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Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid + Divorce!

EricInexperienced lawyers conducting the divorce process = Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid.  C. Eric Schmidt is the senior partner of C. E. Schmidt & Associates PLLC – a Houston family law firm.  Practicing since 1980 with 40 years of legal practice,  Mr. Schmidt’s litigation experience provides reassurance.  Lawyers broadcast their board certification credentials to take the place of solid decades of practice.   When it comes to practicing law, gray hair mean business!  Actually in 1980, Mr. Schmidt handled his first highly contested family law case.  Mr. Schmidt’s extensive trial experience in commercial real estate, business litigation and civil litigation serves as a strong foundation for family law cases – the area he has exclusively practiced in for over 3 decades.  Be afraid, be very afraid + divorce need not be your experience.

Mr. Schmidt spent 25 years serving as a leader in the Boy Scouts of America and continues to play hockey with others who are decades younger!  He also actively works in his church and community.  Compassionate and caring toward his clients, Mr. Schmidt strives to create a supportive environment.  Clients feel a difference.  One only needs to read all the positive Google reviews to have proof!  Recognized by Who’s Who in American Law and as a Fellow member of the College of the State Bar of Texas, Mr. Schmidt resolves problems with extensive persuasive negotiating skills.

Divorce Legal Lingo – It’s All Greek to Me!

Divorce lawyer and couple
Explain this process please!

If you are going through a divorce, you’ve heard an entirely new language.  This divorce legal lingo comes from the rules of Texas Civil Procedure which dictate the “new language” that you have been forced to swallow.  Divorce Legal Lingo – It’s all Greek to me and everyone else the first time it’s heard!  So, your not alone in your confusion and exasperation.  Not only is divorce devastating but the lingo drives clients crazy too!  Hear are some words and their definitions in plain English:

1.  Discovery – the word for a tool used during a legal case to find out as much information as possible about the other side’s position on the facts and issues such as what your spouse wants with respect to the children.  How do you find out about ALL of your spouse’s bank accounts – your lawyer uses “discovery” tools and sends a “Request for Production of Documents” requesting bank statements.

2.  Interrogatories – the fancy, legal word for “questions”.   Simply put, your spouse’s attorney asks you questions and you must truthfully answer the question to the best of your knowledge because you will affirm or swear that your answer is the truth.

3. Pleadings – documents filed with the court.  An “Original Petition for Divorce” is the first document or “pleading” that begins your case.  Remember that when you ask for a divorce you are suing your spouse.

4.  Service –  when the constable or private process server hands paperwork to your spouse, your spouse is “served”.  When your spouse hires an attorney or is represented already, the “service” goes to the attorney.

5.  Waiver of Service – a legal document that tells the court you know you have been sued for divorce and you waive the necessity of a constable or process server giving you court documents.  Instead, you receive the documents from your spouse or your spouse’s attorney.

These are but a few of the new words you might hear your lawyer use.  Divorce legal lingo – It’s all Greek to me doesn’t have to be your experience.  Divorce is hard enough!  Remember that you need only ask for your lawyer or the staff to explain what certain words mean.  You deserve to be well-informed and to understand the process.  We work hard to ensure that happens at C.E. Schmidt and Associates.  Call us today for a free consultation!  (281) 550-6650

Divorce – Better Late than Never

Divorcing couple
Better late than never

Sociologist Susan L. Brown and I-Fen Lin report that, “one out of every four people going through a divorce in the United States is 50 or older”.   On the other hand, divorce rates remain level or dropped in other age groups.  Many divorces of couples older than 50 include long-time married couples – people married for decades.  They decide that it is better late than never to seek a divorce!  Importantly, often older people want an older and wiser attorney with whom they can better relate.

Each attorney at C. E. Schmidt & Associates, PLLC long since graduated from the “older than 50” stage of life.  And they are proud of their age and experience.  Mr. Schmidt handled his first “grey divorce” in 1980 – such seasoned experience remains invaluable.  He long ago understood the meaning of the phrase “better late than never”!  Really, older individual face complex financial issues such as what to do about complicated retirement plans and other financial tools.  Ms. Schmidt worked in the finance industry for over 10 years so she understands financial complexities that other attorneys have yet to grasp.

Older couples may own multiple residences and have 5 or more bank accounts so the careful and thoughtful analysis of a mature counselor remains crucial.    Older individuals may be working or retired and each status brings complexities to the divorce process.  With life expectancy increasing annually “better late than never” means older couples understand that they have a lot of life yet to live and want to make the most of it.   So much of the social stigma associated with divorce dissolved long ago, the opportunity to enjoy a truly loving and supportive relationship exists and waits for the older person.

Contact us today at (281) 550-6650 for a free consultation.

What is a Grey Divorce?

Older couple on the brink of divorce
Grey Divorce

What is a Grey Divorce anyway?  In the first place, does divorce connect to any particular color at all?  Many of our clients arrive to our office seeing “red” when they are going through a divorce because of frustration or anger at their partner.   Sometimes people refer to divorce between older couples as a “diamond” divorce too.

To be simple,  Grey Divorce occurs between couples older than 50 who have usually been married for decades.   With lots of life experience, these “baby boomers” often choose to end long marriages for specific reasons.  Actually, divorce decreased over the past 20 years for most age groups EXCEPT for those over 50.

The reasons for a “diamond” divorce include financial problems, growing apart, and infidelity.  Unfortunately, addictions to alcohol, sex and gambling create huge grievances that drive couples to divorce.   When you consider hiring an attorney and you have a few grey hairs, you may want a more seasoned, mature counselor.   At C.E. Schmidt & Associates, our attorneys bring maturity to the process.  When considering how to divide a complicated property picture, experience can’t be overemphasized.

Contact our office today at 281-550-6650 and we provide free consultations by way of Zoom or Skype to assess your situation.


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.





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