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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do you have any billing arrangements or fee agreements other than purely hourly or contingency?
A: Yes. Depending on the circumstances of your case, there are many different ways to structure a fee agreement, including blending a discounted hourly rate with a discounted contingency fee, billing a flat fee, or setting a threshold for hourly billing and then proceeding with a contingency fee. Please call our law firm to discuss different ways that our attorneys can structure a fee agreement to suit your situation.

Q: I have been sued and am required to appear before the court. What is the timeline for me to respond?
A: You have approximately twenty days (the number of days varies) from the date you were served with a citation and petition in which to answer a lawsuit in Texas state court.

Q: What is a temporary restraining order (TRO)?
A: A TRO is a temporary restraining order issued by the Court restraining (or in rare cases, mandating) certain activity on the part of the person being enjoined. TRO's are often used in partnership or corporate disputes to prevent one partner or owner from taking actions adverse to another when certain prerequisites under the law are met.

Q: I received a TRO and a citation but was never given the opportunity to appear before the court to tell my side of the story? What are my rights?
A: You are entitled to file responsive papers with the Court and have your side heard within 14 days from the issuance of the TRO.

Q: What is Mediation?
A: Mediation is a confidential, non-binding alternative dispute resolution proceeding used to resolve conflicts between parties prior to a trial or other legal action. An impartial mediator who is either appointed by the Court or chosen by an agreement of the parties presides over the mediation and facilitates the communication between the parties in order to attempt to resolve their dispute.

Q: What is the mediator's role?
A: Mediators are often experienced attorneys or judges who have received extensive training in mediation techniques. Please remember, the mediator is a neutral party and is not there as an advocate for any party. However, the mediator may provide valuable insight into the litigation process and assessing the risk/reward of pursuing litigation.

Q: My spouse and I were not married in Texas. Can we still get a divorce here?
A: You can file for divorce in Texas, regardless of where you were married, if you have been a been a resident of the state for six months and a resident of the county where you wish to file for divorce for 90 days. However, Texas does not recognize same sex marriages or civil unions granted in other states.

Q: What are the grounds for divorce in Texas?
A: Texas law allows for “no fault” divorce; one spouse does not have to blame the other for the breakdown of the marriage. However, if one party is “at fault” for the dissolution of the marriage, the court considers the “at fault” grounds, when determining a fair distribution of marital property. Grounds for divorce in Texas include: cruel treatment, adultery, abandonment, felony conviction/incarceration, confinement to a mental hospital and living apart.

Q: What if my spouse says he/she won’t give me a divorce?
A: Because Texas is no fault state, a divorce proceeds with or without consent of the other spouse. Your spouse can stall and try to make the process difficult; however, the court will eventually intervene and enter judgment for dissolution of the marraige.

Q: What conditions are necessary to have the court award spousal maintenance?
A: In Texas, the court may order maintenance for a spouse, if at least one of the following requirements is met: 1. Spouse was convicted of family violence within 2 years of filing date of divorce 2. The marriage was 10 years or longer and spouse lacks sufficient resources to provide for minimal reasonable needs and: is unable to support herself through employment because of physical and/or mental disability, or is the custodian of a child whose disability prevents the spouse from working outside the home, or lacks earning ability in labor market.

Q: What is involved in the probate process?
A: Probate is a legal term that refers to administering and distributing a deceased person’s estate. A court generally supervises the probate process which may include a determination of the validity of a will as well as locating and collecting all of the decedent’s assets, paying all outstanding debts and other obligations, and distributing the remaining estate assets to the decedent’s heirs or beneficiaries.

Q: What happens, if my loved one dies without a will?
A: A person who dies without a will is said to be “intestate.” When there is no will, a court with jurisdiction over property in the estate distributes a deceased person’s assets by applying a single, one-size-fits-all formula. The distribution of assets is carried out strictly in accordance with the probate code, regardless of what the decedent may have wished.

Q: Does probate affect all of a person’s assets?
A: Probate does not necessarily affect all of a person’s assets. Assets that transfer automatically at death are non-probate property and may include annuities, life insurance policies and payable-on-death (POD) bank accounts that are paid directly to a beneficiary rather than to the deceased person’s estate.

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