Do I need to bring anything for my consultation?
a. For the Original Petition (which is the document filed with the court to begin the divorce proceeding) we typically will only need the basic information that is obtained from your consult sheet that you fill in at our office. The attorney will discuss your situation in detail and elaborate on your rights and explain the procedure that is in the best interest for your case. * If there is domestic violence, please be sure to bring the police report if applicable.
b. For a consultation about a Modification (a request for change in a previous court order), please be sure to bring a copy of your last orders.
c. For Child Protective Services, please bring the Child Protective Services contact information and any related correspondence.
d. For Suit Establishing Parent Child Relationship, please bring the Acknowledgement of Paternity or birth certificate for every child.
What questions to ask at consultation?
a. What are the steps in the process of divorce?
b. What are my rights when it comes to my children?
c. What are my rights when it comes to my personal property? (“personal property” means things that you own other than real estate)
d. Do I qualify for spousal support?
e. Can I move out of the primary residence?
f. What are my rights in regard to our financial accounts?
How does the retainer to my attorney work- hourly rate? What does it mean?
A retainer is a specific amount of money set aside to cover services performed by our firm on your case. It includes hourly fees for your attorney, paralegal, and staff. Some examples of items that may be billed are: correspondence with opposing attorney, emails, telephone conferences, appearance for mediation and court hearings etc. Upon your initial consult should you wish to hire the attorney you will be given a contract to review and sign. Once you have entered into a contract with our firm you will be given a copy. It will include information about your retainer and also about costs that will be paid on your behalf in the case.
What if I do not know where other person lives at the moment?
In the event you are not able to provide us with an address to serve the opposing party, we may request that the judge grant permission to serve this person by alternate means, rather than having to give the person notice of the lawsuit in person.
When I hire the attorney what does she or he need from me? and by when?
Should you hire our firm to represent you, our staff members will notify you of the documents and forms that will be needed for your case. We will take it one step at a time and be there to answer any questions that might arise.
My spouse and I have agreed on the divorce. What are the next steps?
In the case that both parties agree on all terms for the divorce which include (but are not limited to) property division and custody/visitation schedule, the attorney would assist in drafting the court required documents such as the divorce decree. Using the legal expertise of an attorney to draft the decree and corresponding documents, can help the divorce process to proceed efficiently.
What can I do when I owe Child Support?
Schedule an appointment with a Family Law Attorney. Prior to your consultation gather documents from Attorney General or the opposing attorney, showing the present total amount due. Depending on each case an attorney can help you negotiate “back child support” (arrears) along with your current child support. This may be accomplished by court hearings and/or attending mediation.
What is a DCO?
A DCO is a Docket Control Order provided by the court. Each case is set for Trial on the Docket Control Order. You will have deadlines which will need to be met in timely manner.
What is a QDRO? And how to determine if you will need one?
Qualified Domestic Relations Order, is used when a party is awarded a portion of the other party’s retirement account. When your divorce is final, we will provide you with the information that you need to complete this step with a company specializing in these transactions.
What is the discovery process?
Discovery- is when one party is requesting the other party to provide information relevant to the case. There are deadlines to produce this information and it is very important that the information be produced in the proper form, and in a timely manner. The requests may consist of questions to answer, or you may be required to produce documents, or even allow an inspection of property. It is crucial to your case to take these requests seriously. Your attorney and her staff can help you organize and produce this information efficiently.
If someone is willing to give up their child to me for adoption, what should I do?
Prior to taking in custody of any child that is not yours please be sure to consult an attorney that will help advise you to how to conduct this process correct. Your attorney will help explain your rights and give you the best legal process for a secure outcome.
Is it possible to adopt my grandchild?
In some cases it is possible to have an adoption of extended family members for the child. Discuss your options with your attorney.
How do I obtain a copy of my Texas DFPS
You can order a copy of your records directly from Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
How old do I have to be able to adopt a child or an adult?
Texas minimum age requirement is 21 years old.
Does I still qualify to adopt if I am divorced or widowed?
Yes, you may be eligible if you meet the criteria. Prioritizing the child is key in this process.
Why is it important to have a Durable Power of Attorney?
A Durable Power of Attorney is a document created by you the “principal”, allowing a competent adult that you choose (“the agent”) to make financial decisions about your property. It is important to have this document completed in the event that you are unable or unavailable to make decisions, or if you wish someone else to do so for you.
Why is it important to have a Medical Power of Attorney?
A Medical Power of Attorney is a document created by you the “principal”, allowing an adult that you trust “the agent” make healthcare related decisions for you. Health care providers and health care institutions may require this document in certain situations.
Should I get a will, even if I don’t have many assets?
Anyone and everyone should always get a will done. Even if you don’t have many assets, most individuals like to designate who gets their belongings in case they pass away. If you have minor children, you will include who you would like to leave as their legal guardian. Within a will you can also express your wishes for your funeral or disposition of your remains.
When do I need to update my Will?
You need to review you will every year or so to make sure everything is up to date. Hire a lawyer to make changes to your will only when necessary. If someone that you designated as a beneficiary or executor has passed away, if you have lost or gained assets, if you have had a minor child, if your minor child has become an adult, or if you have changed your mind about executor designated, or any other change that can happen, you should consider an update.
Where should I store my will?
One of the safest places to store your will is in your own home, but you must make sure to keep it in a fireproof safe. Always make sure to have copies. Give some of these copies to your executor for safe keeping. You can also scan your will to your computer for safe keeping.
What is probate?
Probate is the legal process through which assets are distributed and debts are paid from the estate of the deceased overseen by the administrator and court.
What information or documents will I need for the probate process?
You will need the deceased’s death certificate, original last will and testament, Medicaid information if applicable, life insurance information, information regarding assets, and information regarding debts. These are a few of the most common documents that are used in a probate process. Not all of these documents are required to start the process, but they will be needed during the process.
Probating A Will?
To probate a will it is best to hire an experienced probate attorney that will know the correct legal process. You will need to file the will, distribute assets, notify creditors, and many other things that an attorney will advise on a case-by-case scenario.
What is an executor in a Will?
An executor, is the person that was chosen to perform the tasks listed in the will. Essentially, this person will be managing the estate of the deceased and abiding by the wishes stated in the will.
What are the options if a Loved one passed away without a Will?
Should your loved one pass away and not leave a Will in place, our attorneys will advise you about available paths to take, and what they mean, depending on the situation. Some options would include Affidavit of Heirship, Dependent Administration, Determination of Heirship, and Small Estate Affidavit.