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Trials in Divorce Cases

Family Law Attorneys Helping People in Dallas

Usually, when a couple decides to end their marriage, any disputed issues are settled and the divorce is finalized long before the case reaches the trial stage. In some instances, however, parties are unable to come to an agreement on one or more issues, such as a complex property division, that ultimately require a trial. While trials in divorce cases differ from other civil trials in that they are often much more emotionally charged, they are similar in that the parties must set forth sufficient evidence to support their positions in order to obtain rulings in their favor. Although divorce trials are rare, if you or your spouse intend to seek a divorce, it is critical for you to retain a lawyer with the knowledge and resources needed to protect your rights. The dedicated Dallas divorce attorneys of McClure Law Group handle divorce cases from inception through completion and vigorously advocate on behalf of all their clients.

Types of Trials in Divorce Cases

In Texas, there are two types of trials that may be held in divorce cases: a jury trial and a bench trial. A jury trial, as the name suggests, is a trial in which the parties present their evidence to a jury, after which the jury makes a finding based on the evidence. While in some instances, a jury trial may be beneficial, such as in cases in which one party presents as a sympathetic witness, juries do not always possess a thorough understanding of the law, and sometimes rule inappropriately. Additionally, there are certain issues a jury cannot decide under Texas law. Conversely, in a bench trial, the parties present their positions and evidence to a judge, who will then rule on the issues. Judges are less likely to be emotionally swayed, which can be a benefit or detriment, depending on the facts of the case.

Issues a Jury Can Decide

The issues a Texas jury can decide are specifically delineated by the Texas Family Code. Specifically, in divorces involving custody disputes, a jury can decide whether to appoint one parent as a sole managing conservator of the child and the other parent as the possessory conservator or to appoint both parents as joint managing conservators. In cases in which joint managing conservators are appointed, a jury can also decide which parent has the sole right to determine the child’s primary residence and whether to restrict the area in which the primary residence can be located. A jury can also be asked to assess whether property is community property, meaning it belongs equally to both spouses or is the separate property of one spouse, and the value of any property. Finally, a jury can decide whether one spouse is at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. A jury trial will not be held, however, unless either spouse requests that the case be heard by a jury.

Issues That Must Be Decided by a Judge

Some issues being decided in trials in divorce cases may only be ruled upon by a judge. They include how any community property should be divided, and whether spousal maintenance or child support should be granted and the terms of such spousal maintenance and child support. Additionally, while a jury makes decisions regarding child custody, the specific terms and conditions of any possession of a child or access to a child must be decided by a judge.

Meet with a Trusted Divorce Lawyer in Dallas

Stakes are often high in divorce trials, as the outcome of such trials may irreparably alter a person’s life. As such, it is essential for anyone contemplating or faced with divorce to seek an attorney who will fight to protect his or her rights, up to and through a trial. At McClure Law Group, our lawyers are experienced at handling divorce cases from negotiating settlements to taking a case to trial if needed. Our main office is in Dallas, and we can meet for consultations at our Collin County office in Plano. We regularly represent people in divorce lawsuits in Dallas, Garland, Rockwall, Irving, Fort Worth, McKinney, Richardson, and Frisco. We also represent people in family law cases in cities in Dallas, Grayson, Denton, Collin, Rockwall, and Tarrant Counties. You can contact us at 214.692.8200 or through our form online to set up a meeting.

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