Family Court AttorneyServing Austin and Williamson County
Understanding the Texas Litigation Process
Litigation is necessary when all other dispute resolution attempts fail. Most family law cases that go to court are tried before a judge, not a jury, in a hearing called a “bench trial.” The judge listens to the evidence and makes orders concerning the parties’ property and children at the conclusion of the case. While trial is sometimes the only option, it is almost always preferable to resolve a dispute without court intervention.
Texas public policy strongly favors resolving disputes out of court. Part of this is simply the practical consideration of judicial efficiency and economy, i.e. fewer cases in court saves time and money. In family law, this consideration is especially strong given the importance of minimizing conflict that can be devastating for parents and children. Unfortunately, some cases simply cannot be resolved without having a judge serve as the referee. Sometimes this is true because one party refuses to take a reasonable position, or is engaging in destructive and harmful conduct. More often, cases go to court because reasonable minds differ on very important aspects of the dispute.
People who go through a court battle are almost always surprised by the experience of being in a courtroom. Many people expect to feel a sense of vindication after the judge has heard his or her case. This almost never happens. Chiefly, this is because the judge only has the time (and patience) to hear a very small portion of all the facts surrounding a dispute. Furthermore, the judge has to weigh each parties’ credibility, and there is rarely a way to “prove” that someone is lying. It is very common for both litigants to leave the courtroom feeling very frustrated.
If your case must go to trial, it is imperative that your attorney understand the rules of civil procedure, rules of evidence, and the specific law related to your family law matter. It is generally not a good idea to employ an attorney who does not practice a great deal of family law, or who does not have courtroom experience for this endeavor.