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Co-Parenting: Time to Mutually Agree to Save and Protect Your Children During Coronavirus Pandemic

Co-Parenting: Time to Mutually Agree to Save and Protect Your Children During Coronavirus Pandemic

Originally published by Nacol Law Firm.

Dealing with a worldwide medical pandemic and personally trying to stay alive and healthy is mentally changeling, but for parents who are divorced or have separate custody agreements and co- parent, it can be a disaster for the entire family. Hopefully, this Coronavirus Pandemic will be a short-lived life-threatening situation, but how the Co-parents cope with the problem could deeply impact their children’s emotional life.

In Texas, on March 13, 2020, the Texas Supreme Court issued an emergency order that divorced /single parents should go by the originally published school and visitation schedule in their current decree.  Since the last life-threatening pandemic in the United State was the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918, most divorce/ single parent agreements do not include a pandemic clause!

Do not be one of those parents who decides that they “are the decision maker” and drives away with the kids for an extended vacation to Grandma’s in Florida without telling the other parent. Or deciding that the family circle of trust does not include their Other Parent and refuses visitation or joint decision making.  These hasty, irrational decisions may seem reasonable in this time of national panic but consider the legal ramifications of violating an order.  Since all courts, in Texas, are now closed except for emergency litigation matters only, when the courts are fully operational again and the medical danger has passed, how will a violation of your current decree look to the Judge?  Judges always look to the needs of the child versus the unreasonable expectations of the parent. There will be serious ramifications against the violating parent.

Let’s look at some ideas on how co-parenting during this pandemic season can work the best for all family members and by joint agreement will save your both money that would normally go to legal fees.

Just remember that as co-parents your children are most important.  Your child has been told that they can’t see their grandparents because of their age and if infected by the coronavirus, may die. No school, no playing of sports, or playing with friends since they may be infected with a deadly virus and become very ill. Decide to cooperate as responsible co-parents to navigate the child to the new changes in their daily routines without a lot of stress and anxiety on the child.  By keeping the child calm and showing “a united family circle” the child will know that Mom and Dad are there for him/her.

Some areas of agreement should be that the child will have regular email, phone calls, FaceTime, Zoom visits, and texting with the other parent. The child needs to know that both parents are safe and interested in their wellbeing. Regular visitations times must be made available for the child to see each parent. Remember the child’s core circle of trust are his/her parents and siblings.

Another very serious matter is the decision of what will happen to the child if one parent becomes ill and cannot care for the child. The joint decision must be made by both parents and must ultimately be in the best interest for the child.

Custody disputes and circumstances that have totally changed in the last month. Just remember, co-parent cooperation is the best choice. There is no doubt that judges will be happy to hear that parents have worked together to meet their child’s best interest, by taking steps to protect the child’s health and safety.

This is a time for mutual give and take from both parents. No one is always right nor always wrong. In this upside crazy pandemic world, jointly trying to navigate your family to a better place will have its own rewards.

If, however, one parent unilaterally refuses to make fair agreements for the children or violates your custody orders, avoid retaliation and follow your decree orders faithfully. This Pandemic will pass, and most Judges will not treat lightly intense misconduct when the courts reopen.

Mark A. Nacol
The Nacol Law Firm P.C.
Dallas, Texas
(972) 690-3333

Click to open Copy of Texas Supreme Court Emergency Order on Child Custody Schedules during Coronavirus Pandemic. (pdf) 

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



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Free Webinar: Can the Coronavirus Affect Custodial Rights? How Divorces and Parenting Time May Be Impacted

Free Webinar: Can the Coronavirus Affect Custodial Rights? How Divorces and Parenting Time May Be Impacted

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak has resulted in a period of confusion and uncertainty about what lies ahead.

Unfortunately, if you are a dad
going through divorce, those worries are all the more pronounced. Certainly, as
a father, your primary concern is for the health and well-being of your family.
You might also have questions about how the virus affects your right to spend time
with your children.

DadsDivorce sponsor Cordell & Cordell is hosting a free webinar at 1 p.m. CT on Thursday, March 26, that will cover “Can the Coronavirus Affect Custodial Rights? How Divorces and Parenting Time May Be Impacted.”

The webinar will be hosted by
Cordell & Cordell divorce lawyers who will address your concerns about how
COVID-19 is impacting your divorce and your rights as a father.

