Is military disability pay a marital asset?

If you are a military veteran who has a service-connected disability, then you may be able to receive disability payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs. How VA disability can impact a divorce case in Texas is what we are going to be discussing in today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Subjects as diverse as child support calculations, spousal maintenance, and community property division may be impacted by your eligibility for VA disability payments. Understanding the relationship between these areas of your divorce is important considering that there is a small margin for error in any divorce case.

If you have a service-connected VA disability rating of at least 10% then you are entitled to VA disability payments. Your military retirement will be reduced on a dollar-by-dollar basis if your disability rating is under 50%. So, why would you want to waive VA retirement benefits to receive VA disability benefits? The two primary reasons why disability benefits may be preferable to retirement benefits are due to disability benefits not being subject to division in a divorce and disability benefits are not taxable.

How can you apply for VA disability benefits?

Just because you have a service-connected disability through the military does not mean that you will automatically receive VA disability payments. Rather, you need to follow the process that the military has laid out for veterans and active-duty service members to apply for and receive VA disability benefits. While some people in your position will apply for and receive disability benefits at the same, they that they separate from the military, there is no deadline to apply for disability. It could be years later that you first apply for disability benefits and receive them.

What this means for your divorce is that you should not assume that just because your spouse is not receiving benefits at this moment, he or she will not begin to receive them in the future. The VA will pay on any person’s claim who can prove that he or she has a service-connected disability rating of between 10 and 100%. Depending on whether you have a spouse and children you can receive a monthly disability payment from the VA of over $3,500 per month.

Backdoor division of VA disability benefits

As we have already discussed, VA disability benefits are not divisible in a divorce as community property. Once the funds are deposited into a jointly held bank account then disability payments may potentially be divided in a divorce. What we are describing here is something called “commingling” where separate property and community property are placed together. Rather, it would be wise for you to segregate your separate prop (like VA disability) into a bank account that will never have community property funds within it. This way you can be sure that the bank account in question will never have an issue with commingled funds.

How can VA disability impact decisions on child support and spousal maintenance?

The questions about child support and spousal maintenance revolve around income. VA disability benefits do count as income when it comes to calculating child support or spousal maintenance. As opposed to the community estate, disability benefits from the VA can be a part of a veteran’s income for purposes of setting child support.

For alimony or spousal maintenance purposes, Texas is an outlier among the rest of the 49 states in our union. Texas family courts will typically not consider VA disability payments as income for calculating spousal maintenance.

Can VA disability payments be garnished for child support and alimony?

Wage garnishment in Texas typically takes place via a wage withholding order. A wage withholding order is usually submitted to an obligor spouse or parent’s employer after a child custody or divorce case. In that way, the employer will know how much money to withhold to pay child support each month.

Military disability benefits cannot be treated as community property in a Texas divorce. Let’s look at a case where a husband filed an appeal from his divorce arguing that the court incorrectly divided up his military disability benefits.

In that case, the wife had filed for divorce. In her Original Petition for Divorce, this woman argued that she should receive a disproportionate share of the community estate for a variety of reasons. Her income was much less than her husband’s, she had no advanced education and she had no separate property from before the marriage. Ultimately, the divorce court awarded her more than half of her husband’s military retirement benefits. Her husband immediately appealed the decision.

The husband’s main argument was that in awarding his wife 55% of her military retirement pay, the court had included disability benefits in that equation. The wife argued that this was not the case and that the final decree of divorce awarded him his military disability and Social Security disability benefits as a part of his separate estate.

What did the final decree of divorce say, exactly?

The language as contained in their final decree of divorce stated that the wife was to be awarded fifty-five percent of the husband’s disposable military retired pay including any accrued unpaid bonuses, disability plan, or benefits. Under awards to the husband, the same language was used. A domestic relations order was drafted to divide up the military benefits and included stated that only disposable retired pay could be considered community property. Military disability pay would not count as military benefits for division in the divorce.

What did the appellate court say?

When the husband appealed the trial court orders it went to an appellate court here in Texas. The final decree of divorce contained an award for the husband of his military disability and Social Security disability benefits as separate property. The appellate court found the definition of disposable retired pay did exclude military disability pay. As a result, the appellate court found that the trial court did not make a mistake and award any of the husband’s disability benefits.

Dividing up marital property in a Texas divorce is not easy

The subject of community property division in a Texas divorce arises with a great deal of regularity. It is also complicated- more complicated than many guides on the internet will lead you to believe. One of the most difficult aspects of community property division to figure out for many couples has to do with how government benefits are divided up. It could be a teacher’s retirement or military retirement, there are methods of calculating what percentage of these benefits can be divided in the divorce that relate to your length of service as well as how many years of marriage coincided with that length of service.

Veterans’ benefits, including military benefits, are no different. Special rules apply that will determine how your military benefits will be divided in the divorce and whether they are even subject to division. We have already seen how military disability benefits are not divisible by a Texas family court. Additionally, because of the example that we shared in the earlier section of today’s blog post hopefully, you can understand just how critical it is to make sure that your final decree of divorce is worded clearly and unambiguously. The result, if you don’t, is to prolong the case and put you in a position where you spend money that otherwise would not have to.

Military benefits are done through federal law and Texas law determines how property is divided in a divorce. Your attorney will need to be able to divide up those benefits correctly and understand how state and federal law treat these subjects. It is a bad situation to find yourself in when your final decree of divorce is not correct. This will cost you time, money, and stress that otherwise would not need to be spent. Hiring an experienced family law attorney with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan is a great way to help ensure that you do not find yourself in this position moving forward.

Our attorneys and staff have been fortunate enough to be able to represent members of our military and veterans alike in their divorce cases since our office was first opened. In addition, military spouses are among the most frequently seen clients of our office. Texas is home to many military members and veterans, and we are honored whenever we have the opportunity to work with military families to help you all accomplish your goals during a difficult time. Contact us today for a free-of-charge consultation with one of the experienced family law attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan.

