Category Archives: Houston Divorce Attorney

INFLUENCE THE COURT

Is there anything you can do to influence the court in your favor?

A judge in a divorce court has seen it all. He or she has seen the drama queens, the crocodile tears, the acting, the anger and foul temper…all of it. Few things will faze a Houston family law judge. In fact, most of them get angry when you try to impress them. However, they are also humans and will clearly respect decorum and good manners. They fully know what you are going through. They however expect that as an adult, you will behave like one. There is no need of throwing tantrums like a child in a court. After all, the case will be decided on points of law and not on emotions. And yes, they will put into consideration your feelings, but only in as much as they do not contradict the law. Hopefully, your Houston divorce lawyer will have advised you as much. So what can you do to impress a judge and have he/she in your corner?

Be Prepared

You cannot come in court unprepared and expect to attract the judge into your view of things. You need to be prepared in all aspects; emotions, facts, decorum, and evidence. Of course your Houston divorce lawyer will take care of the evidence and facts part, but when being cross examined, your facts need to be consistent with those of your lawyers. Any form of inconsistency will be interpreted as lying. Even a layman can tell that when two people in the same team tell two different stories, one of them, or both of them are lying. Be very prepared!

Avoid the Dramas

Calling your spouse names, giving him/her an icy look, crying uncontrollably and all other forms of emotional expression give the judge the wrong ‘vibes’. You will look extremely unstable and this may cause the judge to deny you the chance to live with your kids. You need to show maturity, firmness and decisiveness. These are qualities of a good parent. So, if you want to retain the kids, be strong. A tear here and a tear there is not bad for show, but complete breakdown is very wrong.

Courtroom Procedure

Most courts have their set protocol. You will hear your Houston divorce lawyer addressing the judges as ‘your honor’.  Follow his cue. You will be expected to stand and sit upon the entry and exit of the judge in the courtroom. You should never interrupt your lawyer, your partner’s lawyer, your partner or the judge when speaking. Wait for your turn to speak. Make sure you keep quiet in court. Unless it is absolutely necessary, keep to yourself and avoid whispering to your lawyer. This makes you look like you want to fix your spouse. Before going to court, let your lawyer explain the court procedure succinctly.

Honesty

Honesty is a good and admirable quality. Even if telling the truth will put your case in jeopardy, always tell the truth. The judge will appreciate it if you can acknowledge your mistakes in the marriage. It is the honorable thing to do. It makes you look mature and ready to handle your problems. This is a very good sign of a responsible parent. If you tell the truth, you will be helping the court move along and save a lot of time. This is always appreciated. You never know, the judge may rule in your favor, or, will not be trying too hard to hand you a raw deal.

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

 



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Houston divorce lawyer

Methods used to acquire information from other parties to a divorce

Courts are places of records. Information that is pertinent to the case is sought with vengeance. It is not enough to come up with a solid case based on circumstantial evidence. You need to prove your points of law using information that is admissible in court. The Houston law drafters therefore devised several methods you can use to obtain information from the competing party in a divorce case. Your Houston divorce lawyer should be smart enough to pick up the line of argument the other party expects to use. However, you need to be careful because the other party may use these methods to send you in an opposite direction from how they intend to argue the case. The following are the major methods used by any Houston divorce lawyer to obtain this information.

Depositions

In a deposition, the other party’s lawyers will get a sworn testimony from you. Note that you are expected to tell the truth, and nothing but the truth. The information you give here can and will be used in a court of law if you and your spouse do not reach an agreement. It is important to note that this method of information collection is usually used as evidence in court. Your Houston divorce lawyer should advise you appropriately in regard to what you are supposed to say and not say during deposition.

Request for Production

This is usually done to access documents such as bank statements, pay slips, property ownership schedule etc. This information is useful in property division, child support and spousal maintenance determination, children possessive custody among others. A court needs to know what you are worth and how much you should expense every month in support of your kids and spouse. The documents are important in distinguishing separate property and community property. Separate property is not subject to sharing unless on very special circumstances. Community sharing on the other hand is shared equally or as the court may deem fair and equitable.

Admission of Facts

This is a schedule made, listing a number of facts, and then sent to the other party for either admission or denial of the same. It is important to both parties for processing their evidence. Note that either party may decline to comment on the facts sheet. A court may be relied upon to make the other party commit on the fact sheet. However, the court too may decline to compel the other party to comment on the fact sheet.

Interrogations

This is a list of questions that are drafted and sent to the other party in a bid to establish some facts. They are supposed to be answered in 30 days and as truthfully as possible. Many parties cooperate with each other as both sides will usually send the interrogation’s sheet.

Disclosure

In this case, the parties request the other parties for documents or materials that they intend to use in the case. The other party is obliged to make the materials available in 30 days.

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

 



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Family trust

Three Benefits of Establishing a Family Trust

Let’s take a moment to discuss your circumstances. You have a family business or considerable assets, and want to provide for your family while protecting your assets and saving on taxes.  How do you achieve all of that in a completely legal and beneficial way?

You establish a family trust.

In the US, a family trust is a discretionary trust established to manage a family business or hold family assets.  A family trust provides a number of benefits. In this article, I want to explore three of the most compelling and common reasons for establishing a family trust.