The webinar will cover a range of
topics concerning divorced dads such as:

  • Tips to keep your kids safe and healthy.
  • Child custody issues such as coordinating
    custody exchanges while quarantined.
  • The financial impact of COVID-19 such as what to
    do if you can no longer make your alimony or child support payments.
  • How to move forward with your divorce if family
    courts are not open due to the virus.

Cordell & Cordell divorce attorneys will review these topics and more during the complimentary “Can the Coronavirus Affect Custodial Rights? How Divorces and Parenting Time May Be Impacted” webinar. “After viewing this webinar you will be better informed so you can make educated decision to help keep you and your family safe.

Fill out my Wufoo form!

The post Free Webinar: Can the Coronavirus Affect Custodial Rights? How Divorces and Parenting Time May Be Impacted appeared first on Dads Divorce.

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love the next time around

Love the Next Time Around: 5 Questions To Help Find “The One”

love the next time around

 

Many of us want to find delicious, deep love after divorce but it’s hard to know when you are truly ready to really find the “right one”.  Dating after divorce can be weird and awkward. Most likely it’s been a very long time since you’ve been on a first date and dating as an adult, especially as a parent, can raise all sorts of fears and insecurities.

All of that fear and anxiety could cause you to jump on the first train heading to your station (so to speak), but I want you to find long-lasting love.  Unless you just want to play around in the shallow end for a while, in which case, see you next week.

But, if you happen to be one of my lovely readers that might be thinking of dipping a toe into the dating pool for the purpose of finding a meaningful relationship, let me suggest 5 questions to ask yourself to figure out if you are truly ready to find YOUR “right one” (and how to know when it’s okay to throw someone else’s “right one” back in to the pond)…

1. HOW OFTEN DO YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR EX? I can’t tell you how many really nice guys I dated after my divorce that spent the entire date talking about their ex-wife. This is a huge red flag that someone is not ready to find deep love with a new person. You may want companionship, you may want affection, but if you are still talking about your ex on a daily basis, you probably aren’t disconnected enough from your former marriage to form the kind of attachment that will lead to long-lasting, deeply connected love.

2. ARE YOU LISTENING? If you are overly eager to find a reason to like a person, you might not actually be hearing what they are saying. Maybe you are listening for magic words (Did he say he hikes? I love hiking? We’re soul mates!) but you miss out on the big picture (He said he hikes with his buddies on a guys’ trip every year – that’s very different from wanting to hike with you on romantic weekends, and it could leave you feeling left out or hurt down the road).

Take a step back from constantly searching for common interests and really listen to what your date is saying. Remember that you don’t have to pick your next mate on the first date, consider the first few dates a learning experience – not a compatibility test.

3. ARE YOU BRAVE ENOUGH TO ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED? If you want to find love that is truly satisfying and will make you happy, you have to be willing to speak up when you need something. I always wanted to meet somewhere for just a drink on the first date because I knew that if someone said something really offensive or I was just not attracted to the person that I didn’t want to sit miserably through a whole meal.

I broke my own rule a few times, either because I didn’t have the courage to express my feelings about first dates or because my date overruled my concerns – it never went well. If you don’t feel comfortable enough with this person to state what you need, or if the person asking for a date isn’t willing to adjust for your concerns, then either you aren’t ready or this person might not be your “right one”.

4. DO YOU TRUST YOURSELF? A dear friend of mine said to me shortly after his own divorce, “I think my picker is broken. I just can’t pick well right now”.  If you don’t trust yourself to choose the right person for yourself, don’t force it. One thing I have learned through my work is that there are many, many single people out there – and you don’t have to be in a rush to find your perfect match.

If you are going on dates or looking at dating websites and you find yourself overwhelmed or not sure who is right for you, take a break. Learn what you like to do and what kind of lifestyle works best for you. Once you have a good idea of what makes you happy and how you want your life to be, THEN you are ready to start diving in to those profiles.

5. DO YOU KNOW HOW GORGEOUS YOU ARE? Nothing makes me sadder than the woman that tells me she has to lose weight or the guy who says he has to have a better car or more money before she/he can start dating again. Deep, lasting love comes from two people connected by shared values, shared interests and shared goals. Do you want the guy who fell for you because you starved yourself into skinny jeans or the one who will spend the next fifty years snort laughing with you at Adam Sandler movies?

