The Differences Between Civil Lawsuits and Criminal Cases

A civil lawsuit may be brought against a person or a business for any number of reasons. A criminal case will seek to punish a defendant by doing time in jail or prison, as well as possibly paying fines, or maybe performing community service. By contrast, in a civil suit, a plaintiff brings the action with the intention of being awarded compensation for the harm that resulted from the defendant’s actions. In essence, a criminal case seeks the outcome of punishing the wrongdoer for a crime, but a civil case seeks to pay restitution to a victim.

Civil lawsuits in Grand Prairie, as well as in other Texas communities, may be brought by anyone for a number of reasons. This could include a breach of contract, a broken lease, payment for pain and suffering in a car accident, a slip and fall accident, medical malpractice, injuries resulting from defective products, or any other number of circumstances.

While a criminal case must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the burden of proof is much less in a civil case. In this instance, an attorney must only show that there is liability based on a preponderance of the evidence. This essentially means that it is more than likely that the facts of the case are true, which is a lesser standard than in a criminal case.

Also, while a criminal charge must be filed by a prosecutor, a civil case can be instigated by anyone, including a private party who is claiming that they suffered some kind of damage.

What Happens in Most Civil Lawsuits

While an attorney and their client must be prepared at all times to seek a civil lawsuit through to a trial, the reality is that the vast majority of civil suits will be settled long before they reach the courts. Both sides are often forced to partake in mandatory settlement negotiations in an attempt to reach agreement, thus avoiding the expense, time, and stress that a trial can produce. Settlements are also beneficial because they guarantee a plaintiff will win their case, removing the prospect that they could walk away without any kind of remuneration.

The Hixson Law Firm serves clients in Mansfield, Arlington, Grand Prairie and other nearby Texas communities.

johnlaw_admin Feb 14, 2018 Comments (0)

Sooner or Later, Most People Require the Services of a Family Law Attorney

Like it or not, every family goes through a number of changes over the years. Some are easy to deal with, and others can test the bonds and strength of everyone who is involved. Some issues are personal, and some require more than just sitting down and talking things out. In those cases, it may be advisable to bring in an outside entity to help you in the form of a family law attorney in Mansfield.

How a Family Law Attorney Can Help You

There are many possible times when you will want to consult a family law attorney. By their very nature, family law attorneys are generalists, equipped to handle a variety of matters. This may include the preparation of wills and living trusts, contested and uncontested divorces, property disputes, challenges to the disbursement of an estate, tax concerns, alimony and child support issues, child custody, and many other related legal matters.

One barrier that people perceive as a stumbling block when it comes to hiring a family law attorney is cost. But the reality is, hiring an attorney may actually save you money in the long run. For example, if a couple has decided to divorce, an attorney may be able to mediate a settlement, instead of both parties remaining angry at each other and pushing their battle into the courtroom – where costs can rise significantly. Finding common ground before going into court makes sense instead of putting yourself at the mercy of the court, where a judge may or may not give one or both parties what they really want.

A family law attorney can also remove much of the emotion in a situation, and provide factual counsel, instead of letting a client fly off the handle because they are angry. Rational decision making not only saves emotional stress, it can also prevent a person from making a spiteful financial mistake as well.

The Hixson Law Firm serves clients in Mansfield, Arlington, Grand Prairie and other nearby Texas communities.

johnlaw_admin Feb 07, 2018 Comments (0)

What You Should Know If You’re Getting a Divorce in Texas

Divorce is never easy, and not knowing exactly how the divorce process plays out in Texas can add a considerable amount of strain to your life if you’re thinking about filing or have already started the process.

Here are some basic things you should know about divorce in the Lone Star state.

Texas is a no-fault state. This means that you or your spouse does not need to prove either one did anything wrong to get divorced. Some spouses will allege fault which may affect the division of property as you move forward. However, most divorces move forward on the supposition of insupportability.

There is a mandatory minimum waiting period. It takes a minimum of 60 days to get a divorce in Texas because of a mandatory waiting period. In addition, at least one of the spouses must have been a resident of Texas for at least 6 months leading up to the divorce, and one of the spouses must also have been a resident of the county where the divorce is filed for at least 90 days prior to the filing.

