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Want to resolve your Texas family law case outside of court? Remember these rules of engagement

Filing an Answer and proceeding with a family lawsuit in Texas

Originally published by The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC Blog.

If you have been served with a petition for divorce or a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship, then you may have questions about how to proceed. It’s probably pretty clear to you that your spouse or the other parent to your child has filed a lawsuit against you, but after that, you are unclear on exactly what you should be doing. Do you need to file something yourself? Should you hire a lawyer?  If you were served with the papers at a park or in a parking lot is that legitimate?

My first piece of advice on this subject is to at all times remain calm. A process server or constable has been hired by your opposing party’s attorney to go to the courthouse, pick up the documents from the court and give them to you. This has the effect of providing you with legal notice of the lawsuit having been filed. If you are approached by a person with paperwork that looks important you should receive the papers. There is no benefit to running away, throwing them on the ground or refusing to comply. Your opposing party will get “credit” for serving you notice of the lawsuit no matter what you do at that point.

Another point that I would like to make is that your spouse will get credit for having served you no matter where you are served. Many people are served at their home. Some are served at work. Others are served at doctor’s appointments, family member’s homes or other places that they regularly visit. Your opposing party will coordinate this with their attorney and the process server. Do not be surprised to be served if your spouse has spoken to you about filing for divorce or for a child custody case.

Do not make assumptions about what the paperwork you are served with says

One thing that I have noticed that people tend to do after they are served with a Petition for Divorce is that they will immediately read and become frustrated with what they are reading. The legal terms that are used in a Petition are often utilized in different ways than we would use those same words in everyday conversation. So, while you may think a phrase or request means one thing- it likely means something completely different.

With that said, you can read through what has been handed to you- it is your case after all. But, until you speak to an attorney do not make any hard and fast assumptions or determinations about what has been written in those documents. Requests for attorney’s fees to be paid by you is a common request in a Petition. When you file your Answer to that petition your attorney will likely make the same request of your spouse. It is not something to get immediately upset about.

What happens with the timeline of your case once you are served with a Petition?

The timeline or “clock” begins to tick as soon as you are served. The process server will report back to the courthouse with a document certifying that you were served with the Petition on that day at the specific time you were provided notice of the lawsuit. From there, a couple of different things happen.

First, you now have twenty days to file an Answer. Technically you have until the first Tuesday at 10:00 after the expiration of twenty days to file your Answer. An Answer is your legal response to the allegations and requests made by your opposing party in their Petition. It is not a complex legal document, but rather alerts the court that you are intending to participate in the lawsuit and have responses ready to the allegations made in the Petition. Most importantly, by filing an Answer you keep the opposing party in your case from getting a default judgment.

As simply as I can put it, a default judgment is a legal judgment that your spouse can get from a judge if it is shown that you were provided notice of the lawsuit, were served properly and then never filed an Answer. In order to keep your having not filed an Answer from delaying the end of the case, your spouse can then proceed to court after 60 days to have the judge sign into effect final orders that were created by her. You are bound by those orders even though you never laid eyes on them. Therefore, filing an Answer is a very important step in your legal case.

What should your reaction be after getting served?

We have already talked about how you should react at the moment that you are served. Well, you should continue to act calmly and rationally after the fact, as well. Speaking to an attorney as soon as you can is a good idea. I always advise potential clients of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan to speak to a handful of attorneys in order to get a good idea of what the issues are, to learn as much about the process as possible and to get a feel for the attorney herself. Once you have interviewed enough attorneys to feel comfortable you can make arrangements to hire one.

The lawyer will take care of filing an Answer for you. However, he or she will certainly ask you for information about your family in order to not only file an Answer but to prepare for the next stages of your case. The attorney should inform you that your case is a marathon and not a sprint. You may want to take action immediately to address inconsistencies or “lies” in the Petition. You will get that opportunity, but it likely will not come in front of a judge- more on that later.

For now, you should enter the mindset that you are not going to contact your spouse unless you absolutely have to. Communication regarding your child is fine as long as you can be civil. You do not need to speak to your spouse if he or she is being uncivil or nasty to you. By the same token, you should not act that way towards him or her.

Consider not logging onto Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other social media until your case is over with. Family law attorneys are good at getting dirt on the opposing party and social media is a great place to look. For example, if you log into a social media account and say nasty things about your spouse and make this out to be World War III then that is information that certainly would be interesting to your spouse and their attorney. Do not give your spouse any ammunition to be used against you later. Work with your attorney, work to see your kids and play nice in the sandbox.

An alternative to filing an Answer: signing a Waiver of Service 

There is one other way to respond to your spouse’s Petition for Divorce that we have not yet discussed in today’s blog post. That would be signing and filing a Waiver of Service. If you and your spouse are on speaking terms, agree on whatever issues exist in your case, and want to work together from the start to finish your divorce as quickly as possible then you can sign a Waiver of Service.

