The Wright Firm, LLP Family

Dallas Family Law Attorneys

Dating Violence -Focus on Domestic Violence Part 1

Posted on | March 26, 2013 | No Comments

iStock_000009024892SmallDomestic violence has been in the spotlight in Dallas recently. Mayor Mike Rawlings held Dallas Men Against Abuse rally on March 23, 2013. The event brought many famous faces out in support of tougher laws, regulations and protections for victims of domestic violence. A write up of the rally can be found here: http://www.wfaa.com/news/local/dallas/domestic-violence-rally-199685311.html.

We have all had that boyfriend or girlfriend our family and friends just didn’t like. You spent all of your time with that person, you magically had the same interests, and you generally thought him or her was amazing. Family and friends saw it as controlling, isolated, and wondered where your brain had walked off to. At some point those rose colored glasses shattered and you were left wondering what you ever saw in that person. While it can seem like a rite of passage to have one of those dating relationships, some dating relationships can turn violent.

Under the Texas Family Code §71.0021, dating violence is an act that is “intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the victim in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault or sexual assault.” So then, what is a dating relationship according to the Texas Family Code? Again, §71.0021 says, “A relationship between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.” There are three factors that will also be considered in determining if a dating relationship exists: the length of the relationship, the nature of the relationship and frequency and type of interaction between the persons.

In Dallas County if you are in a dating relationship that has turned violent or abusive there are ways to protect yourself. First and foremost, ensure you have a safe place to live away from the person causing the violence or abuse. Second, contact the police and seek medical attention if necessary. A record of the abuse and violence is important. Police and/or doctors will document the event(s), take photos of any injuries and take a statement from you. Third, get a Protective Order from the Dallas County Courts.

A Protective Order is a civil (non-criminal) mechanism that is filed with the courts. The courts issue the orders to prevent continued family or dating violence and/or abuse. A temporary ex parte order is a protective order that goes into effect immediately.

The temporary ex parte order application must include a detailed description of the facts and circumstances concerning the alleged violence and the need for an immediate protective order.  A court will issue the temporary ex parte order if there is a clear and present danger of violence. Also, depending on the circumstances, the court may prohibit the alleged perpetrator from returning to a shared residence with the victim.

The temporary order is valid for a maximum of 20 days, although it can be extended in additional 20 day increments. The extensions must be requested on time in order for the temporary protective order to hold.

Are you or someone you know in a dating relationship that is violent or abusive? There are ways to protect yourself and we at The Wright Firm are here to help! The Wright Firm – Dallas Family Law Attorneys can help you navigate the legal process to safety. Give us a call at (972) 353-4600 or check us out on the web at thewrightlawyers.com

Kardashi-divorce?

Posted on | February 11, 2013 | No Comments

iStock_000018756454XSmall (1)While Kim Kardashian (as well as the public at large) begs to get the currently pending divorce between herself and Kris Humphries over with as soon as possible, Humphries has other ideas.  Humphries has recently filed legal paperwork opposing Ms. K’s request for an immediate trial date.  Humphries cites a lack of cooperation by the Kardashian camp in the discovery process as well as concern that Kim will attempt to use her allegedly unplanned pregnancy (with another man’s baby) to “gain a litigation advantage”.

The celebs’ legal struggles bring to mind two very important points in Family Law:

1.            What happens in a divorce if the wife is or becomes pregnant while the case is going on?

2.            What is this “discovery process” my lawyer keeps mentioning?

To answer the first question, under Texas law if a woman is pregnant or becomes pregnant while a divorce case is going on, the divorce cannot be finalized until the baby is born.  So, if they were getting divorced here in Texas, Kim and Kris would have to wait, even if they are sure the baby is Kanye’s.

To answer the second question, “Discovery” is the system by which one party and his attorney get their hands on documents and information from the other party and her attorney. Or vice versa.  There are several different ways of going about getting that information.  There is written discovery which includes:

  1. Requests for admissions – written statements that the other part must either admit or deny under oath;
  2. Request for disclosure – a specific set of questions that ask for basic information about the case, such as names of parties, potential witness, experts, etc.;
  3. Interrogatories – up to 25 written questions that the party himself or herself must answer under oath; and
  4. Request for production – written demands that the other party produce documents, videos, photos, bank statements, phone records, and so on.

