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Family Law Attorney Q&A

When should I consult with a divorce attorney?

Attorney is never too early in the process to consult with an attorney. Engaging with legal counsel early allows you to make informed decisions and avoid potential pitfalls – increasing your ability to achieve your goals. Remember, consulting with an Austin divorce attorney does not mean that you will be Divorce Lawyers near Me; you may need information about the family law legal process. A common problem that I see is clients wait too long to contact an attorney to obtain legal advice and could have ended up with a better result if they had been informed about their options earlier.

What should I bring with me to the initial consultation?

Because family law matters can be very stressful, it is a good idea to write down any questions you have and bring them with you to the first meeting so nothing important is forgotten. You may also want to bring any documents relevant to your case if available – such as federal income tax returns, or documents concerning your assets and debts. If you signed a pre-marital agreement or any other kind of property agreement prior to or during your marriage, bring a copy to the consultation.

I was just served with divorce papers. What should I do?

You should retain a divorce attorney as soon as possible so they may provide legal advice regarding what has been requested and any hearings that have been scheduled. Once retained, your divorce attorney will file an answer on your behalf.

My spouse and I would like to only hire one attorney for our divorce. Is that possible?

In Texas, one attorney may not represent both spouses. Nor may a divorce attorney retained by one spouse give legal advice to the opposing party. Do some research to find out if your state allows representation by one attorney.

I understand that I have to go through mediation for my divorce. Is that true?

In Travis, Williamson and Hays Counties, mediation is required before a final hearing will be held in a family law case. In mediation, a trained, neutral third-party acts a facilitator for the 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 their issues via litigation.

How long will it take to get a divorce?

The time required to develop the final terms of your divorce is highly dependent on the number of issues to be resolved and the willingness of both parties to reach an agreement. In Texas, there is a statutory waiting period of 60 days after the Petition is filed before the divorce may be finalized.

Do both spouses have to consent to the divorce? What if one of us does not want the divorce?

Texas has a “no-fault” divorce statue. This means that a divorce can be obtained, even if only one spouse desires it. You do not need the agreement of your spouse to file the Original Petition for Divorce or to pursue a divorce.

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

A family law attorney who wants to be Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization applies to the Texas Board of Legal Specialization to take a day long written exam to become Board Certified in Family Law. Of the 78,032 attorneys licensed to practice law in Texas, only 691 are Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, or less than one percent of the lawyers in the state of Texas.

* In addition to taking a written certification exam, family law attorneys applying for board certification in family law must have demonstrated extensive expertise in matters such as divorce, property division, child custody, child support, paternity and other matrimonial matters.

Specific requirements include:

 

  • Must have been licensed to practice law for at least five years
  • Have devoted at least 35% of his/her practice to family law for the last three years
  • Have experience handling a wide variety of family law matters
  • Have received recommendations by fellow attorneys and judiciary members
  • Must pass a day-long written exam on family law issues such as divore and child custody
  • Demonstrate regular participation in family law continuing education seminars

 

At the Law Office of Amy K. Gehm, L.L.C.,¬†Austin divorce lawyer, we are committed to the highest standards of moral and ethical conduct in vigorously and effectively representing our client’s best interests.

Family law is a body of law that encompasses a wide array of issues

Family law is a body of law that encompasses a wide array of issues related to family and domestic matters. A person faced with a family or domestic law issue may feel stress because of it’s often complex nature. There are attorneys that specialize and practice primarily in this area of law.

Lawyers can deal with many issues that involve family and domestic related matters. Family law addresses marriage, civil unions and even domestic partnerships. Other issues that fall under the body of family law include adoption, legitimacy, surrogacy, spousal abuse, child abuse, and child adoption. Family law further encompasses matters such as divorce, property settlements, annulment, alimony, and parental responsibility (child support, child custody/visitation, and alimony).

Many attorneys limit their practice of law

The many attorneys limit their practice of law to the area focusing on family matters. A m=any family attorneys receive additional education and certification after passing the bar exam. These attorneys can become board certified to practice in family law.

When choosing the right family attorneys you have a variety of different options to help you find and select an experienced attorney. One way to locate reputable family law attorneys is to use the attorney referral service through the state or city bar association. The attorney referral service through the bar association will provide you a number of qualified attorneys in good standing.

Referrals from relatives, friends, neighbors or co-workers

Referrals from relatives, friends, neighbors or co-workers are also extremely useful in locating family law attorneys. This type of referral is useful because it will help you choose an attorney based on knowledge from someone who has been through an experience that may be similar to your situation. It will also help you evaluate the attorney based upon their representation of an actual client.

Once you have selected at least three of four potential family law attorneys you can then prepare for you initial consultation. The initial consultation not only provides you the opportunity to discuss your matter but to also evaluate the attorney. You will want to focus on key indicators such as how well the attorney carefully pays attention while you are discussing your specific family issues.

Another important indicator to focus

Another important indicator to focus on will be the response of the attorney. After you go over the facts of your case. A good attorney will explain the law as it relates to your situation. So you can understand and ask additional questions if necessary. An attorney that uses legal jargon and does not clearly. Explain the law is one you may not want to retain. As this indicates their lack of skill when working with a client.

Initial consultations with attorneys will also cover retainers, fee agreements, and other necessary information. Always be prepared to provide documentation that relates to and supports your position and your case. With respect to the retainer and fee agreement you will want to carefully read over. And ask questions so that you understand what agreement. You will be entering into if you decide to hire the attorney.

When dealing with a family law matter you will want to take you time in choosing an attorney. Family lawyers recommend that prospective clients take some time to reflect on their initial consultation before making a selection.

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