A few items to consider before signing a Wavier of Service. First, you need to read the Waiver carefully. Usually, if you have already hired an attorney, he or she will advise against you signing the document no matter what it says. However, if you do not believe that hiring an attorney is necessary then a Waiver can be signed. This happens with some frequency in situations where you and your spouse have talked through the divorce in a detailed fashion and have agreements in place on all issues related to your case.

Most waivers tell a court that you have received the Petition for Divorce (thereby proving that you have notice of the filing of a lawsuit) but waiver your right to be personally served with the lawsuit. From there, you will provide your contact information to the court so that they can have it on record if official mailing from the judge has to be sent out for any reason.

Temporary Orders: What they are and what they mean to your family law case

Filing for divorce, being served and then having an Answer filed can be looked at as the first step in the divorce process. Step number two involves something called Temporary Orders. This is a step where the marching orders for you and your opposing party will be established during the duration of your case. It is important that you be able to either negotiate for or have a judge award a fair array of temporary orders because the final orders in your case tend to mirror the temporary orders to a great extent.

If your case involves children then the temporary orders will deal primarily with them. Visitation, child support, conservatorship, etc. will all be dealt with. These orders will be signed by you, your opposing party and the judge. In a divorce, issues related to bills, property, temporary spousal support and other circumstances specific to your case will be hammered out. Issues regarding the sale of your home or other property, as well as the allocation of debts,  will be determined later in your case.

Most of the time, family law cases in the temporary orders phase will be settled in mediation. Mediation is a process where you and your attorney, your spouse and their attorney and an independent attorney will come together to attempt to settle and negotiate your case. You will typically go to the mediator’s office and that attorney will put you in one room and your spouse in another (with your lawyers). The mediator will then bounce back and forth in between your rooms in hopes of reaching a settlement.

If a settlement is reached, the mediator will draft a document known as a Mediated Settlement Agreement (MSA). That MSA will be the basis from which the temporary orders in your case will be drafted. One of your attorneys will be charged with the responsibility to draft the temporary orders based on the language contained in the MSA. Both attorneys will typically look over the final draft and decide whether or not it fairly reflects the MSA. Once both sides are satisfied it will be signed and sent to the judge for their signature.

If no settlement, then a temporary orders hearing occurs

Tomorrow’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan will center around Temporary Orders. This is a full-fledged hearing that allows you and your opposing party to submit evidence to a judge if a settlement cannot be reached in mediation. It is called a hearing but in reality, it is a mini-trial. A person who walks into the courtroom could not distinguish your hearing from a trial, anyway. If you are interested in what your temporary orders hearing could look like, then please head back here tomorrow.

Questions about family law cases in Texas? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are honored to be able to serve the community that we work and live in. For us, learning about you and your needs is the basis for developing a strong attorney-client relationship. We hope that you have learned something from our blog post today and always encourage questions and suggestions about the topics we discuss here.

If you have any questions or need clarification on anything you read today please do not hesitate to contact our office. We offer free of charge consultations here in our office six days a week. These consultations are a great opportunity for you to learn more about your case and to have your questions answered in a comfortable environment. We look forward to meeting with you and serving your needs along with those of your family.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.



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Want to resolve your Texas family law case outside of court? Remember these rules of engagement

Safety, Substance Abuse and Mental Health: Helping yourself through a Texas family law case

Originally published by The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC Blog.

Family law cases are among the most difficult of all areas of the law because of how intimate the subject nature is. True, you may not be worth millions of dollars like a multinational corporation but your family case deals with subjects that are more important than money. Your marriage, your children, your personal behaviors and that of your spouse are all relevant in a family case. While an investment banker’s work habits may require some embarrassing information to be disclosed in a trial, nothing compares to having to discuss your marriage to a room of strangers in a divorce trial.

Sometimes the material that is relevant in a family law case is more than just intimate or embarrassing. On occasion there is subject matter that relates to family violence, the safety of your children and even mental health disorders that become a huge part of family law cases. In these situations, you need to be able to know what to expect to encounter when dealing with problems associated with matters that are best kept private but are nonetheless relevant to your current family law case. Whether you are concerned for the well-being of your kids, yourself or even your soon-to-be ex-spouse I want to share some tips on how to handle these sorts of circumstances in your own family case.

What to do when you are worried about the safety of your children

If you find yourself worried about the safety of your children there is no time to waste in attempting to do something to remove those concerns from your life and theirs. Imagine being in a position where you had suspicions or thoughts about a hazard in your child’s life but did nothing to remedy that hazard. The next thing you know, something bad happens to your child and you end up blaming yourself for having identified a problem but having done thing to stop that problem from impacting your child.