Military retirement benefits

Military pensions can be subject to division in your divorce. If the pension was contributed to during your marriage, then those portions of the military benefits will be divisible in the divorce. Any portion that was contributed before the marriage will count as separate property and will not be divisible. The tricky part for you and your spouse will be to determine how much of the military retirement benefits are community property and then how to divide up that community property portion of your benefits.

At the time of your divorce, the military pension becomes frozen. Once you or your spouse file for divorce the pension’s value will be what it was on the date of filing. The reason why this law is in place is that it would be possible for a military spouse to take advantage of their spouse being promoted during the divorce and then be eligible to receive more money as a result of that promotion. Cost-of-living adjustments are typically allowed during a divorce, but the pension amount stays steady where it was at the beginning of the case.

The bottom line is while a military divorce will follow the same procedures and processes as a civilian divorce, there are specific areas where a military divorce can differ from a civilian divorce, as well. The length of your marriage, while you were serving in the military, will also make a difference when calculating benefits.

If you are married to a military member, then the length of your marriage will have a tremendous impact on your ability to receive benefits. Simply put, if you and your spouse have been married for less than 10 years then you should not expect to receive much of anything in the divorce as far as military benefits. As you are probably aware, Texas is a community property state which means that debts and property accumulated during the marriage will be subject to division in the divorce.

You and your spouse need to have been married for at least 10 years to become eligible for military retirement pay. In addition, the ten years of your marriage must have overlapped with 10 years of military service to qualify. This is different from a civilian divorce where a spouse would be eligible to receive a portion of their spouse’s retirement benefits upon divorce no matter the length of the marriage.

As soon as you and your spouse have been married for ten years you would become eligible to receive a portion of your spouse’s retirement pay. Here are a few benchmarks to keep in mind as far as retirement pay is concerned. At 15 years, you would be eligible to receive half of the retirement pay and one year of health insurance after the divorce comes to an end. Once you have been married for twenty years or longer you would be eligible for half of the retirement pay, health insurance, and other benefits available through the military. The health insurance would go away once you remarried, however.

The importance of hiring an experienced family law attorney in a military divorce

You need to include the specific language that the military requires to receive the correct amount of retirement benefits. Your final decree of divorce should include whatever language the military mandates be included in these orders. Failing to include this language in the order can ruin your chances of receiving the property that you worked so hard to obtain in your divorce. You should be accurate when listing how long you or your spouse served in the military and how long your marriage was.

The government will send the orders back to you if not completed correctly. Keep in mind that this will cost you time in that the attorney will have to go back and correct their work. On top of that, the extra time and effort that it takes to correct these mistakes will cost you time and money. This is adding insult to injury and makes it very difficult to be able to budget for a divorce or plan for your life after the divorce has come to an end. Able to say accurately this is when the divorce ended and here the financial consequences of the divorce are an important part of the case for peace of mind’s sake.

No matter how long you and your spouse were married, if he or she won’t be retiring for another twenty years then you will have to wait a while to get the money promised to you in the divorce. Your spouse may become the person who must pay you the retirement pay when it does come time for those payments to be made. This sounds ok at the time of your divorce but can become cumbersome ultimately for a person in your shoes given that you have no idea what will become of your spouse after the divorce.

If your ex-spouse does not pay you the correct amount of money at retirement you will need to keep tabs on him or her and then file an enforcement lawsuit against him or her. Time is a factor that stands to harm almost every divorce at this stage. Instead of dividing up military retirement pay, why not divide up other property instead? This method can help you to get a case immediately rather than having to wait decades.

You can ask for more equity in the home, a greater amount of child support or spousal maintenance, or anything in between. There are many ways to prepare for a divorce when it comes to community property division. You should begin by going through all of your assets and debts and develop a plan on how to divide them in your divorce. You are only limited by your circumstances and creativity in this regard. Otherwise, having an experienced family law attorney can help you to problem solve and think outside the box when it comes to the division of marital property.

Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free-of-charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about your family’s circumstances that may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.

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San Joaquin Judge Profits from  Sex, Drugs and Stealing Kids

Following an appearance at California’s Judicial Council, San Joaquin County Judge Robin Appel  was invited to a secret dinner club in San Jose by Judge Patricia Lucas , the presiding judge of Santa Clara County who doubled as a legal advisor for California’s court adminstrators. 

When Appel appeared at Three Flames in San Jose, she was instantly recruited to a network of lawyers, judges, reporters, therapists  and cops  connected to California’s family courts that operates underground and through a dark money market. The enterprise is known for  moving drugs and kids up and down the state when their parents are involved in a divorce, and one parent is hiding sexual abuse, or fraud. These are the clients willing to pay anything to silence a former spouse and their children. 

As part of the recruitment process, the lawyers and judges promised Appeal media coverage in the Daily Journal and newpapers owned by Alden Capital. She would be given awards from the local bar, the gateway to future employment  at JAMS or ADR Services ,

Once retired from San Joaquin’s family court,. Appel was promised 20 times the income  she could as a public court judge.  Until that day, Appel was to award attorneys for lawyers  connected to the local bar fees. Fees must be awarded  in a manner that could not be reversed on appeal. Once she had brought in over $10 million to lawyers , veried for orders to pay trust accounts, or billing statements approved for lawyers acting in her through court appointments, the dream job as private judge would be hers.

The fastest way to earn the money was to sell family homes and give lawyers the equity. As a family court judge, Appel could also appoint lawyers and threrapists referring therapty and reunification camps for kids in welathy families.  Appel  reportedly agreed to do her part to  increase  busienss that operated outside of the court in San Jaoquin, overlaping with networks in the Sacramento to the north  connected to attorneys Nancy Perkovich and Paula Salinger, and to the south in Modesto as connected to attorney Tom Hogan., who provides payments to the district attorney’s office. 

Insiders at the schools where Appel’s  daughters, Sarah and Rachel, attend note Appel repeatedly used her position as a judge to access information about the families involved in family law cases to access. Appel used connections inside the school to alter the files of students to benefit the parent able to pay the network the most money. 

San Joaquin County family law attorneys Diane Butler and Lisa Theissen were recruited by Appel to the enterprise and to bring Appel business as a private judge. These valley lawyers  trained with lawyers in Contra Costa and Santa Clara through a network firmly  established by Phil Stal and Lynn Steinberg whose domain is Arizona and Southern California, largely Los Angeles and Orange County. Steinberg scored the Britney Spears conservatorship gig , the higest earning case seen in LA. 

