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Roy Reeves
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Veni, vidi, vici
Veni, vidi, vici

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What does a prenuptial agreements have to do with valentine's day, engagement rings and bodily organs? Read more at: http://www.planoattorney.net/blog/a-prenupt-for-valentines-day-2017-02-617

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One of the most common questions I receive in my e-mail box is "How much does it cost to . . . ?" Almost as common is "How do I . . . ?"

These two questions have the same goal, divorce and custody fights are expensive, most people cannot really afford the fight and they want to get the results but save the cost. Researching this, I came to the conclusion that there must be a better way, a way to allow parties to mediate the dispute before they ever hire lawyers.

That is why I am forming Family Mediation Services, a new service aimed at the individual who wants to try to mediate and resolve family law disputes without the cost of attorneys. Check it out at www.ReevesPC.com where our moto is: One Family, One Problem, One Solution - why litigate when it is less expensive and easier to mediate?

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I am often asked if it is worth the time, expense, and/or energy to be the spouse who files for divorce. In my humble opinion the advantages of filing first far outweigh the negatives. That said, you may get a different opinion from someone else so I will discuss here the benefits of filing first.The Petitioner is the person who files for divorce. The Respondent is the person who is served with divorce papers.  Petitioner gets to go first at the final trial, so if this is contested, you and your lawyer get to have the first say. By the way, as Petitioner you also get to control some aspects of the proceedings – such as when the case is filed, where it is filed if you and your spouse live in separate counties, you can request discovery with the petition or not, which is an advantage as well, albeit a small one.
One of the biggest advantages to filing first is knowing it is filed and the process has started. You will not be sitting around waiting for the other side or the constable to serve you with papers. More importantly, either side can ask for temporary orders pertaining to the residence (who is moving out if you still live together) and either side can ask for temporary support for themselves and/or the children and in this proceeding, the party who asks for the temporary orders gets to go first. As petitioner, if you need or want temporary orders, you can ask first by asking in the Original Petition.

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I don’t generally read the “Dear Abbey” column in the news but today it caught my attention and I believe even in my limited reading of the Dear Abbey’s advice column that this time she gave the worst advice in the world.  In fact, this advice was so bad, she should be immediately and permanently banished to the archives.
Basically a man wrote expressing his consternation at his wife of 40 years, who has never worked outside the home, and for the past 20 years lives in a separate bedroom, 

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As discussed last month, the decision of who files for divorce is usually a matter of personal decision. In many marriages, there is one party who thinks it can be worked out and obviously, that person will not file for divorce until satisfied that he or she has tried everything. In this case, the advantage to filing first is that the case actually gets filed. However, in other cases, both sides want to divorce, it is just a matter of one or the other starting the process.The party who files first is referred to as the Petitioner. The Petitioner pays the filing fee and court cost to get the case started- generally $350-400 in Texas. The Petitioner also has to hire a lawyer first without knowing (though many clients come in hoping or simply guessing) if the matter will be contested or uncontested matter. The later may be secured for a turn-key flat fee. Note: some lawyer´s no longer offer a set or flat fee for uncontested matters. I can only venture to guess that the reasoning is based on my own experience – 4 out of 5 clients who “think” the matter will be uncontested, are just being overly optimistic. In fact that experience has led me to change the way I contract with a client when he or she wants an uncontested divorce. Either the client pays the standard retainer, with an agreement the fee is capped IF the matter is indeed uncontested (the client gets a refund of the difference at the end of the case) or, the client pays the flat fee, my office drafts the pleadings but does not file it until the client and the other party come into the office and sign an agreed final order.

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I am often asked if it is worth the time, expense, and/or energy to be the spouse who files for divorce. In my humble opinion the advantages of filing first far outweigh the negatives. That said, you may get a different opinion from someone else so I will discuss here the benefits of filing first.The Petitioner is the person who files for divorce. The Respondent is the person who is served with divorce papers.  Petitioner gets to go first at the final trial, so if this is contested, you and your lawyer get to have the first say. By the way, as Petitioner you also get to control some aspects of the proceedings – such as when the case is filed, where it is filed if you and your spouse live in separate counties, you can request discovery with the petition or not, which is an advantage as well, albeit a small one.
One of the biggest advantages to filing first is knowing it is filed and the process has started. You will not be sitting around waiting for the other side or the constable to serve you with papers. More importantly, either side can ask for temporary orders pertaining to the residence (who is moving out if you still live together) and either side can ask for temporary support for themselves and/or the children and in this proceeding, the party who asks for the temporary orders gets to go first. As petitioner, if you need or want temporary orders, you can ask first by asking in the Original Petition.

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Cost is always an important question for a client looking to get a divorce and invariably, it is one of the first questions I am asked when a new client arrives at my office. The answer is very unsatisfying because there is no way to give a solid answer. Each case is unique and the cost of the divorce will depend in large part on your goals, your spouses goals, the property and the issues to be presented, and most importantly whether or not you and your spouse can agree on anything.
Since no two people are exactly alike, it stands to reason that no marriage and therefore no divorce is exactly alike. Accordingly, the cost of divorce will depend on so many factors that cannot be known until they actually take place. That said, there are some cost that can be predicted with accuracy: there is a filing fee paid directly to the court(usually $300-350); issuance of Citation and Issuance of Notice if required, the Court cost for these items is generally about $10 each; service of process varies depending on location plan $85-125 per item served if it is required. Finally, the Texas Supreme Court has now mandated that all pleadings filed on or after January 1, 2014 must be filed via electronic submission which of course means there is now a middle-man between the lawyer and the court who collects a fee for the service (as of this writing, the fees are not known, however my best guess is between $10-20 per document).
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