Protect Your Assets

There are a number of ways a family trust helps protect your assets:

  1. Protect your personal assets from failures related to your business
  2. Protect family group assets from the liabilities of individual family members – bankruptcy, insolvency, etc.
  3. Protect your assets in event of your death
  4. Protect your assets in the case of relationship failure

A family trust can play a key role in your estate planning and help you properly control or transfer your assets. A family lawyer can talk through the benefits of a family trust and help you decide on the right option for your family.

Reduce Overall Tax Paid by Family Business

One of the main benefits of the family trust is that the trustee can distribute income earned by the trust to beneficiaries of the trust in any way they see fit.  The trust distributions do not have to go to the same beneficiaries each year or be distributed in the same proportions as previous years.

This allows the trustee to take full advantage of tax laws. The trust does not have to pay income tax on income that is distributed to beneficiaries. The beneficiaries are required to pay taxes on their income, but only on the amount that exceeds his or her tax-free threshold. It is in the trustee’s best interest to distribute the trust income in a way that takes advantage of each beneficiary’s personal marginal tax rates.

It’s important to note that undistributed income is taxed at the highest marginal tax rate, so it’s important to distribute the trust’s income before the end of the financial year.

Provide Income Without Transferring Assets

As mentioned above, a family trust will allow you to provide income to family members at a reduced tax rate. What this also means is that a family trust allows you to maintain control of your assets instead of transferring them to members of your family group.

You may not want to transfer assets until your death or you may want to control exactly how assets are managed indefinitely. Whatever your reasons, a family trust allows you to keep assets in control of the trustee while still passing on income to beneficiaries.

Important Considerations

A family trust is beneficial only to those included in the family group. If you distribute income to individuals considered outside of the family group, they will be taxed at the maximum rate possible.

This is why it is very important to seek legal counsel when establishing a family trust. A family lawyer will help make sure you clearly determine who qualifies as a beneficiary of the family trust in the terms of your trust deed.  Then you can be confident that you only distribute assets from the family trust in a way that is beneficial to you and the family members who receive them.

The advice outlined in this article should be considered as general in nature, and you should absolutely seek legal counsel before establishing a family trust. A family lawyer will be able to go into much greater detail about the benefits of a family trust and help you determine whether a family trust is the right choice for you and your family.



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Grounds for divorce

Cruel Treatment Grounds for Divorce Texas

A trial court may grant a divorce on the ground of cruel treatment under the Texas Family Code Section  6.002 . To be considered “cruel treatment,” the conduct of the accused party must rise to such a level as to render the couple’s living together insupportable.  Ayala v. Ayala, 387 S.W.3d 721, 733 (Tex.App.-Houston [1st Dist .] 2011, no pet.); Newberry v. Newberry, 351 S.W.3d 552, 557 (Tex.App.-El Paso 2011, no pet.).  You may think that in your case you have been abused.  I had a client one time whose husband frequently pulled his pants down and farted close to the wife.  The family’s children picked up this nasty habit and would do this to each other and the parents. This one event was not enough for a finding of cruelty in that case.    “Insupportable,” for purposes of “cruel treatment,” means incapable of being borne, unendurable, insufferable, or intolerable. Ayala, 387 S.W.3d at 733; Henry v. Henry, 48 S.W.3d 468, 473–74 (Tex.App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2001, no pet.). Mere trivial matters or disagreements do not justify the granting of divorce for cruel treatment. Ayala, 387 S.W.3d at 733. Acts occurring after separation can support a finding of cruel treatment. Ayala, 387 S.W.3d at 733; Newberry, 351 S.W.3d at 557.  A 2013 case which examined facts that supported a finding that the divorce should be granted on cruelty, found that the husband yelled and cursed at people on the phone,  exhibited road rage while wife was a passenger in the car, came into her house after separation and  would not leave her house and that, ultimately, she had to call the police to get husband to leave. When wife returned to the family  house  to get her property from husband, wife discovered that husband had burned her furniture and clothing.  Wife also said that husband sent her pictures of her deceased son and husband deceased mother. Wife  testified that husband conduct exacerbated her heart condition.  Kemp v. Kemp, No. 11-11-00292-CV, 2013 WL 5891583, at *3-4 (Tex. App. Oct. 31, 2013).   Thus, to to make a finding of cruelty, this would be fact intensive in your case.  Make a journal of what happened. Talk with your lawyer to develop a case theory.  Make sure your lawyer knows your judge. Then make your case. Fault can also be a jury issue.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Busby Jr. is a divorce & family law attorney,  who practices in Harris and Fort Bend Counties, 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 and Fort Bend County Texas family law 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

Grandparents rights

Grandparents Rights Lawyer Houston Texas

In Harris county, Texas grandparents many times have had difficulty to file original suits but also trouble in filing interventions in active suits between the parents.  Sections 1002.003 and 102.004 of the Texas family code gives grandparents the ability to intervene in a lawsuit that involves their grandchildren.  Most of the Judges you will find are very hard on the grandparents.  You can draft the lawsuit such that it would be pretty expensive for the parents to respond.  This always helps get you an edge.  Recently one of our local court of appeals held:

“In today’s case, the Grandmother timely filed a written request for a jury trial and paid the jury fee, thus invoking her constitutional right to a jury trial. See Tex. Const. art. 1, § 15; Tex. Fam.Code Ann. § 105.002(a),(b)(West 2014); Tex.R. Civ. P. 216. The Texas Legislature has emphasized that, in an original proceeding in which one or more parties seek appointment as a managing conservator, parties who invoke their right to a jury trial are entitled to a jury trial on the issue of the appointment of a managing conservator, and the trial court may not contravene the jury’s verdict on the conservatorship issue.” In re K.D.H., 426 S.W.3d 879, 886-87 (Tex. App. 2014).

