Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Questions that are commonly asked by people interested in CAP.
What is a CAP Participant?
A “CAP Participant” is a person who is currently in the CAP program. CAP participation is at the sole discretion of the CAP Administrator.
What is a CAP Attorney?
A “CAP Attorney” is an attorney appointed to represent or assist a person during a CAP hearing. A CAP Attorney’s service is very limited in scope. The CAP Attorney begins when the hearing begins and ends when the hearing ends. A CAP Attorney does not represent a person in the traditional sense, where in the traditional sense an attorney often provides a much broader scope of service. The CAP Attorney may or may not be the same attorney you consult with at America Family Law Center.
What is a CAP Hearing?
A “CAP Hearing” is a hearing on a CAP qualified situation where a CAP Attorney either represents or assists a CAP Participant.
What is a CAP qualified situation?
A CAP qualified situation is a situation that qualifies for CAP services. At any time a situation that is a CAP qualified situation may become disqualified for any number of reasons. This determination is made by the CAP Administrator.
When do CAP services begin and end?
CAP services may begin as soon as America Family Law Center determines that you may have a CAP qualified situation. CAP services typically continue until your situation is resolved, you have final orders entered by the court, or for some reason you were no longer qualified for CAP.
What counties qualify for CAP?
Your case must be in one of the following Texas counties to be considered for CAP: Harris, Montgomery, Fort Bend, Galveston, Brazoria, Liberty, Waller, Chambers. However, being in one of these counties does not mean that your case will be qualified for CAP.
Who is the CAP Administrator?
How does CAP work?
CAP Participants receive services from America Family Law Center in the same manner as any typical client of America Family Law Center. This service includes working with one or more attorneys to evaluate and strategize their case, review existing orders, help the client understand what the orders say, ensure that the existing orders are enforceable, attempt to resolve the case without a court hearing, work to get well-documented and enforceable violations, and prepare the case for a hearing should a hearing be necessary.
It is imperative that the CAP Participant works on their case as directed by the attorney or others. No one should be more motivated to work on a person’s case than the person who is being wronged – and in these situations, it is also the parent ro guardian who is being denied access to their child.
What is expected of me?
Actively work on your case and follow the direction and advice of the attorneys at America Family Law Center.
How do I qualify for CAP?
Your income must not exceed 200% of the poverty level according to the U.S. Census Bureau poverty thresholds. You must have an issue involving denial of possession and access (i.e. visitation) of a child. You must have an enforceable court order. You must be willing to actively work your case and follow the advice and guidance of attorneys.
These are the primary qualifications, other qualifications and requirements apply.
Who determines if I qualify for CAP?
The CAP Administrator, America Family Law Center, has sole discretion to determine who does and who does not qualify for CAP. However, there are guidelines and restrictions that the Administrator must comply with in making this determination.
Once in CAP, do I remain in CAP?
No. At any time the CAP Administrator, America Family Law Center, may determine that you are no longer qualified for CAP.
Once in, can I get disqualified from CAP?
Once qualified for CAP, either the person or their situation can, at any time, become disqualified. Some reasons for being disqualified may include, but are not limited to:
- it is learned that a person’s income is greater than the maximum allowed for the program,
- a person does not have legally enforceable orders,
- a person fails to actively work with America Family Law Center, as directed or advised, to attempt to resolve and progress their case prior to a hearing,
- a person fails to get the court order violations documented in a manner that satisfies the requirements for court enforcement,
- a person fails to file their legal documents,
- fails to have the opposing party served,
- fails to appear for a hearing,
- a person has other litigation that would conflict with CAP, or
- a person wants to pursue the enforcement for vindictive reasons or other reasons deemed inappropriate for CAP.
Do I get my own attorney?
No, not in the traditional sense of having an attorney represent you in our case. However, with CAP an attorney will represent or assist you during a court hearing. The CAP attorney’s service is intended to begin when the CAP hearing begins and ends when the CAP hearing ends. The CAP Attorney may or may not be the same attorney you consult with at America Family Law Center.
Do I get a Pro Bono attorney?
No. The term “Pro Bono attorney” is often a myth or is misused. Sometimes an attorney may take a case at no charge, or pro bono. CAP attorneys are paid, they are paid with CAP funds and not by the client – thus making the CAP attorney free to the client.
Will an attorney represent me?
