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How much will my case cost?
Every case is different. The total cost of a case depends on the amount of time spent by the attorney on the case and the amount of court costs and other expenses incurred. Court clerks are required by law to charge fees for the filing and recording of certain documents, such as pleadings. In addition, expenses are incurred when a citation or other documents are served by a sheriff, private process server or certified mail, return receipt requested. Because attorneys are now required to e-file documents, meaning to file documents electronically, an additional e-filing fee is also charged. Attorney’s fees are usually charged at an hourly rate, but in some cases a flat fee may be charged. A down payment, sometimes called a “retainer”, is required to be paid before services are rendered. Please call me to schedule a consultation so that I can learn more about your situation.
Do you accept credit cards?
Yes. I accept Visa, MasterCard and Discover. Cash, checks, and money orders are also accepted.
How long will it take to finish my divorce case?
For a divorce in Texas, the law requires a 60-day waiting period, starting on the date the divorce petition is filed, before a divorce may be granted. The time may be less if the court finds that the respondent – the person who is being sued for divorce – has been finally convicted of, or received deferred adjudication for, an offense involving family violence against the petitioner – the person who filed for divorce – or a member of the petitioner’s household, or if the petitioner has an active protective order or magistrate’s order for emergency protection based on a finding of family violence against the respondent because of family violence committed during the marriage.
Do I need to hire an attorney to handle my divorce?
No, you can represent yourself. But for such a life-changing event you should hire an experienced attorney to represent you, just as you would hire a qualified physician to provide the health care you expect and deserve. Doing the divorce pro se – meaning representing yourself – generally takes longer to get done than if you hired an attorney.
Can you represent me and my spouse at the same time?
No, it is unethical to represent both spouses at the same time. Your spouse does not need to hire his or her own attorney, but it would be advisable to do so.
What do I need to bring when we meet to discuss a possible divorce?
Our meeting will be much more productive if you provide information and documents to me before our meeting. You should complete the Divorce Questionnaire before we meet. You can either mail, fax or e-mail the completed Questionnaire and documents before our meeting or bring them with you to the meeting. Due to security issues, do not send confidential information such as your social security number, driver’s license number, or account information via e-mail. You should make a copy of your documents for me before we meet so that we can spend time discussing your case, rather than making copies. If you do not have all the documents available, bring what you can to the meeting and provide the rest of them later. After our initial meeting, I will need you to complete the following forms: the Income and Expense Statement and the Inventory and Appraisement.
Generally, you will need to furnish the following items in your family law case:
- Personal federal income tax returns (including all schedules), W-2s, 1099s, and other evidence of income for you and your spouse for the past 5 years
- Federal income tax returns (including all schedules) for each business that you and/or your spouse have owned for the past 5 years
- Retirement statements for IRA, 401k, Teacher Retirement System (TRS), Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) or other retirement and/or pension plans for you and your spouse for the past 2 years
- Mortgage statements, appraisals, deeds and loan documents regarding each piece of real property owned by you, your spouse, and/or each business owned by you and/or your spouse
- Bank statements for you and your spouse (and businesses) for the past 2 years
- Pictures, documents, or other evidence that support your claims (such as infidelity, careless finances, domestic violence, spousal abuse, etc.)
- All pleadings that have been filed in your case or in any related case.
The more information you provide to me, the better I can evaluate your case. I would rather learn all about your case – the good, the bad and the ugly – from you, than be surprised at trial by your spouse.
What should I wear to court?
You should always appear in clean neat attire and be well-groomed. The Court has certain rules regarding attire and etiquette. Do not wear blue jeans, T-shirts, tank tops, short dresses, shorts, or flip-flops to Court.
How should I act in court?
You should always act properly. You must always respect the judge, jury, bailiff, attorneys and the other party. No yelling, cursing, foul language, or hand gestures are permitted at any time. You must silence your cell phone before you enter the courtroom. If your phone rings during court, the bailiff may take your phone and you will get it back about 5:00 P.M. You are not allowed to text in the courtroom. You are not allowed to (a) bring food or drinks into the courtroom, (b) smoke or chew tobacco, (c) read a magazine, newspaper or book while court is in session, (d) talk or make noise while court is in session, or (e) use a tape recorder, camera or similar device during court. The judge also may have other rules.
Can I bring others with me to court?
You may bring family and friends to support you, but they probably will not be allowed into the courtroom. They most likely will have to remain in the hallway or the client waiting room, which is on the first floor at the Bexar County Courthouse.
Should I bring children to court?
NO. The judges do not like children to be in court and do not want the children to see or hear what goes on between the parents. It puts too much pressure on the children. The children should remain in school or daycare or in the care of another family member or friend. If the judge wants to talk with the children, he or she will make arrangements with the respective attorneys.