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What is a Rule 11 Agreement in a Divorce or Custody Case in Texas?

If you are going through a divorce or custody case, you may have heard your attorney refer to a “Rule 11 Agreement.” In Texas, Rule 11 agreements are common in divorce, child custody, and other family law cases. But what is it and when might you need one? In this blog post, we will break it down for you and answer some frequently asked questions. But first, please take a moment to watch this video by family law attorney Turner Thornton.


What is a Rule 11 Agreement in a Divorce or Custody Case in Texas?

A Rule 11 agreement is basically a settlement agreement made outside of court. Rule 11 agreements are made between the attorneys of both parties, written up, signed by both parties, and then filed with the court or read in open court into the record. It is not uncommon, for example, for lawyers to draft and sign a Rule 11 agreement in the hallway of the courthouse after reaching an agreement on an issue, such as child visitation schedules. Rule 11 agreements are binding and essentially have the effect of a court order, although it is not a court order.

Why is it called a Rule 11?

It is called a Rule 11 agreement because it refers to Rule No. 11 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, which is titled “Agreements to Be in Writing.” The Texas Rules of Civil Procedure contain the rules that must be followed in civil court cases, which include family law cases such as divorce and child custody.

What kind of issues can Rule 11 agreements resolve?

Rule 11 agreements can be used to resolve a variety of issues in divorce and custody cases, including:

– child visitation schedules
– child support payment amounts
– property division
– debt division
– alimony/spousal support
– medical insurance

For example, let’s say that dad works weekends and he would like to change the visitation schedule so that he has the kids during the week instead of on weekends. Mom initially does not want to agree to this change, but after some negotiation between the attorneys, they are able to reach an agreement that is acceptable to both parties. The attorneys would then draft a Rule 11 agreement regarding the new visitation schedule, sign it, and file it with the court.

What else can Rule 11 agreements be used for?

In family law, Rule 11 agreements are also often used to extend deadlines for taking certain actions in the case. For example, if the parties need more time to gather discovery, they may enter into a this type of agreement to extend the deadline.

What are the pros of a Rule 11 agreement?

The biggest benefit to this type of agreement is that it eliminates the need for court involvement. They allow the parties to resolve issues without going to court and having a hearing. It can be a very cost-effective way to resolve issues, since it saves on attorney fees and court costs.

What are the drawbacks of a Rule 11 agreement?

While this type of agreement can be advantageous, it can have drawbacks. Some people don’t take Rule 11 agreements seriously and don’t hold up their end of the agreement. Disputes also sometimes arise as to the meaning or interpretation of a Rule 11 agreement.

Need help with a divorce or family law case? Contact Us.

The attorneys at Varghese Summersett Family Law Group are skilled in all aspects of family law, including divorce, child custody and support, and property division. We have successfully guided hundreds of individuals and families through emotionally-charged issues. We can help you, too. Contact us today at 817-900-3220 to schedule a consultation.

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