as yourself to think about whether they want to get divorced. As I’m sure you could imagine, if you could get a divorce in one or two days then many more people would probably be lining up to file divorce papers. Then, many of those people would probably regret having jumped into a divorce before they were ready to commit to such an important process. No matter how quickly you want your divorce to conclude you should expect that it will take at least two months to do so. However, you can use those two months to negotiate and better get an understanding of what the two of you want to accomplish in divorce. Without a doubt, no person enjoys the divorce that they go through. However, many people, when the case is done and over with, will state how appreciative they were called the representation we provided as well as the overall outcome that was accomplished. If you are interested in learning more about representation in a Texas divorce case, then I recommend that you contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. The best way to learn more about divorce is to obtain good information from an experienced family law attorney.

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