Thus in addition to drafting pleadings that are going to be expensive to respond, you always want to pay the jury fee.  The judges are more objective and less likely to be persuaded than a panel of 12 citizens, many of whom may be grandparents.  Also, many times the grandparents are dismissed by the judge prior to the final trial.  This allows you to stay on the case until final trial. Perhaps even to ask for temporary orders and get interim custody, at the very least you will get to conduct discovery and then try the case to the jury.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Busby Jr. is a divorce & family law attorney,  who practices in Harris and Fort Bend Counties, 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 and Fort Bend County Texas family law 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

REQUEST FOR SOCIAL MEDIA

How to Make a Request for Social Media in a Divorce Case

I have attempted to subpoena the social media host on several occasions only to find that they typically will not produce the persons social media, but instead send a form letter that describes how to authenticate the individuals you are seeking’s social media.  I am familiar with both facebook and twitter having options in their accounts to download all of the posts into a file.  This is the file that you would want for evidence gathering. The proper language is as follows:
FACEBOOK: Go to the Account Settings tab on Facebook and click on “General Settings”. Within the “General Settings” tab, click on “Download a copy of your Facebook data”. Facebook then begins the process gathering your information and saving your Facebook archive. Once the archive is complete, you will receive an email indicating that your Facebook download is complete along with a ling to allow you to download your Facebook data. Produce the data from the facebook download

TWITTER: Go to your Account page and click on “Settings”. Next, you will see a label stating “Your Twitter Archive”. Click on “Request Your Archive”. Again, like Facebook, Twitter will send you an email to download your Twitter archive. The archive will include a list of all tweets, along with a date and time stamp for each message. Produce the data from the twitter download.

Use of social media in a divorce and family law trial can make or break your case.  Always ask for it, everytime.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Busby Jr. is a divorce & family law attorney,  who practices in Harris and Fort Bend Counties, 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 and Fort Bend County Texas family law 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

Orders temporary divorce

What are Temporary Orders in a Houston Divorce

facebook-cover-4.27.15 What are Temporary Orders in a Houston Divorce
While the parties are working out issues that can be agreed upon, an/or discovering what cannot be agreed upon, either party may  ask the court to put temporary orders in place until  the divorce is finalized. Sometimes you are served the day before the hearing.  3 days notice is not always enforced when service of temporary orders is made via personal service in the original suit.   The parties may agree to the issues in the temporary orders, or they may ask the court to decide the issues.  It is in both spouse’s best interest to make reasonable arrangements by agreement.  Agreements minimize bad feelings between the parties and will reduce attorney’s fees. I understand if you could not agree on the day of the week with your ex.  Come see me, I will listen to you and help you develop a plan of action to end this relationship either as fast and as quick as possible, or I can be known to delay and stir up trouble at the courthouse.

The following issues are usually decided at a temporary orders hearing:

1. Who stays in the house?

2. Who pays what bills?

3. Temporary spousal support

4. Temporary child custody

5. Interim attorney ‘s fees

About the Author

Michael Busby Jr. is a divorce & family law attorney,  who practices in Harris and Fort Bend Counties, 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 and Fort Bend County Texas family law 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

division in texas upon divorce

Important Information on Property Division in Texas upon Divorce

Texas is a community property state which means that the marital property is divided equally between the spouses in the event of a divorce. However, this is not necessarily true as the division of property is based on the “just & right” principle which gives the presiding judge the authority to divide the community assets in any other ratio taking into account various relevant factors.

It’s important here to make a clear distinction between community property and separate property. Community property refers to the assets & liabilities that were created during the course of marriage; whereas, separate property is any property that spouses held before they got married which also include any assets they acquired during the marriage through gifts or inheritance. It is not uncommon in Texas to find a spouse receiving more than half of the community property depending upon the fulfillment of certain criteria.

As mentioned earlier, while dividing community property there are some factors that a judge takes into consideration to deliver a “just & right” division. These factors include: spouse who’s responsible for the break-up of marriage, monthly income of spouses & difference therein, education of spouses, age of spouses and of children if any, health issues, value of separate property owned by either party, any special needs of children and/or of spouses, etc.
Both parties are required by the Texas Law to submit an inventory to the court which lists all the assets owned by the spouses as community & separate property with their true valuation, as well as all the liabilities that are needed to be honored. Sometimes, community property may become separate property or vise-versa through series of transactions and these documents are also needed to be submitted to the court.

About the Author

Michael Busby Jr. is a divorce & family law attorney,  who practices in Harris and Fort Bend Counties, 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 and Fort Bend County Texas family law 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

Parenting Coordination

Harris County DRO Parenting Coordination

The Domestic Relations Office is now offering Parenting Coordination as authorized under Chapter 153, Subchapter K, Texas Family Code.  The service will be provided by a DRO employee who is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Master Social Worker, or Psychologist and has complied with the TFC’s training requirements.   There is a sliding scale fee based on each party’s gross income which compensates for six sessions.   Additional sessions are available, if needed.  By statute, Parenting Coordination is a confidential process that assists parties in;

  1. identifying disputed issues;
  2. reducing misunderstandings;
  3. clarifying priorities;
  4. exploring possibilities for problem solving;
  5. developing methods of collaboration in parenting;
  6. developing a parenting plan;
  7. understanding parenting plans and reaching agreements about parenting issues to be included in a parenting plan;
  8. complying with the Court’s order regarding conservatorship or possession of and access to the child;
  9. implementing parenting plans;
  10. obtaining training regarding problem solving, conflict management, and parenting skills; and
  11. settling disputes regarding parenting issues and reaching  proposed joint resolution or statement of intent regarding those disputes.

