Civil litigation is not a term that is familiar to everyone, although it is simple enough to understand. Civil litigation is defined as a legal dispute between two parties where no criminal sanctions exist. There are also several stages of civil litigation that every person should know.
The first stage is the pleading stage. This consists of filing a complaint against someone for some kind of wrongdoing that is not criminal. It is up to the court to decide whether the claim is substantial enough to proceed further. Defendants will usually file a motion in an attempt to dismiss the case, but that decision is ultimately in the hands of the court.
The following stage is the discovery stage. It is just as it sounds. It is a process of discovering evidence to prove each side’s case. Either side can ask questions through depositions or interrogatories.
After the discovery stage, defendants will usually file a motion for a summary judgment. That makes the claim that the plaintiff does not have sufficient enough evidence to continue with the lawsuit. If the court rules on the side of the defendant, then the lawsuit is finished. If the court does not rule in favor of the defendant, then it is on to a trial.
Most times, both parties are sent to an arbitration hearing where a mediator will attempt to work out a deal between the two parties before having to appear in court. This can also be referred to as a settlement conference. If the two sides cannot agree, a court date is set and then it is off to a trial.
The time frame between filing a complaint and going to an actual trial could wind up being a rather lengthy one. Since criminal lawsuits rank higher in priority than civil lawsuits, there could be a lot of waiting involved.
Once the trial process has concluded, there is always the option to appeal the ruling. That could drag the lawsuit out even longer.
Each stage of civil litigation could be filled with quite a few complexities that the average person may not understand. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced litigation attorney working for you. John A. Hixson, Attorney at Law is proud to continue to serve residents of Arlington, Mansfield and Grand Prairie in all kinds of litigation cases.
This past year has introduced a new change that affects probate law in the state of Texas. Elderly residents often find themselves in need of someone else to take charge of their affairs. In the event that they become incapacitated or incompetent.
It seems simple enough. When a person can longer take care of their own affairs, someone else steps in and takes over. That is where power of attorney comes into play.
However, a new law has changed things.
Texas’ new Statutory Power of Attorney form differs from the previous way power of attorney was handled in the state. Now, principals have to initial where each of their powers are to be granted to the person they are entrusting with their affairs, also known as an agent. This form also starts with a written warning to the principal that they need to choose an agent they deem trustworthy.
Furthermore, there is a choice of when the power of attorney can go into effect. It could be immediate or it could be delayed until the principal’s future incapacity. There is also a closing section which further attempts to protect the principal.
At the conclusion of this new form, the agent claims personal liability and responsibility to act in the best interest of the principal. Nevertheless, the principal has to have the capability of initialing this kind of form. Without that capability, it is invalid.
It is just one more way of helping to make sure elders’ assets and best interests are protected. It is also somewhat monumental because it has been almost two decades since any changes were made with Texas’ statutory power of attorney. The last changes made came in 1997.
Statutory Power of Attorney could be a complex issue when dealing with the preparation of wills or probate. Any estate planning could always be a slippery slope, and that’s why it is important to seek assistance from a trusted professional.
Hixson Law Firm can walk clients through this process and make sure all your rights are protected. Preparation and probate of wills, trusts, and affidavits of heirship are just some of the areas our attorneys can help you. Arlington, Grand Prairie and Mansfield residents now have a real solution with real lawyers who are ready to work for you.
Title disputes are not a frequently talked-about topic in everyday conversations. Still, they happen more than people might believe in the state of Texas. There are plenty of reasons that can cause a title dispute.
A significant amount of local property records have not been transferred to computers. The records remain on paper, some of which date back even hundreds of years. This sometimes makes it difficult to decipher where actual property boundaries exist. However, the main reason for title disputes is not poor record-keeping. The main reason is lost or misfiled titles.
Fraud is another common reason for title disputes. There are cases where individuals will attempt to sell a piece of land to more than one person. There are other instances when individuals will attempt to sell land they do not even own.
Moreover, real estate transactions can be stopped because of title disputes. There have been many instances where wrong names have been listed on a title, or a title was not updated following the death of the previous owner.
Boundary disputes over where the real property line exists can also lead individuals into a legal battle. Deed restrictions are an add-on to titles which dictate land usage and these restrictions can also become a source of disagreement that leads to a legal dispute. Foreclosure issues are another common cause for title disputes in the state of Texas.
Attempting to fix a title on your own is not a recommended solution. Only a professional real estate lawyer can step in and help remedy the situation. If you find yourself involved in a title dispute for any reason, Hixson Law Firm can come to your aid. Our experience will make things a whole lot easier as we strive to resolve your situation. Residents of Arlington, Grand Prairie and Mansfield can have the experience on their side with the trusted team of professionals at Hixson Law Firm.
Real estate lawyers often become inundated with disputes over leases when it comes to renting property in the state of Texas. There are sufficient reasons that enable tenants to break a real estate lease and other reasons which do not justify such an action.
First, there is no buyer’s remorse in the state of Texas. Once a lease is signed, it is binding. Tenants do not have the option of reneging on a contract a day or two after it is signed as there is no three-day grace period. Even if no money is exchanged, the lease is still binding.
There is also no ‘rent control’ laws in the state of Texas. The landlord has the right to raise the price of rent at the conclusion of the lease, but not before that time.
Landlords are responsible for making necessary repairs. However, their negligence does not give tenants the right to just up and move out. In order for the lease to be legally broken, there needs to be a court ruling that states a tenant is no longer liable for that lease. Until a tenant takes the landlord to court and obtains a ruling from a judge, the tenant is bound to that lease.
There are procedures put in place by the state in the event that necessary repairs are not made to the property. Tenants need to get familiar with those procedures and follow them accordingly. Withholding rent is deemed as a form of retaliation and could make the tenant subject to eviction. Another interesting fact is that tenants can be evicted in as little as two weeks.
Tenants who decide to break a lease on their own will still be held responsible for the remaining months rent. Yet, if there is an unsafe environment in which the landlord did not provide adequate security, there would be just cause for breaking the lease. But the tenant must still prove that the landlord is guilty of misrepresenting the property.
While the law is clear on why a lease can be broken, there remains a lot of gray areas. If you find yourself involved with any kind of dispute regarding a real estate lease, Hixson Law Firm is staffed with a team of professionals that can go to work for you. Our attorneys strive to protect the rights of residents in the Arlington, Mansfield and Grand Prairie communities.