For their part, Butler and Theirssen have tapped into drug rings connected through therapists Jann Blacksotne, John Page and Marcia Clark.. The rings run from Humbolt County and down into San Jose and LA where drugs are moved to vulnerable kids placed in foster care by CPS, or reunification camps because of high asset parents involved in a divorce.  

Attorneys John Conway and Rebekha Frye in San Jose and Los Gatos, are known to supplying kids drugs through lawyers appointed in their parents divorce. Conway’s clients are active in the cannibis industry where they have access to large sums of untrackable cash. 
Cash is deposited to attorney IOLTA trust accounts where it can be used to pay off cops, judges and theraptists willing to write reports for winning cusotdy of kids at the center of their parents’ divorce. 

The more absuive the parent, and the more they have to hide, the more the clients pay to the underground network using attorney trust accounts to move the money without IRS oversight. 

A paralegal working for Butler stated, ‘They know the IRS and the bar won’t do anything, so it has become the wild west and children are being destroyed all to get these lawyers and quacks rich. ” 

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Divorce Lawyers Traffick Kids, Fees Funded by  NFL

Criminal defense attorney Eric Geffon handled high profile criminal cases in Santa Clara County. At the same time, he was  paid by the NFL to silence women and young girls who made allegations of rape or sexual abuse against 49er football players.  When he became a judge, he brouoght in attorney Nicole Ford to take over the lucrative payments that came largely under the table from 49er players, unions and mangers. Players raping women and absusing the mothers of their children was bad for ticket sales and community support needed for permits. 

Karyn Sinunu Towery, a Santa Clara County District Attorney  insider, was reportedly paid milions of dollars to drop  criminal charges against 49er players, When public pressure mounted, Sinunu Towery began to “volunteer”  for Santa Clara University’s Northern California Innocence Project. Behind the scenes she worked with Santa Clara government attorney Ann Ravel to get kickbacks that saw judges issuing orders to take kids via CPS, or private businesses such as Family Bridges. 

According to secret recordings taken of  Elise Mitchell while she attended Overeaters  Anonymous meetings, Nicole  Ford, Sean Onderick, Hector Moreno and Mark Erickson were paid  millons of dollars from the 49ers to bury complaints about players raping, absuing and impregnating young women connected with Alameda and Santa Clara Counties.    

Nicole Ford moved money into charities , including WomenSV and Community Solutions, If women complained there, Ford would have them  silenced, keeping allegations out of the news. Once victims were silenced, Mitchell and Ford were paid to bury complaints everywhere they could be made. . The pattern exists in other citites and counties with NFL franchises. 

These lawyers do not act alone. They are rarely proseucted by the state bar or district attorney. They are largely assisted by government attorneys. In Santa Clara,and Orange County.  Ford had help from government lawyers  Ann Ravel and Ward Penfold.  

Ravel who worked for Maplight , moved back to  Santa Clara County after  triple counting children in foster care to get more funds from the federal goverment. When a whistleblower complaint sought to expose the ghost children scandal , Ann Ravel moved to the Department of Justice, DOJ , to cover it up and mainstain her county connections and recruit for a private judge network that threw off high commissions and bonuses for referral of high asset divorce cases that could be moved into private judges, or where real estate could be liquidated and convered for the Santa Clara based network that based out of Los Gatos where Ravel resides. 

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Elise Mitchell was paid by the NFL to keep Black players out of the news and bankruptcy court. For her involvement Mitchell  acted as a ghost attorney and was paid millions under- the- table and in loan payoffs.

While attending an  Overeaters Anonymous Meeting, Mitchell was recorded explaining how NFL money funded judge bribes and the trafficking of women used to statisfy players. At one point Mitchell claimed  it took boat loads of cash to pay off cops to bury arrests of players. 

For the messy custody cases 49er players landed,   Mitchell noted that family law attorneys Jessica Huey,  Mia Mosher and Nicole Ford taught those in the network to use  family court proceedings to provide a fresh and  steady supply of underage girls and women to  keep players and NFL managers happy.

Mitchell noted the involvment of Mia Mosher linked into  custody experts Lynn Steinberg,   Dr. Rebecca Bailey and  Phil Stahl who  could remove  children from middle class and wealthy homes during a  divorce  or custody dispute through the use of Family Bridges, a reunificaiton camp and therapy sessions. Family Bridges assures   judges, lawyers, cops and reporters from San Jose Mercury News, and Orange County Register ample cash and protection to keep the enterprise flowing.  


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Divorce attorney Mia Mosher has been paid millions to bring bogus reports from custody  experts  who raise money with Randy Rand by getting judges and lawyers to invest in private businesses  or to donate to charities.
These reunificaiton camps are similar to the private prisons exposed in the Kids – 4- Cash scandal, only in California.  Reunifciation camps are shaking down parents by court order for as much as $45,000 in ” services” for a weekend.  Some parents report being billed over $600,000 , with funds taken by the court from the equity in the family home by weaponizing conflict over children. 

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bait and switch marriage

Bait-And-Switch: Can a Marriage Founded on False Pretense Succeed?

bait and switch marriage

Bait-and-switch, hook, line, and sinker. Did your carrot end up being a rotten tomato?

 

Although I’m long divorced, issues from my marriage still come up periodically. If I’m working with clients who have issues similar to the ones I dealt with in my marriage, my mind will start ticking and reliving those times. Not a bad things since some of my best article ideas come up when this happens.

My marriage was virtually sexless from day one. The relationship had been normal in that area until we said, “I do,” and then everything changed. Thirteen years into the marriage, my ex informed me that he had never felt that “sex was a big deal.”

He pretended to have the same level of interest in an intimate relationship that I had, right up to the point of reeling me in, hook, line, and sinker. I often hear men talk about how women use the old “bait-and-switch.” According to some men, women play a role and then change completely after a commitment is made.

It’s been my experience that women aren’t the only sex to engage in bait-and-switch behaviors.