Know that you are beautiful to the man of your dreams, exactly as you are right this minute.  Know that the woman of your dreams will love you, whether you are driving a Porsche or a Pinto.

Dating when you aren’t ready is like trying to buy furniture for a house you’ve never seen – it might be really nice furniture, but if it doesn’t fit in the house, it will never feel right.  In the end, the “right one” comes along when you know what you need and what makes you feel loved…that’s when we fall truly, madly and deeply in love with the person that fits just right.

The post Love the Next Time Around: 5 Questions To Help Find “The One” appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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time to trust again

When Is It Time To Trust Again?

time to trust again

 

Have you ever gone to the animal shelter and felt a connection with the animals waiting to get adopted?

My daughter wanted a dog so bad and had literally been asking me for years. My usual answer was, “I can barely feed two children, what makes you think I can afford feeding a dog too?”

But after many years of pleading, the time had come, and I was ready to say yes. As we walked through the little concrete cubicles that housed dogs of all shapes and sizes, each one looked up at us with a longing in their eyes that said, “Hey pick me, I’ll be loyal!” Or, “Hey pick me, I will love you forever! I promise!”

What were their stories and why were they there?

Were they too old? Too fat?

Too crazy or too sick?

Or just too much?

Why would a family, give them away as if they never mattered? And how was it okay that they are relegated to leave their safe beds at home only to now sit in a cold concrete cubicle?  How would they ever trust again?

I soon realized as I walked throughout the complex that I was filled with emotions. Perhaps, I had felt a kind of kinship to them. I knew what it felt like to expire your usage to someone you once trusted your life with. I too was discarded by a husband who no longer needed me. He literally said that to me.

So now the impetus of getting a dog had changed. Their plights resonated with me and I wanted to save them all. How would they ever trust again? I understood the looks in their eyes. I too asked, “How will I ever trust again?”

Whether you have experienced a tough divorce or an amicable one, it doesn’t really matter. Your trust has been shaken to its core and it can be tough to find your way back.

When Is It Time To Trust Again?

Starting the journey on the road to trust

How do I trust myself .and my choices? That is the first thing I said to myself when I started to think about dating again. I had obviously chosen very badly to have spent so many years with a man that never really wanted what I wanted. It wasn’t until we were all in and married for a few years that I started to see this.

He said all the right things and outwardly did all the right things. But inside I doubt that he wanted any part of it and I don’t think he ever wanted to be married to me. I honestly do not understand why he did. My gosh, I was young, cute and a new college graduate and I had plenty of options out there.

But for some reason, he couldn’t tell me. All along he just fooled himself and made me believe his lie. He had no intention of giving up his dating life and who better to marry than a stable, sweet girl who comes from a solid family and has a good soul. Oh, and did I mention, was kind of naive too?

The best way to cheat on your spouse is to marry someone who is naive. When he cheated on me the first time and my son was 2 years old, I forgave him and felt virtuous in saving my family. When he cheated on me the second time when our second child was only 4 weeks old, I felt like the Village Idiot. So onward I go to find the road back to trust.

The first man I dated was wonderful. He was tall and handsome and was a family man. He had four kids of his own and I saw every day what an amazing father he was. But he too was broken. He didn’t want his divorce either and so two broken people were attracted to each other with a common denominator that wasn’t solid. So, as the relationship started and stopped and started again over a period of 5 years, we both realized that as much as we cared for each other we were not, “the one”.

It was nice to be treated well in the start periods, but it didn’t feel so good in the stop periods. We were both veiled in insecurities that were planted and cultivated by our ex-spouses. When the day came that we finally parted our ways, we both had grown up in our divorced status and in that growth, we grew apart as well. He ended up marrying someone quite different than me, so I guess that confirmed my belief that we were not a good fit. He was a man for that time that it took me to a new knowing of myself. And I am grateful for that experience.

So, how do I trust another man?

The second man I dated, was also tall and handsome. He was fun too. But he too had stuff that needed to get worked out. We are all such broken toys after divorce, but this one had been through divorce twice already. I don’t know how anyone does it more than once.

For me, once was quite enough. He was sweet but had loads of insecurities that manifested itself in always needing to be validated by women. For example, he took me to a Christmas party. As soon as I walked in with him, he made a hasty left and next thing I know he is in the middle of a harem of women. He loved their adulation and it was a turn off to me  I tend to be more intellectual, so I sought out the people who wanted to talk to me.

