Frequently Asked Questions

Learn about our most frequently asked questions. If you have any further questions please contact us today!

How do you file for divorce?

To file for divorce, you must first meet the residency requirements for your jurisdiction. You will then need to file a petition for divorce with the court and serve your spouse with a copy of the petition. Your spouse will have the opportunity to respond to the petition.

Should you consider a prenup or postnup?

Whether or not you should consider a prenup or postnup depends on your individual circumstances. If you have significant assets or debts, or if you want to protect your assets in case of a divorce, a prenup or postnup may be a good option for you.

They can be useful for anyone who wants to protect their assets and ensure a fair division of property in case of a divorce or separation.

Before signing a prenup or postnup, it's important to consult with a lawyer who specializes in family law. They can help you understand your rights and ensure that the agreement is fair and legally binding.

How is child support calculated?

Texas uses a formula based on the non-custodial parent's net income. The state considers all sources of income, then subtracts social security taxes, federal income tax, state income tax, and costs of the child's health insurance. The remaining amount, or net resources, is then multiplied by a percentage based on the number of children: 20% for one child, 25% for two, etc., up to 40% for five or more children. There's also a cap on the amount of net resources that can be considered, so high earners may not pay a percentage of their entire income.

What happens if child support is not paid?

Texas has enforcement tools at its disposal. These include garnishing wages, revoking licenses (including hunting, fishing, and driving licenses), placing liens on properties, and intercepting lottery winnings or tax refunds. If non-payment continues, the delinquent parent might face legal penalties, including jail time.

What are the types of child custody?

Texas law primarily uses two categories in child custody matters: "conservatorship" and "possession and access." Conservatorship is what many people think of as "custody." Texas has "joint managing conservatorship" (both parents share decision-making rights and duties) and "sole managing conservatorship" (one parent has the primary decision-making rights and duties). A "joint managing conservatorship" means parents will share responsibilities and rights, but it doesn't always equate to equal physical time with the child. A "sole managing conservatorship" indicates one parent has more rights, possibly due to the other parent's absence, incarceration, history of violence, or substance abuse.

"Possession and access" in Texas relate to a parent's physical time with the child or visitation rights. Texas offers two main schedules: standard and extended standard, determining each parent's time with the child.

How can I modify a child custody order?

To modify a child custody order in Texas, you must demonstrate a "material and substantial change" in the circumstances. This could arise from parental changes like remarriage or relocation, shifts in the child's needs, or safety concerns. For children 12 or older, their preference can be considered, but the court's primary focus is the child's best interest. If parents disagree on the modifications, mediation or a court hearing may be required. Given the complexity, consulting a family law attorney is advisable, and any agreed modifications should be legally documented for enforceability.

What is the difference between a military divorce and a civilian divorce?

The main difference between a military divorce and a civilian divorce is that military divorce involves additional rules and regulations that must be followed. For example, there are specific rules regarding the division of military pensions, the calculation of child support and spousal support, and the residency requirements for filing for divorce.

What are the steps needed to change your name?

If you need to change your name, you can do so by following these steps:

  1. Obtain a legal name change. You can do this by filing a petition with the court and paying the associated fees. The process can take several weeks or months, so plan accordingly.
  2. Update your identification documents. Once you have your legal name change, you will need to update your driver's license, passport, and any other identification documents.
  3. Update your personal records. You will need to update your name on your bank accounts, credit cards, insurance policies, and any other personal records.
  4. Notify your employer and other organizations. You will need to notify your employer, school, and any other organizations that have your personal information on file.
  5. Update your online accounts. You will need to update your name on any online accounts you have, including social media, email, and other websites.

It is important to note that changing your name can have legal and financial implications, so it is important to consult with an attorney or financial advisor before making any changes. Additionally, some organizations may require additional documentation or proof of your name change, so be prepared to provide this information as needed.

What should you do immediately after an auto accident?

If you have been in an auto accident it's crucial that you follow these steps:

  1. Seek medical attention: If you're injured, seek medical attention immediately.
  2. Call the police: Even if the accident is minor, it's important to have a police report for insurance purposes.
  3. Exchange information: Get the other driver's name, contact information, and insurance details. Also, get the names and contact information of any witnesses.
  4. Take photos: Take photos of the damage to both vehicles, the surrounding area, and any injuries.
  5. Contact your insurance company: Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible.
  6. Contact a lawyer: Consider contacting a personal injury lawyer to help you navigate the legal process and get the compensation you deserve.
How long do I have to file an injury claim?

