What is Divorce Discovery?

Going through a divorce is always a challenging process. The belongings, assets, and even debts of a married couple must be divided up in a way that is as fair as possible for both parties. Also the custody of any children must be arranged. As this is a complex situation with high emotion, courts have developed a process for dissolving a marriage as painlessly as possible. Divorce discovery is the first major step in this process.

The Purpose of Divorce Discovery

The discovery process is basically an exchange of documents and information that will be needed to completely dissolve a marriage. Commonly exchanged information includes:

Financial documents such as tax returns, bank statements, and wage stubs
Deeds or appraisals for community property
Statements made under oath, also known as depositions, regarding events during the marriage

This and any other relevant information revealed during the discovery process is designed to help the courts come up with a solution that is as fair as possible to everyone involved. Although the ones above are the most commonly revealed in the discovery process, almost any information can be requested if it is important to the divorce proceedings. A lawyer can help you find the documentation that you need to give the courts a clear picture of your situation as well as decide what to request from your soon-to-be former spouse.

Discovery is not limited to information about your finances. You may be asked for an admission, in which you can either admit or deny an accusation. You may be asked to describe how much time you spend caring for your children or how you have spent funds in the past. This process can be extremely painful. You may have to admit to mistakes or hear new and shocking information about your spouse.

Common Pitfalls

There are several common financial mistakes that can be made, resulting in bad-ending divorce discoveries. The most common is dishonesty. It is important to be as honest as possible with your lawyer so they can help you to develop a winning strategy. In addition, it is important to be honest with the other side in the discovery process. Lies and misleading statements are usually found out, and the courts do not look kindly on them. Lastly, it is important not to guess. Everything you say or submit should be precise, provable, and completely true.

Divorces can be emotionally and financially draining, so it is important to have the best legal help available. You deserve someone who is knowledgeable, professional, and completely on your side. Without this help, you are likely to lose your case. If you live in or near Dallas and are considering a divorce, contact Thornton Law today. We can help you get through this difficult time as painlessly as possible and get a fresh start for a new and successful life.

For more information on our Dallas Divorce Discovery Attorney please visit our site.

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Can I Renegotiate My Divorce After It’s Final?

If your divorce is final and you wish to renegotiate the terms, you may be able to do so. Divorce is a very difficult process. It can be mentally and emotionally draining. In most cases, people simply want to get the process over with and get on with their lives. However, there are cases when a judge can make adjustments when needed. If you live in the state of Texas, an attorney like Bob Thornton can help.

However, generally speaking, the only way a change can happen is if there is a change in material circumstances. For example, if one person has a change in earnings, that can be a reason for renegotiation. If the change is significant, it could affect the amount of child support or spousal support that has to be paid. There are instances where small adjustments can be made. In some cases, custody can be changed if one parent’s circumstances change, for example if they move out of state.

Other reasons where changes may be made include one party’s non-compliance with a court order. For example, if a parent doesn’t keep up with child support payments, they could be hauled back into court. If the non-custodial parent can’t handle the payments, the terms can be renegotiated. However, if it is found that the parent isn’t paying for other reasons such as spite, they will be called back into court and the support payments could be raised.

One of the most common reasons that a divorce settlement is renegotiated is due to hidden assets. Spouses far too often attempt to hide assets. This is not a good idea. In fact, this can get you into a great deal of trouble. If you are going through a divorce, you are required by law to disclose to the court all of the material assets you accumulated during the marriage. In most states, everything accumulated during the marriage is considered community property and it must be divided in an equitable manner.

There are some spouses who, for whatever reasons, decide they aren’t going to let the court know about certain properties, bank accounts and other items. What many spouses who attempt to hide assets don’t know is, a forensic accountant can easily find these assets, even if you put them in another name.

If you have gone through a divorce proceeding and later find out certain information that could change the agreement, find a lawyer who can get you the settlement you deserve. Bob Thornton is a compassionate family lawyer with 40 years experience handling these cases. Contact him today for a free consultation.

For more information on our Dallas Divorce Attorney please visit our site.

What Is the Cap on Spouse Maintenance in Texas?

Spousal maintenance, or alimony, is often a point of contention in divorces. Although both sides can negotiate the amount that is paid to the recipient, a cap or limitation set by the state’s laws will decide the most a person can receive. Your divorce attorney will discuss the cap with you, but it is a good idea to understand the cap amount and what factors influence the amount that is owed to a recipient before starting the divorce process.

What Is the Cap Amount?

In the state of Texas, the cap on spousal maintenance is stated in the family code statutes. According to the statute, the obligor cannot pay more than $5,000 per month or 20 percent of the obligor’s monthly income. Whichever amount is the lesser of the two is the amount that will be ordered. The judge could choose to place a limit on how long the obligor must pay spousal maintenance. For instance, the judge could end the payments after the recipient completes their college education and gets a job. The end date for the alimony will also be included in the order.

The act also covers people who are subjected to a legal guardianship. For instance, an elderly parent who is being cared for by an adult child who is abusive would be protected by the same law.

What Protection Does the Act Offer?

One of the primary protections that the act offers is a temporary protective order. In Texas, the order would restrict contact by the abuser for 31 to 91 days. If the abuser violates the order, the judge could issue a warrant for their arrest.

The order is usually issued by a local judge when there is an incident that results in the abuser being arrested. Even if the abuser is not convicted, the order stays in place until an expiration date determined by the judge.

What Determines the Amount Paid?

