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Denton County, TX child protective services lawyerWe have a system in the United States designed to protect children. And when there are reports of child abuse or neglect, Child Protective Services (CPS) will step in and investigate the allegations. In Texas, investigators will determine if the children in the home face any threats to their safety and a close look at the parents will quickly take center stage. At The Law Office of Linda Risinger, we suggest hiring a CPS defense attorney as soon as you know that CPS has begun investigating.

Cooperating with CPS

CPS usually becomes involved with families after the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services decides that the children are not safe in the home. CPS will determine if the family has abused the child. But these kinds of cases can become complicated.

What Are Investigators Looking Into?

Investigators typically will interview various parties who can shed light on the case and they will dig for information in the following ways:

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Frisco, TX child support lawyerRaising children is no easy task but it can be especially difficult if you have a child with a disability. Sometimes they require supervision 24 hours a day. Physical or cognitive disabilities could mean that a child may need to rely on their parents for the rest of their lives. Fortunately, in Texas, the needs of children and adults with disabilities are recognized and parents can extend child support payments indefinitely.

Modifying Your Child Support Agreement  

Most child support ends when children turn 18 years old or graduate from high school, whichever comes last. Certain child support modifications, however, are allowed in the state of Texas, if the child is disabled and will need financial support into their adult life. For child support to be prolonged the following needs to be true:

 

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Frisco, TX cohabitation agreement lawyerThe thought of living with your significant other may sound romantic, especially during the holidays. Perhaps you are more practical and have financial incentives to live together. Whatever your situation, before you make the decision to take the plunge and make a firmer commitment you may want to consider a cohabitation agreement to protect yourself.

Cohabitation Agreement Key Points

Couples who cohabitate do not generally have the same legal protections that married couples do. A cohabitation agreement, however, can offer some peace of mind. It is an accord between couples involved in an intimate and long-term relationship. Texas recognizes common-law marriage but you will only be considered legally married if you have presented yourself to others as married spouses. This can be difficult to demonstrate because often couples do not make the effort to legally formalize their relationship.

If you are contemplating living together and you have no intention of getting married, it might behoove you to create a cohabitation agreement. This is a written agreement signed by the two interested parties. The cohabitation agreement can address the following points:

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Do you Need a Same-Sex Divorce Attorney?

Posted on in Divorce

Frisco, TX same-sex divorce lawyerThe Lone Star State was very conservative compared to other states when it came to recognizing same-sex marriages. But times have changed. In 2015, the Supreme Court ruled to allow same sex marriages in all states and now there are more than 41,000 same-sex married households in Texas. Recognizing same-sex marriage means judges also have to grant same-sex couples a divorce. At The Law Office of Linda Risinger we understand that every divorce is unique and we also understand the special intricacies involved in a same-sex divorce.

Difficult Decisions

Although same-sex divorces can have unique challenges compared to heterosexual divorces, for the most part, they are the same. No matter who you love, if your marriage is broken, you may be thinking about divorce and it is understandable to be scared and worried while having a million questions all at once. A skilled same-sex divorce attorney will be able to guide you through the process of your divorce as you make decisions about these key areas:

  • Child custody, visitation, and child support for any children under 18 or still in high school

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Frisco Family Law AttorneyIn the United States, domestic violence affects more than 10 million people every year. Equally alarming is that the number of cases continues to rise in the Lone Star state and that domestic violence incidents against men and women are nearly tied at 35 percent. Male victims of domestic violence may minimize the significance of the abuse and perhaps deny it due to embarrassment but this does not mean it does not happen.

Violence Against Men by the Numbers

Domestic violence can include emotional, sexual, and physical abuse. It is usually a pattern of behavior by one person to maintain power and control over the other. And although it is often the men who are controlling, women can also be violent against their male partners:

  • About five percent of men are killed by their female partners

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Frisco Family Law AttorneyA growing number of children are having to deal with instability due to their parent’s divorce. They probably have no idea where they will spend Thanksgiving. Perhaps you went through a bitter child custody battle and having your children for specific holidays can be a contentious topic. But can you get along during the holidays for the child’s sake? Well, the Texas Family Code outlines exact steps for parents to take, especially if you do not see eye to eye.

Splitting Up Holidays

Orders by the court involving child custody are guided by what is in the best interest of the children. But if the parents cannot agree with arrangements that have been approved by the court in Texas, major holidays are split up between parents in the following manner:

  • Thanksgiving – The parent with custody will have the child during odd years beginning the evening after the child leaves school for the Thanksgiving holiday and ending in the evening on the following Sunday. The same is true for the other parent during even-numbered years.

