W. Tyler Moore, PC

October 2017 Archives

Family Law- help your lawyer help you.

Family Law- help your lawyer help you.  Like Jerry Maguire said, "help me help you".  When your family law attorney asks you for help gathering documents or other information, be attentive to that request.  For example, in a family law case, your lawyer may need documents for a temporary orders hearing. The lawyer will need your help in preparation of your Financial Information Statement which details what your monthly expenses are and the sources of your income.  Only you know what it costs you to live each month and how much cash you have available for that purpose.  When your lawyer asks you to compile this F.I.S., get it done promptly so you and your lawyer can discuss it together.  In particular, be accurate in your estimations of your monthly expenses.  You may well have to justify each and every one to a judge. So, getting it prepared quickly helps your lawyer help you.

child custody & visitation- enforcement

Enforcement of child custody and visitation should be handled by a lawyer in family court. The police will generally refuse to get involved by saying this is a civil matter not criminal.  What do you do if a parent or third party wrongfully withholds a child from the parent with custody or keeps a child beyond the time allotted for visitation?

Could retirement plans be subject to property division in Texas?


When younger couples in Texas decide to divorce, they may not give much thought to how their divorce will affect their retirement plans. However, this is a very important topic that individuals seeking a divorce should keep in mind, particularly if they are facing a high value divorce. In fact, according to one study, almost 25 percent of "baby boomers" who have ended their marriages reported that the divorce would leave them "worse off" when it comes to retiring, and almost 24 percent reported that they will need to remain in the workforce longer because they divorced. For these reasons, individuals of any age going through a divorce should keep retirement in mind.

Business Litigation- selling your business

Business Litigation - selling your business.  Do's and don'ts selling your business exist.  Ignore them at your peril. They can easily lead to litigation for the unwary. The most important "DO" is to contact an attorney before you sign the purchase and sale agreement.  These agreements need to be carefully drawn to protect a seller. Often a Buyer will present an agreement drawn by his attorney to the Seller.  At first glance,the agreement may look to incorporate the "deal".  Don't sign it before you take to a lawyer to review. By the time you sign it, it's often too late to do anything about it.

How do you modify a child custody order in Texas?


Sometimes, especially after a divorce, a person's life can change dramatically. Parents in Texas with child custody orders might find that these orders work well for a while, but, as time marches on, the original order may no longer suit the actualities of the parent's and child's lives.

Temporary orders in Divorce

Why have temporary orders in a divorce? Between the time a divorce is filed and the final divorce decree is entered, there often must be some controls in place concerning children and property.  These controls are the temporary orders entered by the Court either by agreement of the parties or after a hearing.  

Divorce and restraining orders

Divorce and restraining orders in Texas:  If served with a restraining order in a divorce suit, you should read it carefully.  Generally speaking, the language will say the Respondent is immediately restrained from ... a specific list of things.  The list will usually be numbered.  Read each item on the list.  The list is your list of commandments.  If you don't understand the order, take it to an experienced family law attorney to decipher it for you.  You will need the lawyer to go to court with you when the applicant has a hearing to expand the restraining order into a temporary injunction during the pendency of the litigation.

What happens to a business when its owners divorce?


The people of Texas have a great entrepreneurial spirit, and many Houston residents are small business owners. Having built a business from the ground up is a satisfying endeavor that can take many years. As a person's business grows, so may their personal life. They may marry and have children all while growing their business. However, they may also experience a divorce. Any of these major life events can have a significant impact on one's business, especially if they shared the business with their spouse.

Side agreements in child custody cases

Side agreements don't work in custody cases in Texas.  What is a "side agreement"?  it is a letter signed by the parents and often notarized which they believe resolves any issues concerning child custody, rights and duties, child support, or possession.  These letters do not confer any judicially enforceable rights if one party decides not to go along with the terms set forth in the letter. 

Thoughts about divorce by a divorce lawyer

Thoughts about divorce by a divorce lawyer:   A divorce is nothing to enter into lightly or on a whim.  Threatening a spouse with it is like threatening thermonuclear war between nations.  Divorce should be a last resort when there is no hope for the marriage, when one spouse cannot continue in the relationship and remain mentally or physically healthy, when counseling would be a waste of time, when the relationship is toxic to the spouses and to the children, or when the other spouse refuses to try to save the marriage.

Seek legal help with parental relocation after divorce


When parents in Harris County divorce, a child custody order will be put into place that allows the child to have a meaningful relationship with each parent. As time marches on, however, one parent or the other may find that the original child custody order is no longer feasible. This may be especially true if the custodial parent wants to relocate to a different part of the state or country. After all, sometimes a person is presented with a great job opportunity or wants to live closer to family, necessitating a move. However, often, their child custody order will have restrictions on how far away the custodial parent can live from the child's other parent. Does this mean that a custodial parent cannot relocate beyond those geographic limits?

Should you dodge process in litigation?

Why shouldn't you dodge process server?  After all, if they can't find you, they can't serve you.  If they can't serve you, you can postpone the suit.  Right?  Wrong. The rules of civil procedure require service of citation upon a defendant in order to give the defendant notice of the suit and an opportunity to defend it.

Why do you need a family law attorney?

Why do you need a family law attorney?  After all, there are forms available on line and all you need do is fill in the blanks.  A problem with forms is they often need to be tailored to fit the circumstances.  Another problem with forms is the forms often do not apply.  I saw an instance where a person asked which forms should she take to court in 60 days when she was going to have a hearing on child custody.  When you have a contested hearing, you should take a lawyer with you. There are appropriate forms such as a financial information sheet, a proposed parenting plan, and an exhibit list which may be necessary to help the judge.  But, you need a lawyer to present your case.  

Is the amount of alimony limited?

The amount of alimony is limited in Texas.  Chapter 8 of the Family Code talks about "court ordered maintenance" which lay people refer to as alimony.  That chapter of the code is specific as to who may receive alimony, under what circumstances, for how long, and a cap on the monthly payments.

Perils of DIY Texas child custody & visitation

Perils of DIY Texas child custody & visitation-- I had an inquiry from a poor sole who asked if once his rights were terminated, could he get them back--he was unprepared at trial. Child custody and visitation is not a Do It Yourself task.  Once a judgment of termination of parental rights becomes final, generally 30 days after it's signed, that judgment is nearly impossible to undo.  Termination of parental rights is permanent and can't be undone.  Without adopting your own children, there is no way to recreate those parental rights.  If you don't understand the lawsuit papers when you receive them, take them to a lawyer.  Even if you do understand the lawsuit papers, take them to a lawyer if you care at all about your children.  There are family law attorneys who can help you with this. Don't take the passive-agressive route. You can get easily burned.

Property Division in Texas

Property division in Texas can be interesting where spouses jointly own property which is not community property.  If property is community property, it can be divided by the court in a divorce in a manner deemed "just and right".  Again, like the "best interest" of a child in the earlier blog, it is a matter of judicial discretion.  The court does NOT have to divide marital property equally.  So long as the court's decision is not an abuse of discretion (again a legal term which is defined in case law and not in statutes), the decision will stand on appeal.

Child custody and visitation inTexas

Child custody and visitation in Texas is governed by the "best interest" of the child.  The Texas Family Code says "the best interest of the child shall always be the primary consideration of the court in determining issues of conservatorship and possession of and access to the child."

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