Category Archives: Contested Divorce Houston Texas

Divorce Mediation and its Advantages

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Your Houston divorce lawyer will have already told you that divorce mediation will take care of most of the nasty things in a divorce process. It finds solutions and amicable ways of settling divorce issues such as children custody, property division, visitation schedule and spousal maintenance. It is said to be the best route to follow in cases of contested divorces as it ultimately avoids the possibility of having the court decide these things for you. Agreeing with each other might be hard, but with mediation, you may find that clearing a lot of these disagreements may foster a healthy relationship with your partner, which is an important step towards building a happier environment for your kids. Below are some of the advantages of the mediation process in divorce proceedings.

Saving money and time

There is a lot of money spent on lawyers and constant commuting during the division of property. The paperwork, and time involved in preparing the necessary agreements, time spent in court arguing the cases, the emotion drain suffered by the parties to the proceedings as well as the exposure of the rifts between parents to kids can be avoided through mediation. Unless a party to a divorce proceeding want to punish his/her spouse, the better option will be to get your Houston divorce lawyer to arrange for a mediation process.

It avoids the inevitable blood bath and bad blood

Court divorce battles are bruising. They will expose all your ‘dirty linens’ for all and sundry to see and talk about. Your friends will know your bedroom secrets, your children will be taunted in school, you will hate your spouse even more…there is no end to the amount of suffering both you and spouse will suffer. Wisdom dictates that family matters should be left family matters. Exposing your kids to this kind of publicity is not only unsubtle, but also completely careless. Most a Houston divorce lawyer will advise you beforehand that this is the best path to follow. In other words, avoid the court as much as possible because once there, there is no limit to how your family name will get bad publicity. In law, communication between the lawyer and client is confidential. A lawyer is prohibited by the law to discuss or reveal the contents of your dealings with him. You therefore keep your family business confidential if you choose mediation.

The process is fair

As long as both sides keep the discussions above board, the process is fair to the participants. It keeps both parties happy without exposing the family business to third parties. Since the process is informal, parties can negotiate and renegotiate until each of them gets satisfied. It is expected that both parties will respect each other and are mature enough to know that this process shields their kids from the dramas of open court. Each of the parties sends legal representation to the mediation process. It is not necessary for them to appear during the mediation all the time. This helps the negotiations remain civil as you do not have to see your spouse on regular basis. In conclusion, if you love your family and want to leave your dignity intact after a divorce process, get your Houston divorce lawyer on the mediation table.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Busby Jr. is a Divorce, Family Law, & Houston Divorce Lawyer,  who practices in Harris County Texas and the counties that surround Harris County, Texas. He has been in practice for over 14 years and has tried over 300 cases.  He is familiar with the policy and procedures of the Harris County Texas Divorce Courts.   Our office is open until 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for working folks.

Michael Busby Jr.

2909 Hillcroft Suite 350

Houston, Texas 77057

(713) 974-1151

Visit me on the web at www.busby-lee.com

 



Alimony Payments in Texas

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Unlike in other states, Texas expects its people to work for their own living expenses. Alimony payments were formerly used as anti-welfare monies paid to the spouse so that he/she does not become dependent on the state for their living expenses. Over the years, there have been numerous proposals to change this rules but they have always been voted down. Alimony in Texas is called spousal maintenance. It is the small stipend that a high income spouse pays to a low income spouse for her comfortable living.

To get alimony in Texas, your Houston divorce lawyer must argue your case very well. The only people who are guaranteed the alimony are those who have been married for more than 10 years, or those who have some form of incapacitation and thus cannot work to earn a living. To complicate matters even more, these alimonies are capped at $2,500 per month. Note that this is the maximum amount you can get. It is not a guarantee that you will get the maximum legal alimony amounts. This is used to discourage ‘gold diggers’ who marry rich men/women in order to take their wealth without working a single day of their lives. The alimony payments, even if granted, can only be paid to the divorced spouse for a maximum of 3 years. After these years, the payments will cease. The moment an alimony beneficially gets a minimum payment job, the court may decide to reduce or eliminate the payments altogether. Texas is unlike other states and usually frowns on commercial divorces. It tries as much as possible to make the divorce law as strict as possible so that it attracts only genuine cases of disagreements in marriages.

