Sunday, December 14, 2014

Ex-Spouse Won't Cooperate in House Sale


Sometimes a divorce is finalized but the family home is not sold immediately.   The reasons for this can vary;  the couple wants the home to be maintained for the children, the home is not ready for sale, or the real estate market in the area is changing and the couple is waiting for the optimal time to sell. 

In these cases, the divorce decree should provide specific terms as to who gets what, and there should be language which orders the parties to cooperate with each other. There may be further details about listing the home and accomplishing the sale. 

However, as time goes on, one spouse may become disinclined to cooperate. Sometimes s/he does not really want to sell, does not have the energy to deal with the preparation and sale, or (unfortunately) is holding on for vindictiveness or control.

This can quickly become frustrating for the spouse who is ready to proceed now, especially if the non-cooperation has a negative financial impact and appears to be for no good reason.

A family law attorney can help get the situation "unstuck" by representing the party who is ready to proceed.   Steps that can be taken to get things moving include; 1) Contact with the reluctant party to inform him/her that further legal action will be taken if no cooperation is shown; 2) mediation with a certified mediator to iron out problems or details which have arisen; 3) the filing of a court action requesting enforcement of the decree. 

If the divorce was granted many years ago, the decree may not be as specific as the newer decrees which have been written in the last 10 years or so.  A request can be made to the court for clarification of the language. 

These situations can become long-term frustrating problems.   Having a consult with a family law attorney can help you clarify your options and figure out how to get the ball rolling. 


"Passionate, Professional & Personal. We Make the Difference."
We are celebrating our 30th anniversary in 2014!  A big THANK YOU you to our clients & the community for making this possible! 


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Why Just Having a Will May not be Enough


Do you have a current will?  If so, great!  But there are times when having a will may not be enough, or you may need a will that is more specific to your situation.

Do any of these apply to you?


  1. You own a business, but haven't made provisions for the continued operation of the business if you should die or become disabled. 
  2. You haven't made specific provisions for your minor children in your will
  3. You have a child with a disability but only have a "typical" will.
  4. You have sole responsibility of care for an older adult and have not made provisions for that person's care should something happen to you.
  5. You are in a same-sex relationship and have not addressed that in your will or powers of attorney.
  6. You don't have a health care power of attorney and want to make your specific wishes known. 
  7. You anticipate trouble from your beneficiaries and want to prevent it as much as you possibly can. 
  8. You have one or more animals and you want to make specific provisions for them.
  9. You want to designate someone to conduct "day-to-day" personal business for you in the event you should become disabled. 
  10. You want to designate someone to serve as your guardian in case it should ever become necessary. 
Remember, even if you have a will you should review it yearly to be certain that it still meets your needs.  We recommend the beginning of the year as a good time for review.  You can also ask for a consultation with an attorney to review your estate plan and be certain that it is still the best one for you. 


"Passionate, Professional & Personal. We Make the Difference."
We are celebrating our 30th anniversary in 2014!  A big THANK YOU you to our clients & the community for making this possible! 





Sunday, November 30, 2014

Is Your Attorney Your "Counselor"?


Attorneys are also called "counselors at law".  That title, while it sounds "old fashioned", is actually pretty accurate.

In many (if not most) cases, there is already a crisis going on or the client wouldn't be in the office in the first place.  People don't tend to go to attorneys for "legal checkups" very often when things are going great. By the time a client appears in the office, things may have already reached a breaking point with the client's spouse, neighbor or business partner.

A compassionate and understanding attorney can help the client by giving legal advice, explaining options and providing a sympathetic ear.   Working together in an intense situation means that the client and lawyer may get to know each other well, and relatively quickly. 

It is normal to have a bond with your lawyer, and for your lawyer to have a bond with you.  However, it is often important for the lawyer to "take a step back" and remind the client that s/he cannot make certain decisions for the client, nor can s/he advise the client about things that are not legal issues.  A client can feel disappointed at this "boundary drawing", but it is a sign that the attorney cares about the client and the case, and is focused on doing a good, professional job. 

The Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts advises "Your attorney is not your therapist, and it will become very costly for you if you treat them this way. They are there to provide you with legal advice  and not marriage advice." 