The legal time frame in Texas for lodging a personal injury claim is two years. This countdown begins from the date the injury takes place. For instance, if you sustain injuries in an auto accident, the law gives you two years from the accident date to initiate a personal injury lawsuit.

Failure to do so within this time frame results in forfeiture of your right to sue or claim damages from the defendant.

However, certain exceptions can alter this two-year rule for filing a car accident claim in Texas. For instance, when dealing with cases involving the government, a notification of the claim must be issued within a shorter period of six months from the injury date.

How much can I expect to receive from my injury case?

The case's details heavily influence the compensation you expect from a personal injury lawsuit in El Paso, Texas. Various factors are evaluated, such as the degree of your injuries, the specifics of the incident, the level of negligence exhibited by the opposing party, and how the injury has affected your daily life, employment, and future income prospects.

It's important to note that each case has its unique aspects, and the valuation of your claim will be based on your situation. Therefore, engaging with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in El Paso who can offer a more accurate estimate after evaluating your case is crucial. They can assist in navigating the legal landscape and strive to secure the rightful compensation you deserve under Texas law.

What should I do if I receive a call from the other persons lawyer?

Avoid any discussions with a lawyer who isn't representing you. They are professionals with the goal of minimizing or completely nullifying any potential payouts. Don't disclose any details about the accident. If you're currently without legal representation, inform them that you're in the process of securing an attorney who will subsequently contact them.

It's then advised to courteously terminate the call. If you already have an attorney, provide their name and contact number, and conclude the conversation regardless of any insistence on their part to continue. Once the opposing party's attorney is aware that you have legal representation, they are legally barred from reaching out to you directly.

Can I recover damages from an accident even if I'm partially at fault?

In Texas, you have the possibility to receive compensation for a car accident even if you're partly responsible, provided that your share of the fault is less than the portion that is not attributed to you. This is often referred to as the 51% rule: if your responsibility for the accident is 51% or more, you become ineligible to claim compensation.

For instance, if your level of blame for the incident is only 25%, you might qualify to claim damages.

Under Texas's modified comparative negligence statute, anyone who bears less than 51 percent of the fault for an accident retains the right to seek compensation.

If I have a pre-existing condition, can I still file an injury claim?

Your pre-existing medical condition could be considered a factor that mitigates your claim amount. Nevertheless, such a condition does not provide a free pass for someone else's negligence. If the incident was a consequence of negligent behavior, and your present injuries are a direct result of that incident, you might have grounds for a claim. If you've sustained injuries from an event provoked by someone else's negligence, consulting with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Texas is crucial. They can provide you with the necessary guidance.

How much does a personal injury attorney cost?

In most cases, personal injury attorneys in El Paso, TX operate on a contingency basis. This implies that you'll sign a "contingent fee agreement", where your lawyer's compensation is a proportion of the compensation you receive. The specifics of the agreement lay out the precise percentage of the funds your lawyer is entitled to. The attorney might front the monetary resources for court expenses and other related costs, which they will then reclaim from your awarded funds.

They might collaborate with medical professionals who provide medical treatment on a contingency basis. If you do not emerge victorious in your case, contingent fee agreements might stipulate that you are liable for all accrued costs, separate from attorney fees. The attorney's fee is exclusively percentage-based, meaning they only get paid if you win your case. Understanding the terms of your agreement is crucial. While the cost is an important consideration, you should also take into account the lawyer's level of experience, their professional standing, and how comfortable you are around them.

How can I pay for medical fees while my case is pending?

Handling medical expenses while awaiting the outcome of your personal injury case can be daunting, but you have several avenues to explore:

  • Health Insurance: If you're covered by health insurance, it can assist in shouldering your treatment expenses. It's possible, depending on your specific policy, that you'll have to repay your health insurer from any settlement or award you obtain.
  • Medical Liens: In Arizona, certain medical providers may be open to offering care under a medical lien. This arrangement allows them to administer treatment immediately and then get compensated from any future settlement or judgment you receive.
  • MedPay Insurance: If your auto insurance policy includes Medical Payments Coverage (MedPay), it can be employed to handle your medical bills up to the coverage limit.
  • Payment Arrangements: Some healthcare providers might be open to establishing a payment plan, enabling you to distribute your payments over an extended period.
  • Government Aid Programs: You might be eligible for government aid programs such as Medicaid, depending on your situation.