This happens all too regularly with family law cases, I am afraid to say. For some reason our instincts as parents are inhibited by all of the hoopla associated with a family law case. This is ironic because at the core of what you are doing, no matter if it is a divorce or child custody case, is a desire to improve the lives of your children. The best advice that I can give to you is that you can improve your child’s life by addressing any concerns regarding safety immediately after you learn about them.

First and foremost, concerns about your child’s safety should be addressed by police and Child Protective Services (CPS). It is probable that the police will contact CPS anyways, but you should see to it that the police are aware of any concerns that you have for your child’s well being. If your child comes home from their mother’s house and tells you that her friend is acting inappropriately, your first step should be to talk to your child about any incidents that have occurred. Next, contact the police if that voice in your head tells you to. Better to be safe than sorry.

You need to know that if your spouse has a history with CPS, that will be an especially relevant bit of information that will need to be discussed with the judge. Family violence is a serious subject as judges want to, above all else, keep your children safe. Any words that you or your spouse use towards one another that could be construed as violent or threatening can and will likely be brought up again.

What does this mean to you on a practical level? Well, for starters, you need to get into the mindset that anything and everything that you say can be recorded and documented. This means those words can be taken out of context, potentially, and used against you and to the advantage of your spouse. Meaning: choose your words carefully. Especially choose how you text and email your spouse. Take a moment before responding to a particularly mean or nasty email to consider how your response can be utilized against you by your spouse.

Next, certainly never put your hands on your spouse for any reason. Even if you are justified in touching your spouse do not do it. Remove yourself from any situation that may rise to violence, animosity or anger. It is not worth it to you to be involved in any discussion that is heated. Use your attorney to convey difficult messages if you don’t believe that your spouse can be respectful of you and your opinions. Even if you are merely defending yourself, it can be a disaster to your case if you were to injure your spouse (especially if you are a man).

One thing that I have seen in recent years is people fighting over cell phones. Grabbing for a phone to see if someone has contacted your spouse or for any other reason can be dangerous. Mostly because those sort of actions can quickly escalate and lead to further use of violence or at the very least coarse language. Nothing contained in that phone is worth potentially losing time with your kids over- or even going to jail for. Be aware of your surroundings and do what you can to de-escalate any situation that you believe could lead to heated tempers.

Is protective order relevant to your situation?

A lot of clients ask about protective orders at the beginning of a child custody or divorce case. The thought being that one could potentially serve the purpose of de-escalating potentially dangerous situations. A protective order can serve a purpose when family violence has occurred in the home recently and that the violence is likely to continue but for the obtaining of a protective order.

If you get a protective order against your spouse that can be severely detrimental to his case in a divorce or child custody matter. You would need to decide whether or not to pursue a protective order that protects you and your kids or just you. While in today’s world we do not ordinarily consider these situations all that often, the fact is that men can be abused, as well as women. Think about all the information we are told about how women are reticent to come forward with details about abuse that they have suffered. The same can be said for men. Men are typically even less willing than women to come forward with details about abuse that they have suffered.

Handling issues regarding mental health in conjunction with a family law case

These are two subjects that come up all the time in family law cases. In some cases they are the primary reasons why there are child custody issues or circumstances that have led to discussions about divorce. Whether your spouse has been diagnosed with having a mental impairment or other mental health difficulty, or you suspect him or her of having a condition like this, mental health problems shine through brightly in many family cases.

Do you suspect your spouse of being bi-polar, having anxiety or being depressed? Some clients of mine in the past have commented that their spouse must be bi-polar considering how hot and cold he/she is. One minute they could be having a conversation together, and the next minute that same spouse could have grabbed a knife to attack our client. Behavior like this that is inconsistent and aggressive can be downright dangerous.

Another problem that clients frequently run into are issues related to a parent’s inability to take their medications as prescribed. The result is comments that relate to how good a parent your spouse might be when he or she is taking their medication, but if that medication is not taken as prescribed your spouse may be the most disagreeable person on earth. It is understandable to not want to take medication when those medicines cause you to feel out of sorts, but that concern needs to be balanced against the desire to keep your safe.

Finally, you need to speak to your attorney about your own history involving drugs and alcohol. The reality for many parents is that if there is a history of drug or alcohol abuse, you probably do not want to share those details with anyone. However, the worst thing that you can do is to keep that history a secret until a mediation or hearing date. Having your lawyer blind-sided by an opposing attorney who disclosed a history of drug and alcohol abuse is not a good plan to have.

Beware of back and forth bickering

Sometimes it is inevitable that you and your spouse will get into an argument. That happens even in the best functioning of marriages. Those arguments usually go nowhere and just leave everyone involved stressed to the max and angry that the discussion was ever started in the first place. Many times, we can see these discussions/arguments happening ahead of time and it takes a little bit of self-control to simply avoid them altogether.

