Do you have a right to a jury trial in a Texas divorce?

Many clients have questions about whether a jury will decide their family law case. In Texas, the Family Code limits the issues that a jury can hear. Jury trials are relatively uncommon in family law cases, and generally, a judge will decide all issues.

A jury trial must be requested by one of the parties.  The following issues are issues that a jury may hear, if either party requests. 

Child-Related Jury Issues

  • Whether a person is 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
  • Whether the child’s residence will be subject to a geographic restriction, and if so, what the restriction will be
  • Termination of parental rights

Property Division Jury Issues

  • Whether property is separate property or community property
  • The value of property
  • Whether a spouse is entitled to a reimbursement claim
  • Validity and enforceability of premarital or postmarital agreements

Jury Issues Relating to the Marriage

  • Whether the parties are common-law married (informal marriage)
  • If a party is at fault in the divorce (compared to a “no-fault” divorce)
  • Annulment
  • Attorney’s fees

A judge, not a jury, will decide the following issues:

  • Visitation schedule
  • Child support
  • Parental decision-making powers
  • Division of community property
  • Spousal maintenance (alimony)
  • Adoption
  • Paternity
  • Enforcing the terms of a prior order

Published by

Emily Miskel

Judge Emily Miskel was appointed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott as the first judge of the 470th family district court of Collin County, Texas. She graduated from Stanford University and Harvard Law School and she is board certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Find Emily on Google+, Facebook, and other social media.

Leave a Reply