Austin Divorce Attorney
Questions and answers about hiring an Austin divorce lawyer
Why do I need an attorney?
Divorce and family law is complex, and the outcome of your case will impact your family’s well-being for years to come. To safeguard your family’s future, it is important that you receive sound legal advice and effective representation from a family law attorney experienced in family law matters. Relying solely on the advice of friends and family puts that future at risk.
When should I consult with a divorce attorney?
It is never too early in the process to consult with an attorney. Engaging with legal counsel early allows you to make informed decisions and avoid potential pitfalls – increasing your ability to achieve your goals. Remember, consulting with an Austin divorce attorney does not mean that you will be divorced; you may need information about the family law legal process. A common problem that I see is clients wait too long to contact an attorney to obtain legal advice and could have ended up with a better result if they had been informed about their options earlier.
How do I retain a family law attorney to represent me in my family law case?
Contact Austin divorce attorney, Amy Gehm. At the initial consultation, we will discuss the facts of your case and ensure there are no conflicts in representing you. We will also get to know each other and make sure we are a good fit.
Is there a charge for the initial consultation with a divorce attorney in Austin?
You will be given very important legal advice and information that is specific to your circumstances and the facts of your case. The regular hourly rate is charged for the initial consultation for the time period of the consultation. Typically, the initial consultation with your Austin divorce attorney lasts about an hour.
Must I come to your office for the initial consultation? What if I do not live in Austin?
We prefer that you come to our Austin office for the initial consultation. It is important there be a good rapport between the client and the family law attorney, and there is no substitute for face-to-face meeting in getting to know each other. If, however, you live out of Austin, a telephone consultation may be scheduled, at the attorney’s discretion.
What should I bring with me to the initial consultation?
Because family law matters can be very stressful, it is a good idea to write down any questions you have and bring them with you to the first meeting so nothing important is forgotten. You may also want to bring any documents relevant to your case if available – such as federal income tax returns, or documents concerning your assets and debts. If you signed a pre-marital agreement or any other kind of property agreement prior to or during your marriage, bring a copy to the consultation.
If I call your office, will a divorce attorney be able to give me legal advice over the phone?
Unfortunately, our Austin divorce attorneys are not able to provide legal advice over the phone. We are required to make sure there is not a conflict in representing you, and must understand the facts of your case in order to provide proper guidance.
How much will it cost to resolve my case?
During the initial consultation, you will be quoted a retainer fee based on the issues of your case. The payment of this initial retainer is required to retain our services. The initial retainer does not reflect the total dollar amount that your case will cost.
Because the expense of a case depends on the complexities of the issues involved, there is no way to know for certain how much resolving your case will cost. We make every effort to resolve your matter efficiently, however, and will even discuss with you ways you can help reduce your overall legal expenses.
I was just served with divorce papers. What should I do?
You should retain an Austin divorce attorney as soon as possible so they may provide legal advice regarding what has been requested and any hearings that have been scheduled. Once retained, your divorce attorney will file an answer on your behalf.
My spouse and I would like to only hire one attorney for our divorce. Is that possible?
In Texas, one attorney may not represent both spouses. Nor may a divorce attorney retained by one spouse give legal advice to the opposing party.
I understand that I have to go through mediation for my divorce. Is that true?
In Travis, Williamson and Hays Counties, mediation is required before a final hearing will be held in a family law case. In mediation, a trained, neutral third-party acts a facilitator for the settlement discussions between the parties and their respective attorneys. If an agreement cannot be reached during the mediation process, the parties may decide to resolve their issues via litigation.
How long will it take to get a divorce in Austin?
The time required to develop the final terms of your divorce in Austin is highly dependent on the number of issues to be resolved and the willingness of both parties to reach an agreement. In Texas, there is a statutory waiting period of 60 days after the Petition is filed before the divorce may be finalized.
Does that mean I can be divorced on the 61st day after the Petition has been filed?
If your agreement has been incorporated into a Final Decree of Divorce and your spouse has signed the Final Decree of Divorce, you can finalize your divorce as soon as 61 days have passed from the date the Petition for Divorce was filed. Most divorces, however, typically take longer to conclude.
Do both spouses have to consent to the divorce? What if one of us does not want the divorce?
Texas has a “no-fault” divorce statue. This means that a divorce can be obtained, even if only one spouse desires it. You do not need the agreement of your spouse to file the Original Petition for Divorce or to pursue a divorce.
What does it mean when an Austin attorney is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization?
A family law attorney who wants to be Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization applies to the Texas Board of Legal Specialization to take a day long written exam to become Board Certified in Family Law. Of the 78,032 attorneys licensed to practice law in Texas, only 691 are Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, or less than one percent of the lawyers in the state of Texas.* In addition to taking a written certification exam, family law attorneys applying for board certification in family law must have demonstrated extensive expertise in matters such as divorce, property division, child custody, child support, paternity and other matrimonial matters. Specific requirements include:
- Must have been licensed to practice law for at least five years
- Have devoted at least 35% of his/her practice to family law for the last three years
- Have experience handling a wide variety of family law matters
- Have received recommendations by fellow attorneys and judiciary members
- Must pass a day-long written exam on family law issues such as divore and child custody
- Demonstrate regular participation in family law continuing education seminars
Amy Gehm, Austin divorce attornrey, has been Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 2002.
*Numbers provided by the State Bar of Texas as of June 10, 2005