FAQ Section – Questions We Hear Often
We have identified some frequently asked questions below that may be helpful to you. Please remember that the answers that can be given on this website are by necessity broad answers, as the facts and circumstances surrounding your case may lead to a different result than the facts and circumstances of someone else’s case. Please contact Loveless & Loveless, Attorneys at Law, L.P. to set up an appointment to talk about your specific facts and circumstances and receive our advice about your particular case. Call (940) 387-3776.
Each case is different, depending on the issues and facts of the case and the opposing parties and the attorneys they hire. Also, it is hard to predict how much discovery is necessary, the Court’s docket, and whether experts are necessary. Many criterea influence the final cost. In some cases, the parties are able to agree quickly and the cost is minimal. In other cases, no settlement is reached and a trial is necessary to a judge or jury with experts to testify on multiple issues. These cases are almost always very expensive. At your initial consultation, you can discuss the possible range of costs in your case with Loveless & Loveless and receive some idea of what to expect, keeping in mind that lawsuits are fluid, and expectations of cost can rise or fall at any point in a case.
Payment of the other side’s fees is not automatic, and in most cases each side is responsible for his or her own fees, particularly when the case is settled. In some divorce cases, it may be more common for one person to pay some of the other’s fees because that person controls much more of the community income or assets. In other instances, fees can be awarded because of the poor conduct of one side, such as when a person refuses to provide discovery or violates an order of the Court. At Loveless and Loveless, we will work with you to prevent such conduct before it is a problem. This is, however, a good reason to have an initial consultation quickly if you are sued for divorce, so that you do not accidentally violate the Court’s orders attached to the petition you received. In some civil cases, fees can be awarded against a person who unreasonably refuses to settle a case. Again, we strive to help you make reasoned decisions that will help you avoid these types of rulings against you.
In divorce cases, there is a mandatory sixty day waiting period from the filing to the conclusion of the case, so no divorce will be concluded more quickly than that, although there are a number we finish each year on the sixty-first day. Length of time for any case is a moving target and can vary greatly, from no more than a day or two to years. If your case goes to a jury trial, it will take several months to develop your case and could require mulitple trial settings to finally reach a day when the case will be heard, with more than a month between each setting. Upon learning more about your case in your initial consultation, Loveless & Loveless can give you a range of time more specific to your case. As the case develops, that range can be revised accordingly.
You and your child’s other parent can always agree on time you will spend with your children. However, there is often confusion about what time is “yours” or disagreements about what the time should be. One parent may refuse to allow the other to see the children. The only way to clarify your rights to see your children is to get a court order that sets out the parenting time for each parent. In a divorce, these orders will be a part of your divorce decree. If you are not married, you will need to file a lawsuit asking for a court order, and then obtain one. This does not have to be a drawn-out or unpleasant process, although it can be. Loveless & Loveless can assess your situation and assist you in getting a court order that clarifies your parental rights and parenting time.
In most cases, one parent pays child support to the other. Whether you are the parent that pays support or receives support depends. Normally, the parent that has less of the parenting time with the child pays support, but that is not always true. Child support is routinely paid at some level in cases with 50/50 possession, and, although unlikely, could even be ordered in the reverse if for some reason the Court found that to be in the child’s best interest. Usually, the amount is figured as a percentage of the paying parent’s net resources (loosely figured by combining your income from all sources minus a standard tax deduction, minus the cost of insurance for the child, then applying the proper percentage to the remaining number). The percentage applied depends on how many children you have (20% for one child, 25% for two, 30% for three) and so on, although the percentages may change if you have children from another relationship. The parent paying child support is also normally required to carry health insurance for the child, or to reimburse the other parent the cost of doing so. Parents almost always share uninsured medical expenses equally. This being said there are facts and circumstances that could change things about the payment of child support or medical support in your case. Loveless & Loveless can assist you in determining what is most likely to happen and how much child suppor you might pay or receive.