There is nothing more awkward and potentially detrimental to your case to get into an elaborate game of bomb throwing in a courtroom. It typically will happen like this: both you and your spouse have allegations that the other acted inappropriately, was emotionally abusive or generally did something that was harmful to the kids. You then use your time on the witness stand to defend yourself and then hurl a few bombs her way.

What this ends up being is a back and forth game of unsubstantiated allegations. Instead of using your time productively to testify credibly for yourself and against your spouse, you are going to alienate your judge and distance yourself so far from the facts of your case that you may have trouble getting back on track. I have seen this happen many times in other cases and even in my own cases. Emotionally it may be satisfying to fire back at your spouse when he or she makes allegations against you, but in the long run that sort of behavior rarely if ever turns out to work to your advantage.

The people in your life that you trust are there to be your support system

We all have moments in our lives that require the support of others. Whether it is during a difficult family law case, a death in the family or the loss of a job, we cannot always be at our best. It is during those times that we rely on others to prop us up and support us. With that said, keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with doing so. At some point in the future it is likely that you can repay that person by being there for him or her when they need you.

Remember, also, that your mental and physical well-being matters. Staying in a marriage for the sake of your kids is noble, but ultimately self-defeating. Your kids deserve a parent who is at their best. You cannot be at your best when you are involved in a marriage that is emotionally

unfulfilling or worse yet- violent. We will discuss this topic when we pick up where we left off today in tomorrow’s blog post.

Questions about family law cases in Texas? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan would like to express their sincere appreciation for your interest in today’s blog post. We post articles like this every single day in order to share some of the knowledge that we can have gained through serving people in our community just like you.

In order to speak to one of our licensed family law attorneys about your case, please do not hesitate to contact us today. A consultation at our office is absolutely free of charge and can go a long way towards helping you better understand your circumstances and how to help your family and yourself.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.



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3 Things You Must Ask a Family Law Attorney Before You Hire Them

3 Things You Must Ask a Family Law Attorney Before You Hire Them

While there are a number of questions that you should ask a family attorney prior to hiring them, below are three things that you must ask before making a decision about your representation.

The post 3 Things You Must Ask a Family Law Attorney Before You Hire Them appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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How to Handle Divorce in a Family Business

How to Handle Divorce in a Family Business

Here are some tips on how to handle a divorce when your rely on your partner in a family business.

The post How to Handle Divorce in a Family Business appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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Family Lawyer Answers Most Important Divorce Questions

Family Lawyer Answers Most Important Divorce Questions

Divorce can be a painful and traumatic experience not only for the couples involved but also for their family and friends. If you are planning to file for a divorce, make sure to read these questions first. According to statistics, about half of marriages in the United States end up in divorce. The most common […]

The post Family Lawyer Answers Most Important Divorce Questions appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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Should You Go No Contact With A Family Member?

Should You Go No Contact With A Family Member?

 

My heart goes out to you if you are faced with this very difficult question.

Maybe you are being abused by a family member and no matter how much you have tried to reason with them, stop the nastiness, or even withdraw for a while … things just aren’t getting better.

And maybe you have the beliefs that ‘family is forever’ and ‘blood is thicker than water’.

How can you protect yourself and stop getting hurt? How can you regain your lifeforce, and NOT feel guilty about saying ‘No More!’ to this person?

I promise you there is a way, where you won’t feel like you are doing the wrong thing, because when you get CLEAR, you will lovingly and powerfully offer that family member a chance to make THEIR choice. And you can do this GUILT FREE.

Find out how in this very important Thriver TV episode, which I know, if you are suffering from family narcissistic abuse, will help you so much.

 

 

 

Video Transcript

Today’s Thriver TV focuses on a very big question.

Many of you are suffering abuse from a narcissistic family member.

You may believe you can’t go No Contact because as we were all brought up to believe – family always sticks together, and we are responsible and have obligations to them.

Or maybe, understandably, you are forever hopeful that you can finally have the relationship with this family member that you have always wanted.

In today’s TTV episode I want to take you through this, how to know when you may need to go No Contact with an abusive family member, and what that looks like, as well as how to do it guilt and pain free.

And, if you don’t have to go No Contact, what that looks like too.

So just before we dive in, I would love to thank all of you who have subscribed to my channel and for supporting the Thriver Mission, and I’d love to remind you to like this video if you enjoy it!

Okay, let’s begin…

Why Are Family Relationships Deemed Harder To Disconnect From?

So many people say, ‘This is my mother, father, brother, sister or even child, HOW can I turn my back on them?’.

I can assure you that there are countless people in this Community who have laid the ultimate No Contact boundary with abusive family members, even with their own children.

It doesn’t mean that they are bad people for abandoning key family members. It means they finally realised that this person was destroying them, as well as the people and missions that were important to them.

They also understood that in no way was their involvement with this person helping them to wake up, take responsibility or get better.

