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Your Divorce Attorney – Friend or Foe?

 

Divorce Lawyer Friend or Foe?
Tips to work with your divorce lawyer

You might be asking, is your divorce attorney friend or foe?  In reality, experts say that going through a divorce remains one of the most stressful things that happen in a person’s life.   No doubt, when a person is under severe stress, judgment, reasoning and the ability to work with others decreases.  An experienced divorce attorney understands this better than most others.  There are certain tips that can help you better work with your divorce attorney!

Take Care of  Yourself!

  • Focus on personal care – eat properly get a good night’s sleep, EXERCISE and be aware of signs of depression.  Seek your doctor’s guidance if you find you can’t sleep, don’t want to eat, eat too much, or feel lethargic!  Medication remains a vital tool for many and it is NOT a life sentence.
  • Seek out someone who can listen to you and support you.  Make sure that individual gives you positive messages. Because a good therapist can arm a person with tools to cope, many of our clients seek a good therapist at this time
  • Seek spiritual guidance.  If you don’t have a spiritual support system, now may be the time to find one.  Churches and support groups are invaluable channels.  Mediation and prayer remain a powerful tool that help many.

Is My Lawyer the Enemy?

Okay!  Now you are saying what does any of this have to do with working with my attorney.  How does this help me understand whether my divorce attorney is friend or foe?  The better you feel about yourself, the better you will be able to accept unpleasant and often painful realities about the divorce process.  We often tell our clients, “Don’t shoot the messenger!”  Divorce litigation forces divorce attorneys to frequently share bad news with their clients.

When you need to communicate with your lawyer, focus yourself and your thoughts.  List your questions about the process.  Allow your lawyer to educate you on the law!  If your lawyer neglects to explain the law, do your own research and then meet with your attorney to discuss.  Seek guidance on the process and potential outcomes.   Read our blog on reducing your legal fees and contact us today at 281-550-6650 for a free consultation.

Minimize Divorce Legal Fees

Minimize Divorce Legal Fees
Fighting Over Legal Fees

Are you searching for ways to minimize divorce legal fees?  No doubt about it, when all is said and done, divorce legal fees can be eye-popping.   One respected media outlet states that a divorce often costs a couple as much as the wedding did.  The average cost of a wedding runs $36,000.00 according to one popular wedding organizing tool available on the web.  So questions arise.  Would you rather preserve marital assets for your children or pay them to your lawyer?

There are ways to minimize divorce legal fees that really are fairly simple.  A “limited scope” representation which equates to what our firm calls a “flat-fee” divorce can be thousands and thousands of dollars less than a contested divorce.   A contested divorce typically means there are two lawyers going head to head.   On the other hand, a limited scope representation usually means only one lawyer is hired by one spouse to draft court documents.  The other spouse may hire a lawyer to “grade papers”.   However the other lawyer does not formally enter the case by filing documents with the court.

If both spouses retain lawyers, an email usually costs less in legal fees than a phone call or in person visit. (Emails definitely are far less expensive in our practice!)  One excellent tip remains to ask all your questions in one email rather than ask 5 questions in 5 different emails.  Also, watch the clock when you speak in person or by phone to your lawyer. So, have your topics and questions organized to help you stay focused.  Remember that your lawyer’s time is what they have to “sell”.  Meaning, unlike buying a TV or a car, you are buying your lawyer’s time.  Time is a precious commodity for us all but particular for any professional such as a physician or lawyer.

Contact our office today for a free consultation and we can intelligently guide you with our experienced attorneys through the divorce process.  (281) 550-6650

 

 

 

Happily Divorced Ever After

Happily Divorcing Ever After
Happily Divorcing Couple

Is there such a thing as Happily Divorced Ever After?  The answer remains YES!  Above all, experts point to each party’s mental health.  Generally, people avoid facing painful issues.  Also, people facing marriage difficulty often avoid seeking professional help.   But spouses who face their “unfinished business” often finish the “failed marriage business” most successfully.

An experienced attorney, such as the attorneys at C.E. Schmidt & Associates, PLLC, have handled tens of thousands of cases over the past 40 years.  Such maturity and experience means that we can guide you through the process and assist you in avoiding needless battles.  When couples have a strong “mental health foundation”, there is little in the way of hatred and hostility.  What is the benefit of being in good mental condition during a divorce.  We can tell you that you may save yourself thousands and thousands of dollars.

Trials are expensive.  Depositions are expensive.  Hearings are expensive.   A amicable and uncontested divorce offers spouses the best opportunity to avoid seriously depleting marital assets which can be better used after the divorce to create new households.  If children are in the picture, they will benefit greatly as well.  Children whose parents have amicably divorced are best situated to recover and adjust in the most healthy way possible.  Remember that if you have had a child with your soon to be ex-spouse, you will need to continue to work with that person for years to come.  Children do best when parents work in partnership after a divorce.

We offer free consultations!  Call today 281-550-6650

COVID 19 and Child Custody

Child Custody
Child Custody

The Texas Supreme Court weighed in on COVID 19 and Child Custody last week.  The Court ordered parents to follow originally posted school calendars!  It remains crucial that a child’s life continue as close to normal as possible during this crisis.   Keeping custody of a child when the other parent remains entitled to possession often fails to maintain the child’s sense of security that accompanies routines and schedules.

