Why it’s important to speak to an experienced Trial Attorney

A gavel and some law books out of focus.

From celebrities to everyday working people, issues surrounding Family Law can have a big impact on people’s lives. A recent Time magazine article stated that while divorce rates in the United States have been declining, still approximately 17 of every 1000 individuals experience a divorce each year. Along with divorce comes a myriad of other issues. Child custody, child support, division of assets and the payment of debt obligations are just some of the issues which may arise in a typical divorce.

While some divorces are resolved amicably and equitably, this is not always the case. When disputes arise, the resulting stress and anxiety can take a heavy toll on all of the parties involved. For most people engaging in a custody dispute or a divorce, it is a new and sometimes very difficult experience. The disruption to lives that occurs during the dissolution of a relationship can take a heavy emotional toll on everyone involved.

In addition, Texas law surrounding the resolution of these issues can be quite complex. In these types of situations, it is both prudent and wise to retain an attorney to serve as a guide through the legal system. If the need should arise for a trial, it is vital to arrange for competent legal counsel to represent your interests in the courts. Failing to do so could result in court rulings that could have an adverse impact on your life for many years to come.

Attorney Robert Thornton is a knowledgeable and experienced guide who can help you navigate your way through the legal system. Even in an amicable divorce is a good idea to have someone ensure that you receive a fair and equitable settlement. In more difficult situations, an attorney will ensure that your rights are protected under Texas law. You need an advocate who will stand up for you and your rights during this difficult period in your life. Our law firm can help you.

If you have already been through a divorce, you may still find yourself in need of a Family Law attorney. Due to life changes, you may have a need to renegotiate custody arrangements. In addition, a recent United States government census report indicated that less than half of custodial parents who had received a child support award received full payment of that amount. Attorney Robert Thornton can assist you in obtaining the child support payments awarded to you.

If you are in need of a Family Law attorney, Thornton Law PLLC has a lengthy and strong track record for helping families in the greater Dallas area. Robert Thornton can provide you with guidance and the legal expertise to help you through this difficult and stressful time in your life. His legal knowledge and experience will ensure that you receive what is fair under the law and that your rights are protected.

For more information on our Dallas Trial Attorney, please visit our site.

What is the Role of a Trial Attorney?

Symbol of law and justice in the empty courtroom, law and justice concept.

Many people in Texas deal with family law issues. This could involve estate matters or disputes of inheritance, divorce and child custody and a variety of other issues. These legal matters are very important to family members and the outcome of these cases often impacts those involved for the rest of their lives. To this end, it is vitally important that you get the best representation possible for your case. While there are many family law firms available to choose from in Dallas, there is one important and distinguishing factor that may set them apart: their experience with handling trials.

Many of our clients may assume every lawyer understands how to handle a trial, appear before a judge and jury, and argue a case in court. They may be surprised to learn that this is often not the case. In fact, many attorneys, even those with years of experience, may have never actually taken a case to trial or appeared in court to represent their clients. This is likely due to the fact that most civil lawyers, such as those who practice family law, often don’t have to take their cases to trial. Roughly 90 percent of all family law cases are settled out of court. This may be done through a settlement offer that avoids trial or through a less intensive resolution process such as mediation.

Most attorneys encourage making a settlement or going through mediation. There are many reasons for this that do benefit clients. A trial can become very expensive, so avoiding one often saves the client a great deal of money in legal expenses. Trials often prolong a case and may take months or even years to resolve fully. From a family law perspective, a trial is often seen as the most negative outcome, showing that spouses or family members involved cannot come to terms and must have their disputes decided for them.

That said, having a trial lawyer on your side is vitally important. A lawyer and the client may do everything possible to avoid going to trial, but the attorney must always be prepared to go to trial. They must be prepared to argue their case before a judge or jury and represent the client to the best of their ability in court. Since many lawyers have little experience doing this, those who do have the experience and expertise are far more likely to be successful in the courtroom.

