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llano-county-divorce-modification-lawyer.jpgTo avoid repeated court visits, harassment by ex-spouses, and disruptions to the life of children of divorced parents, Texas courts set strict limitations around when divorce orders can be modified. Certain parts of divorce decrees are easier to modify while others are, practically speaking, next to impossible to change. If you have been divorced in Texas and are wondering whether your divorce order may be modified, read on and then contact a Llano County divorce attorney for help. 

Mistakes in Application of Law

If you believe the judge in your case made a mistake applying the law - for example, if an asset was considered your spouse’s personal property and you are sure it is marital property - you have 30 days to file an appeal. Even if you simply disagree with the judge’s findings in your original divorce decree, you do have the right to an appeal. A higher court will review your case and determine whether the judge in your case made any mistakes, although such a finding is rare. 

Agreement Between Ex-Spouses

If you and your former spouse have agreed to change certain things after the divorce is finalized, such as rearranging your custody schedule or changing spousal maintenance payments, a judge will usually approve it if it meets Texas law guidelines. For example, a parent’s job may change and so a change in the parents’ possession and access order is likely to be approved as long as it is in the child’s best interests. 

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fredericksburg-tx-divorce-attorney.jpgMany a Texas divorce has been triggered by the sudden, shocking revelation that one spouse is having an affair. For the spouse who is victimized by this behavior, finding out that your life partner has been so dishonest can be heartbreaking. If you are in this situation, you may understandably feel angry and betrayed. Your anger may be directed at your spouse, but it may also be equally directed at the person who helped your spouse blow up your marriage. In addition to your spouse’s lover, this could be friends, family members, and even a therapist of your spouse’s who encouraged a divorce or worked to hide the infidelity from you. 

Not so long ago, adultery was illegal in many states and spouses whose partners cheated on them could, at least theoretically, hope that their partner would suffer consequences for their behavior. But adultery is not illegal in Texas and Texas also has legislation specifically abolishing the right to bring an “alienation of affection” lawsuit, in which someone responsible for destroying a couple’s marriage could be sued. So if you cannot do that, is there anything you can do to pursue justice against a spouse who ruined your marriage? 

What is Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress? 

The Texas Supreme Court decided a highly influential case in 1993 that made it possible for spouses to sue each other for the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress. The court gave specific guidelines that a spouse must meet to be successful in such a lawsuit. Unfortunately, most common acts of infidelity do not meet the necessary standards of conduct, as a spouse must show that their partner did the following: 

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llano-county-defense-attorney.jpgWhile modern political currents have made it easier for true victims of sex crimes like rape and sexual assault to come forward and seek justice, there has also been an unfortunate increase in false and defamatory accusations based on events that never happened or did not happen according to the alleged victim’s version of the story. All over Texas, young people in college - especially young men - are finding themselves the target of accusations, many of which are false. 

Being accused of sexual misconduct can cause you to feel many things - shock, embarrassment, dismay, and anger being only a few. Unfortunately, a police investigation and criminal charges may only be the beginning; college students accused of sexual assault may also be facing discipline from their university’s Title IX office. 

Do I Need a Criminal Defense Attorney? 

Successfully prosecuting sex crimes is difficult because it often comes down to one person’s word against another person’s word. This is especially true in the university milieu, in which young people often engage in sexual behavior while both parties are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. What feels like an assault to one person may have been the result of insensitivity or boorishness on the part of the other. Moreover, what started as consensual sex acts may, in the sobering light of the next day, become acts that are seen with so much embarrassment or regret that false accusations of assault are made to compensate. 

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llano-divorce-attorney.jpgDivorcing a hostile spouse in Texas is no easy feat. While most couples are not getting along well by the time they pursue divorce, some people are particularly prone to conflict and actively seek it out. Spouses often get caught up in the emotional highs and lows of the fights they share during divorce, and while getting that perfect one-liner under your spouse’s skin may feel good in the moment, it often leaves you feeling rotten for many days afterward. If you want to put a stop to the hostilities in your communication, the BIFF communication method may be helpful to you. 