At The Law Offices of Romero & Warrick, we're here to guide you through these steps, ensure your medical treatment isn't hindered, and negotiate with medical providers when necessary. We're also committed to resolving your case as swiftly as possible, allowing you to settle your medical bills.

What are the legal consequences of assault?

Assault is a criminal offense and can result in fines, imprisonment, and other legal consequences. The severity of the consequences depends on the severity of the assault and the jurisdiction in which it occurred.

What's the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?

Typically, a misdemeanor is characterized as an offense punishable by a jail term not exceeding one year. On the other hand, crimes that carry a penalty of a year or more in prison are usually classified as felonies. In general terms, both misdemeanor and felony offenses encompass a wide variety of levels, each with a diverse range of potential penalties designed to match the severity of the crime.

What is an arraignment?

An arraignment refers to your initial court appearance, regardless of your arrest or custody status. At the arraignment, the defendant is officially notified of the charges laid against them and are asked how they plead to the charges: guilty, not guilty, no contest, or mute plea.

In the state of Texas, the arraignment process additionally includes the judge's determination of bail - essentially deciding whether the defendant should remain in custody or be freed until their trial date. Should the court decide on detention, the judge is also tasked with setting a corresponding bail amount during this stage.

What is a preliminary hearing?

If you find yourself accused of a serious felony like murder or another violent crime, an initial step will often be a preliminary hearing. They are also referred to as "prelims," proceeding before the trial where the judge assesses if there is ample probable cause to proceed with a criminal case and if the prosecution has enough evidence to levy the charge against you.

The burden of proof at a preliminary hearing is considerably lower than at a trial; nonetheless, this phase is crucial as it allows your lawyer to review the allegations against you and develop your defense strategy accordingly. During the prelims, your attorney can challenge evidence, discredit witness testimonies, and expose any frailties in the prosecution's case.

Can I successfully challenge a DUI accusation even if I didn't pass the breathalyzer test?

Yes, it's possible. Breathalyzer tests are well-known for their inaccuracy, influenced by a multitude of factors ranging from the device's calibration to the recent consumption of cold medications. Furthermore, it's typically viable to question the initial reason, or the "probable cause," for the traffic stop itself. No case is completely beyond defense.

Do I have to talk to police if I believe I'm innocent of the charges?

No The most effective guideline to adhere to when dealing with law enforcement is to maintain silence until you've had a chance to speak with a defense attorney. Unintentional blunders made while responding to police inquiries often lead to wrongful convictions of innocent individuals. Your words could be misconstrued, or a forgotten detail might be interpreted as a deliberate deception. Do not gamble with your future.

What is bail and it's process?

Bail is the amount of money the court sets to permit an arrested individual's conditional release from custody. The bail system is designed to provide temporary liberty for those accused of a crime to efficiently strategize their defense while ensuring their reappearance for the trial.

It's common for defendants to engage bail bond services to handle their bail, recuperating their funds after court attendance (minus a service charge that could be up to 10 percent). Should the defendant neglect to attend their trial, the bond company can retract the bond and employ a bounty hunter to locate and apprehend the defendant.

Criminal defense attorneys often negotiate with the court to reduce the financial burden on their client by seeking to decrease the bail amount or dismiss it entirely. They can also interact with bail bondsmen on behalf of their client to secure a reduced bail amount.

What happens if my case goes to trial?

If a plea agreement is not met during the pretrial discussions, a date for your trial will be established. Depending on your case's specific details and context, it may be more beneficial for a defendant to proceed to trial rather than accept a plea bargain. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can guide you toward the most promising path.

  • Jury selection (in some instances)
  • Initiation of opening statements
  • Prosecution's evidence presentation
  • Defense's cross-examination of witnesses
  • Concluding statements

After both parties have presented their arguments, the jury (or the judge, if no jury is appointed) deliberates and delivers a verdict of either guilty or not guilty. In Texas and certain other states, a unanimous decision by the jury is required to convict a defendant. If the jury cannot agree unanimously, a mistrial is declared. If a unanimous guilty verdict is reached, sentencing begins.

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