Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Why Does my Divorce Decree Require me to Purchase Life Insurance?

Texas family law requires that divorces affecting children take "the best interests of the child" into account.

Therefore, a divorce decree may require a parent to purchase and maintain life insurance in a particular amount for the benefit of the children.   Commonly, the parent who is paying child support (Payor) will be required to buy and maintain the insurance on his or her life for the benefit of the minor children (or for as long as child support is due).   This protects the children in the event that the parent dies prior to the child support obligation being paid and completed.

The order to purchase and maintain life insurance can also be made as "spousal support". In that case, the order will generally be in effect for as long as spousal support is due.

In some circumstances, the obligation to maintain life insurance may extend beyond the child reaching majority, with the intent of covering the years that the child would potentially be attending college. 

The life insurance requirement may be ordered by a judge or may be a provision that is negotiated when there is a settlement between the parties.   It is a common provision in Texas. If there is such a provision in a decree which has been signed by a judge, it is not optional. It is a court order.  Like other court orders, ignoring it can lead to further action in court against you for failure to abide by it.  If you have been ordered to maintain such insurance, do so. If your ex has been ordered to maintain life insurance and s/he is not doing so, you can seek a legal consultation to determine your alternatives to enforce that provision in your decree.

Kalish Law Office - The Woodlands, Texas  "Passionate, Professional and Personal. We Make the Difference. Since 1984."  www.kalishlawtexas.com  281-363-3700

Friday, June 21, 2013

Help for Senior Citizens in Avoiding Scams

Scammers and con artists are always updating their knowledge and refining their game.

Senior citizens are especially vulnerable and some scammers "specialize" in targeting this particular group.

Fraudulent letters, emails, and phone calls are getting more and more sophisticated.  Recently, the Texas Office of Attorney General ("OAG") issued an alert aimed at helping prevent these tragedies.  This OAG alert tells us that the scammers are now sending cashier's checks first  (rather than asking the victim to send $ 100 or so to cover "fees").  These checks are so sophisticated that even some bank tellers have been fooled!  Click here to see the alert.

In addition, the site contains information about Lotteries & Sweepstakes, how to deal with unsolicited mail or phone call, and how to recognize the "5 Warning Signs".  Click here

If you have a loved one who may be especially vulnerable to scams, take the time to make sure that he or she understands how to avoid them and what to do if confronted.

Kalish Law Office - The Woodlands, Texas
"Passionate, Professional and Personal. We Make the Difference."  Since 1984

Monday, June 17, 2013

Getting Away from an Abusive Situation

Getting out of an abusive situation can be extremely difficult for a lot of reasons. The most common reasons that someone may stay in an abusive/violent relationship include 1) fear for children or family members 2) fear of retaliation (physical or other, such as embarrassment, interfering on job site) 3) financial reasons 4) concern for the person who is being left.

Abuse and violence are never O.K.

If you are involved in such a relationship and have children, it is important to consider the effect that this relationship has on them.   Growing up in such an environment is not only terrifying and stressful for the children, it can lead to long-term psychological problems such as serious depression, inability to maintain close relationships, and belief that receiving or giving abuse in a relationship is "normal".

It takes a lot of courage and support to break the cycle of abuse.   If you are in such a situation, you may need to use every resource available-- legal, spiritual, support groups, family, friends and shelters or hotlines.

There is help available from various organizations.

Legally, your attorney can ask for protective orders from a court. These order your abuser to stay away from you and stop harassing you, and allow the authorities to arrest him/her if the court order is violated.

It can be difficult to call the police on someone you care about, but doing so will create a record of what has happened that will be available for you to show as evidence to the court.   This prevents a "he said- she said" situation where the abuser can swear that he/she was actually the abused one, or only struck out in self-defense.   If you have injuries or there is property destruction by the abuser, document this with dated photos.

It is never  acceptable for someone to abuse a child, animal, or elder at any time.   If you see this happening, you must report this to the proper authorities immediately. Even if you are afraid, you must find the courage to do this.

There are some abusers who don't feel that laws or court orders apply to them.  If that is true in your situation, you will have to go to a safe place-- a shelter or the home of someone that you trust.  Many times the abused partner stays in the home because of a mistaken belief that if s/he leaves then the court will award the home to the abuser. This is not true.   Leaving a home for safety reasons will not "count against you" in a courtroom.

Abuse is most commonly thought of as being between a married or partnered couple, with the man as the abuser and the woman as the victim.  That stereotype does not always hold true.  There are men who are abused by women, parents who are abused by adult children, and abuse occurs in same-sex relationships as well as traditional ones.

If you are dating someone who is violent, or you know that they have a violent streak that is bound to come out, you need to terminate the relationship. Don't wait until the years pass by and you are further entangled with that person financially and in other ways.  Get out now.

On a personal note, many years ago, I had a coworker who didn't show up for work one day, It was later discovered that her husband had shot and killed her and she had been living with his abuse for years.   Although I didn't know her well, I think of her often.

This month, the Texas State Bar's Client Page focuses on how to get out of a violent situation.    Click here to see the article.  The article also contains valuable resources to help you plan, and gives resources to help you if you are unable to afford an attorney.

For our own area, here is a link to the Montgomery County Women's Center, which maintains a shelter, and is "Committed to Ending Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault".

- This blog is in memory of  "B"

Kalish Law Texas -- The Woodlands Texas
Family Law Attorneys-- Divorce, Protective Orders. Since 1984
"Passionate, Professional and Personal.  We Make the Difference."

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Father's Day Coupon!