The law however allows contractual alimony. This is a concept where a high income spouse may agree to support the low income spouse usually to avoid taxes or for the custodial parent to relax the visitation rules. Although this is somehow ‘unethical’ the law allows the parent with more money to buy his way into more regular access to the children. A Houston divorce lawyer should be smart enough to advise his client to exploit this loophole in the law.

Texan legislators have time and again rejected attempts to water down this law. This has made Texas one of the lowest divorce rate states in the United States. Despite these attempts to minimize broken marriages, divorce rate is on the increase. An average Houston divorce lawyer records more than 3 divorces every year. These statistics make the fathers of Texan law turn in their graves. Although spousal support is important to maintain the standard of living a former spouse has been used to, it sometimes become unfair to the paying spouse since the recipient is not barred to remarry and get additional support from the second marriage. It is expected that future legislations will seal these loopholes that have made genuine cases of divorce look like Hollywood circus. Divorce attorneys in Texas have been waiting for this to happen for so long.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Busby Jr. is a Divorce, Family Law, & Houston Divorce Lawyer,  who practices in Harris County Texas and the counties that surround Harris County, Texas. He has been in practice for over 11 years and has tried over 100 cases.  He is familiar with the policy and procedures of the Harris County Texas Divorce Courts.   Our office is open until 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for working folks.

 

Michael Busby Jr.

2909 Hillcroft Suite 350

Houston, Texas 77057

(713) 974-1151

Visit me on the web at www.busby-lee.com

 



Michael-G-Busby-Jr

Temporary Restraining Order

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The form used in below.  This is a standard form for divorces and many suit affecting the parent child relationship in Houston, Texas.  I typically appear in this type of hearing at least once a week.

NO. _______________________

IN   THE MATTER OF

§

IN   THE DISTRICT COURT
THE   MARRIAGE OF

§

§

§

AND

§

 JUDICIAL DISTRICT

§

§

AND   IN THE INTEREST OF

§

 CHILDREN

§

HARRIS   COUNTY, TEXAS

 

                                     TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AND

                       ORDER SETTING HEARING FOR TEMPORARY ORDERS

 

The application of Petitioner, , for temporary restraining order was presented to the Court today.  Respondent is .

The children the subject of this suit are .

The Court examined the pleadings of Petitioner and finds that Petitioner is entitled to a joint and mutual temporary restraining order.

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the clerk of this Court issue a joint and mutual temporary restraining order restraining Petitioner and Respondent, and Petitioner and Respondent are immediately restrained, from:

1.         Communicating with the other party in person, by telephone, or in writing in vulgar, profane, obscene, or indecent language or in a coarse or offensive manner.

2.         Threatening the other party in person, by telephone, or in writing to take unlawful action against any person.

3.         Placing one or more telephone calls, anonymously, at any unreasonable hour, in an offensive and repetitious manner, or without a legitimate purpose of communication.

4.         Causing bodily injury to the other party or to a child of either party.

5.         Threatening the other party or a child of either party with imminent bodily injury.

6.         Destroying, removing, concealing, encumbering, transferring, or otherwise harming or reducing the value of the property of one or both of the parties.

7.         Falsifying any writing or record relating to the property of either party.

8.         Misrepresenting or refusing to disclose to the other party or to the Court, on proper request, the existence, amount, or location of any property of one or both of the parties.

9.         Damaging or destroying the tangible property of one or both of the parties, including any document that represents or embodies anything of value.

10.       Tampering with the tangible property of one or both of the parties, including any document that represents or embodies anything of value, and causing pecuniary loss to the other party.