What is the BIFF Method? 

BIFF stands for “brief, informative, friendly, and firm.” It is a communication strategy designed by relationship conflict experts who want to help divorcing spouses - and anyone else in a high-conflict environment - minimize angry conversations and turn tense talks into reasonable, effective discussions. The BIFF method uses these four strategies: 

  • Brief - The less you say, the less there is to fight about. While it can be tempting to explain yourself in-depth, especially when you feel the need to justify your actions or thoughts, avoiding conflict is easier when there is less content to react to. Just get your most important point across and leave the rest unsaid. 

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llano-county-dui-lawyer.jpgGetting convicted of the crime of driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas can have a major detrimental impact on many areas of your life. While people are encouraged to take their punishment and then get back to living as productive members of society, DWI convictions can make that particularly difficult because living without a driver’s license makes it nearly impossible to do basic activities. Getting to work, grocery shopping, and taking your kids to school are all very difficult without a driver’s license. 

Fortunately, an experienced criminal defense attorney can defend you from DWI charges and, if you lose your license, help you get it back. Here are two common questions about getting a driver’s license reinstated in Texas. 

How Long Do I Have to Wait Before Getting my Driver’s License Back? 

DWI convictions are not all the same. A DWI for an adult under 21 years old may result in just a 90-day suspension, but an adult convicted of repeated DWIs or a DWI that caused an injury or death can result in suspensions up to two years. You will have to attend a hearing in which a judge will determine how long your suspension will be. Keep in mind that your driver’s license may be suspended even if you are not convicted of a DWI; license suspension hearings are civil procedures and can continue even if there is no DWI criminal conviction. An attorney can help you present evidence and arguments to try to shorten or eliminate your license suspension. 

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After your Texas divorce is finalized, chances are that you will be happy to avoid contact with your ex as much as possible. However, alimony or spousal support payments often require spouses to stay in contact with each other, even if only to address logistical issues. Fortunately, some spouses will qualify for something called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO, which allows them to split retirement benefits in such a way that the receiving spouse gets payments directly from the retirement plan administrator. If you are getting divorced and are wondering how a QRDO might benefit you, read on. 

A QDRO Allows You To Retain Favorable Tax Benefits

QRDOs are legal orders from a Texas family court allowing spouses to change partial ownership of their retirement plan when they split marital property in a divorce. With a QDRO, spouses can continue to benefit from tax deferred retirement plans while still dividing community property at the appropriate time. Unlike a house, which must be sold and have its capital gains taxes paid before the value can be divided, retirement accounts can continue accruing value without tax penalties until such time as benefits are paid out. 

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llano county criminal defense lawyerWhile domestic abuse presents a serious problem for many intimate partners and families in Texas, there is no question that some people abuse the seriousness with which Texas treats domestic abuse by making false accusations. False accusations of domestic violence can result in harmful negative consequences, including criminal charges, restrictive orders of protection, lack of access to your home and children, and damage to your reputation.  

Even worse, temporary restraining orders can be put in place without the input of the person against whom the accusations are made. This can catch the target of the restraining order by surprise and leave them wondering what on earth they should do. If you have been accused of domestic violence and had a temporary or final protective order unjustly issued against you, you have legal options. While it may not be easy, a skilled criminal defense attorney can help you fight false accusations and get your life back. 

Does My Partner Have to Prove I Did Something Wrong? 

Mistakes happen and good people make bad decisions in the heat of the moment. During a fight, both partners may say things they do not really mean. However, even the most superficial threat of violence can be taken seriously and a partner may respond to a fight by misinterpreting their partner’s intentions and requesting an order of protection. Other times, partners will deliberately use orders of protection as a power move, a tactic to “punish” someone, or a manipulative effort to keep them away from their children and home. 

