Frequently Asked Questions

General

1. How do I make an appointment?

Call the office at 940-767-8888 and we will set you up for a consultation that is convenient for your schedule.

2. Do you work in surrounding counties?

Yes, however there may be an extra charge for travel time and expense.

3. Do you charge for the initial consultation?

No, the initial consultation is free.

4. Do you take credit cards?

Yes, we take Visa, Mastercard and Discover.

Family

5. How long does it take to obtain a divorce?

In Texas there is a 60 day waiting period after the filing of a petition for divorce before the divorce can be finalized. If both parties are in agreement, then the divorce can be completed on the 61st day. However, an average divorce takes 6-9 months to finalize.

6. How is child support calculated?

Child support is generally based on the paying party's net income. The paying party usually pays 20% of their net income for one child, 25% for two, 30% for three, etc. The paying party is entitled to a reduction if he or she is also responsible for the support of another child or children. If both parties can reach an agreement regarding child support, the court will usually approve the agreement provided that it is in the best interest of the child(ren).

7. What is "standard visitation"?

For parents living within 100 miles of each other, "standard visitation" as set out in Texas Family Code Section 153.312, generally states that visitation will occur on: the 1st, 3rd and 5th weekend of every month from Friday ( beginning when school is dismissed or 6:00pm ) until Sunday at 6:00pm, every Thursday ( beginning when school is dismissed or 6:00pm ) until at 8:00pm that night or when school resumes the next day. There are also provisions under the Family Code that allow for additional days visitation periods during Spring Break, Thanksgiving, Christmas and extended visitation during the summer months.

8. How will the court decide which parent gets custody of our child?

If the parents cannot agree on custody and visitation, the court will make the decision based on the totality of the circumstances, with the overriding consideration being the child's best interest. To make that decision, the court considers many factors such as:

· The child's age

· The child's gender

· The child's physical and mental health

· The parent's lifestyles

· Any history of abuse

· The emotional bonds between the parent and child

· The parent's ability to provide guidance to the child

· The parent's ability to provide the basic necessities such as food, shelter, clothing and medical care

· The child's routine including home, school, community and religious

· The willingness of the parent to encourage a health, on-going relationship between the child and the other parent

· Under certain circumstances, the child's preference

9. Can I get sole custody of my child?

Sometimes, yes. However, the presumption in the Texas Family Code is that joint managing conservatorship (joint custody ) is in the best interest of the child.

10. What are temporary orders?

Temporary orders are orders issued by the court, after either a hearing or an agreement by the parties, which are designed to last until the final hearing on the divorce. Temporary orders commonly address issues such as child support, custody and visitation of the child, who will be granted the use of the marital residence, the vehicles, spousal maintenance and interim attorney's fees.

11. What is mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary process which allows both you and your spouse to control the terms of your divorce settlement by working with a mediator to find a mutually satisfactory resolution. A mediator will go back and forth between the parties, clarifying issues, communicating proposals and helping the parties to overcome their differences. This give and take process can be very helpful in keeping the process moving forward, rather than getting stuck in emotional based conflict.

Juvenile

12. My child is being charged with a crime, what is going to happen next?

First, your child is going to be taken into custody by the police. The police may release your child back to you after charging them with an offense or they may "detain" him / her at the juvenile detention center until their first hearing.

The court considers 5 factors in determining whether to hold the child in detention until the next hearing:

· Whether the juvenile is likely to abscond or be removed from the jurisdiction of the court

· Whether a parent or guardian can provide suitable supervision, care and protection for the juvenile

· Whether the juvenile has a parent or guardian who is able to return him / her to court when required

· Whether the child may be a danger to himself or other if released and whether the juvenile has previously been found to have "engaged in delinquent conduct and is likely to commit a new offense if released"

13. Are juveniles treated the same as adult criminals?

No, there are many differences in the juvenile system and the adult system:

· Although juveniles can be arrested for the same kinds of crimes as adults, if they are between the ages of 10 and 16 years old, their case will be handled in the juvenile court

· The juvenile court and the confinement facilities are separate from those used for adults

· Juvenile cases are "civil" in nature and not "criminal" although many aspects of criminal law still apply

· Juveniles are not found "guilty" they are instead "adjudicated to have engaged in delinquent conduct."

· Punishment is based on a graduated sanction level of punishment and is not necessarily tied directly to the criminal offense. Punishment can range from informal probation to incarceration in the Texas Youth Commission, depending on the sanction level that the offense is assigned

14. Can a juvenile record be sealed?

Depending on the circumstances, many juvenile cases can be sealed. If the juvenile was adjudicated for a misdemeanor, then there is a 2-year-waiting-period before the records can be sealed. The court shall seal the record if (1) two years has elapsed since final discharge for a non-felony offense and (2) there have been no convictions or adjudications on any charge since final discharge and no such action is pending.

If the juvenile was adjudicated for an offense that resulted in a "determinate sentencing," the records can never be sealed.

Driver's License Suspension

15. My license was suspended, what do I need to do next?

You need to consult an attorney as soon as possible. Texas law requires that a request for a hearing to keep your license must be made within 15 days from the date of your DWI arrest. If you fail to hire an attorney, and a hearing is not requested, you waive the opportunity to fight the license suspension.

16. If I was arrested for DWI, is my license automatically suspended?

No, however, if you refused to provide a sample of your breath or blood, or if you provided a sample and they say it had an alcohol concentration of .08 or greater, and a hearing is not requested to fight the DWI suspension, it will be suspended.

17. Is there any benefit in requesting an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Hearing?

Yes, the ALR hearing provides an opportunity to hear the officer's testimony and to see what evidence the officer has to present against you. Also, if you are successful at the ALR level, you have some persuasive evidence in your favor that can be presented to the prosecutor in the criminal case.

18. If my license is suspended for a DWI, can I get a license to drive to work?

In almost every case, yes. Depending on your criminal and driving record, you can almost always get an Occupational Driver's License that will allow you to drive to and from work.

DWI

19. What are the penalties for a DWI?

If you decide to please guilty to a DWI or do not receive a favorable verdict at trial there is a range of penalties that can occur. Depending on the number of prior convictions a person has and when those convictions occurred, a DWI can be either a misdemeanor or a felony offense.

Generally, the penalties are:

FAQ Table

20. Can I get probation for a DWI?

In some of the above minor classifications you may be eligible for probation, but there is no guarantee that you will receive a probated jail sentence or fine.

Standard Misdemeanor DWI Conditions of Probation Include:

· Report once a month to a probation officer

· To not commit any further crimes during the term of probation

· To pay a monthly supervisory fee to the probation office ( approximately $50.00 )

· To perform a specified number of community service hours during the term of your probation ( community service is volunteer work to benefit the community )

· To attend DWI awareness classes dealing with the effects of alcohol or listening to victims of DWI related tragedies

· To refrain from consuming alcohol for the terms of your probation

· To pay your non-probated fines and court costs

· Any other requirements the court sets for you

21. Can I get Deferred Adjudication for a DWI?

No, Texas law does not allow a deferred plea in DWI cases. If your case is reduced to reckless driving or obstruction of a highway deferred may be possible but the DWI will have to be reduced first.