That was the ebb and flow of our relationship for a while. I kept stepping away and he kept drawing me back in. The reason I got drawn back in was because outside of his womanizing insecurities, he really was fun, he was romantic, and we would get into these deep conversations about life and it sort of fed my need for intellectual stimulation too. The experience brought me to the next step on my path and still a deeper connection to what I was looking for. But alas, he was not. “the one” either.

Third time is the charm?

The next man I dated was far more mature than both men put together. He was a smart C Suite Executive who had reached a place in his life that he wanted to feel joy which he said he hadn’t felt in forever. He was married for about 20 years and his sons were both finishing college. He was a class act. He knew he needed to step away from his marriage because he was not happy, but he didn’t do it with cruelty.

He supported his wife and sons and never made them move out of their home. He never asked her to pay for their tuition. He never treated her with disrespect and have his sons watch that from afar only to have that be part of their blueprints. No, he was a man of dignity, intelligence, and integrity. But he too was not, “the one”. It wasn’t that I thought we couldn’t make a go of it. I think we could have at some point. But he was too new into his separation and was not even officially divorced.

I had time to test the waters. He hadn’t, and I knew he needed to do this for himself. If we were going to ever be together it would have to be after he had the chance to sew his wild oats. But he wasn’t going to do it on my watch!

So, now I venture on to my quest to meet someone who I feel I can trust. I realize that the first person I need to trust though, is myself. I know that I am not willing to give up my integrity and self-worth to any man again. I also know that it’s time to let go of the fear and take a chance on someone.

He may be a bit broken too by virtue of the journey he has experienced and that’s okay. I have become reacquainted with my former self before marriage. I was cheerful and confident. I didn’t rage on worries year after year. I looked at life from a positive…anything is possible set of eyes. All of which were lost in my marriage. I see it now.

I may not be the new college graduate any longer, but the woman I am today has been shaped by the sum of all the experiences of the past. I am still the woman who deserves to trust and to be trusted.

I am still the woman who wants to have joy in her life and longs to share it with someone that is easy to be with and who can also challenge me.

And I am still the woman; naive as I still may be, accepts herself, flaws and all and deserves to be loved 100%! There are no rules for timing. It must happen when your own stars align. For me, it has taken many years to be ready. I may have dated, but in that time, I never really invited anyone into my life and into my family. I was too exhausted raising a family alone to really give it all of me.

And these men I dated didn’t jump up and down with their hands raised, telling me they were committed to me and ultimately to my children too. Because if you date me, you date the whole package. Maybe by not letting them all the way in, it precluded them from fully committing. I am okay with my decisions though. I was not ready. I am now.  As the Nora Ephron line goes in, “When Harry Met Sally”…..”Somewhere out there is the man you are supposed to marry. And if you don’t get him first, somebody else will. And you’ll have to spend the rest of your life knowing that somebody else is married to your husband.”

So when the time is right, take the leap of faith and flex your trust muscles again and go for it!

The post When Is It Time To Trust Again? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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6 Handy Tips to Help Deal with Holiday Parenting Time

6 Handy Tips to Help Deal with Holiday Parenting Time

For some divorced or separated parents, holiday parenting time may be a difficult time of year as their children may spend more time with the other parent and less time with them.

The post 6 Handy Tips to Help Deal with Holiday Parenting Time appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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Just in Time For Summer: The Freeze-Out Merger, A Legal Option Available to SOME Majority Owners of Privately-Held Texas Companies

Originally published by Winstead.

By Zack Callarman and Mark Johnson

Our previous posts have stressed the critical importance of buy-sell agreements for both majority owners and minority investors in private companies (Read here). For majority owners, securing a buy-sell agreement avoids the potential of becoming “stuck” in business with a difficult co-owner without the ability to force a buyout of this minority investor’s ownership stake. For at least some majority owners of private Texas companies, however, another option exists. This option is commonly known as a “freeze-out,” “cash out” or “squeeze-out” merger.

What is a Freeze-Out/Squeeze-Out Merger?

A freeze-out/squeeze-out merger is a merger of two or more business entities that results in one or more of the equity holders of one of the pre-merger entities being cashed out as a result of the merger (i.e., not allowed to own equity in the post-merger surviving company).