The need for a skilled trial lawyer is one of the many reasons to hire an attorney from an experienced firm that does not shy away from the courtroom. Sometimes a trial is simply the best way to resolve a case in the client’s favor. A Dallas Family Lawyer like Robert Thornton has experience as a trial lawyer and will not hesitate to bring your case to the courtroom if that is the best option for you. They will represent you at every step of the process. This means examining your case in its entirety, possibly suggesting means to reach a settlement or mediation and representing you throughout each step. If you have a family law matter to resolve, contact Thornton Law today.

For more information on our Dallas Trial Attorney, please visit our site.

Dealing With Property in a Texas Divorce

Texas is a community property state. Community means the property belongs to both spouses. Property acquired during the marriage is community property. Even property that was acquired while domiciled outside of Texas, but being dealt with in a Texas divorce, is community property. Texas Family Code 3.003 says that property possessed at the time of the divorce filing is presumed to be community property. Presumes means a court will make an assumption about the property, until someone proves otherwise. That is an important point-when a divorce is filed, you have to take active steps to protect and keep your separate property. You must prove it. Any doubt about the property is resolved in favor if the community estate. So if your lawyer asks for deeds, receipts and other documents, get them. Quickly. This relates to my article on the discovery process. More likely than not, if a trial is pending, one party will serve requests for information about your separate property. If you do not answer them, you will not be able to bring that evidence up at the trial. One of the alligator pits of family law litigation.

Separate property is property that exists apart from the marriage.

Separate Property in Texas:

personal injury settlements
property owned before marriage.

For example, say you own a house before you get married. When you file for divorce, the court will assume that the house belongs to both you and your spouse. The court does not know the nature of the property until you tell it. You bring the deed and mortgage documents to court to show when you bought the house. Then, the court will find that the house is your separate property. Separate property is not subject to a just and right division. In other words, separate property does not go into the “pot” to be divided up.

Gifts of Property

When talking about marriage and divorce in Texas, the issue of gifts can be complicated. Gifts to a spouse from a third party are separate property. Gifts from one spouse to another spouse are separate property. Income from a third party gift is community property. Income from a spousal gift is….separate property. So says Texas Family Code 3.005. The court will look to the spouse’s intent to figure out what is what.

What happens when a spouse uses separate property to purchase property that is used by the marriage? Well, this comes up when a spouse uses separate money to purchase or help purchase a house for the marriage. The house is often taken in both parties’ names. This creates a presumption (lots of those in family law) that the spouse using separate property money intended to give the other spouse a one-half interest in that property as a gift. The spouse who spent their separate money must beat the presumption by proof of what they intended when the transaction occurred.

Personal Injury Settlements

Personal injury settlements are separate property. EXCEPT: the part of a personal injury settlement that stands for loss of earning capacity. Texas Family Code 3.001(3).

Property Acquired by Agreement

Spouses can agree in a written agreement that certain property they have acquired or will acquire in the future, is separate property and that income or property arising from a spouse’s separate property will remain separate property. Texas Constitution Article 16, Section 15 and Texas Family Code Section 4.102. This is called a partition agreement.

Spouses can agree in a written right-of-survivorship agreement that all property subject to the agreement will become the separate property of the surviving spouse after the other spouse dies. Texas Constitution, Article 16, Section15.

During a divorce in Texas, property acquired by a spouse while domiciled in another state is considered separate property if it would have been separate property had the spouse been domiciled in Texas when it was acquired. Texas Family Code Section 7.002(b)(1). This is called “quasi-separate property.”

What Are the Effects of Domestic Violence on Children?

In the U.S., there are high rates of domestic violence among live-in partners and married couples. Many people focus primarily on the men and women involved in these relationships, when in reality there is more to it. They forget that domestic violence has a more damaging impact on the children who are caught in the middle. This article teaches more about the impact on children who must deal with domestic violence.

Passive Victims

As many as 10 million children see at least one act of domestic violence in their lifetimes. Some children confront the perpetrator, but the majority of them do not act and remain silent. In addition, adult victims of domestic violence are also known to keep silent and not contact anyone for help.