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shutterstock_89145889.jpgNothing compares to the excitement and sense of trepidation a man has when he finds out that he is having a child for the first time. Whether planned or unplanned, married or unmarried, fathers play a crucial role in their children's lives. Whenever it would be in the child's best interests, Texas law encourages both parents to be actively involved in a child’s upbringing. For fathers who are not married to the mother of their child, however, getting parental rights can be a little more complicated. If you recently found out that you are, or will be, a father, you probably want to know as much as you can about custody laws in Llano County for unmarried fathers. 

Does an Unmarried Father Have Automatic Custody Rights? 

The short answer to this question is no. Until a man establishes paternity, he does not have a legal relationship with a child, even if he is certain he is the biological father. When parents are married to each other, a father automatically has paternity over any children born to them. But when a couple is unmarried, paternity must be established in one of two ways: 

  • Voluntarily, by signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP) form 

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Texas divorce privacy lawyerRegardless of how confident you feel in your decision to get divorced in Texas, you likely are hoping that the details of your divorce will remain as private as possible. Unfortunately, neighbors, friends, and busybodies are often interested in the details of a couple’s divorce, and this is especially true if the couple has a high net worth or maintains a public profile. 

Because divorce decrees are legal documents that are filed in court with a judge’s approval, they are technically public records which may be accessed by anyone. Nevertheless, with the help of a skilled Texas divorce attorney, there are things you can do to keep your divorce details more private. 

Mark Sensitive Data

When a divorce document contains personal information, such as a driver’s license number or social security number, you can ask the court to keep that record private. The consequences of this information being available can result in identity theft, so courts willingly keep documents with sensitive information out of the public record. 

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Llano criminal defense lawyerEvery parent is familiar with the following situation: You have a couple of small errands to run, and the process will take far less time if you can just leave the kids at home or dash into the post office while the kids are in the car. Buckling, unbuckling, dealing with coats and shoes, and the likelihood of constant whining can make even the most patient parent dread running into the grocery store for milk. 

Many parents choose to leave their children at home alone or in the car for a few minutes while they take care of their to-do list. These parents may be surprised to return to the car to find a concerned observer accompanied by a squad car - and even more surprised when they get charged with a Class C misdemeanor. If you are a parent with young children in Texas and you have been charged for leaving your child alone, consider getting help from a criminal defense attorney. 

When Can I Leave My Child in the Car Alone? 

Texas law explicitly prohibits leaving a child alone in a vehicle for more than five minutes under the following circumstances: 

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shutterstock_558905266.jpgIf you are seeking to establish a conservatorship or you are in the middle of a divorce that involves child custody arrangements, you may find yourself in a situation where a child custody evaluation is ordered. For some parents, this news can be daunting, but when you enter the situation equipped with an understanding of what child custody evaluations entail, you might feel more reassured at the time of the evaluation. 

Child Custody Evaluation Definition 

A child custody evaluation is typically a court-ordered assessment used to look closely at a child's family dynamics and living environment. However, evaluations can also be requested by a parent or parents. Either way, a child custody evaluation can be thought of as a test of reassurance in which the court seeks confirmation that the living arrangements and home environment of a child or children are safe for them. Child custody evaluations are often ordered in situations regarding parenting plans or prior to conservatorship decisions in Texas. 

Other possible reasons for a child custody evaluation may include the following: 

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shutterstock_1148978666.jpgIt can be overwhelming to face criminal charges alone - especially when the charges are for a sex crime. Given the weight that a sex crime carries, this is not a situation that anyone takes lightly. 

One of the most common questions that we hear is, “What are the consequences of being charged with a sex crime?” In order to understand the potential ramifications of a sex crime charge, it helps to first familiarize yourself with what a sex crime entails and what to do if you are charged with one.  

What is a Sex Crime? 

If you are charged with a sex crime in Texas, you may be worried that the outcome of this experience will follow you for the rest of your life. With an experienced attorney on your side, your lawyer may be able to build a case that defends your name and seeks to prevent long-term consequences of the sex crime charge. 

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Llano Child Visitation AttorneyAll parents who get divorced in Texas or who seek to establish or modify a court-approved custody order must create a “parenting plan.” A parenting plan establishes important details about the parents’ relationship to the child, including the division of possession of and access to the child (physical custody). 