Therefore, if you have any questions regarding visitation, check your school district’s originally published calendar .  The school calendar continues to govern this circumstance and visitation schedules.  Also be aware that a parent’s status as having tested positive for COVID 19 will most likely not be considered a reason to withhold possession as Court orders in general do not bend to health concerns – absent truly life threatening conditions.

We continue, as we always have, to offer free consultations during this pandemic.  If you are doing all you can to avoid going out of your home, we also provide free consultations by teleconference.   Always remember that a Court Order is just that – an Order from a court of law.  Violating a Court Order often results in serious consequences.  Those can include Sanctions.  A Sanction is a form of punishment that Judges may order against a particular party.  Sanctions include fines!  It is never a good idea to risk the Judge’s disfavor.

Additionally and commonly, a Judge may order an offending party to pay the other party’s attorney fees.  This could mean that you have to pay for your attorney and your ex-spouse’s attorney as well.  Contact our office if you need guidance today.  281-550-6650

Avoid Parenting Communication Nightmares!

Divorcing Parents and Communication Nightmares
Divorcing Parents and Communication Nightmares

Above all, you want to avoid parenting communication nightmares during divorce!. In other words, parental communication can be less painful and far more successful when you use tools!  The transition period, depending upon the parents personalities, may or may result in bad dreams if you use common sense.

Many family law judges encourage divorcing parents to use “Our Family Wizard” or “Talking Parents”.    These are web based communication tools that assist parents in sharing information and coordinating about the children.   These tools have calendars and many other communication tools. One of the more difficult moments happens when a child is either picked up or dropped off to the other parent.  These tools have calendars and many other communication tools that encourage parents to arrive at compromises.  Also,  because courts can monitor the communication, divorcing parents may use their best behavior if there is a possibility that a Judge might review a message between parents.

In the end, adjusting to new circumstances can be difficult for everyone involved.   Fortunately, there are tools available to assist parents create a workable partnership. Contact C. E. Schmidt & Associates, PLLC to learn about the helpful tools that are available to smooth the way! We offer free consultations – 281-550-6650

What About the House?

House at Twilight
Is the House Your Most Valuable Asset?

Is Your Home the Most Valuable Asset?  It may be if there fails to be large retirement accounts or liquid financial accounts.  Indeed, one of the most important issues to address during the divorce remains who gets the house.    Often, the house constitutes the largest marital asset.  Therefore, the divorce process breaks down when couples “heat” up over who gets the house.  At C. E. Schmidt & Associates PLLC, we strive to put out the fires by telling it like it is.  If our client maintains an unrealistic attitude about the marital residence, we know that more fighting is bound to result.   An experienced attorney addresses multiple issues relative to a couple’s  marital residence in as plain a way as possible.

Is the Residence Community or Separate Property?

First, the marital residence must be “characterized”.   Don’t let the fancy word fool you!  Quite simply, was the home purchased during the marriage?  Or, did a spouse own the home prior to the marriage?  The magic point in time in which a spouse gains title to the home determines the “characterization”.   Specifically, did you buy it prior to marriage = separate property?  Was it purchased during marriage and with community property funds = community property.    However, a spouse who marries a home owner may gain an ownership “interest” in different ways.

Don’t Try to Figure This Out on Your Own!

Ending a marriage requires a great deal of patience and fortitude.  Much of the road ahead challenges even the most steady person.  Therefore, seeking an experienced attorney remains vital.  At C.E. Schmidt & Associates, PLLC our team remains dedicated to you.  We focus our energy on your well-being. We constantly strive to produce the best possible outcome.  Call 281-550-6650 today for a free consultation.

 

 

 

 

The Child’s Best Interest and Modification

Child's Best Interest and Modification
Child’s Best Interest and Modification

Divorce Decrees, Children, and Best Interests!

Certainly, the child’s best interests and modification of an existing order can restore balance to a broken parenting plan.  The best interests of the child demand that the Divorce Decree works well.  Modifications of an existing divorce decree remedies a poor plan.     The child’s best interests may not be served by an existing divorce decree.  Modifying an existing order is a complex and difficult process.   Typically, difficult issues arise when parties remarry or children undergo big changes.  The parenting plan consist of conservatorship, possession or access.  Conservatorship relates to the rights and duties that a parent may have.  Those rights include the right to say where the child primarily lives.   When a parent has a child in their company without the other parent, the child is in the parent’s possession.  On the other hand, access occurs when a parent is only in the child’s presence.

What are “best interests” anyway?

Routinely, Courts look at the Holley factors when making decisions about a child’s best interests.   The child’s best interests and modification of an existing order involve specific factors.  Firstly, those factors include which parent will best provide for the child’s physical, psychological and emotional needs and development.  For instance, Courts always examine the physical and emotional danger posed by a parent.  Similarly, the stability of the home, plans for the child, and parenting skills provide clues as to which parent makes the better primary caregiver.   Sometimes, Courts might consider the child’s preference, geographic proximity and sibling relationships.