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Denton County grey divorce lawyerThe number of people over 50 getting a divorce is growing. Unfortunately, divorce tends to have a more drastic financial impact on women than it does on men and inflation is only making matters worse. That is why it is important not to rush to get it over with but to fight for what you believe you will need long-term.

Financial Impact of a Gray Divorce

After a gray divorce, women are more likely to live below the federal poverty line compared to men. Women may be at a disadvantage for some of the following reasons: 

  • Women settle for lower-paying jobs that provide more flexibility so that they can take care of their children or their aging parents

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Denton County grandparents' rights lawyerPerhaps your adult child is in prison or perhaps your daughter does not want her kids. Or maybe you cannot bear the thought of your grandchildren winding up in foster care. If you believe it is time to take on a more permanent role in the life of your grandchildren and you want to file for custody of your grandchildren, you have some legal options, especially if Texas Child Protective Services is involved.

Voluntary Relinquishment 

Here, we will cover the various legal options to gain custody of your grandchild according to the Texas Family Code. Keep in mind that both a biological or adoptive grandparent can sue for custody. 

You could be granted custody of your grandchildren if the parents relinquish their parental rights to you. The parent should not have cared for or had the children with them for six months or more. That should also be the case within 90 days preceding the date of filing the lawsuit. This is an important requirement because often parents change their minds and want their children back.

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Collin County divorce lawyerImagine you are in the middle of a divorce. The stakes are high, and you are worried about whether you will get a fair property settlement and a fair custody arrangement, to say nothing about how long the process might drag on. Suddenly, you begin to suspect your attorney is not pulling their weight - despite paying them on time, he or she seems sloppy, unprepared, or uninformed. You hear from their office less and less. 

Unfortunately, for some people seeking a divorce in Texas, this hypothetical situation is all too real, leaving them desperately scrambling for competent legal representation at the worst time possible. Fortunately, Texas law does allow you to switch your attorney in the middle of divorce - but if you choose to change your attorney, take care to ensure that doing so will not negatively affect your case. 

What Is a Texas Divorce Attorney Supposed to Do? 

Some people hold off on replacing an attorney who seems incompetent because they are unsure of what an attorney’s responsibilities are supposed to cover. At a minimum, you should expect the following from a divorce lawyer: 

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Frisco divorce lawyerDivorce is hard. Even the most amicable divorces involve feelings of sorrow, guilt, anger, or regret. While having a great divorce attorney who listens to you and understands the approach you want to take cannot help you resolve your feelings about your divorce, it can make an enormous difference in the ease and outcome of the divorce process. If you are considering divorce, you already know you have a wide range of family law firms available to you. Here are five tips for choosing a Texas divorce attorney that suits your needs. 

Knowledge and Experience

A great divorce attorney need not have been practicing for decades in order to provide you with the best representation. But if you hire someone straight out of law school, you may be taking a gamble even if you get a better price. Choose someone who clearly knows the law and is willing to put it to work for you. 

Realistic Expectations

As in other areas of life, if a prospective divorce attorney is promising you something that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Even if you have the greatest attorney in the world, you are not likely to get everything you want out of your divorce. An honest attorney will help you set realistic expectations while still respecting your needs and preferences. 

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Texas CPS investigation lawyerLearning you are being investigated by Texas Child Protective Services can feel like you are living in a waking nightmare. In addition to the questions you have and the anxiety you feel, you may also be dealing with feelings of indignation and outrage. Considering that CPS is notorious for getting involved in situations where the idea of parental neglect is ridiculous (and for frequently neglecting to get involved in situations where children are in serious danger), it can feel like an enormous waste of time. 

However, it is still very important to take any investigation seriously, whether you feel it is merited or not. CPS has an enormous amount of power and many good parents have gotten trapped in the cogs of the system. Fortunately, you can maximize the chances of a favorable outcome by getting aggressive legal help from a Texas family law attorney. 

What Will CPS Agents Do? 

The first question many parents have is why they are being investigated in the first place. Accusations of abuse and neglect are easily made but much harder to defend against. People like neighbors, teachers, and even vindictive exes can make anonymous reports without any thought as to how their actions could upturn the lives of the parent against whom the accusations are made. 

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Frisco divorce attorneysCouples seeking a divorce in Texas are often so focused on making sure their assets are split evenly that they forget to consider that other things besides assets can have a major impact on their future finances. A great divorce decree will make sure that assets are not only divided fairly, but that spouses are set on an equal footing moving into the future as well. 

This is where the tax implications of divorce come into play. While you may not file your taxes for a year or more after finalizing your divorce, you can bet that your divorce will be reflected in your next filing. Avoid unpleasant surprises by asking yourself these three questions about taxes as you negotiate your Texas divorce. 