One important part of a parenting plan that benefits many parents in Texas is something called “the right of first refusal.” Understanding the right of first refusal and whether you want it in your parenting plan is an important step in creating a plan that benefits you and your child. 

What is the Right of First Refusal? 

The right of first refusal is an optional clause in a parenting plan that requires parents to use each other as babysitters before seeking help from other childcare providers. That being said, the right of first refusal can be as flexible or rigid as parents want it to be. The basic idea is that children will be able to maximize time spent with both parents while minimizing conflict between parents. 

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Llano County Premarital Agreement LawyerPrenuptial agreements or premarital agreements are often misunderstood. Some people think that these useful legal contracts are only needed for extremely wealthy couples. Others assume that only those with little faith in their relationship’s long-term sustainability would sign a prenup. In reality, prenuptial agreements can benefit couples of all income levels and lifestyles. Furthermore, signing a prenuptial agreement does not mean that a spouse plans to eventually divorce. Couples with strong, healthy relationships frequently use premarital agreements to define property rights and financial expectations during the marriage.

Legal Protections Offered by Prenuptial Agreements

Many people are initially hesitant to even consider signing a prenuptial agreement because the contract largely deals with divorce concerns like property division and spousal support. However, it is important to realize that even the best marriages sometimes end. Even if a couple never divorces, premarital agreements can address property rights upon a spouse’s death.

Premarital agreements can be customized to meet the spouses’ specific needs. Often, premarital agreements are used to:

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Fredericksburg Paterntity LawyerEvery child has two parents. However, there are some situations where a parent may not be legally recognized as a child’s parent. This usually occurs when parents are unmarried, although there may be other situations where a person who is believed to be a child’s biological father does not have a legally established relationship with the child. In these cases, paternity will need to be legally established. Paternity can be a crucial element of protecting a father’s rights, and it will also ensure that both of a child’s legal parents will be obligated to provide the child with financial support. By understanding when it may be necessary to establish paternity and the procedures for doing so, parents can make sure they are taking steps to protect their rights and their child’s best interests.

Presumption of Paternity in Texas

Texas law outlines several situations where a man will be presumed to be the legal father of a child:

  • The man was married to the child’s mother at the time of birth.

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Fredericksburg DUI Defense AttorneyBeing pulled over by a police officer can be a stressful and troubling experience, regardless of the possible violations that a driver may be charged with. Those who are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving may be looking at serious penalties if they are arrested on DWI charges. A DWI conviction can result in significant fines, time in prison, and the loss of one’s driver’s license. Because of this, drivers may wonder about their options when an officer asks them to take a breathalyzer test that will measure the alcohol in their system. By understanding whether these tests can be refused and the potential consequences of doing so, drivers can make the right decisions that will help them minimize the possible penalties they may face.

Implied Consent, Roadside Breathalyzer Tests, and Other Chemical Tests

Texas, like most states, uses the principle of “implied consent” when addressing permission to take chemical tests of a person’s blood alcohol levels. According to the state’s laws, a person who is arrested based on the suspicion that they have operated a motor vehicle on a public road while they were intoxicated is deemed to have consented to give a breath or blood sample that can be used to determine their blood alcohol content (BAC).

It is important to note that implied consent applies to blood alcohol tests taken after a person is arrested, and not to any roadside tests that a police officer may ask a person to take. In many cases, an officer will ask a driver to blow into a portable breathalyzer to determine whether they are over the legal blood alcohol limit. These devices can provide an estimate of a driver’s BAC, but they are not sensitive enough to give an accurate reading, and their results cannot be used as evidence in a criminal case. Instead, they are used to determine whether an officer can reasonably suspect that a driver has violated the law, and they may provide an officer with probable cause to make an arrest. Drivers are allowed to refuse these tests, as well as any field sobriety tests requested by an officer, with no legal consequences, although that refusal may provide an officer with reasonable suspicion that the driver has been drinking alcohol, and the officer may perform an arrest.