The Coordinator will conduct an individual meeting with each parents to identify the disputed issues.  Joint sessions will continue thereafter.  Each parent will receive the workbook Cooperative Parenting – Shielding Your Child From Conflict by Susan Boyan, M.Ed., L.M.F.T. and Ann Termini, M.S. L. P.C..  Parents will be assigned to read and work with the Coordinator on exercises in Co-Parenting Guide that relate to their disputed issues, both individually and in joint sessions.

About the Author

Michael Busby Jr. is a divorce & family law attorney,  who practices in Harris and Fort Bend Counties, 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 and Fort Bend County Texas family law 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

DIVORCE LAWYER

Tough Houston Divorce Lawyer

Getting a divorce doesn’t have to be the big hassle that everyone always makes it seem to be. If you get a good, tough Houston divorce lawyer then it can be a very easy exchange. It is true the going through a divorce is a tricky and often difficult time in anyone’s life. This does not need to be made any more difficult by having a lawyer that isn’t up to snuff with how the proceedings should be going. Making sure that you have the best possible lawyer will make sure that the divorce goes as smoothly as possible and that it is not dragged out any longer than it needs to be. This will help you to get back to your life as quickly as possible.

If you are thinking about getting divorced, make sure that you are talking to a good lawyer. Someone that is going to take the time to listen to your case and figure out the best possible course of action to make sure that you get everything that you need out of the RELATIONSHIP. Going through a divorce can often bring out the worst in people and making sure that you have a good Houston divorce lawyer will make sure that you are getting everything that you have worked hard for taken away from you because you are being poorly represented. The lawyer that you have will make all of the difference in the outcome of the divorce and you should make sure that you have found someone who really cares about you.

Divorce is always going to be a hard things to deal with. A good divorce lawyer is going to make sure that you are having the most stress free experience with your divorce as possible. There doesn’t need to be any added drama to something that can already feel very dramatic. Don’t feel as though you need to get all caught up in what is happening on a legal level, let a divorce lawyer that you trust take care of it for you. And trust that you will be informed of anything that you need to be without getting stressed out over every little detail that could go wrong. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions of your lawyer to make sure that they are on your side and that they really understand your side of the story to make sure that you are being represented in the best way possible.

About the Author

Michael Busby Jr. is a divorce & family law attorney,  who practices in Harris and Fort Bend Counties, 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 and Fort Bend County Texas family law 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

Jurisdiction for a Child

Subject Matter Jurisdiction for a Child Not in Texas during Divorce

If you are trying to get divorced in Texas, but your children have not lived in Texas for the last six months, or have never resided in Texas at all, then Texas lacks authority to enter an order for possession and access and rights or duties for the children.  Texas would have jurisdiction to require the parent who was in Texas to pay child support.  Once in a blue moon, you get a judge who thinks that because the other side signed a waiver, that they have consented to subject matter jurisdiction.  We have one here in Harris County, who has worked under three judges and been on the bench for about 8 years, but still thinks that one can waive subject matter jurisdiction.  Sometimes it is easier just to draft a full order and let someone raise a defense latter that it is not enforceable.  I caution you to make sure you have done the proper forms and affidavits before you attempt to prove it up, if you are asking that the court decline jurisdiction on the children, based on a lack of it.  Also, you must plead for it, most of your standard forms ask the court to render orders for the children, you will have to customize your form and also you need to do Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) affidavits for the Texas spouse and non-resident spouse. Texas also makes you address all children born during marriage but not of the marriage by the woman.  So if wife is in South Carolina with new boyfriend making babies, Texas laws says you need either a dna test or acknowledge of paternity as the husband is presumed to be the father.  But the UCCJEA trumps Texas law.  This is where a Court of Appeals Opinion will hopefully help you when you have Judge wants to impose Texas law on non-residents.  Yes, you can always get divorced in Texas, so long as you file first and have lived in this State for at least six months, for the most part.  Dividing property  and also addressing the children cannot always be done.      Below, I have summarized Barajas v. Santiago 2012 W.L. 760921.  This is a 1st court of Texas appeals unpublished opinion case, in which one of our local attorneys argued that because the wife, who had children in Mexico signed a waiver, she  consented to subject matter jurisdiction, and our judge in the 245th of Harris County, dismissed the divorce for having visitation and conservatorship provisions in the divorce.

Francisco Barajas (appellant) appeals the trial court’s dismissal of his petition seeking divorce from Maria Angelica (appellee), and seeks assets division besides establishing child custody and support. The appeal is solely on grounds that he trial court erred in dismissing his case.

This petition filed on 17th March, 2010 for a marriage lasting almost two-and-half years, an insupportable marriage as a result of discord/personality differences after having a son, F.B.L. Francisco seeks to be appointed as a joint managing conservator and be named as the parent to determine F.B.L’S  residency.

He further seeks to be allowed to visit the son and that the child’s support and insurance be in line with the Family Code section 152.201(a)(4).. He indicates that the son was born in Mexico where Maria’s address is, though gives no evidence on the child’s residence.

