COMMON QUESTIONS

The following are questions frequently asked by persons at the beginning of divorce litigation. The answers provided are general. You should ask your attorney to discuss the specifics of your case.

WHEN CAN I BEGIN TO DATE?

Not until the divorce is final. Adultery is a ground for the granting of a divorce based upon fault. Your legal status as a married person does not change until a divorce is granted. Although some judges are lenient regarding dating while a divorce is pending, you should be cautious about taking this risk. The fact that your spouse may be dating should not be an excuse or justification for your conduct. You need to wear the “white hat.” If you do decide to date, you should know that it may negatively impact your child custody dispute. In no event should you introduce the children to your dates. No community funds should be spent for the entertainment of third parties.

HOW DO I GET A "LEGAL SEPARATION"?

There is no such thing as a "legal separation" under Texas law. Even though temporary orders may be entered by the court, they are not to be construed as a legal separation.

CAN I OPEN MY SPOUSES MAIL?

No, if you receive any mail addressed solely to your spouse, it should be forwarded to him or to her by you or through your attorney.

SHOULD I CLOSE BANK ACCOUNTS AND/OR CREDIT ACCOUNTS?

If you have been served with a Temporary Restraining Order, you will be prohibited from closing accounts. If you have not, you are free to close the accounts. However, you should consider the possible consequences. Closing an account without notice to your spouse may cause unnecessary embarrassment. It may also increase hostility and mistrust.

If your spouse is likely to spend or hide money in an account or run up large balances on a credit card, it may be a wise decision. If you close bank accounts, you should not spend the funds. The best plan is to deposit all the funds from the closed account into a new account, solely in your name, so that you can fully account for the transaction later.

CAN I RECORD TELEPHONE CONVERSATIONS?

It is lawful to tape record a conversation as long as one party to the conversation consents to the recording. Therefore, you may record a conversation between yourself and another person. You may NOT secretly install a recording device so as to intercept conversations between others. To do so is a felony. This is known as wiretapping and it can subject you to criminal prosecution. The whole issue of recording telephone conversations is very sensitive. You should carefully discuss it with your attorney. You may record a conversation you have with any other person, so long as you are a party to the conversation. If a recording you have made is to be used at trial, it is required that the conversation be recorded from the first ring until the conversation is concluded and you have hung up the phone. Partial recordings are not admissible.

CAN A WITNESS TESTIFY BY AFFIDAVIT?

No, except in very limited circumstances relating to business records. Generally, testimony must be given in person at the time of trial or by pre-trial deposition. This gives each side the opportunity to examine and cross-examine the witness.

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