I have been practicing family law in central Texas for more than 15 years. After hundreds and hundreds of divorce cases, Patricia L. Brown & Associates have experienced an incredible variety of cases. While there are similarities and important learnings in each one, each new case does indeed present a unique set of circumstances. To prevail, we call first upon our significant experience base, and then our creativity which is always needed to adapt our experience to each of those unique situations. Some issues are significant and dramatic, with significant ramifications. But when a divorce becomes contentious, especially one involving violence, every issue, no matter how minor, has the potential to become a major obstacle, if not managed carefully.
In one case late in 2013, the parties separated due to a family violence incident, and a divorce was filed immediately thereafter. The husband, who had moved out of the family residence, requested a "walk-through" of the marital residence in order to photograph and inventory the household furnishings and items which remained in the marital residence. The wife refused to permit this, proposing instead that she would provide him with an inventory of the items in the home. From this inventory, she proposed, he could select those items he desired. The husband refused to accept this proposal. Having reached an impasse over this relatively minor issue ultimately required a hearing on this single issue in the 425th court in Williamson County. Court ruled that the husband could indeed have a walk-through the marital home, accompanied by an escort from the wife's family. Additionally, he was permitted to take photographs and notes, but that he could not physically remove anything, nor go into the wife's personal areas, such as her dresser drawers.
This is a resolution that could have been reached by the parties or their attorneys, thus avoiding a court hearing. It would have saved time and the considerable expense of a court hearing and hours of attorney time. Couples wishing to expedite their divorce as inexpensively as possible, which is our goal as well, should take note of this lesson.