Maria on her side files a service waiver plus a statement she entered her appearance in the case for all purposes indicating she currently resides in Mexico. However, she doesn’t answer or provide any document in this case. The case is dismissed on grounds that the child was not born neither is he in the U.S.

In his appeal, Francisco claims Maria’s service waiver cover the minor and confirms the son lives in Mexico with Maria and that she accepted the child’s supportive funds monthly. These claims don’t appear in the recorded case.

Had the trial court jurisdiction over the divorce and initial child custody purpose?

For a valid suit in Texas, the respondent or the petitioner are required to have domiciliary of Texas for a preceding 6-months as at the time the suit is being filed. Also, you has to be a resident of where the suit is filed at least for the preceding 90 days. This suit ought to affect the parent to child bond if the involved are parents of a minor. This does not include the jurisdiction ground involved in making the child custody. Hence the court can only determine an initial child custody where;

  • The child lives in the state by the time proceedings start or lived there 6-months before the proceedings and is absent or the guardian or parent still lives here.
  • Another court outside this state doesn’t have the mandate to decide the case or a court at home refuses to carry out jurisdiction owing that the state is the most appropriate;
  • Other courts with appropriate mandate to handle the case decide the court of the state is the most fit for this matter.
  • No any other court can handle the case

In light of the above, Francisco has failed to give any record of his son’s current address, where lived in the past 5-years and the guardians who housed the son. Likewise, Maria has not filed anything in defense.  Albeit, the court has found that the son doesn’t and has never lived in Texas, the appellate admits this. To this extent, the trial court’s dismissal of the appellant’s case is valid.

About the Author

Michael Busby Jr. is a divorce & family law attorney,  who practices in Harris and Fort Bend Counties, 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 and Fort Bend County Texas family law 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

Family violence

Protective Orders In Texas Against Family Violence

Texas Family Code provides protection against family violence committed by a family member as well as by an outsider who has/had a relationship with the petitioner. Protective order, also known as restraining order in some states, is a court order issued to protect the victims (or likely victims) of family violence. There are two terms that are used in this regard namely family violence and dating violence that cover various forms of assaults. If you are a victim of family violence, then you should immediately sought legal counsel from a Family Law attorney or any other competent authorities such as the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services.

Any action or threat of action by a family member against another family member can be interpreted as an act of family violence if it causes or intends to cause physical harm, injury to body, physical and/or sexual assault, or reasonable fear of such actions in the future. Dating violence, on the other hand, constitutes any action or threat of action by a person against another person with whom s/he has or had a dating relationship that causes or intends to cause physical harm, injury to body, physical and/or sexual assault, or reasonable fear of such actions in the future. The judge will take into account certain parameters to decide whether the relationship is/was a dating relationship or not.

There are three different types of protective orders issued in the State of Texas: temporary ex parte, permanent, and emergency protective order. Temporary ex parte is a court order reserved for those situations that require immediate protection of the abused and/or his/her family from the abuser. Ex parte here refers to the fact that there is no need to send a notice to the abuser (respondent) to attend the hearing as it could jeopardize the security of the abused. It generally lasts up to 20 days but it can be extended to additional 20-day periods if the judge decides so. A permanent protective order is usually for less than 2 years but could be extended in certain circumstances. Emergency protective order is not issued by a Family Court but by a criminal court after the abuser is arrested for family violence, sexual assault, or stalking. It is generally for more than 30 days but less than 60 days; however, the use of a deadly weapon in assault could increase this duration.

A protective order for family violence could be filed by anyone in the household and if the abused is a child, then any adult could file for the protective order. Apart from this, the Attorney General, the District Attorney, Family Law attorneys or the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services also have the power to file for a protective order on the behalf of the abused. It must be proved in the court that an act of family violence has occurred or is likely to occur. In most cases, the testimony of the abused is enough for the issuance of the order even if a police report hasn’t been filed. It must be noted that there is no fee charged (from the abused) to apply for the protective order but if found guilty of family violence, the abuser may have to pay certain court fees.

If it’s proven that the family violence has occurred or is likely to occur, then the abuser is restrained from committing further violence, to have direct/indirect communication with the abused, approaching abused near his/her home or workplace, going near the home/day care/school of the court-order protected child, to have possession of a firearm and/or following, annoying, abusing, embarrassing, or harassing the abused. In some cases exclusive possession of the house could also be given to the petitioner.

Violation of the permanent protective order may lead to a fine up to $4,000 and/or jail time up to 1 year. If the violation constitutes family violence, then the abuser could be prosecuted for felony/misdemeanor which has minimum jail time of 2 years. For the violation of temporary ex parte protective order, the fine is up to $500 and/or jail time of up to 6 months. It is important to note that the valid protective orders from the other states are also enforceable in Texas.

hindu divorce

Sikhism Marriage and Divorce

In Sikhism, marriage is obligatory for a Sikh. Sikhism rejects renunciation of the world. A Sikh must live the life of a householder. Except for unavoidable circumstances, a Sikh must not remain celibate. Sikhism does not deny the existence of a sexual being in a man:

There is no (so-called sacred) thread for sex organs

And there is no such thread for females

Because of this (sexual sins) man’s beard is ever spat upon

But, in Sikhism, marriage is not performed for gratification of sexual desire or for enjoyment of carnal pleasure. For a Sikh, a marriage partner is must in order to check him from committing sexual sins. Similarly, the purpose of marriage is not mere creation and upbringing of children.

