Family Law Lawyer Q&A

When Should I Consult a Divorce Attorney?

It is never too early to consult an attorney during this process. Early engagement with legal counsel allows you to make informed decisions and avoid potential pitfalls – improving your ability to achieve your goals. Remember, consulting an Austin divorce attorney doesn’t mean you’ll get a divorce; you may need information about family law legal proceedings. A common problem I see is clients waiting too long to contact a lawyer for legal advice when they might have had a better outcome if they had been informed of their options earlier.

What should I bring to the initial consultation?

Because family law issues can be very stressful, it’s a good idea to write down any questions you have and bring them to the first meeting so nothing important is forgotten. You may also need to bring any documents, if any, relevant to your case – such as federal income tax returns, or documents pertaining to your assets and liabilities. If you signed a prenuptial agreement or any other type of property agreement before or during your marriage, bring a copy to your consultation.

I just received the divorce papers. what should I do?

You should hire a divorce attorney as soon as possible so they can provide legal advice on what is being requested and any hearings that have been scheduled. Once reserved, your divorce attorney will file the response on your behalf.

My spouse and I just want to hire an attorney for our divorce. Is that possible?

In Texas, an attorney cannot represent both spouses. Divorce attorneys hired by one spouse are also prohibited from providing legal advice to the other spouse. Do some research to see if your state allows representation by an attorney.

I understand that I must go through mediation to get a divorce. Really?

In Travis, Williamson and Hays counties, family law cases require mediation before a final hearing. In mediation, a trained, neutral third party acts as a facilitator for settlement discussions between the parties and their respective attorneys. If an agreement cannot be reached during the mediation process, the parties may decide to resolve the issue through litigation.

How long does it take to get a divorce?

The time it takes to develop the final terms of a divorce depends largely on the number of issues to be resolved and the willingness of both parties to come to an agreement. In Texas, there is a statutory waiting period of 60 days after the petition is filed before the divorce can be finalized.

Does divorce require the consent of both spouses? What if one of us doesn’t want a divorce?

Texas has a “no fault” divorce statue. This means that a divorce is possible even if only one spouse wishes to. You do not need your spouse’s consent to file an original divorce petition or seek a divorce.

What does it mean when an attorney is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Professions?

Family lawyers who wish to become certified by the Texas Board of Legal Professions Family Law Board apply to the Texas Board of Legal Professions to take the one-day written exam for family law board certification. Of the 78,032 attorneys licensed to practice law in Texas, only 691 are family law board certified by the Texas Board of Legal Professions, representing less than 1 percent of the total number of attorneys in Texas.

*In addition to taking the written certification exam, family lawyers applying for Family Law Board certification must demonstrate extensive expertise in divorce, property division, child custody, child support, parentage, and other matrimonial matters. Specific requirements include:

  • Must have been licensed to practice law for at least five years
  • Have spent at least 35% of your practice time in family law in the past three years
  • Experienced in handling various family law matters
  • Have received referrals from other lawyers and members of the judiciary
  • Must pass a one-day written family law exam, such as divorce and child custody
  • Evidence of regular attendance at family law continuing education seminars

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