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Recent Blog Posts

Consider this when dealing with Child Protective Services

 Posted on May 10, 2021 in Child Custody

Child Protective Services in Texas is tasked with a big responsibility: keeping children safe. That’s why they’re required to investigate all allegations of abuse and neglect without much regard to the truthfulness of the initial claims. This can jeopardize your family integrity, which is why you need to be careful in how you interact with CPS and its employees. If you’re not, then your children could be taken from your care, which could have major implications for both your short- and long-term rights as a parent, as well as any outstanding custody cases you might have with your children’s other parent.

Things to consider when coming into contact with CPS

To successfully navigate your involvement with CPS, you need to keep a few things in mind. Let’s look at a few of them:

  • Your statements will be used against you: CPS cases oftentimes become child welfare cases where the State may try to present evidence against you in hopes of keeping a child out of your care and/or ensuring that the State can intervene in your life to provide you with certain services. Therefore, when interacting with CPS workers or law enforcement, try to keep your temperament in check and don’t be so quick to provide information. We know that coming into contact with the child welfare system can be stressful and nerve-wracking, but you don’t want to cause any self-inflicted harm to your family or your rights as a parent.

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How to receive assets in divorce

 Posted on April 21, 2021 in Divorce

When couples are preparing to divorce, each spouse may wonder how marital assets such as retirement funds will be divided. The way assets are split between the two spouses will depend on the type of retirement account the former couple has and the regulations associated with the account(s). It's important to know that not all retirement accounts are alike. If you live in Texas, here are some important things to know about receiving assets once your marriage is over.

Defined contributions

Defined contributions are retirement plans in which an employee contributes a set amount. The employer will likely match the employee's contributions to a certain amount. A 401(k) plan is the most common type of defined contribution account. A worker has a specific amount of their paycheck deducted and set aside into a retirement account. The employer matches the contribution to a certain point. The deduction for this account is pre-tax, which means the money comes from the worker's gross pay before taxes are taken out. Once the employee retires, the money is taxed when received. Account-holders are always aware of what is in their retirement account and what the funds are worth. If the account holder is involved in a divorce, the money from the retirement account generally must be split between the account holder and their former spouse.

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What can you do if your child's grades slip during your divorce?

 Posted on March 29, 2021 in Divorce

Filing for divorce in Texas is a challenging time for parents and their children. While you're trying to navigate through the divorce process, your child might have trouble concentrating on their schoolwork. How can you keep their grades from slipping when you have so much on your plate?

Tips on keeping your child focused on school

During the divorce process, school is one of the few things that give your child a sense of normalcy. Make sure you focus on your child's education just as much as you did before you filed for divorce. While it's easy to focus on other things, you should set expectations for your child and encourage them to keep up with their schoolwork. If you're not paying attention to them, they might give up on their grades altogether.

If possible, you should communicate with your former spouse to make sure that you have a consistent set of rules in both households. If you make your child do their homework but your former spouse doesn't, your child will probably start thinking that education isn't important. They might even want to spend more time with their other parent because they're the "fun" parent. You and your former spouse should set up a consistent schedule for your child to complete their homework and participate in after-school activities.

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Who gets the car in a divorce?

 Posted on March 16, 2021 in Divorce

Texas is a community property state, which means that all joint assets are generally divided on a 50/50 basis in a final divorce settlement. However, it is obvious that you won't literally get half of the family car after your marriage officially comes to an end. Let's take a look at the various ways that ownership of this asset may be determined.

Is there positive equity in the vehicle?

If there is positive equity in a family car, truck or van, a judge may order you to sell it. The proceeds from the sale would then be split equally between yourself and your former spouse. Alternatively, you may be able to take ownership of the vehicle by paying them what they would receive if the car were sold.

You could trade the car for another asset

Let's say that your former partner has an attachment to a vehicle that you have an ownership interest in. It may be possible to waive your right to that asset for something that you want more such as your favorite recliner, an art collection, or full ownership of a brokerage account.

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How to resolve a divorce in an amicable manner

 Posted on February 16, 2021 in Divorce

While a divorce can be a contentious affair, you can choose to end your marriage amicably. Instead of asking a Texas judge to craft a settlement, you and your spouse may be able to come to terms on who gets the house, custody of the pets or control of a joint bank account outside of court.

Do you communicate well with your spouse?

If you communicate well with your spouse, you may be able to agree to an amicable divorce settlement by engaging in informal talks. In some cases, you may be able to come to an agreement without the assistance of a mediator or other outside parties. However, you may want to consider working with a professional as he or she may be able to make sure that the talks remain cordial and focused on settling the divorce in a timely manner.

