For the majority of divorce cases and child custody matters in Texas, the judge will listen to arguments and make a decision on the case. Otherwise known as bench trials, these are the norm, but are divorces tried by a jury in Texas?
While jury trials are uncommon for family law cases they are allowed in limited situations. Depending on the facts of your case and the issues at hand, it may be in your best interest to have a jury hear your case instead of just a family court judge.
To learn more about when a jury trial is allowed in Texas divorce and child custody cases, speak with an experienced family law attorney in Austin at the Law Offices of Ben Carrasco today.
How Does a Jury Trial Happen?
A jury trial occurs in a Texas divorce or family law case when one party requests that the particular issue be heard in front of a jury and not a judge. However, the issue must fall under one of the categories that a jury is allowed to hear, as some issues can only be decided by a judge in a family law case.
An experienced family law attorney will be able to review the matters at issue and advise you as to whether they qualify for a divorce by jury in front of a jury of your peers.
What Family Law Issues Can Be Heard
The family law issues that can be heard in front of a jury can be broken into three distinct categories: child-related matters, property division issues, and issues related to marriage.
Child-related matters include whether a person can be named sole managing conservator, joint managing conservator, or possessory conservator.
A joint conservator can determine the child’s primary residence, whether the child’s residence will be restricted geographically, and on the issue of the termination of parental rights. A child custody jury can also be called in matters pertaining to this issue in Texas.
Property division issues in a divorce case can also be heard by a jury. These matters include the determination of whether something is separate or marital property, the value of specific property, and the validity and enforceability of a premarital or postmarital agreement.
Finally, a jury can also rule on miscellaneous issues pertaining to marriage and divorce, including whether a couple is considered common law married, if one spouse is at fault in a divorce, issues of annulment, and attorneys’ fees.
What Family Law Issues Cannot Be Heard
However, there are some issues in family court that cannot be heard by a jury and must be argued in front of a judge.
These issues include matters pertaining to a visitation schedule, child support, parental decision making powers, division of community property, alimony, adoption, paternity, and enforcing the terms of a prior order.
Call or Contact Our Office Now
Requesting and preparing for a jury trial in a family law case is significantly different than arguing your issues in front of a judge, so it is critical if you would like a jury trial in your family law case that you retain the best family law attorney to represent your interests.
Call the office or contact us today in Austin at the Law Office of Ben Carrasco to speak with a knowledgeable attorney about your case today.