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Divorce Basics, Part Two


What is a Rule 11 Agreement?

A Rule 11 agreement is an agreement between the parties in the case about an issue or something else in the case that is written down, signed, and then filed in the case.  It is called a Rule 11 agreement because that is the civil procedure rule that has the particulars about agreements and writing them down in the civil procedure rules. The civil procedure rules are the rules that apply to lawyers and anyone else who appears on a case.

Hearing v. Trial?

The word hearing is usually used to talk about a proceeding before a judge that happens during an ongoing case about a question while the case is happening. A motion may have been filed that asks the judge to decide an issue that the attorneys or parties can’t agree on between themselves.

The word trial usually means the final trial of the case to decide the main questions and issues of the case. It could be a trial where the judge answers the questions and decides. That is called a bench trial or trial to the bench. Or it could be a jury trial where most of the issues are decided by jury.

Custody & Conservatorship

Custody is a word used mostly by people going through divorce and not usually by lawyers.  It doesn’t seem to always be used to mean the same thing and generally covers the ideas of possession schedule, who has the kids most of the time or who can say the kids live at their house. I think it might be because of TV and movies but I don’t know.  In Texas, conservatorship is the word we use for the type of roles each parent will have and their names or titles. And the right s and duties follow thattitle.  For instance, in Texas you will hear joint managing conservator, sole managing conservator and possessory conservator.

You’ve Been Served

Being served sounds so much more dramatic than it usually is.  But, it does mean that when a lawsuit is brought against you have the right to know about it. The way that you find out and get notice that you are involved in a lawsuit is by service of that notice. Service can happen several ways but usually when people talk about being served they mean being personally handed the documents with the notice.


Knowledge and understanding divorce basics is a good step towards making the best decisions you can make in your divorce.  For more information see Divorce Basics Step by Step.  And, find a good, experienced lawyer to help with your divorce.


Jill O’Connell, 940-497-5454