According to Sikhism, when a girl attains maturity, it is incumbent upon her parents to look for a suitable match for her. It is neither desirable nor proper to marry a girl at tender age. The daughter of a Sikh should be given in marriage to a Sikh. If a man is a believer in Sikhism, is humble by nature, and earns his bread by honest means, with him matrimony may be contracted without a question and without consideration for wealth and riches. Sikh marriages are usually arranged. The people from other cultures do not always properly interpret the word ‘arranged’. An arranged marriage does not mean forcing man or woman into wedlock of parents’ choice only. It is agreeing to marriage proposed by mutual discussion between the man and the woman on one side and his and her parents and relatives on the other. This is in fact selecting the right partner with the approval of all. Most importantly the man and woman themselves must get to know each other to convey their consent to their parents.

There is no concept or Maryada (code) of divorce in the Sikh religion. Civil divorce is considered a very grave matter. When the marriage takes place the husband and wife agree in the presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji to stay with each other and love and honor each other for life. This should be honoured by both parties to their best of their abilities. If marital discord takes place, the community intervenes. Panj Pyaaray can be asked to help resolve the situation.

First some senior members of the Sangat (community) may be asked to intervene and help to resolve any differences. Secondly, the Panj Piaray can be asked to help resolve the situation. There is always pressure on the couple to resolve their differences in a amicable manner and help is freely given by the senior members of the Gurdwara or Sangat.

Divorce for the Sikh Marriage

In some very extreme, abnormal or rare circumstances marital breakdown, the Sangat or Panj Pyaare can give permission to someone to re-marry; however, even then there is no religious ceremony for divorce. The couple can, however, obtain a divorce under the Civil law of the land. In the olden times if the marriage broke down in an extreme circumstance, the woman would leave her husband and go and stay with her parents. Nowadays, the partners may live separately, or apply for a civil divorce. However, the Panj Piaare, elder Gursikhs or Sangat should be consulted. Marriage is not however considered something that can be formed and broken at will. It is a commitment made in front of God and to be relieved of that commitment to the other person some very extenuating circumstances must be present.

If one gets to get remarried, they can get remarried with the Anand Kaaraj ceremony:

Remarriage may be solemnized in the same manner as the Anand marriage.
(SRM: Chapter 11, Article 18)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Busby Jr. is a divorce & family law attorney,  who practices in Harris and Fort Bend Counties, 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 and Fort Bend County Texas family law 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

Child Support

How to Enforce Child Support Order in Texas

In general, the final decree of divorce includes roles & responsibilities of both parents (obligor & obligee) with respect to child support, conservatorship, possession & access, and medical support. However, if a parent doesn’t comply with this decree, then the other parent can a file a motion with the court to enforce the relevant order. Enforcement of a child support order needs dealing with a variety of points related to procedural law, family law, criminal law, statutory interpretation, and case law.

If a parent fails to obey a court order, then it is known as contempt of court and could bring criminal or civil punishment. In the case of a criminal contempt of court, the punishment is incarceration in the county jail for a maximum of 180 days per violation and/or a fine of not more than $500 per violation (Texas Government Code § 21.002). If it’s a civil contempt of court, then the punishment is jail time that lasts as long as the delinquent parent stops doing the wrongful act and starts to comply with the order. In most cases of child support and possession & access violations, the contempt is known as constructive contempt that has happened in the past and must be proved by the movant.

A motion for enforcement must be filed in the same court that rendered the original order as that court has continuing jurisdiction to enforce the child support order (Texas Family Code § 157.269). This motion for enforcement must clearly state the name of the person (respondent) and the provision of order that has been violated by him/her; how the order is violated; the relief requested from the court; amount paid, owed, and associated arrearages; part of the order violated and every date of alleged contempt (if contempt punishment is requested); preferably, attachments of child support payments made by the obligor to Title IV-D registry (the State Disbursement Unit (SDU) under the Child Support Division) or a local registry; and may include request to pay arrearages in accordance to a plan approved by the court and obligor’s participation in work activities in the event the child is receiving assistance through Part A of Title IV of the Federal Social Security Act (Texas Family Code § 157.002 (a)(b)).

There is a time limitations to filing of motion for enforcement of child support order w.r.t. contempt and arrearages. For a contempt order, the motion must be filed not later than the second anniversary of the date: the child attains the age of being an adult; or on which child support obligation ends as stated in the court order or due to the application of relevant law. In the case movant requests child support arrearages for due payments, the motion must be filed not later than the tenth anniversary of the date: the child attains the age of being an adult; or on which child support obligation ends as stated in the court order or due to the application of relevant law (Texas Family Code § 157.005).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Busby Jr. is a divorce & family law attorney,  who practices in Harris and Fort Bend Counties, 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 and Fort Bend County Texas family law 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

HOUSTON DIVORCE LAWYER

Hire Legal Representation to Avoid Losing Wages

The state of Texas understands that you work hard for your money every day which is why it does its best to protect the individual from creditors being able to take money from your check. On the flip side there are two major exceptions to the wage garnishment laws as well as Federal law overruling state law when it comes to student loans and IRS taxes. Within the state child support and alimony are both allowed to be garnished if the individual is behind on their responsibility.