Let’s make a change please!

Importantly, the four grounds for modification are as follows:

  • parties agree plus best interests of the child point to a modification;
  • Child’s preference and best interests;
  • Voluntary relinquishment plus best interests;
  • Material and substantial change and best interests.

In order to make an informed decision and determine an action plan that will prove successful, an experience attorney is invaluable.  With decades of experience in family, C. E. Schmidt and Associates can guide you through the process.  Call 281-550-6650 today for a free consultation.

 

Divorce – Whose Fault is it Anyway?

divorce help

No Fault Finding = Insupportability and Divorce

Many times when couples seek to end their marriage, they do not wish to “throw stones” at one another.   Often spouses decide that they are better off containing the nuclear weapons to avoid “mutual assured destruction”.   The Texas Family Code provides that “insupportability” allows a court to grant a divorce without fault.  Spouses perhaps consider the potential damage to their children, their spouse, and even themselves when they seek divorce based on insupportability.  This “no-fault” path works for many, on the other hand, there are times when one party created the break-up because of their bad behavior.  A profoundly hurt spouse perhaps feels that refraining from fault-finding may result further victimization of themselves.  Pain compels a spouse to speak up.

Mental Cruelty and Adultery – Are you married to a Cheating Spouse?

Two most common fault grounds upon which divorce is granted are mental cruelty and adultery.  One appellate court defined cruel treatment this way: “incapable of being borne, unendurable, insufferable, intolerable.  Mere arguments don’t prove cruelty.”  On the other hand, adultery means voluntary sexual intercourse, and direct or circumstantial evidence can prove it.  However, the facts must be clear and positive.   A cheating spouse can’t “cover-up” forever.

Fault Equals What?

If the court grants divorce based on fault, a spouse can receive a larger share of the marital property.  More than that, a spouse may need that “moral victory” to heal and move on.  Contact our office at 281-550-6650 for a free consultation to discuss your options today.

 

Why Have a Premarital Agreement?

divorce help

Many couples may have valid concerns when considering whether to marry.   Often this occurs when couples consider a second marriage.  But a Premarital Agreement can help resolve the worry.  A Premarital Agreement is basically a contract between two parties. It may be a good idea even when one enters into a first marriage.  Under the Texas Family Code, after marriage almost all income is considered community property.   If a party has financial obligations to former spouses or children from the previous marriage, this may present complications.   This is why you want to consider a this contract.

A future spouse may want to make clear intentions about many topics.  A future spouse may want to preserve a family’s existing assets for children from an earlier marriage.  Spouses may want to eliminate or limit any future alimony obligations.  Spouses may want to keep a party’s income separate to pay off premarital debts or meet financial obligations to a former spouse.   Actually, some famous couples included “bad boy provisions” into agreements!

Drafting a Premarital Agreement requires careful consideration and skill.  Our attorneys have decades of experience and know how to draft agreements that are clear and enforceable.

Premarital Agreements = Peace of Mind

Our attorneys have the experience to help you accomplish your goal!  Contact our office at 281-550-6650 to set up a free consultation to discuss the benefits of a Premarital Agreement!

Alimony – Spousal Support – Post Divorce Maintenance

Texas was the LAST state to adopt a post-divorce spousal maintenance (sometimes referred to as alimony) statute. 

Many believe it is because Texas is a community property state.   Texas wants a win-win outcome.  But what if there is no money or property to divide?  What if one spouse stayed home and the other spouse was a high earner?   Then, spousal maintenance may be a vital tool.  Some refer to post-divorce financial support as alimony.  However, the Texas Family Code, uses the term “maintenance”.  The law provides for periodic payments from the future income of one spouse for the support of the other spouse.

What does Texas Law Provide?

The requirements for a spouse to receive “periodic payments” may be confusing.   The requesting spouse “ONLY” seeks  maintenance if that spouse will lack sufficient property to meet the spouse’s “minimum reasonable needs,  AND

Family Violence Occurred

(1) the spouse from whom these payments are requested has been convicted of family violence or received deferred adjudication within two years before the date of the initial filing of the divorce action or while the suit was pending.

A Disability Exists

OR (2) the spouse seeking the payments has a serious physical or mental disability that prevents that spouse from earning sufficient income; OR

10 Year Marriage and Incapable of Providing for Oneself

(3) the spouses have been married for 10 years or longer and one lacks the ability to earn income to meet that spouse’s minimum reasonable needs;

Disabled Child (Adult)

(4) the spouse is the custodian of a disabled child (or adult) who requires substantial care and supervision that prevents the spouse from earning sufficient income to provide for minimum reasonable needs.

Why C.E. Schmidt and Associates?

An experienced attorney sorts through the facts to help you decide if post-divorce spousal maintenance is in the cards.   Those seeking a divorce need to know what is possible and what is impossible.  While no attorney guarantees an outcome, an experienced attorney clears up the confusion.   An understanding of what is reasonable and what is unreasonable provides peace of mind.  We offer free consultations to assist you in making a better choice.  Call today to schedule a free appointment!

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