When you’re not an attorney, courtroom jargon can be confusing. However, a basic understanding of legal terms can go a long way. Getting yourself familiar with even the basic courtroom/divorce jargon can help you understand what seems incomprehensible at first. Below are a few common terms you may hear regarding your Texas divorce case:
Rule 11 Agreements. These agreements were named after Rule 11 of the rules of civil procedure. These are simply written and filed agreements between the parties. While parties can agree on many issues, rule 11 agreements are often used to agree on basic preliminary terms or to focus on the essentials of more broad issues in dispute.
Irrevocable Settlement Agreement. This type of informal agreement is made between the parties to settle the case without going to trial. It details the terms of the divorce, asset and property division, and other crucial divorce issues. While rule 11 agreements can be revoked, irrevocable settlement agreements are the opposite. When a court agrees to the terms and division in such an agreement, chances are it will carry over into the final divorce decree.
Discovery. The discovery phase is governed by the rules of civil procedure. It refers to the process through which each party involved in the divorce has the right to secure significant documents and materials that are relevant to the suit from the other party. Many documents and materials are subject to a discovery, unless a party objects to turning out a particular material or claims that some materials are “non-discoverable” because of a privilege such as attorney-client privilege or work-product privilege.
Mediation. This procedure happens in a pre-trial setting whereby a neutral third-party or “mediator” aims to help parties come to an agreement on the terms in a settlement, avoiding running up trial costs. While courts usually require a mediation before a trial, not all mediation successfully ends in a settlement. When parties cannot agree on the terms of a settlement, they can decide to go to trial.
Binding Arbitration. This is almost the same as mediation. The difference is that the parties agree to involve a third-party arbitrator or a court appoints one. The third-party arbitrator has the power to hear regarding deliberation of evidence, decide on the facts presented, and at times could order legally binding decisions on the party, similar to a court order. It is a fairly basic procedure to settle issues on dispute without a trial and with the court sometimes ordering one.
Having a basic understanding of the divorce language and proceedings is helpful, but it is not enough for you to represent yourself in your divorce case. You will greatly benefit from having an experienced divorce attorney represent you and guide you through the process. Get started today by scheduling your consultation with one of our divorce attorneys.