No, not in the traditional sense of having an attorney represent you in our case. However, with CAP an attorney will represent you during a court hearing. The CAP attorney’s representation is intended to begin when the CAP hearing begins and ends when the CAP hearing ends.
When will I get an attorney?
First, you do not “get” an attorney. When you near your court hearing, an attorney will be assigned to appear with you at your hearing. Typically, the attorney will require you to visit with them for a consultation sometime before the day of your hearing.
What if I need an attorney to represent me?
If you need an attorney to represent you in the traditional sense, we would refer you to the Texas Lawyer Referral Service (TxLRS.org). TxLRS has may lawyers and resource to help those in need. However, hiring a lawyer referred to you through TxLRS will likely not be free to you as is the case through CAP. Any such fees are between you and the TxLRS lawyer.
Do I need court orders to use CAP?
Yes. You must already have court orders for possession and access (i.e. visitation) of a child. Without a court order, there cannot be court order violations. CAP assists with enforcement of court order violations.
Do I need to have a copy my court orders?
Yes. Regardless of CAP, you should have a copy of your court orders. Be sure your papers are signed by a Judge. If they are not signed by a Judge, they are not court orders, they are merely paper with print on them. Many parents and guardians keep a copy of their signed court orders in their car so that if they have an incident exchanging their child or any other type of incident, they can quickly and easily produce a copy of their signed court orders.
How do I get a copy my court orders?
Go to the District Clerk’s Office in the county of your case, typically at the courthouse. You can typically request to look at your court file and get a copy of any document in the file. They may charge you a fee for making a copy. Click here for a list of District Clerk Offices and their addresses in and around Harris County, Texas.
Will CAP help with other types of cases?
No. Currently, CAP is only authorized to assist with enforcement of court order violations for possession and access (i.e. visitation) of a child. However, CAP may expand to other types of cases in the future.
What if I have more than one case?
If both cases are qualified for CAP then you may get assistance with both situations. However, if one of the of the cases does not qualify for CAP then the attorney would only be assisting you on the CAP qualified case.
Will I need to go to court?
Yes. If there is going to be a court hearing in your case, you will be required to be there. This is also a requirement for CAP participation.
Can I go to court without documented violations?
Yes, you may go to court on your own, but having well-documented violations is a requirement of CAP. CAP never prohibits someone from going to court on their own or to pursue their own desired actions. However, to receive the benefits of CAP you must comply with CAP requirements.
Going to court on an enforcement without being prepared and having well-documented violations may put the petitioner in jeopardy of having their case thrown out or possibly even being sanctioned by the judge.
How do I document violations?
Before going to court on an enforcement, it is important to have the violations well documented. With most enforcements for visitation and access, as the non-custodial parent, it is important to be able to prove, with solid documentation, that you were at the exchange location, on the date and at the time specified in your court orders. Click here for a more detailed explanation on how to document possession and access violations.
Will I need legal documents?
If you are going to have a court hearing, then Yes. A person typically must file a legal document to get a court hearing and to describe what is is they are asking the court to do.
How do I get legal documents?
America Family Law Center can refer you to resources to help you with legal documents. Such resources may include a law firm, law library, or online forms. If you use online forms, be sure they are proper and approved by the state, such as those at TexasLawHelp.org. As part of your client services at America Family Law Center, it is advisable that you review your documents or forms with an attorney.
Will I need to have the other party served?
Typically, it is required to have the other party served to pursue and enforcement. Each case and situation may vary, so please consult an attorney regarding your specific case or situation. As part of your client services at America Family Law Center, the attorneys will review your case and advise you on what needs to be done.
What is Service of Process?
Service of Process is the process legally required to have an opposing party in a case served, or given notice, that you are suing them. Laws generally don’t allow you to sue someone without providing them with legal notice that you are suing them, or how would they be able to defend themselves? Click here for a more detailed explanation of service of process and ways to have people served. As part of your client services at America Family Law Center, you should ask an attorney your questions about Service of Process when you consult with the attorney.
How do I get someone served?
America Family Law Center can refer you to resources who can serve the opposing party. People authorized to perform Process of Service must be licensed by the state and typically charge a fee for their service. Each process server may charge a different fee. Licensed process servers typically include Constables, Sheriff Deputies, and private process servers.
Who gets attorney’s fees?
If attorney’s fees are awarded, any such fees shall be payable to the CAP Administrator and shall go back to fund CAP operations. Some cases may not be eligible for attorney’s fees.