Shortly after filing for divorce, if couples do not agree, a temporary hearings order will take place to clarify things such as living arrangements, a possession schedule for any children, temporary spousal and child support, and who pays which bills such as car payments, mortgage, and utilities.

Texas Is Not a Community Property State

Texas is not a 50/50 community property state. Judges do have some leeway when it comes to dividing assets if they see fault or bad behavior on one side or the other.

Alimony is a possibility, but it is difficult to qualify for it. The courts expect both sides to return to the workforce as soon as possible if they are capable of doing so.

Child support is clearly defined by the Texas Family code. If you are required to pay child support, you must pay 20 percent of your net income for one child, 25 percent for two and it goes up 5 percent for each child up to 40 percent.

Your spouse is not required to pay for your health insurance, but you may be entitled to purchase health insurance under the former spouses group plan.

The Hixson Law Firm serves clients in Mansfield, Arlington, Grand Prairie and other nearby Texas communities.

johnlaw_admin Jan 31, 2018 Comments (0)

The Basics of Real Estate Deeds

When you buy or sell a piece of property, you must convey that property by legally creating and transferring the property with the drafting and recording of a real estate deed. Some real estate transactions have the deed conveyed with the assistance of an attorney, while others do not. An attorney can provide valuable assistance by helping to determine what form of document is appropriate for the transaction, who must sign the deed, how the new owners will hold title, and if there will be any other interests or covenants that must be spelled out.

When conveying a piece of property, the buyer is known as the grantee, and the seller is known as the grantor.

The most form of deed is a warranty deed, also known as a grant deed. It not only transfers ownership, but also warrants that the grantor holds good title to the property.

By contrast, a quitclaim deed transfers ownership of the property, but does not guarantee what that interest is or that the title is in good standing. Quitclaim deeds are most commonly executed in informal transactions between friends and family members, or as part of a divorce proceeding.

Recording Your Deed is the Final Step

Deeds can either be created in joint tenancy or by tenancy in common. Joint tenancy means that when one person passes away, the owner’s share passes automatically to the surviving joint tenants. This is the most common arrangement with a married couple. Tenancy in common means that when a person dies, their share of the property passes down to their heirs or to the appropriate persons named in their will.

None of this becomes legal until the real estate deed, in Arlington or other Texas communities, is recorded. This takes place at an appropriate county office where the property is located. This might be a county recorder’s office, a land registry office, or a register of deeds. It is important to note that an owner’s interests are not fully enacted and protected until the deed is recorded.

The Hixson Law Firm serves clients in Mansfield, Arlington, Grand Prairie and other nearby Texas communities.

johnlaw_admin Jan 24, 2018 Comments (0)

What You Need to Know About Child Custody Issues

When two people divorce and children are involved, the custody of the children become the primary issue as to how a divorce will be settled. Determining child custody is a difficult process, and courts will take many factors into consideration before approving child custody rights.

Best Interests of the Children Come First

Overall, the guiding principle that courts use is putting the best interests of the children above all else. Courts take many factors into consideration when they deliberate on parenting plans, visitation rights, and which parent should receive primary custody. While many things come into play, they are all generally centered around the children’s happiness and security as well as the children’s mental, physical, and emotional well being. As such, some of the more important issues that are considered include:

  • Continuity of schooling
  • Continuity of providing health services
  • Which parent can provide a more stable home environment
  • Cultural considerations
  • Religious considerations
  • The physical and mental health of each parent
  • Childcare issues
  • Transportation issues
  • Pre-existing issues involving domestic violence or child abuse
  • Pre-existing issues involving drug or alcohol abuse
  • Visitation challenges due to scheduling or distance issues

In those cases where a child is old enough to express a preference as to which parent they want to stay with, the courts will also give this primary consideration as well.

If a Child Custody Battle Turns Negative

More often than not, child custody issues can become heated and emotional affairs. When a child custody in Mansfield battle turns ugly, it is not uncommon for one parent or the other to begin fabricating stories or overly accentuate the negatives of a home environment.

