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Family Law FAQ


 Frequently Asked Questions

1. What areas of family law do you specialize in?

At Jessica McDonald and Associates we specialize in various aspects of family law including divorce, child custody and visitation, spousal support, property division, domestic violence issues, adoption, and guardianship. We can help you get a temporary restraining order if there are safety issues in your home. 

2. How can I initiate the divorce process in Texas?

To initiate a divorce in Texas, one party must file a petition for divorce. The filing party must serve their spouse with a copy of the petition through a process server, constable, or sheriff, or they can choose the "waiver of service" if their spouse has agreed to a waiver of service.

A petition for divorce will include basic information about both parties such as name, address, phone number, place of employment, etc., and will ask for information about the children involved. The petitioner will recommend to the court what they would like the child custody plan to include, and a specific schedule is requested. 

3. What should I do if I get served with divorce papers?

If you get served with divorce papers, Texas Family Code procedures require you to file an answer with the court, and it's due on the 21st day. To establish your deadline, find the day you were served and count 20 more days (including weekends and holidays) so that next Monday is your deadline. You have until 10:00 a.m. to file your answer with the court. If you don't file your answer by the deadline, the court could find a divorce by default for your spouse. 

4. How is Child Custody Determined in Texas?

Decisions of who gets child custody are made in the best interests of the child. Factors considered include the child's relationship with each parent. children's age, the ability of each parent to maintain a stable environment for the children, and other factors.