And the damage to a relationship and marriage is immeasurable. Not to mention the emotional upheaval it can cause a spouse when they find themselves married to a person who barely resembles the one they fell in love with.

I recently received an email from a woman who was questioning her own sanity and her worth as a person. She had dated and married a man who was into hiking, fitness, and taking care of himself just as she was. He was all about working out together, planning and cooking healthy meals, and all things that were important to her.

They got married; he became a couch potato, gained 80 pounds, and started telling her she was being abusive if she broached the subject of how much he had changed since they married. On top of missing the man, she fell in love with, she was spending a lot of time beating herself up emotionally because she was buying into his accusations of abuse.

And who wouldn’t? She married one person and quite literally ended up with another.

I believe that most people go into marriage with the goal of becoming one, building a relationship with each other that is beneficial to both. Even those who wear a mask and fear exposing who they are or what they feel desire a close, loving relationship with their spouse.

A marital foundation built on pretense is doomed from the start. No one can pretend to be someone they aren’t indefinitely, and no one should marry someone who isn’t fully aware of their deepest being and beliefs.

To do so sets your marriage up for failure and your future spouse up for extreme emotional pain. And, what do you think pretending to be someone you aren’t meant for you and your future? Want to find someone who loves you for you? Take the mask off, be yourself and find someone who finds every aspect of you irresistible. Your marriage, spouse, and family court system will be forever grateful.

The post Bait-And-Switch: Can a Marriage Founded on False Pretense Succeed? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Can I have my attorney’s fees paid by my spouse?

Everyone knows that a divorce is not fun. On top of not exactly being a walk in the park, it can also be expensive, stressful and an emotional roller coaster for you and your family. Paying for a divorce could end up being one of the most important factors in your entire case. Being able to make sure that you can afford the divorce that you are seeking is among the most critical pieces of information that you can learn about during the entire process. Starting down a road that you cannot afford to continue down is not where you want to find yourself. Plan your divorce, plan the costs, and develop a strategy for meeting the costs head-on. That is a winning strategy no matter what ends up happening in your case.

It makes sense to inquire about whether your spouse can pay your attorney’s fees. After all, it may be the “fault” of your spouse that you are even in this position. You’ve been a faithful and loving partner to your spouse but he or she may have committed adultery, wasted community assets, or engaged in cruel behavior toward you, and your marriage has failed as a result. You didn’t want to file for divorce, after all. Rather, the divorce was thrust upon you due to the actions of your spouse. Now that you are learning what the costs are of a divorce you may want to know what the options are as far as your spouse being able to pay your attorney’s fees.

The answer that a lawyer gives whenever an answer is unclear is it depends. The judge in your case will determine whether your spouse can be ordered to pay your attorney fees if you ask for them to be paid by him or her. This analysis is performed on a case-by-case basis so we would need to know more about your specific circumstances before I can give you an answer on this subject. In a lot of divorce cases, each party pays their attorney. In others, one spouse is ordered to pay all the attorney’s fees.

What is the process involved in asking your spouse to pay your attorney’s fees?

Unless you ask the court to order your spouse to pay your attorney’s fees it won’t happen. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know. In your Original Petition for Divorce or Counterpetition, you need to petition the court to have your spouse pay for your attorney’s fees. Make sure that your attorney is aware that you want this to be included in your petition or counterpetition. Most attorneys will include a request for attorney’s fees regardless of if you mention anything to him or her, but to be safe you should make this known to your attorney before the petition is filed. Otherwise, your petition will need to be amended to include the request.

What are the factors that a family court judge will look to when determining whether attorney’s fees should be granted?

Texas is a community property state. This means that at the time of your divorce all property owned by you and your spouse is presumed to be community property and therefore subject to division in your divorce. There are exceptions to this rule but generally speaking the property and debts of your marriage at the time of your divorce are divisible. Included in this rule are attorney’s fees. Your attorney’s fees can be divided between the two of you as a part of your divorce. You can negotiate for that as a part of your divorce settlement, or you can ask the court to order your spouse to have that done.

Property is to be divided in a just and right manner. Fairness counts, in other words. The financial wherewithal of you and your spouse will be of the utmost importance to a judge when it comes to looking at the costs of your case and who can afford to pay what. If you are a stay-at-home spouse with no outside income opportunities, then this will matter. If your spouse is a doctor with oodles of money and a high income then this will matter, as well. Expect that you will have a good chance to have your spouse pay for your attorney’s fees in this case.

Just because a divorce is ongoing does not mean that your bills are going to stop coming in. Rent, mortgage, utilities, school tuition, etc. These responsibilities that are a part of your life will continue to need to be taken care of even after the divorce is filed. This may seem unfair but that is the reality of the situation. With this in mind, adding attorney’s fees on top of this equation can be too much for you to handle if you have no income coming. Your spouse may well have to pay attorney’s fees for both of you in this situation.

How do fault grounds play into how attorney’s fees are divided, if at all?

A relevant question to ask would be whether your spouse’s bad actions will have any impact on how attorney’s fees are divided. We have already discussed fault grounds in terms of how they may impact how costs and other aspects of your divorce are divided as far as property is concerned. Keep in mind that attorney’s fees are usually awarded at the end of a divorce. You can negotiate with your spouse so that attorney’s fees are paid out over time, but you may have a judge order a lump sum to be paid to you at the end of a divorce once you have submitted a bill to him or her. Make sure that you have a detailed billing statement from your attorney but not one that shows the nature of conversations that were discussed or anything else that would violate the privileges associated with the attorney-client relationship.

It is a common practice in divorces for a judge to order both you and your spouse to produce accountings for your attorney’s fees. That way the judge can compare the bills and other costs associated with the divorce to decide if attorney’s fees will need to be divided. If not, then you will need to pay your lawyer any fees that are unpaid at that time or work out a payment plan of some sort with them. However, if you have factors that you believe are favorable to you then you should present those to the judge in your pleadings and then plan to have your attorney’s fees ready for the judge at the end of your case.

If you can’t afford to pay your attorney….