For those who are not familiar with the regulations and have concerns about their paycheck being garnished it is necessary to speak with a Texas attorney who specializes in these matters. They can answer all questions and help with legal action if there are creditors threatening this type of action which is not permitted by the court system within the state. If you want to try and avoid a wage garnishment then you may need to work with the lawyer on alternative ways to satisfy your legal obligations outside of this method.

Garnishments can take place only when a ‘Writ of Garnishment’ has been authorized whether the individual has just moved to Texas but owes debts from a previous state or the bank account or property is going to be used. The effects of a garnishment can be significant depending on the size of the debt especially since money in bank accounts is not exempt from being taken to satisfy these debts. You should be represented by a qualified lawyer that can help you before the process gets too far by letting you know the different options such as bankruptcy or repayment plans.

Taxes, social security and insurance are legal debits from your check and when a wage garnishment in Texas occurs it is just more that you don’t see or have access to. Take the time to evaluate what is owed and speak with a legal representative to try and avoid the unpleasantness of having your employer involved in your personal business. State law protects you just as much as it protects those who need to receive payment based on legal obligations.

support child

Different Ways to Enforce a Child Support Order in Texas

During the course of divorce, in most cases, a child support order is formulated and is consequently included in the final decree of divorce. With the primary focus on the best interests of the child, the court orders the non-custodial parent (obligor) to pay for the basic support and medical care of the child to the custodial parent (obligee). However, if the obligor defaults or completely stops paying the support amount, then the court or the Child Support Division (CSD) has many options at its disposal to enforce the child support order. These options are briefly discussed below.

Income Withholding

In the event, the obligor fails to make periodic payments against the child support, then the court or the CSD has the legal right to ask the obligor’s employer to withhold that much amount from the monthly disposable income of the obligor which would be able to cover for the arrearages as well as for the current support (Texas Family Code § 158.003). If the obligor happens to be self-employed or cannot be subjected to income withholding, then the court could order the obligor to pay a monthly amount of support to the obligee which would be able to cover the current amount as well as the arrearages. To make sure that the obligor complies with the enforced order, the obligee could request the court to make the obligor to execute a bond or post security (Texas Family Code § 157.109).

Child Support Lien

According to the Subchapter G of the Texas Family Code Chapter 157, a claimant can request the court to place a lien against the real and personal property of the obligor that is not exempted under the Texas Constitution (or by other laws) to collect the child support due and owing, including any accrued interest. A child support lien covers all real and personal property including: an account in a financial institution, retirement plan (individual retirement account), proceeds from an insurance policy, and property seized and which is subjected to forfeiture (Code of Criminal Procedure Chapter 59) (Texas Family Code § 157.317).

It must be noted here that a child support lien cannot be attached to a homestead that is exempted under the Texas constitution or Property Code. Also, a child support lien is not effective until and unless it’s perfected as given by the Texas Family Code § 157.316.

License Suspension

An obligee or the CSD can file a petition to suspend a license of the obligor in the event that the child support arrearage equal or greater than the total support due for three months under a support order (Texas Family Code § 232.004). Once the petition is filed, the clerk of the court or the CSD should provide the obligor a notice of the same informing about the right to a hearing, deadline for requesting this hearing, and a hearing request form (if it’s a CSD case). If even after a warning and a repayment opportunity, the obligor fails to comply with the order, then the court has the legal right to suspend a state licence of an obligor such as driver’s license, professional license (medical, legal, dental, etc.) or any other state licenses.

Incarceration & Fine

An enforcement order given by the court may impose incarceration or fine for a criminal or civil contempt (Texas Family Code § 157.166). For a criminal contempt, incarceration in a county jail cannot exceed: 180 day limit for every violation and/or $500 fine for every violation. In the case of a civil contempt, however, there is no time-limit for incarceration which means that the obligor will have to stay in the jail as long as he/she doesn’t stop performing or start performing a certain act which would end the incarceration.

Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)

A QDRO is used to direct the benefits availed through the public retirement system towards an alternate payee i.e. the obligee or the child. A court generally comes out with an amount which must be deducted from the retirement plan so as to cover the arrearages.

Community Supervision

If the obligor complies with certain requirements laid down by the court, then the court could suspend the incarceration as discussed below. The court could suspend commitment (incarceration) if the obligor: reports to the designated community supervision officer as per the laid requirements; lets the community supervision officer to visit his/her home or any other place of obligor; takes counseling on financial planning; pays child support & arrearages; pays court-ordered attorney’s fees as well as the court costs; gets employment assistance; and participates in mediation or any other services that could help the obligor to comply with the support order (Texas Family Code § 157.211).

financial support

How To Calculate Financial Support for Minors

Divorce is never an easy process and when children are involved then there is an added layer of complexity that can become emotional and difficult to handle. This is why it is necessary to hire a legal representative who understands the state laws, can remain objective and provide recommendations on the best course of action to follow.

One of the primary issues to be decided during this process when kids are involved is the matter of child support.

The financial support of minors is addressed in the legal guidelines and should be documented in the final dissolution papers so that both parties are clear on the terms and obligations. In the majority of cases, there is one party that is required to pay the other party a specified amount based on a variety of factors.

