Based in Dallas, Texas, the Nacol Law Firm PC, traces its roots to the firm of Mark A. Nacol and Associates PC, established in 1979. The Nacol Law Firm team shares its experience on a variety of legal topics here. See our recent posts below.
Divorce is frustrating, confusing, and personally resentful. Divorce is never a pleasant experience even in the most amicable terms. It is important to know what you are in for when a divorce is filed. An original petition will be filed by one of the spouses (the petitioner). Then, the Respondent spouse must be served with papers by a process server unless they will agree to waiver service.
After service of the original petition, the Petitioner may file for a Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”) to protect the child and marital estate. Once a TRO is granted by the District Judge, a temporary order hearing will be set within 14 days. This temporary order hearing is extremely important and will determine the direction of the case.
Temporary Order hearings are usually condensed to 20 minutes a side depending on the complexities of the case. Within these 20 minutes, you will have to put on evidence for your entire case regarding custody of the children, management of the marital estate, and any other considerations such as receivership of a business.
After the temporary orders hearing, the case will dive into full throttle litigation. Discovery on both sides is usually conducted including interrogatories, admissions, and production of documentation. The documents that are usually requested consists of bank statements, retirement pensions, social media pages, text messages, and emails. Each case requires specific Discovery requests that are narrowly tailored to the facts presented. Discovery can last months and usually follow with motions to compel and sanctions. In highly contested cases the rigors of discovery and compiling documentation can be brutal.
During the Discovery phase, Depositions may be warranted. Depositions consists of your attorney questioning your spouse and any other witnesses that are relevant to the case for impeachment purposes. Depositions are necessary if the case will go to a jury, because impeachment of your spouse is a necessity to prove your truthfulness.
Mediation is often mandatory in Courts, but this is the general rule. Certain Courts in the Dallas, Fort Worth, and Collin county do not require mandatory mediation. Each Court has its own rules of procedure and requirements. If the Mediation fails to produce a settlement between you and your spouse, then the only thing left is a trial.
Depending on the complexities of the case and assets, a trial can last half a day or be a three-day trial. Most trials are before the District Judge. Certain facts may give rise to a jury trial, but a jury trial is more costly and can take up more time. After the trial is complete the parties will have to wait for a ruling. This can take days to months depending on the case and jurisdiction.
When the final ruling is given to all parties, the Judge will charge one party to create a final order that will be submitted to the Court. This can give rise to more litigation depending on the interpretation of the Judge’s rulings by both parties. Finally, when both parties agree to a final order or the Judge determines which version of the final order is proper, then the case will be over.
Divorce can be a painful process that lasts 6 months to three years depending on the circumstances and the nature of the parties involved. If you are about to file for a Divorce in the DFW Metroplex or need help call the Nacol Law Firm, experienced family law attorneys to represent your best interests throughout this painful process.
Nacol Law Firm P.C.
Julian Nacol, Attorney
Q: How Much Is Texas Child Support ?
A: See our Infographic Above
Q: How long is the divorce process ?
A: In a Texas divorce there is a waiting period of a minimum of 60 days from the time you file the Original Petition commencing the lawsuit to the time the divorce may be finalized. Few divorces are finalized in this time-period. It is more likely that an uncontested divorce will take approximately 3 to 6 months and a contested divorce will likely will take much longer depending on the issues and conduct of the parties.
Q: Do my spouse and I both have to hire attorneys?
A: No. But it is certainly in your best interest to hire an attorney for a consultation purposes and to review legal documents for your own protection. An attorney should not in the vast majority of cases represent both parties, so if one attorney is involved he or she will under law be looking out for the best interest of the client that hired him/her, while the other party is representing themselves (pro se).
Q: Will I have to go to court?
A: If the spouses reach agreement, one party will have to appear in Court. Often times, when the parties have worked out their own settlement, that agreement is signed by each of you and submitted to the court with only one party making a personal appearance to state to the Court that the agreement has been reached and to establish statutory requirements. If, on the other hand, you and your spouse cannot come to an amicable settlement through this process, you will both have to appear in court, and often on many occasions.
Q: Should I Move Out of the Marital Residence?
A: Be sure to consult with an attorney before leaving the marital residence. Leaving the home may be viewed as abandonment or actually declaring a new residence, especially if you are taking personal items with you (clothing, automobile, sentimental possessions, etc.). If children are involved issues may arise as to who currently has or should have primary possession of the children. Once you have voluntarily left the home, it may be difficult to move back in or obtain orders for primary or temporary possession.
Q: How Do I Get a Divorce?
A: Before getting divorced you or you and your spouse should decide that you absolutely want and need the divorce. Even though in the divorce process prior to final judgment everything is reversible, it is important that you realize that the road is sometimes very long and can be a difficult one to travel.
Q: What if I Do Not Want a Divorce?
A: The advent of a divorce is something that slowly builds. You may want to consult with your spouse about placing things on hold while you receive counseling. However, the need for a divorce is rarely something that happens over night. Your spouse may have made his or her mind up long ago that divorce is the only option. If your spouse has filed for divorce, you have no choice. The most important thing for you to do if your spouse has filed for divorce is promptly seek proper legal advice.
If your spouse has significant assets and you feel they may be considering divorce seek legal advice immediately. You may want to do some pre-planning to make sure you have complete copies of original and final documents and know where all the marital assets are located and to assure their status. Do not give your spouse time to stash, spend away and/or hide assets.
Q: Can You Modify Child Support Orders?
A: Making changes to an existing child support order is not uncommon. Most states will not allow a request for modification on a child support order unless a time-period (of 2 to 4 years depending on the state) has passed since the order was put into place. Keep in mind that child support orders cannot be increased or decreased on a whim. In Texas, you must show a change in circumstances. However, if the person paying child support’s income has gone up or down more than 25% you can request a change. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you agree to no child support in your first order (Final Decree) and your spouse has a significant income at that time, you may have waived a statutory right to future child support unless the income level at the time of the existing order increases or decreases significantly.
Q: Can I Deny My Ex-spouse Visitation, Possession or Access?
A: You can not and should not deny visitation or possession, unless the Court has modified the visitation or possession to allow it! Denying visitation or possession is one of the biggest mistakes made by most primary custodial parents – it is an act of contempt in Texas. You may believe you have a justifiable reason for denying the visitation or possession rights, but by law your are not permitted to do so absent extraordinary circumstances, usually involving gross neglect or physical abuse.
Q: How Do I Get Custody of My Child(ren)?
A: The first and most important step to getting custody of your child(ren) is to be an involved and hands-on parent and to be honest. Being a great parent is not always the easiest task during divorce, but it is important to carefully consider each and every action you take during a divorce and how it may or may not effect the child(ren). You will also need good legal representation. Child custody issues can become ugly and complicated no matter how good your intentions may be. Make sure you are prepared. Document everything.
Q: What if I Do Not Like the Judges Decision?
A: The purpose of the ruling is to establish what exactly should be stated in the Final Divorce Decree. Once the attorneys have drafted the Final Divorce Decree and both parties have agreed that it coincides with the ruling, it will be presented to the Judge for signing. Once the parties have agreed and signatures are signed, you will have to live with the decisions. If the divorce is highly contested and the Judge rules and you are unhappy with the results, you have only a small window to appeal the decision or request a new trial.
Q: What is Fair Spousal Support or Alimony?
A: If you and your spouse can not come to agreement on the need for or amount of spousal support to be paid, the length of time, and under what conditions, the spousal support will most likely be set by a Judge according to Texas law.