Whether a recipient is entitled to receive $5,000 per month or less depends on certain factors. For instance, how long a couple was married has a major bearing on the amount that is ultimately awarded by the judge. The longer a couple was married, the more the recipient can expect to receive.

Another factor that can influence how much is paid is whether the obligor is also responsible for paying child support. The judge will consider if the spousal maintenance payment will have an impact on whether the obligor can afford to make their child support payments. If it does, the judge could choose to reduce the alimony payments to avoid interference with the obligor’s other financial obligation.

Whether paying alimony has an impact on the obligor’s ability to take care of their own needs is important, too. If the obligor can prove that they cannot afford a higher amount of spousal maintenance, a judge could agree to lower the amount requested by the recipient. In this instance, only basic needs, such as utilities and mortgage, are considered.

Negotiating spousal maintenance is complicated and it takes an extensive knowledge of Texas family law to successfully manage it. Working with an experienced attorney like Robert Allen Thornton can help an alimony recipient or obligor get through the process.

For more information on our Dallas Spousal Maintenance Attorney please visit our site.

How does Divorce Mediation Work?

There was a time not that long ago when the parties to a divorce were all but inevitably destined to spend a significant amount of money on lawyers if they wanted a reasonable outcome to their marital dissolution. Now, however, an experienced Dallas divorce attorney can offer an alternative that for many has the potential for an acceptable resolution for both parties at a fraction of the cost.

Mediation Overview

Unlike the judge in a court case or the arbitrator conducting an arbitration, a mediator does not make a ruling in the matter at hand. It is more appropriate to consider the mediator as a facilitator. They will lead the discussion, point out any subjects that should be addressed and provide a framework whereby the respective parties can have their say, express their concerns and ultimately work towards an agreement.

Divorce Mediation

Mediation has gained an increasing popularity as an effective settlement tool in Texas Family Courts. Although mandated in some counties, the court on its own motion can order a couple to seek mediation as an initial step in their divorce. The very same issues the court will ultimately rule on in a divorce are addressed in mediation – property settlement, child custody and support, and spousal support where appropriate. For a list of court approved mediators in Dallas County, click here.

The Value of Mediation

Other than the very real expectation that on average a mediated divorce is far less costly than a litigated divorce, other benefits include:

A high success rate, especially if the two parties are open to discussion and realize that compromise is not optional.
Greater satisfaction with the result as compared to a court settlement, perhaps due to their input and involvement in the process.
Confidential as opposed to a courtroom proceeding, which is public.
Often establishes the lines of communication between the divorcing spouses, which can be an asset in providing long term satisfaction and cooperation.

The Role of an Attorney in Divorce Mediation

Many times an attorney can act as a mediator. Obviously not providing advocacy to either party, an attorney trained as a mediator can offer insight into the legal issues as well as provide perspective in what is likely to happen if the case ends up before a judge. Often, despite opting for mediation, the parties elect to have their attorneys present at the mediation to offer advice and counsel along the way. At the very least, it is wise to have your attorney review any agreement made in mediation before it is finalized.

Contact an Dallas Divorce Attorney for Legal Advice

Divorce involves important rights and responsibilities. Make sure you are protected as you move forward to the next chapter of your life. Contact Robert Thornton at Thornton Law, PLLC to answer your questions. You can start by scheduling a initial consultation.

For more information on our Dallas Divorce Mediation Attorney please visit our site.

What Are Temporary Orders In Divorce?

A divorce action in Dallas, Texas starts with the filing of a petition. Often there are issues that need to be resolved pending a final hearing or order. These matters can either be handled by mutual agreement between the parties or by a hearing in front of a judge. In either event, the resolution involves the entry of a temporary order. If you are considering filing for divorce in Dallas, the Thornton Law Firm is available to handle your legal needs. They can file the petition, enter temporary orders, and proceed to the final order.

One example of a temporary order is possession of a marital home. If neither party is willing to move out of the home, then a temporary order needs to be entered. It would be very difficult for both parties to continue to reside in the same home pending a final hearing. Often this matter is resolved by a mutual agreement that most likely involves the parties agreeing on other issues. The party who agrees to move out normally receives some benefit in return.

Another type of temporary order in divorce is a temporary restraining order, known as a TRO. It is usually entered right away and is done so without a hearing. It is valid for 14 days during which time a hearing is scheduled. The purpose of the TRO is to keep everything in place until a hearing takes place. It is normally filed when one party is afraid the other party is going to take some action which will be detrimental. An example would be withdrawing all the money from a savings account or selling an asset and keeping the money. A TRO stops a party from taking those actions. The Thornton Law Firm can file a TRO if it is appropriate. They know when a judge will enter a TRO and when it is better dealt with as a normal temporary order.

There are many types of temporary orders. Some involve support while the action is pending. Others might deal with child custody. A temporary order can cover any matter that needs to be resolved on a temporary basis pending the entry of a final order. Many temporary orders are entered by consent of both parties. Robert Thornton knows the law and the court. He knows what is likely to happen at a hearing. He can give advice as to when it is beneficial to enter a temporary order by consent, and when it is time to have a hearing.

Anyone in Dallas Texas who needs advice about divorce and temporary orders, or is ready to start a legal action, needs to contact Robert Thornton at the Thornton Law Firm. He will answer your questions and prepare the necessary documents to begin the process if you decide that is the way to proceed. He will protect your rights. Do not hesitate to call and schedule a consultation.

For more information on our Dallas Divorce Attorney please visit our site.