Summary Judgement

What Is A Motion For Summary Judgment And When Is It Used In Family Law Cases?

Motions for Summary Judgment in Texas are requests that a court rules on a case even if the case hasn’t been to trial. The benefit of Summary Judgments is that they save clients a ton of money, especially in civil litigation outside of family law cases. In the family law arena in Texas, their usage is fairly restricted to parentage cases where one party disputes which father belongs to the child. In these cases, a motion for summary judgement is brought to have the court order or “declare” that the father is, indeed, the father. This usually occurs after a DNA test of both the child and the father. These motions are rarely contested, however, it does happen on occasion. Usually, if DNA is disputed by the mother, she has to get someone else declared the father.  If the father is disputing the DNA, he probably has something mentally wrong with him or a serious need to try to avoid child support at all costs.Summary Judgment opportunities arise when there is “no genuine issue of material fact.” What this means is that there is no real basis for the parties to disagree on what the facts in the case are. In civil litigation cases, this isn’t always true, which means that one party does dispute the facts.

When that happens, the moving party usually tries to claim that the fact that the responding party is disputing isn’t “material.” Once the triggering point is met, then the moving party is entitled to “judgment as a matter of law.” Which usually means that they should win.

Moving back to family law cases, we would see such motions when paternity has been established, and we want the court to order Mr. X is the father. Outside of those limited circumstances, motions for summary judgments are fairly rare in family law cases. To learn more, contact Engel Law Group, P.S. by email or call us at 214-915-2205