Are You Splitting Roth and Tax-Deferred Accounts? 

Roth IRAs and Roth 401(k)s do not get tax deductions when you put money into the accounts, but the contributions are not taxed upon withdrawal if the money has been in the account for at least five years and the owner is over age 59 and a half upon withdrawal. In contrast, tax-deferred accounts like 401(k)s and traditional IRAs offer tax benefits up front but can have hefty withdrawal taxes and fees later on. If you are dividing these both in your divorce, consider your future plans carefully and whether you might need liquidity anytime soon. 

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Collin County divorce lawyerParents who are divorced or who have never been married may no longer have to live together, but they will have to deal with a complex set of laws detailing their shared responsibilities toward their minor children. When both parents share custody (known as “conservatorship” in Texas) and one parent wants to move and take their child with them, the parent who wants to move cannot simply make this decision on their own. 

If you would like to relocate with your child, or if your co-parent wants to move and you object to the move, read on and then contact Frisco, TX family law attorney who can help you with your case. 

Showing the Move is In the Best Interests of the Child

The primary concern of Texas family law courts is ensuring the best interests of the child are understood and protected. Generally speaking, a child is understood to benefit most when both parents are involved in her life; to this end, when parents share conservatorship, one parent cannot move with the child without getting the consent of the other parent or the court. 

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"CollinIn some states, couples can pursue something known as a “legal separation” that allows them to address many of the issues that are normally handled in a divorce without formally finalizing a divorce. In Texas, however, there is no such thing as legal separation. Couples who no longer want to live together but do not want to officially file for divorce do not have the option to separate their property and establish child custody orders without getting divorced. If you are not sure whether you want a divorce but you no longer want to be with your spouse, speak with a Texas divorce attorney to explore your options. 

Reasons for Not Getting Divorced

Even though many couples no longer feel in love or may even struggle to be polite to each other, the thought of divorce may be unworkable. This may be for religious reasons, since some religions prohibit divorce, financial reasons, such as joint tax filing benefits, or social reasons, such as avoiding the stigma for divorce for the couple and their children. Whatever the reason, rest assured that you are perfectly normal and that many people have been in your situation before. There is no shame in discussing your situation confidentially with an attorney who can give you legal advice. 

Trial Separation

Many couples have benefitted from a trial separation in which one parent moves out on a long-term basis. While this can give a couple time apart, it does not resolve important issues like property division, alimony, or child custody. However, a separation may allow a couple to see what life is like without each other, to seek couples therapy, or take time to recover from an episode of infidelity. 

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Collin County divorce lawyerCouples in Texas and elsewhere across the United States frequently get divorced because of financial problems. Whether it is the stress of never having enough to make ends meet or the fiscal irresponsibility of one spouse that has driven the other spouse away, dealing with major financial crises during divorce is an exhausting and complicated endeavor. 

Perhaps no financial situation is more difficult than trying to manage bankruptcy during a Texas divorce. Unfortunately, sometimes divorce and bankruptcy unavoidably occur at the same time and spouses must then make difficult decisions about how to navigate their situation. 

Should We File for Bankruptcy Before Divorce? 

Bankruptcy is a federal process, meaning it takes precedence over divorce, which is a state process. When you file for bankruptcy, the bankruptcy court will put a stay on any creditor to prevent them from garnishing wages or collecting on debt. Because divorce involves issues related to a couple’s finances, such as dividing marital property and setting child support payments, a divorcing couple needs to get permission from a bankruptcy court to settle their financial affairs. It is generally difficult and impractical to try to remove a bankruptcy court’s stay so you can pursue a divorce during bankruptcy. 

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Texas child support lawyerOnce you divorce or separate from your child’s other parent, you will probably want to move on and establish a relationship with someone new. Especially for younger people, remarriages and new relationships are often accompanied by new children. While your children with a second or even third partner can be a joyful and enriching part of your life, children are expensive and this is doubly true if you get divorced or separated again and must now make more than one child support payment. 

When faced with this situation, even the most generous and responsible parents will likely have fears and anxieties about being able to afford to support their children and themselves. Worries about falling behind on child support are common, especially because unpaid child support carries serious consequences. 

What Is the Maximum Child Support Amount I Have to Pay? 

No matter how many children you are paying for, Texas law limits the monthly net income for which a parent has to pay child support. As of the writing of this blog, the child support net income cap is set at $9200 a month. Any money over that does not need to be considered for child support payments unless a child’s needs justify it. 

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Texas alimony lawyerJust a few decades ago, women getting divorced in Texas could practically be guaranteed to receive spousal maintenance (also known as alimony) from their husbands. Women working outside the home, to say nothing of pursuing high-income careers, was a relatively rare phenomenon. 

