In times of family turmoil, trust our expertise, focus and compassion to guide you in the right direction.
Law Office of Carol A. Wilson, PLLC
About Attorney Carol A. Wilson
As I reflect on 25 years of my own law firm and 34 years practicing law it is amazing how each experience has built one upon the other. It has been my goal since junior high school to be a trial lawyer. I have always been an avid reader of history, and the history books I read taught me that many of the people who influenced events for the better were lawyers. Since opening my own law firm November 1, 1995, I have chosen to welcome people of all races, creeds, and sexual identity and do my best to treat my clients as I would want to be treated given their facts and the law. Years ago, when I met Stanley Marcus, he told me to “Practice the Golden Rule – there is none better!” I have taken his advice to heart and use it with every client considering that client’s facts and Texas law.
I recognize that my clients are going through difficult times – issues causing divorce, and disputes involving child custody and child support are inherently emotionally charged and stressful for those living through them and for their families. I advocate for my client’s and their children’s best interests while minimizing the disruptions that can occur during these stressful situations. For almost 35 years, I have litigated and tried complex divorce, property division, and child custody cases.
I knew it would be a big commitment to go to law school. I did not have any family members or friends whom I could ask about the practice of law. Therefore I took every law related internship opportunity available to me to see if being a lawyer really was what I wanted to do. I liked each facet of the practice of law to which those internships exposed me. After graduating college in 3 years, I worked a year for a United States Senator in Washington D.C. and waitressed at night to save money to pay my living expenses during law school the next year. That year was valuable on my path toward law school.
When I arrived in Dallas in the fall of 1982 to attend law school at SMU, I had never been to Texas, did not have a car and lived in the law student dorm on the Quad at SMU. During my second and third years of law school I clerked for a family law boutique firm. It was there that I first heard about Board Certification in Family Law and came to understand that was the next goal after passing the Bar for skilled family law lawyers in Texas. It was also there that I began enjoying family law work. I realized family law involves many evidentiary hearings and trials. Family law is always interesting and allows me to help people, even during some of the most emotionally stressful times of their lives.
While all of that exposure to the law, my coursework and life experiences were valuable, law school was still very difficult. It took perseverance and determination to meet my goal to graduate law school, pass the bar and become a trial lawyer.
Like all young lawyers, some of my early jobs were filled with educational experiences I did not want to repeat. Nevertheless, the attorneys in my family law clerkship encouraged me to take the opportunity to work with a highly experienced Board Certified trial lawyer. From him I learned all the things law school did not teach me. There were three maxims he taught that I continue to live by: 1) If you are prepared and the law and the evidence are in your favor either you will do well in court or your opponent will settle because they do not want to deal with you; 2) Know how to do what you are asking your subordinates to do; and 3) Don’t panic over the problem, find a solution to the problem.
In 1995, I opened my own office on my 35th birthday. It was never my goal to own my law firm. I was a history major and never had a business class in my life. I began my “business education” by reading books written by Carl Sewell and Stanley Marcus. Other books, seminars and friends added to that education over the years. Customer service, treating my clients as I would want to be treated in the same circumstances and continued goal setting were some of the lessons I learned.
I was very fortunate with my first office. I sublet a full-size office that had been used for storage in a very nice building on Turtle Creek Boulevard. The landlord said if I moved the boxes into his storage facility, I could have the furniture that was in the room. The rent was $500 per month, the furniture was beautiful, and I still use all of it today. Later on, that same landlord allowed me to use his highly experienced legal assistant by the hour when she was not busy with his work. Without the financial stress of paying a staff person full time I had a highly experienced and wise legal assistant able to proof my work, create necessary closing documents and help prepare for hearings and trials. Her assistance and experience added greatly to my practice in a manner I could afford.
Shortly after I opened my own office, I was asked to write the civil evidence case summary of the prior year’s cases for the Texas Tech Law Review. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to have a published law review article as I had not been on law review at SMU. Publishing a law review article gave me a bit more credibility as a lawyer, especially as I was establishing my own law firm.