Texas is a community property state, and it is presumed that all property you or your spouse have on hand when a divorce petition is filed is “community property”, or property owned equally by both of you. You or your spouse could also have “separate property”, which is property owned before marriage, received as a gift, or inherited. If there is separate property, the one claiming the separate property has to prove by clear and convincing evidence that it is, in fact, separate property, and then he or she will receive that property. The community property is divided in a “just and right “ division, which does not always mean 50/50, although 50/50 divisions of property are common. You will figure out exactly what property you are getting when you either settle your case or the Judge rules on a division of property. A divorce decree will then set out what property you are awarded, and if you are dealing with real estate, retirement, vehicles, or various other assets, there will be “closing documents” – deeds, powers of attorney, qualified domestic relations orders, etc. that will finish the transfer of property between you and your former spouse. Loveless & Loveless can assist you in answering your property questions, determining if you can prove your separate property claims, and in achieving a final division of your assets.
Relocation is a major issue today, and the short answer is that each case is different. In preparing to discuss these issues with Loveless and Loveless, it will be helpful for us to know at the outset things such as: How long you were with the other parent? Are you married, divorced, or never married the other parent? Where has each parent and the children lived since the children were born? What is your educational and work history and that of your spouse/ex-spouse? Where does each parent have his or her support system? Why do you want to move? We will review this information and more, and assess your chances of being permitted to move with your children. Frequently, this is an issue that must be decided through a formal process – collaborative law or litigation.
This situation requires urgency on your part. Make an appointment for a consultation immediately to find out what can be done in your case. It may be that a court order has been violated with the move, and measures can be taken to quickly return the children. It may be that no orders have ever been in place, and now an emergency order is necessary to get the case moving, and hopefully, bring your children back. In any event, if your goal is to require your children to come back, you must move quickly, as soon as you know they have left or you are told they are going to leave. If it is your goal for the children to return, for every day you do not act, you negatively impact your chances of having them ordered back by a Judge.
The forms domestic violence can take are so varied that it is impossible to give good advice on a website. However, if you or your children are ever in physical danger, leave or call 911 immediately. Do not allow someone to be injured. You can receive help from Denton County Friends of the Family ( 24 Hr Hotline: 940-382-7273 or 800-572-4031 ), or other organizations set up to assist victims of domestic violence. If you have been physically injured, take pictures of any visible injury and seek treatment, then keep your documentation of the injury and treatment in a safe place. Although your safety needs to be your first priority, statistics show that domestic abuse victims frequently do not leave the first time there is abuse. Even if you choose not to seek help immediately, documentation of injuries and treatment could be helpful later. You may qualify to obtain a protective order, which you may be able to obtain by talking with the police or contacting the District Attorney’s office (940-349-2600). Loveless and Loveless may also be able to assist you in obtaining a protective order privately. Contact us for a consultation and assessment of whether a protective order is appropriate for your situation.
This is another scenario that is difficult to generalize, because drug and alcohol abuse take many different forms. In order to best protect your children, you may need to obtain a court order that addresses the problem. In some scenarios, a simple statement in a comingorder that a parent not consume alcohol while in possession of the children may be enough, and in others, lengthy drug testing language and multiple possession scenarios may be necessary. Loveless & Loveless can help you determine what actual conduct you will be able to prove in court, whether that conduct will be viewed as a problem by the Court, and can work with you to request orders that will sufficiently protect your children in the particular circumstances they are experiencing.
It depends. What is certain is that you do not want to violate the law on this point, as there are both federal and state felony charges associated with wiretapping violations. Generally, in Texas, if one party to a conversation knows about the recording, the recording is not in violation of the law. However, other states’ laws are different, and if you have parties in more than one state, the most restrictive state law applies to the issue of recording conversations. Further, installing electronic “recording” devices such as motion cameras, keystroke programs, etc. may well violate the Texas and federal law, resulting in exposure to felony charges, punishable by major fines and lengthy jail time. Our advice would be to refrain from recording unless you are certain that what you are doing is within the law at the time, in the place, and in the manner in which you are doing the recording.
Payment of the other side’s fees is not automatic, and many times each person is simply responsible for his or her own fees, particularly when the case is settled. In some divorce cases, it may be more common for one person to pay some of the other’s fees because that person controls much more of the community income or assets. In other instances, fees can be awarded because of the poor conduct of one side, such as when a person refuses to provide discovery or violates an order of the Court. At Loveless and Loveless, we will do our best to work with you to prevent such conduct before it is a problem. This is, however, a good reason to have an initial consultation quickly if you are sued for divorce, so that you do not accidentally violate the Court’s orders attached to the petition you received. In some other civil cases, fees can be awarded against a person who unreasonably refuses to settle a case. Again, we strive to help you make reasoned decisions that will help you avoid these types of rulings against you.