Let me put it to you this way – imagine someone drowning in a toxic vat of poison, and you jumped in to try to get them out of it, and they had no inclination to leave the vat and instead just wanted to pull you deeper into it with them.

Is your sense of loyalty and love for them, or your desire for their loyalty and love worth destroying yourself for?

The fact that you are watching this episode probably means that you have already tried everything over the years to pull them out of this stinking toxic vat, but nothing has worked. And, the more you have tried, the more you are getting repeatedly slimed and infected as well.

I know you may not think you have a choice.

The ONLY choice you need to make is to live a wholesome truly healthy life. There is no other choice than that.

I promise you there will be a way that your empowered choice will grant the abusive family member their own choice, and that is – either get on board with being respectful – or don’t.

And the result will mean that you can be free to take your precious soul energy back for yourself and the people and missions in your life that are healthy. Those being the ones that will respond and come with you on this incredible journey of life.

 

The Thriver Quantum Truth

If you love a toxic person then you truly have a responsibility to be a living example of health to them – which is ‘I will not experience your abuse anymore. This is where I draw my line’.

That is the only way you will help them heal (if that is possible), because NOW if they want to remain connected, they will need to be a respectful decent person around you to do so.

If you honour yourself in honourable ways then you honour all of the Field, including all others.

You are not honouring anyone, and certainly not yourself, by allowing another’s abuse into your life.

I promise you that with key people in my life, including my own son, I had to lay the ultimate boundary, ‘This is what I will accept and what I won’t and there can’t be any more contact unless we meet at a healthier place’.

The most effective way to teach people how to treat you is to be lovingly and totally honest – tell difficult people that you want a more loving, closer relationship with them, and if it’s not possible then you will disconnect. And mean it. Words aren’t enough. Boundaries mean following through with action.

Unless you are TRUE to your own soul and are the steadfast guardian of it, you are never whole enough to truly love, honour or contribute to anyone else’s life anyway.

How can you be, when you are diminished, victimised, unloved, unrecognised, unappreciated and resentful?

 

My Journey With Family Members

I knew after previously suffering narcissistic abuse and continually staying attached trying to change people and being re-traumatised, almost fatally, that I was NEVER going to experience that again … even from my own flesh and blood.

Was I just ‘able’ to logically get to this level of being prepared to ‘lose it all to get it all’ and follow through?

Hell NO!

Once upon a time I was riddled with guilt, the fear of smearing and what people would say, and the terror of being alone and losing key family members that I had wanted a loving relationship with all my life.

I had a lot of shifting on painful, stuck beliefs to do. And I diligently did that work with NARP and later my Transforming Family of Origin Wounds Program (which follows on from NARP as a powerful clean-up of family trauma).

After doing this work and honouring my soul by speaking up about what I needed and being prepared never to compromise myself again, if respect and decency were not forthcoming, key relationships in my life transformed beyond description.

Some others have left my life without pain or regret. We just are not a match and that is okay.

I’ve let go of any ‘what ifs and regret’ with Quanta Freedom Healing. I’m free to be me, and they are free to be whatever their version of life is as well.

 

Downscaling Unhealthy Expectations

Okay, the most important thing you need to start understanding is not even about the family member – it truly starts with you.

There is an ACCEPTANCE you need to reach and get clear about.

If people don’t have the resources, they don’t have the resources.

You may want your mother to truly love, connect with you and share and listen to you from the heart as you have seen how other people have that with their mothers. BUT … maybe your mother is not capable of that.

Maybe she had a difficult childhood. Maybe she has never been connected to vulnerability in her heart or the ability to be deep, caring and compassionate with anyone. Maybe she only ever knew about survival and practicalities, because her generation didn’t embrace empathy and emotional connection.

When we feel like we have missed out, we need to accept they may NEVER be able to grant what we want in the way that we feel we need it from them. This means we need to come home to be the loving parent and inner supportive, caring force that we never received, to ourselves.

This is one of the reasons why NARP has been so successful for not just healing people in this community from abusive love intimate partners, it also reaches back into the trauma from our families, and clears this – from our parents and ancestors that caused us the disconnection from not loving and being whole within ourselves.

Life is bountiful and plentiful, there is love and wholeness everywhere. We suffer when we believe our source of these things has to come from specific sources. It is an incredibly liberating human graduation when we realise that this is a lie that has kept us victimised and traumatised.

You can set yourself free from this.

Understanding this was huge for me.

It truly changes everything.

 

Laying Your Boundaries With Family Members

If you have been healing your traumas from childhood and know that you can downscale your expectations healthily and be at peace with family member relationships then this is great.

However, if you know there are still behaviours that cross your boundaries and hurt you, then there is more work to do.

This starts by being very clear about what you will and won’t accept in your life and having the inner deservedness to know you can generate these things regardless of what other people do or don’t choose to do.

People don’t have to agree with your boundaries and truths for you to live them.