In 2008 I was nominated by a friend to join the Annette Stewart Inns of Court. With that group I traveled to Washington D.C. to be sworn in to the United States Supreme Court Bar in April 2016. Although I had attended several Supreme Court arguments in prior years, it was an affirming experience to realize that I had indeed reached my childhood goal of being a lawyer, am living the life of a trial lawyer and could now argue a case before the United States Supreme Court. Our daughter was able to make the trip with me and I was thrilled to share that moment with her.
In 2020 I was pleased begin a formal Of Counsel relationship with Siebman Forrest Burg & Smith, LLP. Clyde M. Siebman and I joined forces to turn our long-standing friendship, beginning as law school classmates at SMU, into a mutual business partnership, benefiting the clients of both firms in the courtroom and in dispute resolution. In effect, a powerful one-two punch can be leveraged on our clients’ behalf involving civil litigation and intellectual property cases along with community property issues, marital agreements, divorces and custody cases.
Over the years I have learned that having my Board Certification in Family Law positively effected my professional career by enhancing my credibility and reputation in family law and indicated to others that I had the experience to tackle complicated cases. All of which are valuable both inside and outside the courtroom. I look forward to serving my clients for the next 10 years.
If you need to consult with a Family Law attorney, you can contact us at 214-303-0142, or contact us online.
Attorney Carol Wilson’s Approach
Attorney Carol Wilson believes that quality legal representation means using the Golden Rule with clients: treat your clients as you would want to be treated.
She advocates tirelessly for her client’s and the children’s best interests and strives to minimize the disruptions that can occur in inherently emotionally charged situations. With over 30 years of experience, Carol knows that moving the case forward toward a thorough resolution is usually best for her clients. Virtually all cases in North Texas will go to Mediation before a final trial is necessary. Carol has learned to use Mediation to achieve positive outcomes for her clients. Mediation is more productive as it allows the parties to choose the outcome they are willing to live with as opposed to a judge imposed decision, and is usually less time, money and emotionally costly. However, if mediation does not work, Carol is a highly skilled trial lawyer and has been recognized by her peers for her expertise and ability to deliver results. She believes that part of her job is to educate clients regarding the law and what it rightfully provides with their facts, as well as to help them avoid the problems common in emotionally stressful circumstances.
Carol’s vast network includes forensic certified public accountants, specialists in other legal fields such as oil & gas, real estate, tax and appellate. These experts can be called upon to bring a case to successful conclusion when Carol’s clients’ facts involve a distinct area of the law. Carol knows that the legal system cannot solve all of her client’s problems and takes care to advise them of the likelihood of achieving their goals based on their evidence and the relevant law. She connects them with experts that can assist them in finding solutions to non-legal issues they may have.
Above all Carol believes in responding to her clients;
- Promptly and with care
- Advocating the client’s interests
- Emphasizing the child’s best interest
- With common sense as well as legal knowledge
- With cost effective solutions
A Former Client
A Former Client
A Former Client
A Former Co-Counsel
A recent client, P.K.
Carol has been a guest speaker two years in a row to my mentee group of high school students from the DISD Law Magnet. She was one of the students' absolute favorites after a presentation in which she made complex issues of family and Constitutional law accessible and relevant. I routinely refer family law cases and questions to Carol.
Patty Nolan, Attorney, Arbitrator, Mediator in complex civil litigation
A Satisfied Client
An Experienced Real Estate Attorney
A Former Client
L. M., Opposing Counsel
Karl Schafer-Junger, Keller-Williams Realtor
A Former Client
Michael, Former Client
M.T., Former Client
M.M., Former Client
Ellen B., Former Client
CLR, Former CLient and Attorney
Family Law Services
Few situations in life are as traumatic, painful and disruptive as a divorce. And even though each divorce has its own set of unique circumstances, disputes involving children or high net worth assets are inherently emotionally charged and stressful for those living through them and for their families.