Let’s say that you are going along through your case, and you suddenly discover that you won’t be able to pay your attorney’s fees. For most people, it won’t be a sudden realization that you cannot afford to pay thousands of dollars to a lawyer for their fees. This will probably be a realization that you have before the case begins. You may be lucky enough to have a family member or someone else who will step up to the plate and offer to pay those attorney’s fees for you temporarily until you can pay them back. They may give you some money to pay as a retainer to your spouse until you get an award for attorney’s fees during the divorce case.

You can ask for temporary attorney’s fees in your divorce by filing a motion for interim attorney’s fees. The judge can either hold a hearing on the matter or can simply address your motion and any response from your spouse to determine if interim attorney’s fees will be allowed. The attorney’s fees accrued by both sides as well as your resources will be looked at in depth to determine if attorney’s fees can be paid on an interim basis.

How can you avoid paying attorney’s fees?

Let’s put the shoe on the other foot now. Suppose that your spouse has asked a judge to order you to pay their attorney’s fees. Are there any steps that you can take to avoid being put in a position where you could be ordered to pay for those fees? One step that you can take is to hire your attorney to argue why you should not be made to pay for your spouse’s attorney fees. Simply having your attorney pay for you does not absolve you of having to pay for your spouse’s attorney’s fees. Rather, this is a decision that will be made based on several different factors that we have already discussed in some detail today. However, it is a useful argument to be able to make when you have your lawyer to pay and a tight budget, to begin with.

What you and your attorney can do is present a detailed and accurate rundown of your income, your monthly bills and expenses, and any other costs that exist for you which may limit your ability to pay for your spouse’s attorney fees. Simply not having the money to pay for your spouse’s attorney’s fees may be the best way to avoid having to pay them. Of course, if you are using community income to pay for your attorney’s fees and have drained a jointly held bank account then this would be a factor worth considering if you are a family court judge.

Resources that are available for low-income Texans

If you are going through a divorce and have a very low or no income at all then you may wonder if there are any resources available to you that can assist you in moving your case forward. As luck would have it, yes, there are. From the very beginning of your case, you need to know that there are costs associated with simply filing for divorce. For example, it will cost you money to file an Original Petition for Divorce. If you have a very low income, then you may be able to have your court costs waived by filling out an application to have your fees waived. This is known as a statement of inability to afford the payment of court costs. By filling out the form you can tell a judge that you cannot afford to pay these basic costs associated with your divorce and that you need to have them waived.

Your spouse may also be in a position where he or she can be ordered to help you survive financially at least until the divorce is over. For example, you can ask for temporary spousal support. Temporary spousal support will have your spouse pay you a certain sum of money each month until the divorce is complete. This may not be a large sum of money but likely would be based on your monthly expenses over and above what you can afford to pay based on your income. In your motion for temporary orders, you can ask for temporary spousal support.

Contractual alimony comes at the end of a case when you and your spouse agree that you should be able to receive a certain sum of money for a certain period after your divorce. Contractual alimony would be negotiated using elements of contract law rather than family law. This is important to note because in the future you would not be able to enforce provisions in your divorce decree involving contractual alimony in the same way that you would spousal maintenance. As we are about to see, spousal maintenance is included in the Texas family code and a judge can enforce their orders regarding this subject. However, contractual alimony is different.

In a divorce trial, spousal maintenance can be ordered by a judge if you and your spouse do not agree on contractual alimony. It is difficult to be awarded spousal maintenance in a divorce. A judge can only award spousal maintenance if you or your spouse lack sufficient property after the divorce to be able to provide for their minimum reasonable needs. Additionally, the spouse who would be paying spousal maintenance would need to have been convicted or received deferred adjudication for a family violence offense against the receiving spouse or child within two years of the divorce having been filed. Or spousal maintenance can be ordered if you or your spouse is unable to earn enough money to meet your minimum reasonable needs due to a disability suffered by you or your child. Finally, the most common circumstance under which spousal maintenance is paid is when you and your spouse have been married for at least 10 years and there is a proven financial need for the support.

What kind of financial support can you gain from your spouse immediately? a new paragraph in some instances you may require financial support from your spouse right away. In that case, you can ask a judge to issue a temporary restraining order or temporary orders. A temporary restraining order would last for a relatively short period until a hearing can be held, or mediation can allow the two of you to resolve your matter amicably. Once you have temporary orders in place, those orders will typically last until your divorce is over.

Temporary orders in a divorce which involved children can include any orders that are necessary to promote the safety and well-being of your child. Otherwise, temporary orders involving children most typically relate to temporary conservatorship, child support, health insurance, and possession. When it comes to the property in your divorce temporary orders can also determine how property is to be used temporarily, how debts are to be allocated during the case and whether spousal support and attorney’s fees need to be paid. These are essential pieces of information that you need to be very specific about when you ask a court for these items to be paid.

Closing thoughts on attorney’s fees in Texas divorce cases

If you want to give yourself the best possible chance to have your attorney’s fees paid for by your spouse in a divorce, then you need to be prepared. Having an organized budget that can show what your income is versus what your other responsibilities are is extremely important. The better organized and more detailed you can be the better chances you will have to have a judge order attorney’s fee to be paid on either an interim or final basis after your divorce case. Also, if your spouse has an attorney, it would be in your best interest for you to consider hiring one as well. An attorney will not make decisions for you and your case but will help guide you and provide you with context to assist you with making wise decisions based on the law as well as the circumstances of your case.

Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free-of-charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to look at the circumstances of your case and how the family law of Texas may impact those circumstances.

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Divorce Lawyer Trafficks Kids, Funded by the NFL

Criminal defense attorney Eric Geffon handled high profile criminal cases in Santa Clara County and was  paid by the NFL to silence women and young girls who made allegations of rape or sexual abuse against 49er football players.  When he became a judge, he brouoght in attorney Nicole Ford to take over. 

Karyn Sinunu Towery, a DA insider, has been paid milions of dollars to drop  criminal charges against 49er players, When public pressure mounted, Sinunu Towery began to “volunteer ”  for Santa Clara University’s Northern California Innocence Project. Behind the scenes she worked with Santa Clara government attorney Ann Ravel to get kickbacks for getting kids moved into CPS or foster care where private businesses such as Family Bridges could get paid on the public dime. 