Thankfully that has changed. As women achieve ever greater strides in workplace equity, there is a flip side to being the primary breadwinner in a family that many women do not think about until divorce: Alimony payments to an ex. Texas law provides spousal maintenance in certain situations, but it says nothing about the gender of the person making payments. Under the right circumstances, women in Texas may end up paying their husbands “manimony.”

How Is Spousal Maintenance Calculated in Texas? 

Getting spousal maintenance in Texas is not as easy as it used to be. In fact, Texas divorce cases begin with the presumption that alimony is not appropriate and the spouse requesting financial support must overcome that presumption. For a court to award spousal maintenance, the spouse requesting it must meet at least one of the following circumstances: 

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Frisco divorce lawyerGetting divorced in Texas changes a lot of things about family life. During the school year, the rigid schedules of school and extracurricular activities often prevent the option of flexibility - and the potential confusion and conflict that can come along with it. But during the summer, the changes that come with a divorce can become more obvious when children are out of school and both children and parents may have more time on their hands. 

If this is your first summer after a divorce, it is important to be prepared for a potentially challenging period. Even if with the best parenting plan, issues with visitation schedules (also known as possession and access schedules) can arise. Here are some tips for Collin County parents managing their first summer break after separation or divorce. 

Maintain Consistency

While the lack of regularity in your children’s schedules may make it tempting to be lax in your parenting agreement, experts say this is not a good idea, especially if you tend to experience a lot of conflict with your spouse. Try to keep a regular schedule and avoid situations that could expose the children to conflict or uncertainty. Consider placing a calendar in a visible location in your home so your children can see upcoming visitation dates and know what to expect. 

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Texas High Asset Divorce LawyerWhen two busy, ambitious people with successful careers and substantial asset ownership get divorced in Texas, special complications can arise due to the more valuable and complex nature of the assets. High net worth individuals, typically defined as owning liquid assets worth between one and five million dollars, generally have a more difficult time negotiating issues like child support, spousal support, and property division. Here are the ways that a high net worth divorce can affect these issues. 

Child Support

Generally, child support is determined using both parents’ net resources and how much time each parent spends with the children. For high-net-worth parents, net resources will include their income after taxes as well as bonuses, income from rental properties, capital gains, dividends, gifts, and more. While there is a cap on the amount of a parent’s net resources that can be considered when setting child support payments, a child’s actual expenses can make payments higher than the typical formula might suggest. 

Spousal Support

Spousal support is common in high net worth divorces because one spouse’s income often vastly exceeds the other spouse’s income, making the lesser-earning spouse financially dependent on the other for sustaining their lifestyle. Spouses can make a contractual agreement about spousal support payments, or a court can set it for them, but spousal support is not automatic and certain eligibility requirements may need to be met in order to qualify. 

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Frisco divorce lawyerDo-it-yourself projects are all the rage right now. Whether it is updating your home, training your new puppy, or even getting divorced, Texans love doing things themselves. Online software makes it possible to get divorced without the help of an attorney for around $500, making DIY divorces appealing to many people. However, as with all DIY projects, getting divorced by yourself is not a foolproof undertaking and mistakes can end up being very costly and difficult to resolve. If you are considering divorce in Collin County, Texas, here are a couple of things to keep in mind before you choose to do it yourself. 

You Could Save Money - But You Might Not 

The most common reason people seek a DIY divorce is that the expenses associated with hiring an attorney may seem overwhelming. However, it is important to note that divorce topics that initially seem simple can become quite complicated upon further investigation. Couples often end up needing to hire their own attorney when they realize negotiating issues like asset division and child custody is more difficult than they thought. If finances are a concern in your Texas divorce, keep in mind that you can often hire an attorney to provide services as needed. That way, you can handle the parts you are comfortable with and still get knowledgeable legal help for the rest. 

Your Divorce Could Go Faster - But an Attorney Is Likely the Fastest Option

Couples seeking a DIY divorce may also believe that filling out and filing paperwork themselves will save them time. However, legal paperwork must be filled out carefully and precisely. Small mistakes can require re-writing and, if you do not live close to a courthouse, you could miss additional time at work when you have to re-submit paperwork. Courthouse clerks are not allowed to provide legal advice, so when you have questions, it can take long, complicated research to ensure you have the answers you need. Alternatively, you could hire an attorney, who has experience in these issues, can answer complex questions right away, and can fill out the paperwork while you do other things. Even if your divorce is uncontested, having an attorney to ensure your agreement is fair and and likely to be approved by a court can save you from wasted trips to a courthouse. 

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