At the Law of Office of Carol A. Wilson, PLLC, we understand that tensions run high and are aware of the difficulties and complications that arise during these emotional times. As a result, we support and work through these emotionally charged situations alongside you to maintain focus on your best interests and to achieve the best possible solution for you.
Above all, we believe that quality legal representation means using the Golden Rule with every client: Treat your clients as you would want to be treated if you had that client’s facts. Further, we will handle your divorce case in the most non-intrusive manner possible while providing recommendations that are in your best interest. We will consult with you to discuss your legal rights and options and to review issues that may apply to you, such as:
Child Custody and Visitation – We can help protect your parental rights and parenting time with your children. ;
Asset Valuation – We can help you to identify and value the assets which can include businesses, real estate, pensions, art and other personal belongings
Property Division – We can assist you to identify community vs separate property and help you to achieve a fair and equitable division of the community l property while taking into consideration the assets that are most important to you.
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Each divorce has its own unique set of circumstances, call us to schedule a consultation to learn about your options and to obtain experienced legal advice from a skilled divorce attorney on how to proceed. Call us 214-303-0142 or contact us online.
One of the most important issues to resolve during a divorce is the division of property between both spouses. Before the court can divide the community property in a divorce the Court must determine whether the property owned at the time of the divorce is community property or separate property. A person who has owned property before they got married or received assets as gifts, inheritance or the personal injury portion of a personal injury recovery during the marriage have separate property which must be identified, proved and protected
It is common for spouses to fundamentally disagree over the value of an asset or who is entitled to what. We regularly deal with complex property division and work closely with experts such as forensic accountants and business valuation experts to maximize our client’s position. Since 1986, Carol has represented clients with complex property issues such as:
- Pension plans and retirement accounts
- Stock options and restricted stocks
- Business valuation matters
- Oil and gas royalties and working interests
- Farm and ranch property and asset, including livestock and equipment
- Characterizing assets
- Real property
- Deferred compensation plans
- Intellectual property
- Treatment of trusts in divorce
- Tracing hidden or undeclared assets
- Wasting of community assets
- Reimbursement for the use of one estate to benefit another
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It is critical to achieve accuracy in the estimation of assets in order to avoid a costly mistake down the road. If you have any questions regarding retirement accounts, stock options or pension plans, call us to schedule a consultation at 214-303-0142 or contact us online.
Asset and Wealth Identification and Valuation
After accumulating a lifetime of assets during your marriage, taking an inventory of what you own and how much it is worth can be an intimidating task. With more than 30 years of experience, Carol guides you through the process of identifying, valuing and dividing community property to secure your fair share of the marital property and to retain your separate property.
We first begin the identification and valuation process by securing a sworn inventory of all assets and liabilities. The next step is value the property and assets. As needed, we consult with appraisers to value such assets as real estate or art or use an expert in business valuation is the business owned by the community.
We also understand that certain assets may hold sentimental value far greater than monetary value and we work to retain those assets for you during our strategy sessions.
Because income from separate property is community income, there may need to be tracing of the income the separate property created. If there was retirement earned both before and during marriage identifying the value of each portion is required. Separate property must be proved by a higher than normal burden of proof. But once separate property is proved, no court can take it away from the original owner in the divorce.
A passion of Carol’s is tracing – whether it be tracing the history of an item or uncovering hidden or undeclared assets or identifying the wasting of community assets. She is experienced, methodical, and detail-oriented.
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We will help identify the documentation, experts and strategy needed to maximize the division of property, and liabilities in the manner that is best for you considering all of your individual facts and the applicable Texas law. If you would like to learn about effective strategies to retain assets or have a question on identifying and valuing property, please call us to schedule a consultation at 214-303-0142 or contact us online.
Premarital and Post Marital Agreements
Times have definitely changed. We are seeing trends more couples opting to have a premarital agreement before walking down the aisle.
The pre-marital agreement (or pre-nuptial agreement) occurs before the wedding while the post-marital agreement takes place after the wedding.