And no matter how much people may try to guilt you, manipulate you or abuse you to get you to drop your boundaries, your true power comes from living them anyway.

Here is where we champion ourselves or remain victims to others.

Are you able to walk your truth regardless?

Are you able to anchor into the Creation of your True Life, rather than keep handing your power away to others, even if you lose these people?

These are very important questions – because when you lay boundaries (truthfully and lovingly is best – more about how to soon!) you cannot be attached to outcomes.

Boundaries are NOT to make anyone do something. They are only about giving them options.

Rather, boundaries are about YOU DOING something – taking back your life and control – making your decisions about how your life goes.

It goes like this: ‘You can join me if you like, and not if you don’t. Either way, I am walking this truth regardless’.

It is normal to be terrified about having honest, difficult, self-honouring conversations. Confrontations are hard yet an incredibly rewarding thing to do.

When you get to this level, you will no longer ever be abused. If you don’t want to work on yourself to get to this level of development, you will always continue to be susceptible to abuse.

At this level of self, your life will shape into disappointing family members stepping up to meet you at this higher level of respectful communion and love, or they will leave your experience, causing your life to open up, generate and accept REAL loving and genuine connections in all areas, even if that has never been previously possible in your life.

Do you believe your soul evolution is going to get handed to you on a silver plate? Think again … it isn’t, the relationships you need to transform, or leave, were always meant to be the most painful ones that you could imagine. How else were you going to become a full source to self, generating your life with life and others powerfully and healthily?

 

Laying Your Boundaries With Family Members

If you can’t downscale expectations and be at peace with the way a family member behaves or treats you, then it’s time to show up honestly.

If you have terror about doing that or are not prepared to honour yourself in the decision they make – then there is inner work to do.

Ultimately, to grant them the opportunity to be respectful, you do need to be willing to lose it all to get it all.

And possibly more than once to see if it is real. They may decide to meet you ‘this’ time at your needs, yet the actions don’t meet the words in the future. Then you go back to No Contact unless they choose to take responsibility and show up respectfully.

And … you need to mean it.

Can you see how this is THEIR choice and not yours?

You are simply living your life truthfully and lovingly (love always starts with healthy self-love and devotion). You are healing, growing and evolving yourself out of painful family toxicity and leading the way for your future generations.

You are breaking the cycles of abuse.

You are being the change that you want to live in your life, and see in this world and in all families, from the inside out.

That is not just your Soul Right it is your Soul Contribution to ALL others.

Can you understand that if we all took that level of radical personal responsibility that there would be no more abuse or abused people in the world?

Let’s go back to the vital understanding – If you honour yourself, you honour all of Life in honourable ways.

Now do you understand why? Especially with KEY people in your life?

If so – write ‘I get it’ below.

Are you ready to join myself and other countless Thrivers who live this life of empowered personal responsibility and receive wonderful genuine interpersonal relationships?

If you have had enough of abuse at any level, including from family members, find out HOW we do this by clicking this link.

And if you enjoyed this video make sure you give it a thumbs up and share with the people you love and your communities so that they and their families can also break free from abuse.

I’m so looking forward to answering your comments and questions about this very important topic below.

 

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3 Things Family Law Attorneys Should Offer You

3 Things Family Law Attorneys Should Offer You

Solutions, referrals, and realistic goals. All family law attorneys should be offering these three things to clients.

The post 3 Things Family Law Attorneys Should Offer You appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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3 Reasons You Want to Avoid Family Court During Divorce

3 Reasons You Want to Avoid Family Court During Divorce

It is better for clients to make their own decisions about what’s best for their children rather than “the stranger in the black robe.”

The post 3 Reasons You Want to Avoid Family Court During Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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Handling issues related to the Right of First Refusal in Texas family law cases

Handling issues related to the Right of First Refusal in Texas family law cases

Originally published by The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC Blog.

The right of first refusal is an issue that comes up in family law cases that can cause even the most creative and experienced family law attorney to scratch their heads on how to proceed. Essentially, the right of first refusal allows a parent who is not entitled to possession for a specified period of possession to be able to take possession of the child if the other parent is not able to do so. Allow me to provide you with an example of how this situation could arise in real life.

Suppose that your ex-husband is scheduled for a visitation period with your son beginning at 6:00 p.m. on this Friday and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the following Sunday. In the morning on Thursday, he receives a phone call that alerts him to the fact that he will need to work this weekend. Since your divorce decree contains a right of first refusal, he must contact you as soon as he becomes aware of this scheduling conflict and provide you with your right to refuse visitation that is offered to you. You have the option to take possession of your son this weekend even though the divorce decree states this is your ex-husband’s weekend for possession of him.