11.       Selling, transferring, assigning, mortgaging, encumbering, or in any other manner alienating any of the property of Petitioner or Respondent, whether personalty or realty, and whether separate or community, except as specifically authorized by this order.

12.       Incurring any indebtedness, other than legal expenses in connection with this suit, except as specifically authorized by this order.

13.       Making withdrawals from any checking or savings account in any financial institution for any purpose, except as specifically authorized by this order.

14.       Spending any sum of cash in each party’s possession or subject to each party’s control for any purpose, except as specifically authorized by this order.

15.       Withdrawing or borrowing in any manner for any purpose from any retirement, profit-sharing, pension, death, or other employee benefit plan or employee savings plan or from any individual retirement account or Keogh account, except as specifically authorized by this order.

16.       Entering any safe-deposit box in the name of or subject to the control of Petitioner or Respondent, whether individually or jointly with others.

17.       Withdrawing or borrowing in any manner all or any part of the cash surrender value of life insurance policies on the life of Petitioner or Respondent, except as specifically authorized by this order.

18.       Changing or in any manner altering the beneficiary designation on any life insurance on the life of Petitioner or Respondent or the parties’ children.

19.       Canceling, altering, failing to renew or pay premiums, or in any manner affecting the present level of coverage of any life, casualty, automobile, or health insurance policies insuring the parties’ property or persons, including the parties’ children.

20.       Opening or diverting mail addressed to the other party.

21.       Signing or endorsing the other party’s name on any negotiable instrument, check, or draft, such as tax refunds, insurance payments, and dividends, or attempting to negotiate any negotiable instrument payable to the other party without the personal signature of the other party.

22.       Taking any action to terminate or limit credit or charge cards in the name of the other party.

23.       Discontinuing or reducing the withholding for federal income taxes on each party’s wages or salary while this case is pending.

24.       Destroying, disposing of, or altering any financial records of the parties, including but not limited to records from financial institutions (including canceled checks and deposit slips), all records of credit purchases or cash advances, tax returns, and financial statements.

25.       Destroying, disposing of, or altering any e-mail or other electronic data relevant to the subject matters of this case, whether stored on a hard drive or on a diskette or other electronic storage device.

26.       Terminating or in any manner affecting the service of water, electricity, gas, telephone, cable television, or other contractual services, such as security, pest control, landscaping, or yard maintenance,  or in any manner attempting to withdraw any deposits for service in connection with those services.

27.       Excluding Petitioner from the use and enjoyment of the residence located at .

28.       Excluding Respondent from the use and enjoyment of the residence located at .

29.       Entering, operating, or exercising control over any vehicle in the possession of Petitioner.

30.       Entering, operating, or exercising control over any vehiclein the possession of Respondent.

31.       Disturbing the peace of the children or of another party.

32.       Withdrawing the children from enrollment in the school or day-care facility where the children are presently enrolled.

33.       Hiding or secreting the children from the other party.

34.       Making disparaging remarks regarding the other party or the other party’s family in the presence or within the hearing of the children.

35.       Consuming alcohol within the 24 hours before or during the period of possession of or access to the children.

36.       Permitting an unrelated adult with whom either party has an intimate or dating relationship to remain in the same residence with the children between the hours of 10:00 P.M. and 8:00A.M.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that each party is authorized only as follows:

To make expenditures and incur indebtedness for reasonable and necessary living expenses for food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and medical care.

To make expenditures and incur indebtedness for reasonable attorney’s fees and expenses in connection with this suit.

To make withdrawals from accounts in financial institutions only for the purposes authorized by this order.

To engage in acts reasonable and necessary to conduct each party’s usual business and occupation.