Other than timing, the biggest difference between the two agreements is that there is a fiduciary duty between the spouses already married. A fiduciary duty is the duty to treat your spouse with honesty, full disclosure, and in the manner you would want to be treated if the circumstances were reversed. There is no fiduciary duty between people about to marry, unless other facts create a fiduciary duty.
We have over 30 years of experience both creating pre and post marital agreements and challenging them in the courtroom. That experience helps us tailoring each agreement to the circumstances of our client and assessing a client’s situation to determine if a -marital agreement is the best course of action.
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Child Custody and Visitation
Carol’s compassion and ability to provide sound legal advice while being the voice of reason during emotionally charged situations, such as child custody disputes, is invaluable. These skills are critical in this contentious area of family law. Both parents truly want what is best for their children, but at times the negative emotions interfere with the parents’ ability to resolve the issues at hand. We have over 30 years representing clients in court hearings, at final trial before a judge or a judge and jury or during mediation negotiations to resolve their family law issues. Our overall goal is to keep the children out of litigation in order even when the biggest controversies may be about the children, to minimize stress and strife during the child custody dispute process and while advocating for our client and their family’s best interests within Texas law.
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We can help you understand your options, recommend the best course of action and outline the process ahead of you. If you would like to learn more about child custody and visitation, please call us to schedule a consultation at 214-303-0142 or contact us online.
Determining how much a parent should pay for the support of his or her child is an area of family law that can be as simple as an algebra equation or complicated when the person paying support does not have regular salary employment. We recognize that not receiving child support when it has been ordered or not being able to pay child support are both stressful. At the Law Office of Carol A. Wilson, we understand Texas Law regarding child support and work efficiently and productively to achieve the solution that is in the best interest of our client and their children.
While the court will order child support, or specifically state why it is not being ordered, child support comes in two forms: 1-money paid monthly and 2-health insurance for the child. The Texas statute provides an equation to calculate child support from all sources such as income, federal taxes, social security, Medicaid, Medicare, the cost of the child’s health insurance premiums and the total number of children a parent has. The court is most likely to order support in an amount determined by the statute. Nevertheless, the amount the court orders can vary, particularly if the person paying earns more than the guideline cap on child support if a parent is intentionally under employed or unemployed and many other factors.
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We will advocate for the best outcome in the interest of your child. If you would like to learn more about child support, please call us to schedule a consultation at 214-303-0142 or contact us online.
At the Law Office of Carol A. Wilson, we are well-versed on the need to use DNA testing to establish or disprove paternity. Science now allows us to determine paternity which has far reaching impact on child support, visitation or a parent’s right to a child. Whether you are a father who has been denied his parental rights or a mother who has been unable to collect child support, the results of these tests are fundamental to your case.
There are factors to take into account in addition to DNA test results which can effect either parent’s life significantly. We have over 30 years of experience advocating for paternity on behalf of women and men and will work tirelessly to achieve the best outcome for your situation.
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Termination of Parental Rights
It is important to know that before you decide to adopt a child, there must be identification of paternity then termination of the rights of both parents, unless it is a step-parent adoption.
A voluntary termination requires an affidavit of relinquishment and a court termination order signed by the parent terminating their legal rights is necessary before an adoption can occur.
If involuntary termination is necessary a case can be filed. There is a long statutory list of possible grounds a parent’s rights can be terminated. Nevertheless, involuntary termination is very difficult to accomplish. As it should be. Our United States Supreme Court has held that a parent’s rights are important and taking those rights away or limited those rights should be difficult and rare.
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If you would like to learn more about terminating parental rights, please call us to schedule a consultation at 214-303-0142 or contact us online.
Making the decision to adopt is one of the most joyous occasions in a person’s life. The legal process of adoption is fairly straightforward once termination of parental rights has occurred. However, there are legal complex issues that can arise during the process but prior to the adoption for many couples such as:
- What if the biological parents want to meet their child later in life?
- What if the biological or surrogate parents have second thoughts?
At the Law Office of Carol A. Wilson, we support our clients at each step and work through the process diligently with our clients to meet their needs.