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Llano TX Property Division Attorneys

Divorce can have a massive impact on spouses’ finances. If you are thinking about divorce, you may have questions about how your assets and debts will be divided. Will you get to keep your home? Which spouse will retain ownership of the vehicles? What about retirement accounts and investments? The answers to these questions are not always clear. That is why it is always a good idea to work with an experienced divorce lawyer to receive advice catered to your unique situation. Read on to learn about property division laws in Texas and how these laws may apply to your case.

Spouses May Reach an Out-of-Court Agreement on Property

Both spouses jointly hold property and debts that were accumulated during the marriage - with a few exceptions. Dividing property and debts is often one of the most consequential aspects of the divorce case. If you and your spouse are on relatively good terms, you may be able to reach your own property division agreement. Your lawyer may be able to help you negotiate a property division settlement without court intervention. However, you may need to consult with financial professionals such as appraisers and accountants to ensure that your property division agreement makes sense given your particular situation.

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Llano TX criminal defense attorney

Marijuana has been a popular drug in the United States for decades, and for much of this time, it has been treated as a dangerous controlled substance. Attitudes surrounding marijuana have changed in recent years, and it has been legalized in multiple states. Because of this, residents of Texas may be unsure about how their state treats this drug and whether they may face drug charges for possessing marijuana. By understanding the state’s marijuana laws, Texans can be prepared to address any criminal charges they may encounter.

Possession of Marijuana in Texas

The state of Texas still considers marijuana to be an illegal drug, and a person who is found in possession of marijuana may face criminal charges. However, possession of small amounts of marijuana is a fairly minor offense in most cases. In cases involving less than two ounces of marijuana, a person may be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, and if they are convicted, they may be fined up to $2,000 and sentenced to up to 180 days in jail. Possession of between two and four ounces of marijuana is a Class A misdemeanor, and a conviction can result in a maximum fine of $4,000 and up to one year in prison. Possession of more than four ounces is a state jail felony that may result in between 180 days and two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

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What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Texas?

Posted on in Family Law

Llano TX divorce attorneyExcessive arguing, financial conflict, lack of commitment, and religious differences are just some of the reasons that couples get divorced. Marriages end for countless reasons, but when you get divorced in Texas, you will need to state one or more “grounds” or reasons for the divorce. There are seven official grounds for divorce per Texas law.

Fault-Based Divorce in Texas

The grounds for divorce vary from state to state. In Texas, a spouse can pursue a fault-based divorce or a no-fault divorce. Fault-based grounds include:

  • Infidelity, meaning that a spouse cheated on the other spouse.

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Llano County criminal defense attorneyAnyone who has watched a police drama on television is familiar with the phrase “You have the right to remain silent.” However, few people understand the magnitude of these words. When you are facing criminal accusations, staying silent and refusing to answer police questions is often one the best ways to increase your chances of avoiding conviction. This is especially true when you are facing accusations of domestic violence or another violent crime. A conviction for a domestic violence offense can dramatically impact your life. Asserting your constitutional right to avoid self-incrimination is crucial.

Declining Police Questions Until Your Attorney is Present

The U.S. Constitution gives criminal defendants certain rights. Among these important rights are the rights to avoid self-incrimination and consult with legal counsel. These are often referred to as Miranda Rights. Many criminal defendants grossly underestimate the importance of declining police questioning during an arrest or criminal investigation. Some defendants mistakenly believe that asking for a lawyer and then remaining silent will make them appear “more guilty” than if they freely answered police questions. Others assume that answering the questions honestly can only aid in their defense—especially if they are innocent of the crime that they have been accused of.

Unfortunately, talking to police without your attorney present can significantly damage your chances of an acquittal or dismissal. In the moments after a domestic violence arrest, most defendants are flooded with adrenaline. They may be feeling shocked, angry, confused, frustrated, or even betrayed. This is not the time to be making statements to the police.  A defendant could easily say something he or she does not really mean or make statements that harm his or her case. This is why most criminal defense attorneys encourage defendants to calmly ask for an attorney and then simply stay quiet until he or she arrives.

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