Jury Trial Or Bench Trial

Some clients think they would like a jury to make the decisions in their family law trial. But jury trials are not always an option family law cases, and a judge will decide some of the contested issues anyway – jury or not. This is because the Texas Family Code limits the issues that a jury can and cannot decide.

A jury may decide the following:

· Whether a common-law marriage exists

· Fault in the breakup of the marriage

· Attorney’s fees

· Which parent will be appointed sole managing conservator, joint managing conservator, or possessory conservator

· Which joint managing conservator has the exclusive right to designate a child’s primary residence

· Termination of parental rights

· Whether property is separate property or community property

· The value of property

· Reimbursement claims

A jury may not decide the following issues:

· Visitation schedule

· Child support

· Parental rights and duties

· Division of community property

· Spousal maintenance

· Adoption

· Paternity

· Enforcement of a prior order

A family lawyer can help you decide if a jury trial is right – or even an option - for your case.