One of the biggest challenges a child custody attorney will have is refuting those accusations or completely disproving them. By doing so, they can actually put the other parent in a negative light, working against them in the final determination.

Obviously, the best course of action is to try and find compromise prior to entering court, and that can take place if both parents are in agreement that the children should not be used as pawns in the divorce.

The Hixson Law Firm serves clients in Mansfield, Arlington, Grand Prairie and other nearby Texas communities.

johnlaw_admin Jan 17, 2018 Comments (0)

How You Can Have Child Support Modification Take Place in Texas

At the time that you divorced from your spouse, decisions regarding the welfare of any children from the marriage were made as a part of the settlement. This included approving the parenting plan, determining who has primary custody, visitation, and other issues. One of the more important things that was also decided was how much child support one spouse or the other was required to pay. It was based on a number of factors, including the income of each spouse at the time of the divorce.

If those factors or income levels have changed, you do have the right to ask the court to modify your child support amount or to go through the Office of the Attorney General’s Child Support Review Process to see if a child support modification is possible.

The Modification Review Process

The Office of the Attorney General is the official child support enforcement agency in Texas and has sweeping powers regarding all types of child support issues. The only way child support can be modified is through a court hearing or by negotiating with your ex-spouse as part of the Review Process.

You can either apply online to the Office of the Attorney General, or contact the regional child support office for the county where you live. When you make an application, it establishes the Attorney General’s authority over your case. As a part of the process, you’ll be asked to provide several pieces of information such as previous child support orders, and other related personal information.

There are certain terms that must be met before a child support modification, in Arlington or in other Texas communities, will be considered or granted. It must be at least three years since your last order was put in place and the modification must represent at least a 20 percent or $100 monthly difference from what is currently on the books. An exception to this is when one or the other spouse’s circumstances have changed significantly, such as receiving a large inheritance, winning the lottery, or getting a major promotion and pay raise on the job.

Even if you and your spouse agree that the modification is warranted, it must still be approved by the courts. However, courts will almost always approve the modification if both spouses agree to the terms.

The Hixson Law Firm serves clients in Mansfield, Arlington, Grand Prairie and other nearby Texas communities.

johnlaw_admin Jan 10, 2018 Comments (0)

Don’t Hesitate: Find a Title Disputes Attorney in Arlington Today

Joe had lived in his Arlington neighborhood since he was a child. He had seen people come, and go over the years and watched as his community aged and changed. He was extremely content that he now lived in the home that once belonged to his parents, and he planned on living there for the rest of his life. One day, his neighbor moved out, and a new neighbor moved in. Everything was fine as far as Joe was concerned, as they were a young, friendly couple with a newborn baby in tow. They got to know one another and life was good.

However, that would change for both of them the day the neighbors came over and requested that Joe removes the fence separating a patch of grass that split both of their driveways. The husband was interested in renovating the driveway and extending the surface area out to what he claimed was his portion of the land that was there. Joe found this to be absurd since the fence not only split the patch evenly down the middle but more so because it was a fence with sentimental value – he and his father had built and painted it several years back. He was not so convinced to allow his new neighbor to go through with his project, and they both soon found themselves embroiled in a title dispute.

Joe made a quick and efficient decision: he hired himself a qualified and experienced dirt attorney. In the real estate industry, dirt lawyers is the name given to lawyers who obtain government approvals and deal with land use. At the Hixson Law Firm, we can get down to the details and use information from the deed, property survey, county recorder’s office, and assessor’s office to determine the fine details of who owns what parts of a property. If you need a title disputes attorney in Arlington, TX, then contact us today!

johnlaw_admin Mar 03, 2016 Comments (0)

Get It Right With a Real Estate Lawyer in Arlington

Mary and Tom have been saving up for several years to purchase the home of their dreams. They have recently come across a few areas that have the types of homes and communities that they would love to integrate themselves and their future family into. However,  now that the time has come to open up their search, they find that they are a bit reluctant. They have several friends and family members who are openly supportive of their decision to jump into home-buying, but not without being hesitant to refer any real estate agents. Mary and Tom did not understand why they weren’t getting recommendations, but the reason soon became apparent.

