Why is My Case Taking This Long?

You’ve heard about it or experienced it, impatience in waiting for a case to be completed.   If you are anxious to get things over with, it can feel like a case is going on forever, especially if you believe that your case is “simple” or “agreed”.

Here is a list of some of the common things that (despite everyone’s best efforts) take time, and why they happen:

  1. Delay: Waiting for information-  Examples: The attorney has given the client a detailed information form to fill out and is waiting for it to be returned.   A client has asked specific questions that an attorney must fully research before giving a final answer.  An opposing party has not provided important documents yet.    An home study in an adoption has not been reduced to writing.
  2. Delay:  Problems Connecting.   Examples: Parties or attorneys playing “phone tag”.   Several busy people trying to schedule a meeting, mediation  or hearing around work, travel and family schedules.
  3. Delay: Waiting for the Court: Courts are busy places and most Texas courts have full dockets and hard-working judges and court staff.   In order to function, courts have to set specific rules for how and when cases are scheduled, procedures are followed and decisions are made. Judges also must have time to go to continuing education and must have time out of the courtroom to tend to other tasks. Once a case is filed, the court’s procedure must be respected and followed.
  4. Delay- Waiting for the Document: Once an order is issued in a case, it must be signed by the Judge and imaged by the staff.  Each county has its own procedure and time frame for doing that.   Sending away to a governmental agency for documents (a new birth certificate, a death certificate, etc.) can also take time as there is a process that must be followed and government offices may be backlogged with requests.
  5. Delay- Specific procedural requirements – E-Filing is now a common requirement.  Although the procedure may ultimately be time-saving, it is fairly new and like all new things, requires training for everyone involved.  There are also certain Texas laws that specify that things must be done in a certain order, or that a certain minimum amount of time after notice or service of lawsuit must pass before a case can move forward.
How you can help- If you are a client who is anxiously waiting for a case to proceed, you can help by making sure that you return requests for information as soon as possible, keep the lines of communication with your attorney and his/her paralegal and staff open, try to be understanding about procedures when you can, and let your attorney or the law office staff know if you will be unavailable at specific times.
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