This joint and mutual restraining order is effective immediately and shall continue in force and effect until further order of this Court or until it expires by operation of law. This order shall be binding on Petitioner and Respondent; on Petitioner’s and Respondent’s agents, servants, and employees; and on those persons in active concert or participation with them who receive actual notice of this order by personal service or otherwise.  The requirement of a bond is waived.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the clerk shall issue notice to Respondent, to appear, and Respondent is ORDERED to appear in person, and Respondent is to furnish information sufficient to accurately identify Respondent’s net resources and ability to pay child support and to bring with him tax returns for the past two years, a financial information statement substantially in the form and detail prescribed by the Texas Family Law Practice Manual (3d ed.), form 4-2, and pay stubs for the past three months.  IT IS ORDERED that Respondent shall appear with those documents before this Court in the courthouse at

___  1115 Congress, Houston, Texas 77020

___  201 Caroline, Houston, Texas 77020

on                     at                        . M.  The purpose of the hearing is to determine whether, while this case is pending:

1.         The preceding temporary restraining order should be made a temporary injunction pending final hearing.

2.         The additional temporary injunction prayed for should be granted.

3.         Petitioner should be awarded the exclusive use and possession of the residence located at, as well as the furniture, furnishings, and other personal property at that residence, while this case is pending, and Respondent should be enjoined from entering or remaining on the premises of the residence and exercising possession or control of any of this personal property, except as authorized by order of this Court.

4.         Petitioner should be awarded exclusive use and control of any vehicle in possession of petitioner, and Respondent should be enjoined from entering, operating, or exercising control over it.

5.         Petitioner should be awarded the exclusive use of the following property, and Respondent should be enjoined from exercising possession or control of any of this property:  .

6.         Petitioner and Respondent should be appointed temporary joint managing conservators, and Petitioner should be designated as the conservator who has the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the children.

7.         Respondent should be ordered to pay child support, health insurance premiums for coverage on the children, an equitable portion of the children’s uninsured medical expenses, the children’s private school expenses and the children’s day‑care expenses while this case is pending.

8.         The Court should order reasonable periods of electronic communication between the children and Petitioner to supplement Petitioner’s periods of possession of the children.

9.         The Court should order Respondent to pay support to Petitioner until a final decree is signed.

10.       The Court should order Respondent to produce copies of income tax returns for tax year 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012, a financial statement, and current pay stubs by a date certain.

11.       The Court should order Respondent to pay reasonable interim attorney’s fees and expenses.

12.       The Court should order Respondent to provide a sworn inventory and appraisement of all the separate and community property owned or claimed by the parties and all debts and liabilities owed by the parties substantially in the form and detail prescribed by the Texas Family Law Practice Manual (3d ed.), form 7-1.

13.       The Court should order Respondent to produce copies of all the tax information necessary to prepare Petitioner’s tax returns for tax year 2008, 2009 and 2010 , including tax returns and all supporting schedules for year 2012, by a date certain.

14.       The Court should order the parties to participate in an alternative dispute resolution process before trial of this matter.

15.       The Court should order Respondent to execute all necessary releases required by Petitioner to obtain any discovery allowed by the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.

16.       The Court should order Respondent to execute all necessary releases pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and 45 C.F.R. section 164.508 to permit Petitioner to obtain health-care information regarding the children.

17.       The Court should order Respondent to execute for all health-care providers of the children an authorization for disclosure of protected health information to Petitioner pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and 45 C.F.R. section 164.508.

18.       The Court should order Respondent to designate Petitioner as a person to whom protected health information regarding the children may be disclosed whenever Respondent executes an authorization for disclosure of protected health information pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and 45 C.F.R. section 164.508.

19.       The Court should order a pretrial conference to simplify the issues in this case and determine the stipulations of the parties and for any other matters the Court deems appropriate.

20.       The Court should make all other and further orders respecting the property and the parties that are pleaded for or that are deemed necessary and equitable and for the safety and welfare of the children.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that any authorized person eighteen years of age or older who is not a party to or interested in the outcome of this case may serve any citation, notice, or process in this case.

SIGNED on                               at               .M.

 

                                                                                   

JUDGE PRESIDING

 

The purpose of the temporary restraining order to set up the rules of the divorce.  You may not be agreeable to visitation and support issues with your spouse.  Thus, Judicial intervention in required to give the parties guidance in how to behave in the divorce.