While there are plenty of great real estate agents who love helping people find and purchase (or sell) their dream homes, there are times when agents are under-qualified or partake in dubious practices. This is, after all, a lot of money that goes through on these transactions, emotions run high, and the potential for exploitation does exist. While friends and family might have been reluctant to recommend real estate agents, they did recommend seeking the help of a real estate lawyer in Arlington that could help ensure that all the ins and outs of the real estate process were clear, defined, and legitimate.

If you are planning on buying a home in the great city of Arlington, Texas, then you are already on your way to making one of the best decisions you could make in your life! To ensure that this enormous step of purchasing a home (in one of the state’s finest cities!) is done correctly and securely, you should enlist the guidance of a qualified and experienced real estate lawyer.

The Hixson Law Firm has a proud history of helping clients settle all sorts of issues revolving around the topic of real estate, from the preparation of the deeds to litigation to remove the title to real property and other probate matters. Our services are available throughout Texas, including Arlington, Grand Prairie, and Mansfield.

johnlaw_admin Feb 25, 2016 Comments (0)

Finding a Probate Lawyer to Help Families Find Closure in Arlington

A wealthy resident recently left her family of 25 behind. She had multiple children and grandchildren who all looked up to her and treated one another relatively well. However, when the grief of her passing had settled, and the family moved into probate proceedings, something changed. They found that they were constantly bickering and trying to argue over who deserved more or less of their beloved grandmother’s estate. For a lack of better words, it tore their family apart. A probate lawyer stepped in and helped resolve the matter, which came as a great relief in the end because an otherwise loving and connected family could have crumbled at the crevices that were starting to form around this probate issue.

The city of Arlington, Texas, is like all other cities in this great nation and around the world. Eventually, at some point, all of the residents reach the end of their lives and families are left with not only grieving but resolving the matter of who receives the property and settles the estate of the deceased. For issues such as these, probate lawyers step in and serve as legal representatives who can help bring closure as disputes about inheritors and inheritances may cause more sorrow.

Probate lawyers help people arrange, draft and confirm their wills to prevent families from having to tackle an uphill battle once they move on. They also help set up powers of attorney, trusts, affidavits of heirship, and much more. The main takeaway, however, is that they will offer a rock of support to help contextualize the ins and outs of pending disputes over heirship or inheritance, and allow you the peace of mind to accurately define and close out these types of matters.

At the Hixson Law Firm, we specialize in helping families either prepare or respond to the ever-untimely circumstances that orbit around a death. As a probate lawyer in Arlington, TX, you will also find our services available in Grand Prairie and Mansfield.

johnlaw_admin Feb 18, 2016 Comments (0)

The Time Has Come to Find a Divorce Attorney in Arlington, TX

Brian and Amy Moorehouse have lived in Arlington for 17 years. For 12 of those years, they have been married. However, over the past couple years, they started to notice significant changes in the quality of their lives. As children came into the picture, careers grew more demanding, and school responsibilities increased, so did temperaments and the amounts of fights. Family time was often marred by bickering that could easily fester up into full out verbal disputes. At some point, they even started losing their temper with their children and involving them in fights that should have had nothing to do with them. Even then, Brian and Amy both could agree that they were doing things wrong. Ideally, they wanted to try and fix things and make the marriage work. However, after some trial, error, and repeated disputes, they finally made the decision to contact their own divorce attorneys and go through the formal process of filing for a divorce.

Look, it is hard. It is one of the most difficult decisions people will ever have to come to. This break can lead to even more fighting during the process of divorce. Often, separating couples do not agree on the various issues that come up, such as alimony, child support, custody, and visitation rights.

If you need a divorce attorney in Arlington, then contact the Hixson Law Firm today. With over 30 years of experience working with clients who are going through a divorce, we have the knowledge and experience necessary to help our clients navigate through the emotional and often complex process of settling the various issues that are pertinent to divorce proceedings. If the time has come for you and your partner to seek a divorce, it is highly recommended that you find someone with our level of experience to help you fight for your best interests!

johnlaw_admin Feb 11, 2016 Comments (0)

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