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Frequently Asked Questions


What are temporary orders? TRO?
Temporary orders control what rules govern between the time the temporary orders are entered and the final decree. Temporary orders may be issued regarding custody, possession and child support of the children, possession of the home, automobiles and other personal property, temporary support and maintenance, payment of debts, use of credit cards and the management of any business or other assets. Temporary orders are also used to restrict the use of assets, accumulation of debts and to prohibit or limit physical contact and/or harassment. The hearing on temporary orders is vital and often influences the final disposition of the case.

If my spouse has primary custody of our child(ren), when do I see them?
The party with primary custody is called the Managing Conservator and the other party is the Possessory Conservator. As possessory conservator, you would ordinarily have possession of the child in accordance with a specific schedule which includes 1st, 3rd and 5th weekends, summer possession and alternating holidays. The exact schedule can be reduced or expanded depending on the particular circumstances as agreed to by the parties or ordered by the court.

Is there some way to resolve these issues without an expensive, full-scale battle through the courts?
Some cases can be resolved through mediation or even arbitration. The court can order mediation to require the parties to attempt to settle the issues with the help of a trained mediator. Time is set aside for a mediation conference. A mediation agreed to by the parties or designated by the court is in charge of the conference and does his best to help both sides reach an agreement. The mediator’s fees are paid for by the parties. Each party gets an opportunity to discuss the issues in the presence of the mediator, the other party and any attorneys. Mediation often results in settlement and saves time, money and emotional trauma generated by a full-blown court battle. However, mediation is not binding. You are not required to reach an agreement and the mediator does not make any decisions on any matters if the case does not settle.

What about all the debts we have? Can the court order him/her to pay them?
The court can order or the parties can agree that specific debts are to be paid by either the husband or the wife. However, the holder of the debt is not a party to the divorce and therefore can seek repayment from whichever one of you (or both) if you are responsible to them for the debt. Similarly, a debt holder may have the right to seize any collateral for the debt (a car?). If the party ordered by the court to make payments on these debts refuses, then you would file a Motion for Enforcement (Contempt) asking the court to enforce its previous order and to punish the other party for not complying with the court order.

How much does it cost to get a divorce?
As you have probably guessed, the costs ultimately depend on the size and nature of disputes that must be resolved to finalize a divorce. In Grayson County, hourly rates for attorneys range from approximately $100.00 to $300.00 an hour. An uncontested divorce with no children and no real estate could be done for as little as $500.00 plus costs. Costs, which include the filing fees and service of the petition on your spouse, are approximately $300.00. A heavily contested case involving complex assets or child custody disputes is expensive and the fees can run into thousands of dollars. Either way, it is important that you receive experienced, effective representation by your attorney.

We have assets but I don’t have access to them to start the proceedings. What can I do?
In these situations, the court will often require assets be made available to you to fund the expenses of the divorce.

How is child support calculated?
Child support is set at a specific percentage of a persons net resources. The percentage is set by state law and based on how many children are involved as well as how many children are not before the court for which the person is also paying child support. Typically, child support also may include provisions for medical insurance and the reimbursement for uninsured medical expenses. The amount can be increased or decreased as net resources change. The court may deviate from these guidelines in special circumstances.

I had some farmland before we were married and recently inherited some money. Will this property be part of our divorce?
Yes. All property that either you or your spouse has will be part of your divorce. Whether it is ‘community property’ or ‘separate property’, all property is presumed to be community property and subject to division upon divorce. To prove that the farm land and inherited funds are your ‘separate property’ will be up to you and your lawyer. ‘Separate property’ generally is 1) property owned before marriage 2) property acquired during marriage by gift or inheritance 3) and recovery for personal injuries sustained during marriage (except for any recovery for loss of earning capacity during marriage). ‘Community property’ is all other property. In this instance, you should be able to prove that the farm and inherited money is your separate property and generally not subject to division upon divorce. This issue can become very complex and can bring into play many other issues such as whether the other spouse is entitled to a credit/accounting for reimbursement enhanced value, etc. regarding the separate property. An able, experienced attorney can be invaluable to you on these issues.

What if I believe my spouse will have or has hidden significant assets?
Property division within the context of a divorce is very similar to two partners dividing up a business. It is improper for one partner to hide assets from the other partner. The court may file a temporary restraining order at the same time as the petition for divorce prohibiting your spouse from disposing of any assets until further order. Additionally, your attorney can utilize certain ‘discovery’ tools such as Requests for Production and Written Interrogatories to track bank accounts and property.

We have no children and I would like my name back. Can I do this as part of the divorce?

What if I am not sure I want a divorce?
Before the filing of a petition for divorce there are many community resources from which you can obtain marriage counseling including churches and licensed counselors. After a divorce petition has been filed, the court can order counseling if it appears that counseling would be beneficial. Even if the divorce is later finalized, counseling may be beneficial for both parties in working through all the emotional issues surrounding a divorce.

We recently moved here. Where can I file for divorce?
You generally file in the county where you live. Either you or your spouse must have been domiciled in Texas for the last six months and a resident of the county for the last 90 days.

How do I start a divorce and how long does it take to become final?
A divorce is a lawsuit to dissolve a marriage and is initiated by the filing of a Petition for Divorce. By state law, a divorce must be on file a minimum of 60 days before it can become final. How long a specific divorce takes depends primarily on how many disputes there are regarding property division and issues related to the children.
Duke Walker
103 S Travis St., Suite 100
Sherman, TX 75090
(903) 813-3200