We also see issues that arise when parents like yourself begin dating again after a divorce has concluded. If you are not able to take possession of your child for a weekend visit, you may want your girlfriend to be able to pick your child up from his mothers’ home and then drop him off the following Sunday. Since you are able to designate an adult to pick your child up in the event that you are unable to, what’s the harm in having that same adult care for your child during a weekend that you’re not able to see him? Your girlfriend may really want to see your child, and after all- it’s your weekend so it should be your call, right?

How is the right of the first refusal defined in your custody orders?

This is the first question that we need to ask ourselves in relation to your particular circumstances. If you are considering whether or not to include a right of first refusal in your child custody orders, you and your attorney need to first think about how that term is going to be defined and applied as it pertains to your family. What is the specific period of time that a parent cannot be with the child that will cause the right of first refusal to be triggered?

You may be able to negotiate that if you or your new spouse is unable to be present with your child during a period of possession (sometimes lasting between four and eight hours), then you must contact your ex-spouse and allow him or her to come and pick up your child for that certain period of time. Whenever the predetermined/agreed to amount of time is over, your ex-spouse would then return your child to your home and allow you to complete your period of possession as scheduled.

Even when you get specifics as this handled, you need to consider the effects of including that kind of language in your order. If your ex-spouse gets home from work at 12:00 a.m. do you have to get your son dressed and over to the other parent’s house within the hour? That would seem impractical and not necessarily in your child’s best interests, but strict language regarding the right of first refusal could theoretically make this a necessity. A compromise could be that if the parent were to become available to possess the child at a time after 9:00 p.m., the parent in possession of the child on a temporary basis could wait until 9:00 a.m. the following day to drop the child back off at the other parent’s home.

The other issue that we need to discuss is what your child would be comfortable with as far as a substitute adult to possess him or her when you or the other parent is not available. It sounds ok enough for you to have your mother, father, aunt or girlfriend available to watch your child for half a day when you have to work unexpectedly. However, if your son doesn’t get along with any of those people then it would not seem like it would be in his best interests to leave him with any of those folks. Unless you and your child’s other parent have a group of people that are able to care for your child in these situations then a right of first refusal may not be a wise thing to include in your orders.

How will extracurricular activities be handled?

In this day and age, there are camps, classes, training sessions, and other activities for any sport or extra-curricular event under the sun. Odds are decent that you and your ex-spouse may not see eye to eye on your child’s potential or the role of these activities in the life of your child. For instance, you may believe that your child should only be involved in extracurricular activities to the extent that they can make friends and build their self-confidence. However, your ex-spouse may believe that these additional activities are essential for the development of your child and that he or she has the potential to become a professional ball-player, musician or dancer. How can this fundamental disagreement be solved?

I have seen some families achieve success when each parent is allowed to select one activity for their child to participate in each semester of school. The costs for activities would then need to be divided up in some manner between parents. Additional activities (camps, classes, etc.) would be paid for by the parent who selected that activity. Transportation to and from activities would also need to be determined. If you and your ex-spouse earn similar incomes the costs could be split evenly. Otherwise, a proportionate split may be more appropriate.

Another issue that may be relevant to discuss for your family is whether or not both parents may attend practices or rehearsals. If you and the other parent can be around one another without issue then this is not a problem. However, if you all have shown an inability to be in close proximity to one another you may have to limit attendance to the parent who paid for the camp or activity. Both parents in most cases can attend performances and games, no matter what parent is in possession of the child on that particular day.

How will you be reimbursed for uninsured medical costs?

As a part of any child custody order, you or your child’s other parent will be made to be responsible for providing health insurance for your child. Whether it is insurance provided for by one of your employers, insurance through the private marketplace, Obamacare or Medicaid, your child will need to be covered. One of you will pay for that insurance or will reimburse the one who pays for medical coverage.

However, not every cost that your child will incur for medical treatment will be covered by insurance. These are called uninsured medical costs. Suppose that you take your child to a pediatrician appointment and he orders a test for your child that is not covered by insurance. Once you receive a bill for that test you would need to submit the bill to your child’s other parent so that he can pay you back for the test you paid for (in the event that it is his responsibility to pay uninsured medical expenses).

What I will advise clients to do is to negotiate to include a deadline by which medical bills have to be submitted for reimbursement purposes. For instance, a provision in the order that specifies how much each parent has to pay towards uninsured medical costs, as well as a deadline to submit the relevant bill to the other parent, is a good idea.

I would tell you that it is common to have parents agree to split 50/50 uninsured medical costs. Since it is usually the primary conservator who takes the child to the doctor or for unscheduled visits to hospitals and such, it will be that parent who has to pay the bill upfront. What I tell parents in this position to do is to set up a reminder on their phone to submit bills by the end of the month to the other parent to be reimbursed, However, a good practice is to simply scan and email the bill to the other parent as quickly as you can. That way you have a record that the bill was submitted and you can be paid back as quickly as possible.

Issues related to military parents

If you are the primary conservator of your child and have been deployed overseas as a member of our military, you have the ability to designate an adult to exercise your possession and conservatorship rights while you are overseas.

