Common Legal Quesitons:

The last lawyer I hired would never return calls, and I had no idea what was happening in my own case! How do I know you’re not going to take my money then leave me in the dark?

We wouldn’t! Of course you knew we’d say that, but here are the facts: The #1 complaint people have about attorneys is COMMUNICATION…It is THE top grievance filed against attorneys. We are the POLAR OPPOSITE. If you call and we can’t speak with you at that moment, we still respond and let you know we’ll get back to you within the hour or the day or at most, that week. We are very open and communicative, regardless of what is going on. We know what’s at stake for you and want to treat you the way we’d treat our own friends and family. You are absolutely right to expect open communication with your attorney.

Is there a common mistake you warn people to avoid in family law cases?

Yes! Forgetting to Update Estate Documents! You’d be surprised at how many people forget to change the beneficiaries on their life insurance policy, IRAs, and will after a divorce. The estates they wanted to leave to their children, new partner, or favorite charity may go to an ex-spouse instead. That’s one of the many things we discuss with clients during and/or post-divorce.

I got a boyfriend after my marriage broke up, and now my husband is accusing me of cheating and trying to take me for everything I have! Should I be worried?

Yes. This is one example of how divorce can get ugly. Adultery CAN affect how the court decides alimony and property division in a Texas divorce. And people are often surprised to learn that adultery can still be considered if it occurred after the spouses separated and lived apart.

Your ex will need to show the court proof of the affair (phone records, credit card, bank statements, emails, text messages, photos and/or videos).

And you will need an aggressive defense to set the record straight and prove why you should not be penalized.

Can I stop paying support if my ex won’t let me see my kids?

No. Texas law states that even if the other parent is denying visitation, you are still required to pay support and can be held in contempt for failure to pay. If you are being denied access to your children, we can pursue an enforcement action against the parent denying you access.

I was mistakenly arrested for a crime I never committed and it just cost me a job because it turned up in my background check. Can I sue for discrimination?

No. Texas is one of the few states that has no law on employer use of criminal records. However, Expunctions & Orders of Non-Disclosure were created for people in your shoes. We can help you expunge your record, allowing you to legally deny an arrest ever happened and making the records vanish from public domain.

Doesn’t calling a lawyer immediately and refusing to talk to police make me look guilty?

No. The priority of police is to gather evidence and quickly close a case, not protect your rights or “help you”. Don’t be fooled. That “talk” with a detective is an interrogation, not a chat with an unbiased listener. Without a defender at your side, your words can be twisted, investigators may try to confuse you or lie to you to get you to say something incriminating. Even if you are guilty and wish to confess, it is better to “lawyer up” and arrange a voluntarily surrender as it demonstrates you are not a flight risk and may improve your odds of being released on your own recognizance. Remember your “right to stay silent?” Use it. Call a lawyer.

My child wants to live with me, not my ex. Doesn’t my child have the right to choose?

This is not a simple yes or no question. If your child is 12 or older, you can file a motion requesting the judge speak to your child. But younger than that and a judge has the discretion to refuse or accept the request. The State’s concern is placing too heavy a burden on a child and traumatizing them. If a meeting does happen, be aware the judge may bar the parents and lawyers from the meeting. Our knowledge of the courts in Denton/McKinney/Sherman may help us gauge if the judge in your case is open to this type of request.

My girlfriend had a baby, but I’m only 16. I don't have money and didn’t even want a baby. Kids don’t have to pay child support, right?

Wrong. A non-custodial parent is responsible for supporting his child even if that parent is still a minor. The judge will look at a young parent’s income while he or she is still in school and decide how much support must be paid. The non-custodial parent’s income can be reviewed again after he or she finishes school and begins working. The judge will decide what changes need to be made in the child support payment.

My ex isn’t paying child support. Can I refuse to let her take my kids for the holidays?

No. Child support and established visitation rights are separate issues. A parent can’t deny court-approved visitation for lack of payment anymore than a parent denied visitation can retaliate by withholding child support. But we can take your non-paying ex to court.

My ex is a heavy drinker. Will that help me get custody?

Maybe. It depends on what you mean by “heavy drinker”. If it can be proven that the drinking prevents him or her from caring properly for the children or endangers them, then it may be a factor. Ordinary social drinking will almost never be considered a serious factor in determining custody. A history of alcohol or drug abuse could be a factor.

My ex is trying to alienate our child from me. Will that help me get custody?

It might. More and more judges and evaluators are becoming familiar with parental alienation and are willing to consider it as a serious issue; Judges typically refer to it as the “the willingness to support the child’s relationship with the other parent”. If you can show credible evidence, it could be considered an important factor in deciding custody.