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! 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Is Your Ex in Contempt of a Court Order?



Proving a charge of contempt in a court of law requires specific proof and procedure.  If you believe that your ex may be in contempt, consider the following:


  1. Contempt is a serious charge, therefore, you must have adequate proof. 
  2. Bringing a contempt case to court requires an investment of time and money. There will be legal fees, expenses and court costs (if you believe that you may qualify for legal aid, explore that option).
  3. You will need to keep track of the violations that you believe your ex has committed. This means dates, times, and a summary of what happened. (for example, S/he did not pay child support for the following months or s/he did not return the children on the following dates).
  4. You should organize all your proof and get a legal consultation with a family law attorney.
  5. If the violations include anything which poses a threat to the health and safety of your own self, your children or others, act immediately and call police when indicated. You may also need a protective order.
Your family law attorney can inform you of the various ways that the case may proceed and help you to understand all of your options. In some cases, a contempt charge may be settled prior to a trial, but if one is necessary, you and your attorney will work together to be prepared.

Important point:  If contempt of a court order is going on now, start keeping good records of dates, times, and details in case you need this for the future. It is a lot easier to keep an accurate record of something while it is happening that to try to remember it months or years later. 


"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!