Compromise is key

As a general rule, the best settlements are the ones in which neither side gets everything that he or she wants. Ideally, you'll focus on obtaining what you need to maintain a reasonable lifestyle after the marriage ends. It can be easier to get what you need by giving your spouse what he or she needs to survive on his or her own. For example, you may be able to keep the marital home in exchange for letting your spouse have a sports memorabilia collection.

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Tips on co-parenting after a divorce

 Posted on January 07, 2021 in Divorce

Couples divorcing in Texas must divide a lot of their assets, and it can be a headache to deal with. However, the most important and often most difficult task is the division of parental responsibilities. In this part of the divorce, you're likely to go through a long process of deciding how co-parenting will work and if the other parent is even suitable to take care of children. Fortunately, many couples do find some sort of agreement, but that is not the end of the process. The following includes a few tips on co-parenting after a divorce.

Work as a team

Remember, they may be your former spouse, but they are still your children's father/mother. Positive and effective communication should remain in order to provide your child with the best life possible. Some items that require good communication include:

How to successfully co-parent during the holidays

 Posted on December 01, 2020 in Child Custody

The holiday season can be a stressful time for Texas parents who have recently divorced. Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to ensure that you and your former partner do what it takes to provide an enjoyable experience for your children.

Be prepared to compromise

There is a good chance that you might not be able to spend both Thanksgiving Day and Christmas morning with your child. Therefore, it may be a better idea to ask to spend either Thanksgiving Day or Christmas morning with your son or daughter when it comes time to create the holiday parenting plan. Ideally, the parenting plan will be created well in advance so that extended family members can include you in some or all of their festivities.

Focus on the events leading up to a holiday

You may be disappointed that you can't spend Christmas Day with your child. However, this doesn't mean that he or she can't come over to decorate the tree on a specific day or bake cookies for Santa before he makes his trip around the world. Furthermore, it's important to note that most kids don't really care when they get to open their presents. Therefore, you shouldn't feel like Christmas is ruined because your son or daughter opened a gift on the 18th or the 28th.

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Issues with military child custody disputes

 Posted on November 13, 2020 in Military Divorce

Texas residents who have already experienced child custody issues know that these situations are difficult for everyone involved. The rules regarding child custody proceedings may present additional complications for military families.

In many ways, the procedures for handling family law issues like the creation of a custody agreement and disputing a custody order are the same for military personnel as for civilians. The goal in both situations is to make decisions that represent the best interests of all children involved.

Families that include one or more military parents must also consider the effect that a duty reassignment or deployment may have on their ability to co-parent a child. These changes in job status can happen quickly for military personnel and can include faraway travel. Military parents are aware of their unpredictable job situations and should account for them in any child custody agreement drafted.

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Non-working ex-spouses earn Social Security benefits

 Posted on October 19, 2020 in Divorce

When a couple is married and one spouse is the primary earner, that spouse’s Social Security benefits are intended to help fund retirement for both people. A lot of older Texas couples are divorcing closer to their retirement years, but that does not remove Social Security benefits for one spouse. Instead, that spouse might be able to obtain benefits based on the other spouse’s lifetime earnings.

Half benefit available for longtime ex-spouses

When a marriage lasts for at least a decade and ends in divorce, the spouse who earned less among the two already met the first qualifier to obtain benefits. That is at least a decade of marriage prior to divorce. Age is another qualifier. The former spouse seeking benefits and the primary earner each must be at least 62 years of age or otherwise qualified to draw a Social Security benefit. When the ex-spouse seeking a benefit files based on a former spouse’s lifetime earnings, the ex-spouse could get a benefit equal to half the amount of the primary earner.

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What to think about when crafting a parenting plan

 Posted on September 23, 2020 in Child Custody

Like most other states, Texas law allows you to have an active role in your child's life after a divorce. You and your son or daughter's other parent may be allowed to create the terms of a parenting plan that will govern how your child is raised. Working in good faith to create this plan can help to show your son or daughter that meeting his or her needs is your top priority.

Make sure that the plan is reasonable

It is important that you can manage to transport your child to school, to the other parent's house and to extracurricular activities with relative ease. If your child is used to spending time with a babysitter, that person should remain a part of your son or daughter's life. Depending on how old your child is, it may be worthwhile to solicit his or her input when crafting a parenting plan.

Remember that your child's needs outweigh yours

When crafting a custody or visitation plan, you should always remember that your child's needs are more important than what you want. Therefore, you shouldn't insist on a particular arrangement just because it is convenient for you or because you want to win the negotiation. In most cases, your former partner is also making sacrifices for the good of your child whether you recognize them or not.

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