In collaborative cases, as well as litigated cases, cost depends on many factors (what attorneys are hired, the issues in the case, your personality and that of the other party, etc.). Loveless & Loveless believes that the cost of a collaborative case is usually comparable to the cost of a litigated case, although it is paid in a different way. There is usually a higher output at the beginning of collaborative cases, hiring the attorneys and one or more professionals. However, you get to see where your money is used in a way that is more clear to you than litigated cases, because you participate in more of the process. Also, over time, there are places in the collaborative process that can save you money, so that in the end, these cost savings may equalize the entire amount. At Loveless & Loveless, our opinion is that our collaborative clients have saved tremendously in emotional cost and have either saved or broken even in financial cost.
First, your collaborative team will not give up on you easily. The team will work with you and the other party as much as possible to find creative solutions to your case within the process. You can also mediate in the collaborative process without having to terminate the process. If you absolutely cannot resolve the case, it will terminate, and then it will go to the regular litigation process, with new counsel for both parties. Within that process, you will either settle your case or a Judge will decide the issues.
The requirement that attorneys withdraw if the process fails is the hallmark of this process. In the experience of collaborative professionals everywhere, this requirement helps create the “magic” that makes the process work, perhaps because all participants are uniquely vested in the outcome of the case being positive.
Generally, no. When the process was newer in Texas, this was tried in an effort to help clients start the case with a professional they already had rapport with and that could, theoretically, save them money by already knowing about the estate. Unfortunately, these professionals can have biases that hamper their ability to be truly neutral in this situation, and many are unfamiliar with the goals and procedures of the collaborative process. Therefore, the neutral financial professional will be someone else, but he or she may work with your family advisor to more efficiently collect data.
You need to make an appointment to consult with a lawyer and find out. The field of personal injury has changed dramatically in the last several years. Situations that would have been great lawsuits several years ago may no longer be viable due to changes in the law. However, if you have been injured, it is likely you have some damages – lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, etc., and if possible under the law, you should recover for your loss. However, there are time limits on recovering for your injury, so you cannot wait a long period of time before seeking counsel. If you or a loved one have been injured – whether by the action of another person or by a product you have been in contact with – you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible to find out whether you are within the time limits to pursue a personal injury claim and if so, whether that is the right choice for you.
Many personal injury cases are taken on contingency fee, which means the lawyer’s fee is taken out of what you receive. If you don’t receive anything, neither does your lawyer, although some out of pocket expenses may be subject to a different arrangement. Loveless and Loveless will discuss this with you at your initial consultation and together, you and the firm will work out a fee arrangement acceptable to both of you before representation begins.
Have an initial consultation with Loveless & Loveless before accepting the offer. Although you may not need any contact with the firm after that initial consultation, it will benefit you because you will have a chance to review issues such as the circumstances of the incident, the details of injuries and/or property damage suffered, and discuss whether the offer from the insurance company is sufficient. You can talk with experienced counsel about the pros and cons of accepting or rejecting the offer you have, and learn tips about negotiating further. After this, you may not need the firm to pursue any action. However, if your situation warrants further work, you and the firm will make an appropriate plan to try and maximize your recovery.
Loveless & Loveless can help you in a condemnation proceeding or right of way negotiation. First, in some select cases, condemnation might be able to be avoided. If you do have land condemned, you want to make sure you receive the true fair market value of what has been taken, and a lawyer can help you do that. A lawyer can also help you identify any damages the condemnation may cause to the rest of your property and negotiate additional compensation for those damages. You can use some advice to help determine if the amount of land being taken is the smallest amount of land needed, and if not, to negotiate a smaller part of your land being taken. Finally, you can use a lawyer to help you determine if there is a different way to take the land that will leave you better use of your remaining property, and if so, to try and negotiate that change.
Generally, eminent domain cases are like personal injury cases in that they taken by the firm on a contingent fee basis. This means that you would pay the firm a percent of what you recover for your land. If you do not get paid, neither does the firm. At your initial consultation, this is something that will be discussed in detail so that you and the firm can enter into a fee arrangement that both of you approve.