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That’s right, folks. The Texas Attorney General has increased their ability to go after delinquent child support obligors: by denying vehicle registration for offenders.

Currently, the Texas Attorney General may already do the following for nonpayment of child support, administratively (without notice or the ability of the alleged offender to defend himself or herself):

  • Garnish wages          
  • Garnish tax returns
  • Impose liens against bank accounts, real estate, and other property owned by the obligor
  • Suspend driver’s license and professional licenses

Beginning in December 2016, obligor’s who owe more than 6 months of back child support will be subject to denial of registration on their vehicle, in a new attempt to compel compliance with child support orders. Those who are more than 6 months behind on support with registration due in December or thereafter, will be notified of their status by letter approximately three months prior to the due date on their registration renewal.

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Posted by on in Divorce

In Texas, and across the country, adultery remains one of the main causes of divorce. The Texas legislature has narrowly defined adultery and even more narrowly defined the application of adultery in a divorce proceeding.

Texas Courts have defined adultery as “voluntary sexual intercourse of a married person with one not the spouse.” In re Marriage of C.A.S. 405 S.W.3d 373, 383. This means that there must be sexual contact, even just one time. This also means that “emotional affairs” do not rise to the level of adultery as a ground for divorce. Keep in mind that there is no legal separation in Texas, you are married until you are formally divorced, so post separation sexual intercourse with someone other than your spouse is legal adultery.

Still, many courts in Collin, Denton and Dallas Counties view adultery as a symptom or outlet showing from an underlying problem in the marriage. This means, that they are not given the weight in court that a cheated spouse may feel an affair deserves. I mean, your spouse broke his or her promise to you – at the very least you may feel the court should view this as a breach of contract, right?! Well, the court does have some power to right the wrong caused by an affair, but it tends to only come up in select cases.

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If you are considering a divorce, I am sure you have considered the cost to hire an attorney, and at least briefly considered handling your divorce yourself. While you may save some money up front, there can be huge costs to handling your own divorce.

1.You could miss out on property: In a divorce, you are dividing your entire estate. If you do not adequately account for the property in your estate, you do not understand the intricacies of community property, or you just do not understand the law, you could be missing out on large sums in the property division. For example, if you believe that funds earned by one spouse and saved by one spouse belong to that spouse, you would miss out on a portion of those funds. Alternatively, you may offer to give up part of an asset that is really your separate property

2.You miss out on child support or Overpay: Generally, child support is calculated based on the guidelines in the Texas Family Code. However, if you do not adequately account for deductions for health insurance premiums, you may be overpaying child support. Alternatively, if you calculate the average income for the past 3 years, when the last year is much higher and more indicative of future income, you and your children could miss out on hundreds per month in collected child support.

3.Your order may not be accepted by the Court: If the Court deems that any of your order is not fair and equitable or in the best interest of the children, the Court can refuse to accept your agreed order. This happens regularly when the parties agree to $0 for child support. Many courts do not consider this to be in the best interest of the child in mostAn experienced family law attorney can help you properly word your order so it will be accepted by the Court.

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Posted by on in Family Law

You are single: if you are single and an adult, with no children, your estate will go to your closest biological family member according to Texas law. If you would rather your estate go to young nieces and nephews, friends, etc. you will need a Will to designate the distribution of your property. In addition, your family members may be at odds in making necessary medical and care decisions for you, should you become incapacitated.  You should have a durable power of attorney, healthcare power of attorney, and possibly a designation of guardian to ease this process. These documents will ensure that your wishes are adhered to and that your family will not spend time, money, or emotional energy fighting battles over your care. In addition, you may wish to appoint a person to dispose of your remains, or to choose how your remains are disposed, if you do not think your parents will agree with one another on this issue.

You are married: if you are married without a premarital agreement or a partition and exchange agreement, you have community property. If this is a first marriage, and there are no children, all of your property will go to your spouse, including any items that you wish would go to your parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, etc. The only way to dictate how your property is distributed upon your death is with a Will. 

You have children: if you have minor children and are married to the children’s other parent, you should name someone to be a guardian and care for your children if something is to happen to you and your spouse. Also, you will want to include a contingent trust in your Will so funds will not be held for your children if you want them to use funds now, and so funds will not be fully disbursed at age 18, if you intend for funds to be overseen for a longer period.

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Posted by on in Divorce

When deciding to consult a divorce attorney, many still have emotions running high. Your consultation with an attorney will be limited in time (generally 30 minutes- 1 hour). With that in mind, you will need to try to narrow the issues to discuss at this meeting to get the most information about the divorce process, the possible solutions, and the spectrum of strategies available toward a resolution.

Documents

  • If you have been served or otherwise delivered papers from your ex, bring all papers with you
  • Timeline of events in your relationship
  • Prior or current orders involving children of this marriage or previous relationships
  • Pre or Post Marital Agreements
  • Income documentation for you (and your spouse, if possible): tax returns, pay stubs, etc.
  • Assets overview (balances for bank accounts, retirement accounts, pensions, investments, etc.)
  • Information regarding land and homes you own (mortgage amounts, values, etc.)
  • Information on valuable items in your home (collectibles, etc.)
  • Notes about problems in your marriage (regarding both spouses)

Remember, your consultation with your attorney is generally confidential in nature. (See the forthcoming article on confidentiality and attorney-client privilege in family law). You need to be open with your attorney about issues that may come up in your divorce. Your attorney can only advise you based on information you provide to him or her, so be honest during your consultation.

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