The law in Texas is there is an order of preference as far as assigning that right. For example, you should first give preference to the other parent. That other parent would not normally have the right to determine the primary residence of your child, but you could allow him or her to act in that capacity for as long as you are overseas and unable to do so yourself. However, if selecting the other parent to take these rights on a temporary basis were not in the best interests of your child, then a nonparent may be chosen instead.

Special provisions for special needs children

When you are involved in a case with a special needs child then you and your attorney will need to pay especially close attention to the rights and duties that you and your opposing parent have in relation to that child. There are likely aspects of your special needs child’s life that are extremely important to spell out in the order. Unfortunately, a “typical” child custody order will not do so. You all need to take the extra step and include provisions to protect that child’s interests and well-being.

Both you and your child’s other parent will need to be able to provide to one another more detailed information regarding the child’s educational, medical and psychological needs. Trading information and updates may be difficult for you all if communication is not your strong suit. As a result, it may be necessary to have some special orders included in the parenting plan that requires you to share updated medical information with the other parent on an as-needed or regular basis.

You would need to come to terms with what your child’s specific needs are and then determine how frequently updates need to be provided to each other. If your child sees the doctor on a weekly basis, and you are the parent who always goes to the appointment, it may be necessary for you to provide a weekly update to your ex-spouse on your child’s condition via email or another electronic means.

More information on special needs children to be provided in tomorrow’s blog post

The issue of special needs children is an important one. As such, we will continue today’s discussion in tomorrow’s blog post. We will introduce additional topics related to special needs children that we have observed in our years of practicing family law in southeast Texas. If this is a topic that is relevant to you or your child, it is a good idea to head back to our blog tomorrow to read more.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about the material that we covered in today’s blog post please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys are available six days a week to meet with you at no cost. These consultations are a great opportunity to ask questions and receive direct feedback about your particular circumstances.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.



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blended family life

4 Tips For Helping Your Kids Adjust To Blended Family Life

blended family life

 

According to statistics, there are many more stepfamilies today than there were a decade ago. And the number is projected to grow steadily. It is, therefore, essential for you as the mom in a blended family to help the children make necessary adjustments because such situations hit kids the hardest.

Below are a few ways you can help the kids make the adjustments required for their new, blended way of life.

Helping Your Kids Adjust To Blended Family Life

Explain the unique situation to the kids

As mentioned earlier, kids are the most affected when their parents either die or get divorced. Therefore, it would be a good idea for you as the mom to make ample time and talk to the kids involved. Acknowledge the difficulties they are going through and give them a pat on the back for being so brave. Then assure them by promising to be with them every step of the way.

Knowing that they have a strong and understanding mom who is ready to help will make the adjustment much easier for the kids, whether they’re yours or not.

Acknowledge their losses and help them through it

Blended families come as a result of deaths, divorces, or nasty breakups. Once again, the kids are usually hit the hardest when they lose a parent (or both their parents). The latter explains why kids are often very reluctant to accept blended families. As a caring mother, or stepmother, acknowledging their pain and at the same time helping them through it will make the transition much easier for the kids.

Helping kids through their pain is easier said than done. Some kids will outright disrespect you or throwing nasty tantrums in the name of coping with their new situation. If the latter happens, then it would be in your best interest to seek professional help. Once you’ve helped the kids overcome their pain, they’ll gradually start warming up to the idea of a blended family.

Nurture existing relationships

Just because you’ve forged a new, complicated relationship doesn’t mean death to the old ties that existed before the blended family. Therefore, it would be a good idea for you and your children to keep your old family traditions. If you used to watch movies or go bike riding once a month, stick to doing that because it will only make the transition gradual and as natural as possible.

You can also encourage your new man to do the same with his kids since they need help as well. Afterward, you can slowly create and introduce new family traditions with the blended family without getting rid of the old ones. Feel free to set your nice alarm panel to remind you of the times you and your kids ought to be doing your usual activities.

Encourage respect

Respect is the glue that holds together all kinds of relationships. And since blended families happen to be complex relationship structures, the more you have to emphasize respect since everything can fall apart so easily. You can start by letting the kids know the importance of respecting each other’s boundaries as well as privacy. There should be consequences if anyone doesn’t recognize anyone in the new family setting.

A final word

Being a member of a blended family can be challenging, especially if there are more kids involved. Therefore, it would be in your best interest to try and approach the situation with a lot of care. Try listening to the kids and letting them know you’ll be there for them every step of the way. If it gets a bit difficult, then don’t hesitate to seek outside help.

Lastly, it’s essential to always remember it gets worse before getting better. Once the children know that the new blended system is meant for them to thrive, they’ll gradually warm up to the idea.

The post 4 Tips For Helping Your Kids Adjust To Blended Family Life appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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