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WHAT IS MEDIATION?
It is a method for resolving family law disputes in a non-antagonistic manner in order to achieve a settlement of the case. These meetings take place outside of the courtroom, each party is in a separate conference room with their lawyer and negotiations are facilitated by an impartial, experienced family law professional, who will encourage the parties to find ways to solve their issues and reach a settlement of the case.
Most North Texas courts require mediation in virtually every case before the case goes to trial. The mediation process assists lawyers and clients to concentrate in a relatively short period of time to resolve the case. This solves the problem of the opposing lawyer or client who will not respond to a settlement offer.
As a grandparent, it is important to note that there is a difference between grandparent access and grandparent custody. In general, achieving grandparents’ access or custody to their grandchildren is possible and can be difficult. At the Law Office of Carol A. Wilson, we have over 30 years of experience in helping grandparents with these family law issues. The most well-known case is the United States Supreme Court case, Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000). The Court held that a fit parent has the right to determine whether a grandparent has access to their grandchild and only in limited circumstances should anyone, even grandparents, be able to alter that. Texas case law and statutes have adapted to meet the requirements of Troxel since the ruling was issued by our United States Supreme Court.
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A Will gives you peace of mind and allows you to leave your affairs in order for your family’s benefit. If you pass away without a will Texas statutes determine who gets your assets without considering your wishes. The state can also decide how best to care for any minor children you leave behind if you fail to designate a guardian and both of the child’s parents are deceased.
A will is one of the most basic estate planning documents. A will may be the only document you need to direct the distribution of your property. If you already have a will, you should review your estate plan every couple of years, and after every major life change – such as marriage, divorce or the birth of a child or a major change in financial matters.
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Make an appointment today to discuss with attorney Wilson how best to discuss your goals for protecting your assets and your family. Contact us at 214-303-0142 or contact us online, to schedule a consultation for a Will preparation.
ANITA G. WILLIAMS
Anita G. Williams is a legal assistant who has worked for the Law Office of Carol A. Wilson since December 2015. Prior to coming to work for Ms. Wilson, Anita has worked in the legal field since 1992 and has worked as a family law clerk with the Dallas County District Clerk’s Office, two family law attorneys, as well as her family’s private process serving business.
Courage and Work Ethic Drives Carol’s Success
As I reflect on 25 years of my own law firm and 34 years practicing law, it is amazing how each experience has built one upon the other. It has been my goal since junior high school to be a trial lawyer. I have always been an avid reader of history, and the history books I read taught me that many of the people who influenced events for the better were lawyers. Since opening my own law firm November 1, 1995, I have chosen to welcome people of all races, creeds, and sexual identity and do my best to treat my clients as I would want to be treated given their facts and the law. Years ago, when I met Stanley Marcus, he told me to “Practice the Golden Rule – there is none better!” I have taken his advice to heart and use it with every client considering that client’s facts and Texas law.
In 1985, Carol graduated from Southern Methodist University School of Law with a Juris Doctor degree.
In 1992, Carol became Board Certified Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Anyone who knows Carol well, realizes that once she sets her mind on a goal, she achieves it.
Texas Tech Law Review
Carol proudly published an article in the Texas Tech Law Review, Vo. 27, No. 2, 1996, “Evidence, 1995”.
Turtle Creek Office
In 1995, Attorney Wilson sublet an office on Turtle Creek Blvd and in 2006 she struck out on her own leasing an office at 3131 Turtle Creek Blvd for 10 years. In 2016, she leased her current office at 3710 Rawlins Ave. Suite 975 in the Turtle Creek area.
One of Carol’s proudest moments in her career was her Supreme Court of the United States swearing-in ceremony. Attorney Wilson shared the experience with her daughter, Lee Shoultz in April 2016.
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Dallas Women Lawyers was founded in 1968. Carol was President of DWLA in 1992. As a part of the DWLA 50th Anniversary celebration the organization created a video. This excerpt of the video is the portion featuring Carol. She now serves on the Advisory Board for DWLA in 2020.