How long does it take to get a divorce in Texas?
There is a minimum statutory requirement of at least 60 days from the date of filing; however, divorces are rarely finalized in that period of time. If the case goes to trial, it may take two years or more. The actual time required depends upon many factors, including but not limited to:
- What issues are contested, and how contested are those issues
- The amount of debt and property to be divided
- The level of “discovery” or research that is required
- Whether or not minor children are involved
- The level of cooperation with your attorney
- The schedules of the court and the attorneys
Thus, the time involved in getting a divorce depends on all of the circumstances and every case is different. If you and your spouse agree on most of the aspects of your separation, such as child custody and property division, your divorce may proceed quickly. However, if you and your spouse have a contentious relationship or disagree on matters like property division, child custody, possession orders, and child support, it can take much longer, possibly even over a year. The Law Office of Dana L. White appreciates and recognizes that you want to resolve your divorce quickly, and we diligently work and represent on your behalf to ensure a timely and efficient process in conformance with the quality of our representation.
What is Mediation, and how is it different than Arbitration?
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process whereby a neutral person serves as a mediator. Usually, the parties are in separate rooms, with their respective attorneys, and the mediator travels back in forth in an attempt to facilitate an agreement between them. Mediation is often used in the litigation process in an attempt to settle the case prior to trial. Many people confuse mediation with arbitration, but they are different in that an arbitrator is a judge and makes a decision regarding the outcome of the case. The mediator, on the other hand, does not act as a judge but works with the parties and their attorneys to help facilitate a settlement agreement.
What is a Medical Power of Attorney, and is how is it different from a General Power of Attorney?
A Medical Power of Attorney allows you to appoint a particular person as your agent to make medical decisions for you in the event you become incapacitated. A General Power of Attorney, on the other hand, is a document that gives your decision-making power to another person in regard to business matters, such as selling a property or paying taxes. It may take effect immediately, or upon disability. Both of these documents are extremely important. If a person becomes incapacitated and does not have either of these documents in place, a guardian will likely have to be appointed by the court to handle these affairs, and that could cost the family thousands of dollars, as well as create an unnecessary hardship.
What is a “Living Will?”
A Living Will is also known as a “Directive to Physicians,” or a “Healthcare Directive.” Unlike the Medical Power of Attorney in which you appoint a health care agent, the Directive states your preference regarding life-saving procedures. Many people choose between having either a Medical Power of Attorney or a Directive to Physicians, but it is acceptable and advisable to have both. The attorneys at the Law Office of Dana L. White, PLLC can help you decide which is best for you and your family.
What is “Community Property”?
Texas law distinguishes between community property and separate property:
- Community Property – All property, other than separate property, acquired by either spouse during the marriage.
- Separate Property – Property that was owned prior to marriage; property received during the marriage by gift or inheritance; and property obtained via recovery for personal injuries, except for the loss of income during the marriage.
Can I change my custody arrangement after a custody order is in place?
Yes, if circumstances have changed in a material and substantial way, you may request modifications to your custody order. Typically, this is done in the same court that issued the original order. You will also have to prove that the change you seek is in the child’s best interest. Our team of lawyers at the Law Office of Dana L. White can assist you with building a convincing case that will show your need for a modification.
What is a ‘Living Trust’?
Some common reasons why our clients choose a Will with a Living Trust:
- If a person owns real property in another state, having a Living Trust will avoid the necessity for two probate proceedings, one in each state, which makes a Living Trust more desirable than a Will.
- A Living Trust provides a significant lifetime advantage if a person becomes incapacitated. With a Living Trust, the trust assets will continue to be managed for the person’s benefit by the successor trustee without the necessity for a court-supervised guardianship proceeding.
- Another advantage of a Living Trust over a Will is that once assets are transferred into the trust, they will be controlled by and eventually distributed as specified in the trust agreement. A Will, on the other hand, only controls the disposition of assets that become part of the court-supervised probate proceeding.
- Many types of assets pass automatically at the owner’s death outside of the probate process, including property held in joint tenancy or pay-on-death form, life insurance, and retirement accounts. These types of assets pass to a designated beneficiary regardless of what the owner’s Will may say. So, the estate plan contained in a person’s Will can easily and inadvertently be defeated by forms of title that avoid probate. This problem is minimized with a Living Trust where title to assets is held by the trust, or the trust is named as the designated beneficiary.
- Privacy is another advantage of having a Living Trust. With a Will and a court-supervised probate proceeding, an inventory of a decedent’s estate becomes a matter of public record. A Living Trust, on the other hand, is privately managed and not subject to public scrutiny.
What can I do to get my ex-spouse to abide by our child custody/Visitation/Support order?
The orders that were created during your divorce proceedings are legally binding and must be followed. If your ex-partner is in violation of the court order and is failing to uphold their end of the agreement, you can take legal action to hold them accountable. The Law Office of Dana L. White is here to assist you in your efforts to enforce orders of the court.