According to secret recordings of Elise Mitchell taken from Overeater’s Anonymous, (where Mitchell is a regular attendeee), Nicole  Ford,  and other lawyers  were paid millons of dollars from the 49ers when the  team moved from San Francisco to Santa Clara.  Ford and Geffon had were paid to assure the  silencing  of women who claimed to be victims in connection with 49er players and management. 

San Jose and Santa Clara Police officers were paid millions more to assist. Players beating and raping women, or having kids out of wedlock,  was embarrassing for the 49er franchise, and the lawyers, judges and cops in Santa Clara were paid under the table to handle it. 

Nicole Ford moved  money into charities , including WomenSV and Community Solutions, If women complained there, Ford would have them  silenced, keeping allegations out of the news. Once victims were silenced, Mitchell and Ford were paid to keep   allegations out of public court proceedings.

Ford was also  assisted by government attorneys Ann Ravel and Ward Penfold , who moved kids for the benefit of NFL players, Hollywood celebrities and big tech managers ad workers. The demand for young women was a constant challenge for NFL and 49er management. 

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Elise Mitchell was paid by the NFL to keep Black players out of the news and bankruptcy court. For her involvement Mitchell  acted as a ghost attorney and was paid millions under- the- table and in loan payoffs.

While attending an  Overeaters Anonymous Meeting, Mitchell was recorded explaining how NFL money funded judge bribes and the trafficking of women used to statisfy players. At one point Mitchell claimed  it took boat loads of cash to pay off cops to bury arrests of players. 

For the messy custody cases 49er players landed,   Mitchell noted that family law attorneys  Mia Mosher and Nicole Ford taught those in the network to use  family court proceedings in order to provide a fresh and  steady supply of underage girls and women to  keep players and NFL managers happy.

Mitchell noted the involvment of Mia Mosher and custody experts Dr. Rebecca Bailey and  Phil Stahl  could remove  children from middle class and wealthy homes during a  divorce  or custody dispute through the use of Family Bridges, a reunificaiton camp and therapy sessions. Family Bridges assures    judges, lawyers, cops and reporters from San Jose Mercury News, and Orange County Register ample cash and protection to keep the enterprise flowing.  


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Divoerce attorney Mia Mosher has been paid millions to bring bogus reports fromcusotdy  experts Phil Stahl and Dr. Rebecca Bailey  who raise money with Randy Rand by getting judges and lawyers to invest in private businesses  or to donate to charities connected with them including Weave, Santa Clara DAO ,WomenSV and Next Door. 

These reunificaiton camps are similar to the private prisons exposed in the Kids – 4- Cash scandal, only in California , the reunifciation camps are shaking down parents by court order for as much as $45,000 in ” services” for a weekned. 


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Family Court Judges: Cannibals of the Courts

Somehow in the mountains of literature written about family court aberration and dysfunction, the voices that are missing are those of the executioners: the men and women in black robes. Those who speak out about the need for “reform” in family court seem to believe that these judges are not active entities, participants, even prime […]

The post Family Court Judges: Cannibals of the Courts first appeared on Foundation for Child Victims of the Family Courts.

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How Can a DUI Conviction Affect My Child Custody Case?

woman holding car keys and saying no to a drink

 

When parents encounter disputes related to child custody, these matters can be fraught with emotion, and multiple types of issues may be raised that could affect the outcome of a case. In high-conflict situations or cases where parents may be concerned about the safety and well-being of their children, criminal offenses or other potentially unsafe actions committed by a parent may play a role in the decisions that are made.

How Can a DUI Conviction Affect My Child Custody Case?

Arrests for drunk driving or convictions for driving under the influence (DUI) can be especially consequential, and they could be a significant factor considered in family court proceedings related to the custody of children.

If you have ever been arrested for DUI, you will need to understand how this could potentially affect decisions related to your children that will be made during your divorce. A DUI arrest that occurs after the completion of your divorce may also have serious consequences, and you may not only need to defend against criminal charges, but you may need to take steps to protect your parental rights and determine how you can avoid disruptions to your family life and your relationship with your children. With the help of an experienced attorney, you can make sure you will be able to address these issues correctly.

The Impact of a Previous DUI Conviction on Child Custody Decisions

In cases involving child custody, the primary concern addressed by a family court judge will be the best interests of the children. A judge will consider many factors, including the safety of the children and the stability of the home environment. If you had a DUI conviction at any point in the past, this might raise concerns about your ability to provide a safe and stable home for your children.

A DUI conviction may be seen as a sign that you have exhibited poor judgment in the past and that you could potentially behave in ways that may put your children at risk. These factors may affect a judge’s decisions about whether you will share legal custody of your children and have the right to make decisions about issues such as education and medical care.

Depending on how long ago your conviction occurred, your history of drug or alcohol abuse, and other factors related to your children’s health and safety, your ability to share physical custody of your children may also be affected.

Fortunately, even if you do not have primary physical custody, you should still be able to have regular visitation or parenting time with your children. If a judge believes that it is necessary, certain restrictions may apply, such as a prohibition on using alcohol or drugs during or immediately before your parenting time or the requirement to undergo regular drug testing or receive treatment for substance abuse. With the help of a family law attorney, you can make sure you will be able to maintain a close relationship with your children while following any requirements that are put in place.

How a DUI Arrest May Affect Issues Related to Child Custody

If you already have a child custody order in place, being arrested for intoxicated driving may jeopardize your ability to maintain custody. Even if you are not convicted, the other parent may bring the arrest to the court’s attention and ask for modifications to your child custody agreement.

If a family court judge believes that your children may be at risk of harm, you may face restrictions to your parenting time, or you could even lose legal or physical custody altogether.

Due to your DUI arrest, you may be accused of being unable to provide the proper care for your children, or the other parent may claim that you are likely to engage in risky behaviors that could affect your children’s safety. Even if you are not convicted of DUI charges, you may face a suspension of your driver’s license, which could affect your ability to provide transportation for your children when necessary.