Since children have fewer resources and communicative skills than adults, they are more likely to remain passive and allow the abuse to continue. However, they do not remain untouched by the abusive acts they witness. The more abuse they see, the more damages they will suffer to their mental and emotional state.

Damaged Futures

All children who grow up in violent households suffer some kind of long-lasting damage. For some children, the effects are minor and they are able to live fairly normal lives. For others, the effects are life-changing and obvious to everyone around them.

Many children naturally inhabit and imitate the behaviors that they grew up with at home. As teens, they talk back to teachers or become aggressive with other classmates. As they grow into adults, they become more violent and hostile to people around them, either verbally or physically.

However, many children have been known to turn their negative experiences into positive ones. As adults, they become counselors, police officers or motivational speakers in an effort to stop domestic violence. They work to prevent the same experiences from being repeated in other households.

The Importance of Legal Representation

The experts at Thornton Law resolve a wide range of cases that relate to domestic violence in Addison, TX. They help men or women who want to divorce their abusive partner and divide up their personal assets fairly. Lawyers help them to gain custody of their children and order regular payments for child support. Without proper legal assistance, it’s difficult and often impossible to remove yourself from an abusive partner.

Domestic violence in Addison, TX has long-term effects on children that are almost always negative. Lawyers are needed to protect the legal rights of the abused victims, which include the children. Contact the Thornton Law office to meet with a professional and discuss your situation in detail. It could make all the difference in the outcome of your case.

For more information on our Plano Family Attorney please visit our site.

What is the Protection Against Family Violence Act?

The Protection Against Family Violence Act, or PAFVA, is designed to provide protection for all family members against violence. There are several legal options available to victims through the act, including getting a restraining order. For victims of domestic violence, it is important to understand what the act is and what steps should be taken to receive protection.

Who Is Protected Under the Act?

There are several misconceptions about who is protected under the PAFVA. One of the most commonly believed misconceptions is that only women who are married are protected under the law. However, the law covers both men and women who are related by marriage, blood, and adoption. The victims do not have to reside with the abuser to receive protection. Children are also covered by the PAFVA.

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.

The act also allows punishment for abuse. For instance, a convicted abuser could face up to 99 years in prison for a first-degree felony related to family violence. A fine of up to $10,000 could also be assessed.

Can a Permanent Restraining Order Be Issued?

In Texas, a final protective order is sometimes issued in domestic violence cases. The final order can last up to two years. However, there are exceptions that could lead to an extension of the order.

For instance, a judge could choose to extend the order if the victim suffered serious bodily injury. The order could also be extended if the accused abuser has had two or more orders issued against them in the past.

Although the permanent order does not expire until the date ordered by the judge, the abuser can request an early dismissal. If they do, the judge will hold a hearing to determine if the order should be continued. If the order is dismissed, the victim has the right to request a new one.

In addition to the PAFVA, there are other domestic violence laws that are available that can help protect victims. Consult with an experienced family attorney to learn more about those laws and to determine which legal options are best for your situation. Contact Thornton Law today to request a free consultation.

For more information on our Dallas Family Violence Attorney please visit our site.

How a Family Lawyer can help you

The family courts in Dallas, Texas handle a variety of cases and, while these aren’t criminal cases, the stakes can be just as high. Where one’s freedom may be at stake in criminal cases, many situations handled in the family courts can put your possessions, property, finances, and even your relationship with your children in jeopardy. These situations require expert legal assistance and an experienced family law attorney can provide a whole host of advantages.

Assessing the End of Your Marriage

An experienced family lawyer can help you look at how your divorce would best be handled. In some cases, it may be possible to mediate the division of property, the establishment of support, and child custody arrangements. When these issues can be settled amicably through mediation, the divorcing couple can often avoid court altogether. If the couple can’t agree and it is necessary to settle these matters in course, your lawyer will already be up to speed and can help you devise a strong strategy. As an objective party, an attorney can give you rational advice on how to handle your divorce. This may mean avoiding confrontational situations that will only harm your case or knowing how to protect specific assets. You will have an emotional bond to the issues at hand, so it’s wise to have a logical and rational advisor on your side.