If you live in Houston, TX, then your attorney can explain the legal formula used in calculating the necessary monthly amount to be paid. It is usually based on net monthly income minus allowable deductions and multiplied by a percentage depending on the number of children. The judge is allowed to modify this amount based on a short list of considerations but for the most part this calculation is the rule of thumb. Your qualified Texas attorney can walk you through each step of the process and answer any questions you might have as to what can be considered and what is standard so that you have an idea of what to expect when you get to court. The primary motivation for the judge is the child’s best interest so how the case is presented and the information included will have significant impact on the final decision.

Whether you are receiving child support or paying it to the ex-spouse it is important to understand the basic specifications so you know when it can be increased or how it is handled by the legal system. Hiring an attorney for child support in Houston, TX, is one of the best ways to work through the divorce process so that you can make sure that everything is handled in a professional manner for achieving maximum results.

lawyer texas

Have Faith in Family Law Attorneys

There are many reasons to seek out the help of a family law attorney in Houston, Texas. The first thought is divorce or child support but a family law attorney can help with so much more. For instance, adoptions, prenuptial agreements, or even marital support during bankruptcy. Whatever the need, a family law attorney in Houston is there to help.

Please don’t try to tackle any family legal issues alone, especially when there are well-qualified family law attorneys ready and available to help. A family law attorney is your closest ally. They will be with you from the beginning of your ordeal until the last paper is signed. If you have to appear in court, you’ll want your family law attorney right beside you. There are many laws to navigate in Houston, Texas so it is best to leave your situation in the hands of your attorney. Your family law attorney wants what is best for you.

You can count on your Houston family law attorney to work diligently on your behalf. Whether you are seeking a divorce, looking to have child support payments changed, or adopt a child, there is an attorney who is equipped to walk you through the process. A family law attorney has been professionally trained to assist you in your case. They will comfort you with knowledge of the truth and help you in any way they can. It is in your best interest to be completely honest with your family law attorney.

When you give your attorney the information they need, they can then get to work on your behalf. When it comes to your children, it may be difficult to trust a stranger with getting the support you need but they are the professionals who know the law. They are going to work hard to get you what you need. Family law attorneys in Houston, TX want to help you and it is in your best interest to let them.

After you’ve put your hope and trust in the family law attorney, you can sit back and rest. Soon your ordeal will be over and your situation resolved. In the end you’ll be glad that you hired a family law attorney in Houston.

RENOWNED FAMILY LAW

Are You Looking For Renowned Family Law Lawyer?

A family law lawyer in Houston, Texas is your advocate when it comes to any legal matters affecting families. They are the ones you hire when you need help with things like prenuptial agreements, adoption, divorce, or child support. If you feel like you should hire a lawyer, then you probably should. Family law lawyers are easy to talk to and they will steer you in the right direction.

When you call a lawyer the first thing they will do is schedule an appointment for you to talk with them. This is the beginning stages and the most important part of giving information. Tell the family lawyer about your situation, the events that led up to it, and ask them if they can help. The lawyer will tell you the truth. They will listen to your story and advise you from a legal standpoint. They will offer their services if they think that they can help you. Together, you and your lawyer, will work to get the job done.

Getting the job done might require a lot of paperwork. There will be petitions to file with the court, documents that have to be written up and signed, and likely an appearance in court. All of these steps can get complicated and you never want to go through it alone. If you are going through a divorce, adopting a child, or any other family legal reason you have for hiring a lawyer; chances are life is stressful right now. Allow the lawyer that you hire to take the burden off of you while you relax and do the hard part of waiting. Legal proceedings can last weeks, months, or even years depending on the situation. Lawyers know this and they are prepared to be with you for the long haul.

Hiring a family law lawyer in Houston, TX is a critical step to resolving any legal matter that relates to the family. Family law can be difficult to interpret, especially if children are involved. There is no reason to face these challenges on your own. Family law lawyers are experienced, educated, and equipped to see you through your ordeal. From beginning to end, allow your lawyer to be your advocate.

prenupcial

Getting a Prenuptial Agreement in Texas

Say you are getting married. You’re very excited and there are many plans to make, lists to write, things to buy, and people to call. Don’t forget about calling the lawyer. If you have an established career, assets that you want to protect, children from a previous marriage or children born before the marriage, and income that you have worked hard for, you may consider adding a prenuptial agreement to your list of things to do.

In Texas, a prenuptial agreement should be written by a lawyer. The laws surrounding prenuptial agreements are very specific and need the interpretation of legal counsel. The agreement must be in writing. It must also be signed voluntarily by both the parties. It must also outline the division of property agreement that both parties must abide by should the marriage dissolve. It also addresses support and all things related to money including savings, retirement accounts, and cash assets. It is wise to seek the advice and legal counsel of a professional who is experienced in prenuptial agreements in Texas. You wouldn’t want to make any mistakes in this area because it could cost you a lot of money and headache down the road.

There are many reasons why a couple would agree to a prenuptial agreement. Perhaps they both have acquired a lot of wealth before meeting and would like to keep their assets separate. Maybe they are looking out for any future children that may be involved if the marriage were ever to be over. It may be about protecting current children. Also, they may want to decide who gets what now so that later, the Texas court system doesn’t decide for them. It doesn’t matter why; the only matter is how the prenuptial agreement is written.

Both the bride and the groom should have their own legal counsel. They should ask lots of questions and read over the agreement more than once. They should think about the consequences of their actions before signing anything.

Finally, both parties should agree that a prenuptial agreement should be written otherwise there could be strife before the marriage ever begins. The topic of Texas prenuptial agreement might be a hard conversation to have but sometimes it is necessary and can work to protect all parties involved.