Mergers are governed by state corporate law, and most states have several similar, but separate, merger statutes for corporations, LLC’s and other forms of business entities recognized under state law that govern mergers of those entities under various different circumstances. In that regard, it is worth noting that a “freeze-out/squeeze-out” merger is not a distinct type of merger governed by its own separate statute, but rather is a “characterization” given to a merger reflective of the purpose behind the merger, irrespective of the specific merger statute under which the merger is effectuated.

The Requisite Authorization and Approval for a Freeze-Out/Squeeze-Out Merger

Under state corporate law, mergers typically must be authorized and approved by both the equity holders and the directors of each of the entities participating in the merger. In the case of corporations, that means that typically both the directors and the shareholders must authorize and approve the merger, whereas in the case of LLC’s that means that typically the members and the managers must authorize and approve the merger. The actual level of that approval (i.e., unanimous consent vs. 2/3rds consent vs. majority consent) is governed by the applicable state merger statute together with the operative provisions of the entity’s organizational documents. By way of example, under Texas law, unless the entity’s governing documents provide otherwise, (i) the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the outstanding voting shares is required to authorize and approve a merger of a corporation, and (ii) the affirmative vote of the holders of at least a majority of the outstanding voting membership interests is required to authorize and approve a merger of an LLC.

So, the gating question for any individual or group wanting to possibly effectuate a freeze-out/squeeze-out merger is: Do you have the requisite vote under applicable law and under the entity’s governing documents to authorize and approve the merger?

The Fair Market Value Presumption
It is important to remember that while a freeze-out/squeeze-out merger may well enable the “majority” to force one or more minority holders out of the company, a freeze-out/squeeze-out merger does not entitle the majority to steal, or cheat the minority holders out of, their equity interests. The minority members who are being frozen or squeezed out should receive fair value for their interests. Otherwise, the majority proponents of the freeze-out/squeeze-out merger will likely be vulnerable to claims by the minority interest holders for oppression, breach of fiduciary duties, etc.

In the case of corporations, the “fair market value” presumption is governed by statute. In many (but not all) mergers involving corporations, under state corporate law, the effected shareholders, including any minority shareholders who will be frozen or squeezed out as a result of the merger, have statutory “dissenter’s rights” or “appraisal rights”. In short, a shareholder with “dissenter’s rights” or “appraisal rights” who objects to the amount that he is going to receive in exchange for his equity interests as a result of the merger is entitled to go to court and appeal the valuation. The court then has the power to revise the amount that the shareholder will receive based on its determination of fair market value.

Curiously, LLC statutes do not typically include dissenter’s rights provisions. However, given (i) the well–established fair market value presumption that exists in the context of corporate mergers, together with (ii) the strong “fiduciary duties” overlay that exists under statutory and common law with respect to the duties and obligations of members of LLC’s with respect to their fellow members, prudence dictates that the majority proponents of a freeze-out/squeeze-out merger make every effort to honor the fair market value presumption in any freeze-out/squeeze-out merger they effectuate.

Logistics of a Freeze-Out/Squeeze-Out Merger
So, assuming that the majority proponents of a freeze-out/squeeze-out merger have the requisite vote under applicable law and under the entity’s governing documents to authorize and approve the merger, how do they do it? The answer to that question will again depend in part on the form of the entities involved, the governing corporate statutes, and the organizational documents of the entities involved, but with those qualifications, the answer is pretty simple: The majority proponents form a new entity with whatever ownership and capital structure they desire, and then they merge the existing entity (i.e., the entity in which the soon-to-be frozen or squeezed out equity holders hold an interest) into the new entity. Under the terms of the merger agreement, among other things, the new entity will be the surviving entity, and the equity interests of the frozen or squeezed out minority interest holders will be redeemed for cash in an amount equal to the fair market value of the redeemed equity interests.

Conclusion

The freeze-out merger is a legal avenue that may not be widely known by majority owners of private companies, but it is used with some regularity in Texas and is rarely disallowed by the governance documents of most companies. There should be a note of caution for majority owners in deploying this technique, however, because if dissenter’s rights apply and are exercised by the minority investors in response, the freeze-out merger may result in a time-consuming and a costly appraisal process.

Zack Callarman (Associate) and Mark Johnson (Shareholder) are members of Winstead’s Corporate, Securities/Mergers & Acquisitions Practice Group.

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



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