After reviewing the facts of the case, a judge may decide to modify your parenting time schedule and reduce the amount of parenting time you have with your children. Other restrictions or requirements may also be put in place, such as requiring you to attend rehab or have supervision present during your parenting time.

An attorney can help you take proactive steps to address any concerns about your ability to parent following a DUI arrest. You may want to consider enrolling in an alcohol counseling or treatment program even if you have not been ordered to do so by a court. You should also be prepared to submit to random drug and alcohol testing. Taking these proactive steps will show the court that you are committed to sobriety and that you are taking steps to address any concerns about your ability to parent.

Get Legal Help With DUI Defense

A DUI arrest or conviction can have far-reaching consequences, impacting every area of your life. If you have been charged with DUI, it is important to seek experienced legal counsel as soon as possible. An experienced DUI defense attorney can help you defend your rights and minimize the impact of the charges against you. In some cases, it may be possible to have the charges reduced or dismissed altogether.

An experienced attorney will know how to best approach your individual case to achieve the best possible outcome. They can also work alongside a family law attorney to ensure that any issues related to child custody will be addressed appropriately. By taking quick, effective action, you can protect your parental rights and ensure that you will be able to maintain positive relationships with your children going forward.

The post How Can a DUI Conviction Affect My Child Custody Case? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Elise Mitchell : Booga Bear Baby Stealer

Elise Mitchell , divorce  attorney,  in Alameda , Santa Cruz and Santa Clara  Counties  fullfills  race quotas and steals white kids through a family court racket connected to CPS and Catholic Chruch insiders.   

Mitchell  has been paid by the NFL to cover up rape, domesitc violence and illegitimate childen of players associated with the 49ers. Her current client, Ray McDonald was subjected to unrelenting media coverage after he, Ray McDonald, refused to pay the attorneys in his custody case after they  demanded  a ” fee”. of over $100,000 to cover what the NFL would not. 

Running a law practice, using her own children as staff,  Mitchell gets immunity from judges based on her connection to DDA Cindy Hendrickson, a prosecutor in Santa Clara County who has been bribed hundreds of thousands of dollars to kill criminal cases for players connected to the NFL and Superbowl entertainment assured by Lou Taylor.   

Mitchell is known for keeping books on bribes  attorneys pay judges and cops in exchange for  appointment  as minor’s counsel, or GALS in high asset divorce and custody cases. 

Mitchell once leaked information related to money laundered through attorney trust accounts and paid to cops in Gilroy and Fremont , where she uses process servers and Sheriffs in  Alameda County to serve restraining orders that bring in money  to judges appointing attorneys in divorce and custody cases where the lawyers are appointed to represent children. 

The scheme works to move money from families to a network of lawyers including Mitchell  where children are trafficked from parents though reunification networks and CPS progrmas in county governments. 

Documents found at the Catholic schools Mtichell and Hendrickson’s children attend show the lawyers are making millions , as are judges and cops, selling children whose parents are in a divorce, or dragged into the CPS network. The racket runs to family courts in California and North Carolina.

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Should the Child Decide on Custody?

At what age in Texas can a child help determine where he or she will live primarily?

In the state of Texas, when your child reaches the age of 12, he or she is legally able to help determine where they will live on a primary basis. However, a family court judge does not need to necessarily follow your child’s wishes and not consider any other information available to him or her. It would be a rare occasion where only the opinion of your child was factored into the decision of a judge. Rather, there are many circumstances and factors in play when it comes to determining an issue of primary conservatorship in a Texas child custody or divorce case. Not only is the opinion of your child important but also what is in the child’s best interests.

It would be a mistake for you to tell your child, or anyone else for that matter, that he or she is going to be able to choose where they live primarily after the family law case is over with. As we just finished discussing, your child will play a role in determining where he or she lives, potentially, but a family court judge will likely have much more evidence to consider than simply the wishes of your child when it comes to figuring out where he or she will live primarily. Children must abide by make custody orders until they reach the age of adulthood. Until then, the terms of the custody order will impact where your child lives and how often you and your co-parent can possess your child.

It used to be that if your child were over the age of 12 then he or she could sign some paperwork telling the court which parent he or she would like to live with primarily. A child’s primary residence is where he or she lives during the school week. The other parent would have visitation, most likely on the first, 3rd, and 5th weekends of each month. Primary conservatorship is important because it carries with it more time and likely more rights to be able to make decisions for your child.

Now in Texas, the law has changed that your child may speak to the judge in their office privately about their wishes regarding primary conservatorship if he or she is over the age of 12. Testifying in court about custody preferences does not happen very often. One of the reasons why this is very rare is that most parents do not want to put their child in the middle of a contested custody hearing or trial and therefore have their child feel like they are having to choose between you or their co-parent.

How it works is that if you or your co-parent file a motion with the judge to have your child be able to express to the judge their wishes as far as primary conservatorship is concerned the judge must interview your child in their office if he or she is over the age of 12. You may file the same motion for you were a child under the age of 12 but at that point, it is up to the judge whether he or she will allow your child to be interviewed. The facts and circumstances of your case as well as whether the judge thinks a child of their age will be able to express themselves adequately will also factor into the primary custody decision and whether or not an interview will be allowed.

How will the interview work with your child?

If your child is to be interviewed by the judge, then it must be in a non-jury trial setting. Fortunately, most child custody cases are bench trials before the judge and do not involve juries. As we just finished talking about the judge will determine whether to allow the interview to be conducted if your child is under the age of 12. If your child is 12 or older then the judge must allow for the interview to occur, but it is up to the judge’s discretion whether to allow for your attorney in that or your Co-parent to be present during the interview itself. However, if you or your co-parent request that a court reporter is present then the judge must allow for that to occur. Under no circumstances are you or your co-parent allowed in the judge’s office during this interview.

How closely does the judge have to follow the desires of your child as far as primary custody?

The judge is under no obligation to follow your child’s specific wishes or wants as far as primary custody or visitation. This is true for many reasons, not the least of which involves how the opinions and desires of teenage children tend to change quite frequently. One day your child could express an intense desire to live with you primarily. The next, the opposite could be true when your child wants to live with your co-parent. Very little may have changed overnight but your child is learning and developing and changes in their opinion like this are normal. However, that does not mean that a family court judge must necessarily take everything your child says at face value. Judges know enough to be able to determine that the opinion of teenagers tend to change rapidly for several reasons or no reason at all.

