Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested

Many people do not know the power of Certified Mail. If you need to prove that someone actually received a letter, package, or document, then this method is the best way to confirm that.  It will cost about $6.00 to send a regular sized envelope through the U.S. Postal Service.  Your local post office can help you find the right stickers that you need to place on the envelope.  See USPS.com for more details on Certified Mail.

Civics Resources for Students and Teachers

The Texas State Board of Education has new standards for the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) test relating to social studies curriculum. The additions to the State’s government and history curriculum include knowledge of certain landmark court cases. Middle and High School students are now required to analyze them and be tested on their main points.
The State Bar of Texas has made a website to assist teachers and educators in their efforts with this civics portion of the TEKS test.

How to get what you want in a Final Divorce Hearing; Making a list, checking it twice.

The best advice for someone, attorney or not, when going for a final divorce hearing is this: make a list of all the property you want the Court to divide. I suggest hiring an attorney who can help you with your divorce, regardless of how many assets or debts you have. But if you want to go it alone then preparation and organization are your best tools.
I see people make the mistake of assuming the Judge knows everything about their case down to the last nickel. If you have your case together and are well prepared then the Court will give you more weight (believability) on other issues, like which person is better suited to keep the house or establish where the children live.

How to reduce your back owed child support

The most common question I am asked is whether past due child support can be taken off someone’s account with the Texas Attorney General. The answer is, sometimes you can.
Many parents fall behind on child support payments and then have a hard time catching back up. Those unpaid amounts sit as a negative in the account and slowly gather interest. If payments are not made for long periods of time then the outstanding balance can be quite substantial. The Texas Attorney General’s office will eventually come knocking for its money if it can’t collect it through income tax refund withholding or other means.

Can my child choose where they want to live?

This question comes up a lot in Change of Custodyor Divorce cases, not just in in Austin Divorce cases and Georgetown Divorce cases, but also in many Texas Divorce and custody cases.  The Texas Family Code, Section 153.009 is the law dealing with this question.
Many children express a desire to live with one particular parent over the other.  This is common during the divorce process as well as down the line after the divorce has been completed for some time.

Visitation for Children Under three years old

Texas Family Code Section 153.254 was changed in the 2011 legislative session.  Please note that the link is to the old law. The new language goes into effect September 1, 2011 but will not be posted until the website updates.  The new language has been published elsewhere but the changes might not be well-known yet.
Under the old language a Judge was authorized to “render an order appropriate under the circumstances” for children under three years of age and to make provisions for possession and access once the child turned three.

Child Support – Paying something is better than nothing

Many people come to me with large amounts of past-due child support.  The interest alone can represent a large portion of their amount owed.  I have seen lots of people go to jail due to their failure to pay child support.  In most cases, the non-paying parent has paid nothing for months or years and now their past payment history (or lack thereof) is being used against them to show their true character.

Informal Settlement Agreements

I get calls asking, “If my spouse and I agree on the terms of our divorce, can we just sign an agreement now and do the paperwork later?” My answer is usually, “it depends.”  What the caller is usually wanting to know is whether the agreement will stick if things go sideways before the divorce finalized.