If your attorney suggests that you consider visiting a therapist or speaking to a clergy member, consider it.   Your attorney is focused on seeing the "big picture" in your case and may suggest those options for a good reason. 

In the meantime, be honest with your lawyer and don't hesitate to ask questions or reveal information to him/her.   Pay attention if your lawyer tells you that s/he cannot advise you as to certain issues or suggests a referral.  This is a sign that you are being heard, and that your lawyer wants what is best for you.  


"Passionate, Professional & Personal. We Make the Difference."
We are celebrating our 30th anniversary in 2014!  A big THANK YOU you to our clients & the community for making this possible! 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Visitation Issues Can Arise During the Holidays




If you have children and are under court orders regarding visitation and holiday visitation make sure to check your decree in advance to avoid problems over the holidays.

Look at the decree under holiday visitation and use a calendar to determine who gets visitation and when.   Look and see what kind of notice you need to give your ex in case of changing plans.

Your Texas decree will usually say that visitation is acceptable at all times mutually agreed by the parties. So if you and your ex agree on  an alternate schedule then that's fine. The area where people get into trouble is in situations where there is or has been a lot of conflict and one party decides to just ignore the written decree and do whatever they want.  That can lead to charges of contempt.

No matter what happens try to keep things calm and think of your children try to give them a good holiday.

Another issue that can arise during the holidays has to do with safety. You as a parent have an obligation to keep your children safe. This means no drinking and driving or and no engaging in behaviors or habits that are dangerous to your children. It also means looking out for your children so that they are not endangered by adults that are under the influence.

If your current visitation schedule is no longer working for you or you have continuing concerns over the behavior of some of the adults who are in your children's life, now maybe the time to schedule a with a family law attorney about these issues.

We hope that you all have a safe happy and healthy holiday season.


"Passionate, Professional & Personal. We Make the Difference."
We are celebrating our 30th anniversary in 2014!  A big THANK YOU you to our clients & the community for making this possible! 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Is it Time to Form a Business Entity for your Small Business?



Forming an entity can have many benefits for a small business owner. Separating and Protecting personal assets is the one most commonly mentioned. However there are other benefits as well. 

Having a business entity can make it easier to take in other owners. It can also be beneficial to separate different aspects of a service or product provided by the business into separate companies. This can make marketing  more focused, and make bookkeeping and accounting more accurate and easier.

Business entities are regulated by state law. In Texas the most common choices are corporations limited partnerships and limited liability companies. Each type of entity has specific advantages and requirements.

The cost of includes fees to the state and also may include legal fees if an attorney is involved. 

A business attorney can help you decide which into the formation is best for your company now and for the long term, prepare and file the paperwork, give you instructions about the requirements that you will need to meet on an ongoing basis to keep your entity and compliance and up-to-date.

You can't just "file it and forget it".  You will need to be sure that you are aware of the ongoing and yearly requirements to keep taxes, filings and business records up-to-date. 


"Passionate, Professional & Personal. We Make the Difference."
We are celebrating our 30th anniversary in 2014!  A big THANK YOU you to our clients & the community for making this possible! 




Sunday, November 9, 2014

Planning for the Future; Should you Become an Organ Donor?



If you are considering becoming an organ, eye or tissue donor, you can access some valuable online information to help you make your decision.

Laws relating to organ donation (as well as medical powers of attorney, durable powers of attorney, and wills/trusts) vary from state to state.  The state of Texas maintains the website www.DonateLifeTexas.org. If you live in another state, your state most likely has online information available for you as well. 

The website is excellent and contains facts and answers to the most commonly asked questions. Reviewing this can help you make an informed decision.

Many people choose to make this decision when they are having their wills drafted. Other people prefer to use the state registry (see the DonateLifeTexas website), or carry a card in their wallet. Some people prefer to discuss the issue with their family members, or to leave the decision up to the family to make when/if the time comes. 

It is a matter of your choice and having accurate information can help you make an informed decision.

Your attorney can explain more about various documents that can be drafted to make your wishes known about this and other issues. 



"Passionate, Professional & Personal. We Make the Difference."
We are celebrating our 30th anniversary in 2014!  A big THANK YOU you to our clients & the community for making this possible!