Oftentimes, children make decisions based on factors as simple as who allows the child to get away with more, who is less strict in the household, which parent lives closer to their friends, or which parent is “nicer.” I have seen children express desires to live with one parent over the other because that parent is a better cook. This is not to belittle or second guess the opinions of your children as they go through a very difficult stage in their life. However, it does speak to how the interests of your child at their age may be quite different than what is in their best interests. This is the standard that a family court judge and you as a parent must follow when making decisions for your child. Children are notoriously poor at making decisions that are in their long-term best interests. This is one of the most important reasons why a family court judge will not solely consider the opinion of your child when it comes to determining their primary conservator and place of residence.

Judges are also aware of the possibility that your child may be influenced by you or your Co-parent when it comes to making statements regarding their desire to live with one parent or the other. For example, you may be trying to influence your child by making him or her feel guilty about selecting your co-parent as the primary conservator. Many children can be influenced by feelings of guilt when it comes to giving their opinion on subjects like primary conservatorship. On the other hand, your co-parent may be attempting to bribe your child with gifts, leniency with their schoolwork and chores, or a later bedtime or curfew. These are other factors that a family court judge must be aware of and watch for when questioning your child about their preference for a living situation.

What are the most important factors that a family court judge will look at in considering the opinions of your child?

As with any person in the judge’s position, he or she will likely ask why your child is stating a preference for one parent over the other. If your child walks into their office and says that he or she wants to live with you primarily then a simple follow-up question would likely be why that’s the case. The judge will listen to your child’s answer for several reasons not the least of which is to determine the child’s thought process and maturity level. The more well-developed and thought out your child’s answers and explanations are the more likely the judge in your child’s case will be to consider the opinion as more valid and trustworthy. Age has a lot to do with this and is a major reason why children under the age of 12 are not always given the ability to speak to a judge about this subject.

If your child expresses their desire to live with a parent who allows for a later curfew, fewer rules, and more junk food then that probably will not sit well with the judge and he or she may end the interview at that point. It would be very unlikely for the child’s position to carry much weight with the judge.

What specific elements of a parenting plan can your child potentially choose?

Other than deciding which parent will become their primary conservator, the law in Texas does not provide much in the way of autonomy to your child when it comes to other decisions that can be made in your case. Imagine putting yourself in a position where your child can determine how and when you see him or her without being able to submit evidence or have a court consider your arguments. The child custody laws of Texas are designed to prevent a situation like this from occurring.

On the other hand, there is a possibility that a child custody evaluator, amicus attorney, or attorney ad litem is appointed to your case to provide the judge with another set of eyes and ears on the case to help him or her decide. All these people could be appointed (though likely not all in one case) to give the judge a different perspective on the case. Remember that no matter how much evidence you submit in a hearing or trial the judge will only know what is happening in your case based on what is going on inside the courthouse. Needless to say, what goes on outside of court is more indicative of who you are as a parent.

How can you convince a judge to let your younger child speak on custody issues?

If you have a child who is under the age of 12 then you may be looking for any tips that you can get your hands on as far as helping to convince a judge to consider strongly the wishes of a younger child. Remember that the judge does not even have to speak to a child under the age of 12 even if you were to file a motion requesting that this occurs. With that said, how can you get to a point where the judge more strongly considers their opinion when he or she is going to decide on naming a primary conservator of the children?

We have already talked about one of the options that you can consider- namely, asking the court to appoint an amicus attorney. An amicus attorney would represent your interests of you by communicating the child’s preferences to the judge as well as other information. This is sort of an inadvertent way to have your child’s preferences be made known to the judge without ever having your child step foot in the judge’s office. This may even be preferable for you if you want to do whatever is possible to your child as uninvolved with the divorce or child custody as possible.

Ideally, the amicus attorney will be told by your child where he or she wants to live primarily. That information can be relayed to the judge either in writing or orally in a hearing. Taking your child as a counselor may be a good way to help him or her sort out their emotions surrounding the family law case. It is also a way for you to get your child’s position on the record without having him testify. This could be done by calling the counselor as a witness either in a temporary order hearing or trial.

The best interest standard in a child custody case

The best interest standard is one that is applied in child custody cases across the country. However, be aware that the factors that a judge can consider do not appear in a specific order. Rather, the judge is empowered to make custody decisions based on the best interests of your child. He or she will consider these factors in some order when it comes to your child custody case.

Your relationship with your child is crucial when you are asking to become that child’s primary conservator. If you have been a well-meaning yet distant parent then you probably do not stand much of a chance to become the child’s primary conservator. This isn’t due to your being a bad parent or an absentee parent. Rather, it is due to your never having played that role in the life of your child before. Family Court judges are very conservative when it comes to handing down conservatorship orders. Do not expect miracles if you have never been the primary caretaker of your children.

Next, it can feel overly personal at times but your mental health and that of your co-parent are extremely relevant in the context of a child custody or divorce case. If you are battling with suicidal thoughts, extreme behavioral issues are important for the case to consider. If you do have any mental health troubles, then you should discuss them with your attorney at the beginning of a case. Do not hide these diagnoses or problems from your attorney. The last thing you will want to do is to completely not tell your attorney about the problems with mental health that you may be experiencing.

How old your child is plays a huge role in determining primary custody- especially if your child has spoken to the judge in their office. The older your child is the more mature he or she likely is. This means that a judge is more likely to consider their opinion. On the other hand, your child may be too young to testify to the judge and may be at an age where their main concern is who they are going to dress up as for Halloween.

It should be obvious to you that there are a lot of moving pieces in play when you are a part of a divorce or child custody case. For that reason, you should reach out to an experienced family law attorney to help guide you in a case. A consultation with an attorney who can answer questions and who can provide you with information is a great start. Find yourself an attorney with the heart of a teacher and you can succeed often.

Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free-of-charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as what may happen if a child custody or divorce case is filed.

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