Fort Worth Family Court: Understanding the Jurisdiction, Services, and Processes
No one wants to sit in court, feeling helpless as lawyers argue their positions and watch as the case slowly drags on. And if you’re sitting through a family law case, the circumstances surrounding your case can make the entire process difficult to cope with. That’s why it’s advisable to hire an experienced family law attorney to help you go through this process.
Attorneys that handle family law cases know their way around the family court, making them a crucial asset to your case. They’ve led cases like yours before and therefore have lots of experience in the matter you require assistance in. If you’re expecting to appear before a family court soon, it’s important to understand what goes on inside.
Family Court Jurisdiction: What Types of Cases Are Heard in Fort Worth?
All sorts of family disputes are resolved, or at least heard, in the Fort Worth Family Court. The family court has the jurisdiction to hear the following types of cases:
The Fort Worth Family Court can help determine which parent gets custody of the child. For example, a couple may be awarded joint custody, meaning each parent gets to live with the child for a certain period. On the other hand, the family court may also award one parent full custody if that’s in the child’s best interests or when the father gives up custody.
Paternity & Child Support
The Fort Worth Family Court can help men who are unsure if the child they’re raising is theirs and who want to get a paternity test done. The Court also helps women who are having trouble getting the father of their child to contribute towards raising the child. After paternity has been proven, the defendant is then required by the court to pay child support.
Child Abuse & Neglect Proceedings
Child abuse and neglect cases are brought to the family court by a government entity that believes a child is at risk of abuse and neglect or is already subject to it. The Fort Worth Family Court would have jurisdiction over such cases if the child was found within the county. The family court can then determine whether and when the child should be removed from their home and placed under someone else’s care.
Divorce & Legal Separation
The Fort Worth Family Court can legally divorce two parties who bring their suit before the court. If the party filing the divorce proceedings is a resident or domiciliary of Fort Worth, the Fort Worth Family Court can exercise jurisdiction over the party responding to the suit, even if the respondent isn’t a resident of the county.
The Fort Worth Family Court also hears adoption proceedings. The adoptive parents and child, if they are 12 or older, are required to attend these last adoption proceedings.
The Fort Worth Family Court has the jurisdiction to issue a protective order upon finding, after hearing a case, that domestic violence has occurred in a family living in Fort Worth and is likely to keep occurring.
Services Offered: How the Fort Worth Family Court Can Help Your Family
If you’re having family disputes, the Fort Worth Family Court can help. The court may offer mediation services to try and help you and the other party see eye to eye on the issue. The court also has the jurisdiction to provide Domestic Violence Protection Orders to ensure the victim of abuse is protected from their abuser.
The family court in Fort Worth may also help one file for alimony or spousal support after a divorce. The family court can also help families divide property and debts during a divorce case or when someone passes away without leaving a will.
The Court Process: What to Expect When Appearing in Family Court in Fort Worth
There will be an order of presentation when you appear in family court in Fort Worth. The plaintiff/petitioner is usually the first to make their presentation. However, if the hearing is on a motion, whoever is filing the motion goes first. After this party presents their evidence, the other party is given a chance to express their side. The first party is then given another chance to present any information they may have left out.
You will be expected to be courteous and maintain etiquette while in the family court. You will be expected to stand when talking to the judge or when the judge enters the room. You may, however, be exempt from this if you have a disability that makes it hard for you to stand for extended periods. The judge may also tell you it’s okay to sit at their will.
Remember: there are no juries in family court. The judge makes the final decision. You may, however, find a court clerk, mediator, bailiff, and court reporter in family court.
Resolving Family Disputes: Alternative Dispute Resolutions Available in Fort Worth
While family court is an effective and impartial way of solving family disputes, it isn’t the only way. In matters such as divorces, where the parties want to keep things out of court, it’s possible to find alternative dispute resolutions. This is preferred by many since it keeps all decision-making authority between the two parties.
Both parties can set out to negotiate their case until they arrive at terms that are favorable for everyone involved. If you and the other party can’t negotiate directly, you can each hire an attorney to handle the process for you.
This is where both parties are committed to keeping matters out of court and are willing to compromise fairly and do some serious negotiations. A team of professional attorneys is usually used in such circumstances, especially when there’s a lot that needs to be hammered out.
This involves each party and their respective attorney, plus a professional third-party mediator. The mediator will serve as a go-between for both parties. They will let both parties know how the divorce proceedings are likely to go if the matter goes to court. They will also let each party know where the other stands on the issues being addressed. If the parties arrive at an agreement, the mediating terms become legally binding.
Speak With Us at Mims Ballew Hollingsworth | Fort Worth Family Law
Whether you’re going through a divorce, looking to file a prenuptial agreement, or seeking child support, hiring an experienced lawyer is the best way to go about it. At Mims Ballew Hollingsworth | Fort Worth Family Law, we have a team of dedicated lawyers with more than 75 years of combined legal experience. Two of our attorneys are certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization as family law specialists.
If your future and that of your children are at risk, you need someone that will help protect your rights. Feel free to call us at 817-952-6723 or contact us online if you need some legal assistance with a family issue.