Browse the Pro Se Litigants Handbook for an extensive listing of self-help legal resources in Harris County, Texas, or click a category to find helpful links for self-represented litigants. Style of the Case - Templates provided for your convenience. Cut and paste the appropriate template for the court in which your case will be heard. Qualifying users post their civil legal question to the website. Users are then contacted by email when their question receives a response. Divorce Research Guide - Guide to online and print resources for individuals who are representing themselves in a divorce or annulment.
Texas Justice Court Training Center - The TJCTC legal department offers criminal and civil forms for use by judges, court personnel, constables, deputy constables, and self-represented litigants. Spanish forms are also available. Texas Bankruptcy on UpSolve. Find information on filing for free, how to prepare for court, working with a bankruptcy trustee, and more.
If the parties cannot agree on using one expert for a particular issue, both sides may retain their own experts which could double the time and expense involved. Sometimes even a contested case can be resolved by agreement of the parties once discovery has been completed. In such a situation, your case may proceed to conclusion as a default case which follows the same procedure explained earlier. The two of you may also agree to binding or non-binding arbitration in lieu of a trial. If you agree to binding arbitration, the court must render an order consistent with the arbitrators findings.
If the two of you still cannot reach an agreement, a good way to avoid going to trial is mediation.
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The use of mediators in Texas is well recognized and can even be ordered by a court an alternative method of resolving disputes in family law matters. A professional and experienced neutral mediator may be able to help you reach a consensus on all or most the remaining contested issues in your case.
The Judge Signed Your Divorce Decree—Now What?
A successful mediation can take as little as a half a day or as long as a couple of days. Unlike a trial which requires hours of preparation and planning, mediation is informal and non-binding unless the two of you agree to make it binding. The goal of a successful mediation is to obtain at least a written outline of the agreement which one or both of the attorneys can develop into a fully binding agreement that can be presented to the court in lieu of a trial.
If an agreement is not reached, the next step is trial. By the time your case is assigned a trial date, it has probably been pending for at least several months or more.
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As previously mentioned, formal discovery will definitely increase the time spent on your case, usually upwards of at least a couple of months. It will also take time to evaluate and review the information obtained during discovery. Sometimes the need for additional discovery arises which continues to add time to your case. A relatively low percentage of divorce cases end up in trial but when they do, it will typically take somewhere between a half a day up to several days to complete. Divorce trials of more than a couple of days are rare.
Keep in mind that a lot of time is necessary to prepare for trial beforehand.
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Your attorney will need a couple of days or more to organize the evidence and prepare a plan for presenting it to the court. If there are witnesses in addition to the parties they have to be prepared and rehearsed beforehand as well. By now, you should be clearly understanding the benefits of avoiding trial if at all possible. Just like any other trial, the Petitioner has the burden of proof which means they and their attorney have to present sufficient evidence to prove their position on the issues. After the Petitioner rests, the Respondent and their attorney present their case which typically is intended to attack and discredit the evidence presented by the Petitioner.
Houston Divorce Modification Lawyer: Help Changing Divorce Decree
After both sides have finished presenting their evidence, the judge typically takes the case under submission which means he or she will review and consider all the evidence before eventually rendering a decision. Some judges may render a decision immediately after the presentation of evidence is completed but that is not likely to happen if there are complex and hotly contested positions concerning one or more issues in the case.
Even after a post trial judgment is rendered, your case may not be over yet. The appeal process is another whole legal proceeding unto itself which is very time consuming and costly. Once again, there are certain deadlines that must be met before the case is even accepted on appeal which is not often the case.
Texas Divorce Timeline
Family law appeals are not very common but they do happen especially in cases involving unique or unusual issues that may not have been previously decided by an appellate court. The quickest divorce cases are those with relatively simple and few issues. When there are children from the marriage or there is a substantial amount of property to be evaluated and divided your case may likely take more time. Cooperation and a willingness to compromise are key to a faster resolution of your divorce.
Should I Respond or Settle? TRIAL By the time your case is assigned a trial date, it has probably been pending for at least several months or more. About Gary R. Cooley Law School. He is known as a transparent and highly personable divorce lawyer with the experience to succeed. The staff is so friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable.
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Angela MyLife 07 Jun We worked with Chris and other staff. Chris from the start really worked with us as we were unsure what to do next and what was the best option for us. Chris spent a great deal of time with me on the phone, over email as well as meeting with my husband and I in his office.
It can be scary to have the unknowns as we did and he really helped. When dealing with things you just don't know about you have to find someone you can trust to lean on and let them handle it; you can't be an expert on everything. Below are some e-book titles that may help you with your research on divorce in Texas. Because Texas and federal law may not be easy to understand, below you'll find a collection of resources that help to explain the law in "plain English. Because state agencies are unable to offer legal advice to the public, there are not many official state resources for Texans needing help with their divorce.
If you require assistance, consider speaking to an attorney or a legal aid organization. For help finding legal assistance, see the "Need Legal Assistance? Library Guides Divorce General Information. Search this Guide Search.
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Divorce Information about divorce in Texas with and without children. It is strongly recommended that you contact an attorney for advice specific to your situation. If you have questions about anything in this guide, please ask a librarian. Disclaimer: The Texas State Law Library is unable to give legal advice, legal opinions or any interpretation of the law.