Handling the Clerical Duties of Family Court

Whether you’re pursuing a divorce or trying to change the custody arrangements for your children, there’s a great deal of paperwork and bureaucracy involved. An error in filing paperwork or failing to provide specific documentation can end up hurting your case, so it’s best to work with an experienced professional. Your family law attorney will know how to handle the practical end of filing your case and may even know how to expedite your case. Additionally, your lawyer already knows the judges and other attorneys involved in the system, so communicating will be easier throughout the process. He will likely be familiar with your ex-spouse’s attorney and will best know how to communicate with them more effectively. This may work to your advantage and may also help the overall process run more smoothly.

The Complexities of Child Custody

One major concern in the family court system is for the custody and the financial support of the children in the marriage. Custody itself is a complicated issue, because there are many types of custody and only an experienced attorney will know how to achieve the best possible arrangement. The judge may grant sole custody to one parent, order both parents to share partial custody of the children, or may grant one parent nothing more than visitation rights. Also, the parent who gets granted physical custody may not be granted sole legal custody. Physical custody merely determines the living conditions for the children, while legal custody grants the rights of one or both parents to make decisions about a child’s education, medical care, religious upbringing, etc. While the objective for the court is to keep the family as connected as possible, the primary concern is always for the children. Your attorney will be able to show that helping you maintain a relationship with your children will be in their best interests. These are just a few of the benefits that working with an experienced family law attorney can provide.

If you’re anticipating a divorce or need to petition the court to address other issues, such as child custody or child support, contact Robert Thornton. Thornton Law can provide the services you need to help you achieve the best possible results in your case. An initial consultation will help you understand the merits of your case and give you better insight into how you should proceed.

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What Are The Most Common Family Law Cases?

What are the Most Common Family Law Cases?

Family law is a complex area of the legal system. Generally, it involves a wide variety of issues experienced in a family. Many of these cases are handled in a family court and deal with highly emotional issues. The court’s role is to be fair and make decisions in these matters that can benefit the family unit as a whole. It’s important to know what types of cases are most common in family law.

If you reside in the state of Texas and are dealing with any of these types of cases, you need an experienced family law attorney. Bob Thornton can help you settle your family matters.


Divorce is one of the most common types of cases in family law. They are extremely emotional and often involve other issues in addition to simply ending a marriage. When a couple has decided that their relationship is no longer worth salvaging, they may consider getting a divorce. A family law attorney who specializes in divorce can help with all matters, including alimony, child custody, distribution of marital property and more. In many cases, mediation can help the process not only go faster but smoother, without disputes. This is an attractive option for many couples because it can occur without necessarily having both parties physically present. It is also easier on any children a former couple may have had during the course of their relationship.

Child Custody

Family law also handles child custody cases between parents who have split up, whether they were once married or never married. These are often the most difficult cases emotionally because the law has to do what is in the best interests of the children. Parents may have a hard time coming up with arrangements on custody, visitation and child support. An experienced attorney can prove to be invaluable in such a situation as the court decides the orders on these matters.


Adopting a child is a wonderful and exciting venture for both parents and the child. However, it’s also a complex situation that requires the help of an attorney. In some cases, such as with single people and same-sex couples, it can be difficult or even impossible to adopt based on the laws in the state, which makes it absolutely essential to hire an attorney for assistance and legal guidance.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence cases are also handled in family court, which means anyone who is a victim needs to obtain an order of protection. An order of protection orders that the abusive individual, usually the victim’s spouse or romantic partner, not have any contact with them and to stay away from their home and workplace. In most cases, this is a temporary order that the court issues to a victim, but it’s possible to get a new order of protection, if necessary. A family law attorney can help in this type of case.

Family law cases are both complex and emotional. If you are in the state of Texas, get in touch with Robert Thornton at Thornton Law PLLC at your earliest convenience to discuss your case. He has many years of experience getting his clients an outcome in their favor, and is ready to do the same for you.

For more information on our Dallas Family Lawyer please visit our site.