Monday, January 26, 2015

Child Support Outside the Guidelines



The Texas Family Code states specific guidelines for determining child support to be paid.  These basic guidelines are as follows:


  • 20% of the obligor's (payor's) net resources for one child
  • 25% for 2 children,
  • 30% for 3 children,
  • 35% for 4 children,
  • 40% for 5 children,
  • Not less than 40% for 6 or more children.
These are the standard guidelines. However, there are times when "one size fits all" just doesn't work.

For instance, either party may have physical limitations, may be unemployed through no fault of his/her own, may have other children to support, may be paying spousal maintenance as well as child support, may have taken on the majority of debt from the marriage, or may have to incur travel expenses to visit the child.  Some other factors which may be considered: whether either party has automobile, housing or other benefits furnished to them, and which party is paying uninsured medical expenses.

The age and needs of the child will also be taken into account. 

In short, "..any other reason consistent with the best interest of the child, taking into consideration the circumstances of the parents." 

See Texas Family Code Section 154.123.

A Texas family law attorney can help you decide how much child support you should seek or expect to pay in your divorce case. If you are already divorced and believe that you may need to seek a modification of child support that you pay or receive, a consultation with a child support attorney can help you.   You should bring evidence of your income to the meeting.  



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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Don't Take the Bait!


If you are involved in any type of legal dispute it is important to keep your thinking and behavior independent from your opponent's thinking and behavior.

If you get upset and show your worst side, you'd better believe that it can come back to bite you.

Displaying your uncontrolled rage in person, by text, by voice mail, or online can really harm your case.

Always "take the high road". Hang up. Walk away. Ignore inflammatory electronic communications.

If your opponent tries to goad you into an uncontrolled display of anger, don't take the bait!

Here are some times when losing your temper can be especially harmful to your case:

  1. When you use bad language and/or make a personal attack;
  2. When you"lose it" in front of children in a divorce or involve the children in the dispute;
  3. When you "let go" in front of customers or co-workers in a business setting;
  4. When you display your anger in a public place, especially if that public place is in or near the courthouse (yes, it does happen!)
  5. When you provide evidence by posting your angry or sarcastic rant online or in texts or voice mail.
It is important to stand up for yourself, but do so in a controlled, effective, well-considered way. Don't be out of control.

Remember: if the "other guy" can get you to behave in a manner that is out of control then s/he has the power, not you! 



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Monday, January 12, 2015

Help your Attorney Prepare Your Divorce Case for Court


When going through a divorce it is normal to feel that things are out of your control.    It can be helpful to take some constructive action in helping your attorney prepare your case. Here are some proactive things that you can do.
  1. Answer calls and emails from your attorney promptly.
  2. When your attorney or the legal staff have a question for you, read/listen carefully and answer the entire question. 
  3. Return all questionnaires and discovery answers to your attorney promptly and be as complete and truthful as possible in your answers
  4. Schedule an appointment with the attorney (or paralegal) when necessary. Come to the meeting on time and ready to work.
  5. Look at the preparation as an opportunity to contribute as a valuable member of "your team", rather than being angry and resentful about it. 
  6. Focus on the present rather than the past or the future ("How can I prepare now in the best and most efficient way possible?" rather than "So many years wasted" or "How am I going to feel in the courtroom?")
  7. Organizing your thoughts and paperwork, being honest, and having the right attitude can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of your case. 
  8. Being a "team player" with your attorney may save you legal fees. If you present your lawyer with complete answers and organized documents the staff and attorney will not have to spend time puzzling through them.  Stay focused on the task at hand and use your preparation time with your attorney wisely.
  9. Make sure that you are able to be reached and check your phone messages and email frequently.
  10. Be honest with your attorney about your fears and your strengths. 

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Sunday, January 4, 2015

New & Creative Solutions to Old Problems




"Insanity:  Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."- Albert Einstein.

When the same legal problems keep happening over and over, it is normal to get frustrated.  This is especially common in situations where people must interact closely over a long period of time (divorce, custody, business partners, neighbors).

If you are in this situation, it can be helpful to look at things with a fresh, new perspective, especially at the start of a new year! Here are some tips to help get you unstuck, and on your way to a better year.

  1. Tap into your creative side- try tackling the problem from a new vantage point. Where do you do your best thinking?  What time of day? Set aside some time to brainstorm and treat this like a serious project. 
  2. Don't rule out anything. Make a list of possible solutions. You can even include solutions that are impractical or seem silly. This may help you see an angle you hadn't thought about before. 
  3. Put yourself in the other guy's shoes.   If a lot of what is happening is out of your hands, you'll need to try to figure out why others are motivated to cause trouble (or unmotivated to find a solution).  
  4. Try to find a way to talk to the other person/people in a way that they can understand.  Try to give "constructive criticism" and try not to put them on the defensive.
  5. Look at your own behavior. You aren't perfect. What can you do better?  Are you a "control freak"? Do you surprise people by holding in your anger until you blow? Are there some issues that are better left alone.
If you need assistance with a legal issue, a legal consultation with a qualified attorney can provide you with further ideas about solutions and options, and can give you a new perspective on an old problem! 


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