COVID 19 and Family Law

The Supreme Court of Texas has issued the Eighteenth Emergency Order regarding the COVID-19 State of Disaster stating among other matters that subject only to constitutional limitation, all courts in Texas may, without a participant’s consent extend dismissal dates, allow a party, attorney, witness, court reporter, grand juror or petit juror to participate remotely by teleconferencing, videoconferencing and other means. Before a court holding any in-person proceedings, a court must submit an operating plan that is consistent with requirements set forth in the “Guidance for All Court Proceedings During COVID-19 Pandemic”, however Courts are to use all reasonable efforts to conduct proceedings remotely. The Emergency Order further states that a court must not hold a jury proceeding prior to September 1, 2020, except as authorized by law. There are requirements for how a jury trial is conducted prior to September 1, 2020.

Changes going forward –

Everyone, including the Court system, will likely develop a new normal as a result of this pandemic. Change is inevitable and a lot of good for the legal system can emerge from this challenging time.

Topic of the Month – FAQ’s regarding documents to gather if you’re contemplating Divorce

If you are contemplating divorce, gather the following documents to give to your attorney:

Income tax returns (with all schedules/W-2’s/1099’s attached), statements from banks, brokerage companies, credit unions and credit card companies, credit reports, loan applications, lease applications, mortgage statements and deeds to property.

If you are one of those people that don’t know much about your estate, don’t despair! A family lawyer can send “discovery” to the other side requesting that all assets and debts be disclosed. Your spouse’s deposition can be taken. If it is later found after a divorce that an asset wasn’t disclosed, that asset can be subject to future division by a court.

“The one thing that is immutable is change itself “ – Nancy (Hutchins) Rommelmann - freshman year of high school (I got an “A+” on that paper! 😊)