Cases & Deals

New associate defends client in divorce case

Clients Pettis, Barbara

In May 2009, our client, Barbara Pettis, was forced to move out of her home in Henderson, Texas due to a hostile home environment. After 37 years of marriage, she was on her own for the first time with no job, no education, and no money. Ms. Pettis' husband filed for divorce in October 2009, and she sought advice at a walk-in legal clinic in Dallas five days before her response was due in the Rusk County Court. At that time, Ms. Pettis had $3 in her pocket and $12 in her bank account. Jones Day immediately filed a response and a motion for temporary support. New associate Justin Thompson traveled to Henderson, Texas with Ms. Pettis in December 2009 and received a favorable Order granting temporary support. In the meantime, Ms. Pettis was able to secure employment as a teacher's assistant with the Dallas Independent School District. Due to emotional stress and family concerns, it was decided that the case should be settled without a contested final hearing. Justin drafted and Ms. Pettis and her husband executed a Final Agreed Decree of Divorce which was entered in the Court on March 16, 2010. The Decree provided for a just and right division of the meager community estate. The Dallas office is also drafting two qualified domestic relations orders that will be filed in the next few weeks providing for Ms. Pettis to receive a portion of her husband's retirement accounts.