Practicing Family Law in Travis and Williamson Counties


The Law Office of Cicily Simms

707 West 10th Street
Austin, Texas 78701

Office Hours 9-5 Monday - Friday

Call - 512-477-6462

Cicily Simms, a Austin Attorney representing clients in Travis And Williamson Counties in family law matters.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to get a divorce?

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It takes a minimum of 60 days after the original petition for divorce is filed. If the divorce is uncontested (both parties agree to the conservatorship, support and possession of the children and the division of the community estate), a divorce can be finalized as soon as the parties have agreed to the Final Decree of Divorce and the statutory sixty (60) day period has passed. If the parties do not agree regarding support, child custody, possession of the children, or the property division, then the divorce will take longer than (60) days. Additional time is needed when one party is unfamiliar with the property and debts that exists or have existed of the parties. It is not unusual for an contested (not in agreement) case to go on for six months to a year.

Can the other party prevent me from getting a divorce?

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No. Texas is a "no fault" state. If one party wants a divorce, then the divorce will be granted.

Does the property have to be divided 50/50?

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Not necessarily. In Texas, the Courts standard for dividing the community property is "just and right division". Separate property must be awarded to the owner of the separate property. It is the lawyer's job to analyze what property is community and what is separate property.

Can I get alimony after the divorce is final?

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In Texas post divorce alimony is called Spousal Maintenance. The Texas Spousal Maintenance Statute provides for post divorce support only in limited circumstances. Some high income parties agree to pay post divorce alimony for tax planning purposes.

Before a divorce is final each spouse owes a duty of support to the other spouse, and one spouse can be ordered to support the other while the divorce is pending.

How is child support set?

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The Texas Family Code has child support guidelines. The guidelines apply a percentage to the "net resources" of the paying party to determine the monthly child support. If the person paying child support makes more than $142,000 a year, different rules apply to the income over $142,000 a year. The Texas guidelines also consider the number of children in other families that the payer is required to support.

General Questions for Family Law Issues

How long does it take?

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Suits involving Modifications, Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationships, Paternity, Enforcement and Grandparents rights do not have the same statutory waiting period that a divorce has. If a matter is uncontested (both parties agree to the issues in the suit filed, i.e the conservatorship, support and possession of the children, paternity or grandparents rights), a suit can be finalized as soon as the parties have agreed to the Final Order. If the parties do not agree regarding the issues, i.e. support, child custody, possession of the children, paternity or grandparents rights, it will take some time to reach a settlement or have a trial before the Court. It is not unusual for an contested (not in agreement) case to go on for six months to a year.

How much does a Divorce suit or other Family Law lawsuit costs?

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The cost depends on the amount of time the lawyer and her support staff are required to spend on your case. The amount of time spent depends on the issues in controversy and the level of controversy surrounding those issues. A divorce, including the Court filing fee, may cost as little as $2,000 or many thousands of dollars if the issues are complicated or very contentious.

After we hear the facts of your particular situation we can answer questions you have, and will be able to give you an estimate on what you can expect the case to cost. We provide an initial confidential private consultation in our office at a reduced fee. This initial consultation allows you to consult with Cicily Simms, relate your history and discuss your family law problems and options for solving the problems. We charge $150 for this initial consultation. Our office accepts Mastercard, Visa, Discover, American Express, and debit cards.

What should I bring to the initial consultation?

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You should bring any Court papers filed by the other party or by you. If there is an existing court order, you should bring it with you to the appointment. Copies of your current pay check stub, deeds, tax returns, and recent bank statements are also helpful.

Can the other party be required to pay my attorney's fees in a Divorce or other Family Law lawsuit?

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There is no guarantee that the other party will be Ordered to pay your attorney fees. You are primarily responsible for paying your attorney's fees.

In a divorce, the attorney's fees should be paid from the community property. Under some circumstances, the other party may be required to pay some of your fees from their portion of the community estate. It is a factor to be considered by the Court in dividing the parties’ estate.

In Suits involving Modifications, Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationships, Paternity, Grandparents, awarding the other party to pay attorney fees is solely at the discretion of the Court.

In an enforcement action, if the Court finds that the other party has not made child support payments, unless the other party shows good cause why they did not make the child support payments that were ordered, the Court shall order reasonable attorney’s fees and all court cost in addition to the arrearages.

Will my case go to mediation?

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If we cannot reach agreement with the other party and the other party's attorney, your case usually goes to mediation before it goes to final trial.

Can I change the Final Court order signed by the Court in my Divorce, Modification, Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship, Paternity or Grandparent Suit?

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Divorce provisions regarding the division of property usually cannot be changed once the Decree has become final. There are exceptions that can be discussed in the initial consultation.

Portions of existing Orders regarding children, including conservatorship (custody), child support, possession periods with the child, and the various decision making rights of the parties can be changed in the future if there has been a material and substantial change in circumstances since the entry of the last Court Order, and the requested change is in the child's best interest.