About the Author

Michael Busby Jr. is a divorce and family law attorney who practices in Harris County Texas and the counties that surround Harris County. He has been in practice for over 10 years and has tried over 100 cases.  He is familiar with the policy and procedures of the Houston Texas Divorce Courts.   Our office is open until 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for working folks.  Please call with your family law or divorce questions for contested divorce Houston Texas.

Michael Busby Jr.

2909 Hillcroft Suite 350

Houston, Texas 77057

(713) 974-1151

Visit me on the web at www.busby-lee.com

Temporary Restraining Order Houston Texas also would be applicable to the following communities within the greater Houston, Texas Area:

Baytown, Bellaire, Bunker Hill, Deer Park, Friendswood, Galena Park, Humble, Jacinto City, Katy, La Porte, Pasadena, Tomball, West University, Cypress, Crosby, Woodlands, Denver Harbor, Spring & The Woodlands, Spring, Stafford, Sugarland, Galveston, Missouri City, Richmond, & Alief

 

Contested Divorce Houston Texas

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Before filing for divorce here are some pointers.  Be careful about destroying evidence as this may cause you problems later.  At the same time, you want to review this list and attempt to cushion any negative impact your actions prior to filing divorce may had on your decision making.  Some pointers for you:

  • Do check social networking sites and possibly shut down;
  • Do secure self and make provisions to be safe; if there is a threat of violence;
  • Do inform attorney of all relevant facts;
  • Do talk about pre-and postnups, if you have had one;
  • Do walk away from arguments and conflict;
  • Do gather documents early in the process or before divorce begins;
  • Do attend parenting class on attorney advice;
  • Do gather information for inventories – this includes your assets and your debts;
  • Do be on best behavior during the divorce;
  • Do stop cursing in all forms, particularly in texts, e-mails, or other writings;
  • Do disclose criminal history to your attorney;
  • Do seek help for use of alcohol or unlawful substances before filing;
  • Do act as if every conversation is recorded;
  • Do disclose bad behavior to your attorney.
  • Do Not violate a standing order or injunction;
  • Do Not transfer or withdraw large money after filing for divorce;
  • Do Not sell property without the Court’s permission;
  • Do Not take kids out of school or enroll them in a new school;
  • Do Not incur large or frivolous debts;
  • Do Not discuss divorce in depth with kids;
  • Do Not start another romantic relationship;
  • Do Not put divorce information on social network sites;
  • Do Not remove kids from the state to change their residence;
  • Do Not hide assets or resist discovery;
  • Do Not have expectations that the divorce will be over quickly or inexpensively;
  • Do Not be rude or impolite to the other spouse
  • Do Not blog publicly about your divorce proceedings;
  • Do Not write and send nasty emails;
  • Do Not send nasty text messages;
  • Do Not take scandalous photos of yourself;
  • Do Not remove, hide or secret the kids from your spouse.

Lastly, please be advised that we cannot guarantee any expected outcome or conclusion of your legal matter due to numerous and complicated factors which are beyond our control.  Accordingly, we cannot guarantee a favorable outcome in any legal matter that we are handling for you.  We will however, provide reasonable and competent services to represent and protect your interests and will not conclude or settle the matter without your approval.  Should a problem arise with your spouse, please contact our office so that we may be able to advise you of the next step that will need to occur. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact our office.

About the Author

Michael Busby Jr. is a divorce and family law attorney who practices in Harris County Texas and the counties that surround Harris County. He has been in practice for over 14 years and has tried over 300 cases.  He is familiar with the policy and procedures of the Houston Texas Divorce Courts.   Our office is open until 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for working folks.  Please call with your family law or divorce questions for contested divorce Houston Texas.

Michael Busby Jr.

2909 Hillcroft Suite 350

Houston, Texas 77057

(713) 974-1151

Visit me on the web at www.busby-lee.com