Depositions are another form of discovery.  A deposition is similar to when a witness testifies on the stand in court; however it takes place prior to trial and outside the courtroom.  The witness is still sworn-in under oath, and the testimony is recorded by a court reporter.  This is apparently Kris Humphries’s area of concern.  His legal team states that he wants to be present for Kim’s deposition, but his basketball schedule will not allow him the time to do so for several more months.

Have more questions about Texas Family Law?  Have your own reality-show level of divorce drama?  Give The Wright Firm a call!  We’re here to help you.  Call us at (972) 353-4600 or check us out on the web at www.thewrightlawyers.com  and set up an in-office consultation appointment with one of our Family Law attorneys today!

E! Online article here: http://www.eonline.com/news/385411/kim-kardashian-divorce-kris-humphries-opposes-speedy-trial-says-kim-can-t-use-pregnancy-to-gain-advantage?cmpid=rss-000000-rssfeed-365-topstories&utm_source=eonline&utm_medium=rssfeeds&utm_campaign=rss_topstories

Dallas Family Law Attorney: Year-Round School and Your Custody Order

Posted on | January 16, 2012 | No Comments

Dallas Family Law Attorney: Year-Round School and Your Custody Order

This week WFAA reported that Dallas Independent School District is considering moving away from the traditional Fall through Spring school year in favor of a more “year-round” schedule.  The schedule would extend the school year into July, and include 20 additional class days.  It is hoped that a year-round school calendar will increase student performance.

But what will this do to parents who have to abide by a court-ordered visitation schedule?  Whether you have a Standard Possession Order (which comes from Texas Family Code §153.3101 – .317) or something more customized, odds are your visitation order makes a set schedule for Summer Vacation visits – and it was likely made with the idea that the kids would have a “normal” 10 – 12 week Summer Break from school.   If your children suddenly only get a 4 week break, you and your ex may have a scheduling nightmare.

First, try to work out an agreement with your ex.  You can vary from your visitation order by mutual agreement between both parents.  If that doesn’t work – and especially if you are the parent who would get “short-changed” by the shorter summer break – contact a family law attorney.  You may need to file for what is called a Modification of your possession schedule.  The Court would look at the changed circumstances that have arisen with the children’s new school schedule to try to come up with a new, more workable schedule that is in the children’s best interest.

Do you have questions or concerns about your Child Custody or Visitation Orders?  The Wright Firm is here to help!  Give us a call at (972) 353-4600 or check us out on the web at www.thewrightlawyers.com.

Original article from WFAA can be found here:  http://www.wfaa.com/news/local/DISD-considers-year-round-school-137010338.html

 

Dallas Divorce: Changing Counties!

Posted on | October 5, 2011 | No Comments

Dallas Divorce: Changing Counties!

When a final order is entered on child custody and child support issues (either as part of a Divorce or a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship), the court that entered that order will have continuing exclusive jurisdiction of the case.  This means that any later lawsuit that you file to modify your court order will need to be filed in that same court.  Not a problem if you and your child still live in the same county where the original order was made.  But what if you and/or your child have moved to a different county?

Under Texas Family Code Section 155.201, the court with continuing exclusive jurisdiction of a child custody case MUST transfer that case to another Texas court if:

1)      A divorce between the parents of the child has been filed in that other court.  The Suit Affecting the Parent Child Relationship has to be heard in the same court as the divorce.

2)      The child the subject of the suit has lived for at least 6 months in a different county from the county that issued the original order.

Under Texas Family Code Section 155.202, your custody case MAY be transferred:

1)      If the child the subject of the suit has lived for less than 6 months in a different county from the county that issued the original order; or

2)      For the convenience of the parties and witnesses.

Have more questions about where to file your case or how to get it transferred?  The Wright Firm is here to help!  Give us a call at (972) 353-4600 or check us out on the web at www.thewrightlawyers.com.

Dallas Divorce Attorney: Can I File for Divorce if I am in Bankruptcy?

Posted on | September 30, 2011 | No Comments

Dallas Divorce Attorney: Can I File for Divorce if I am in Bankruptcy?

When you file for Bankruptcy, the filing of the bankruptcy case stops just about all activities and is referred to the automatic stay.  However, in Section 362(b)(2)of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, the Bankruptcy Code provides that the automatic stay does not apply to any of the following family law situations:

A)    of the commencement or continuation of a civil action or proceeding—

i.       for establishment of paternity;

ii.       for the establishment or modification of an order for domestic support obligations;

iii.        concerning child custody or visitation;

iv.       for the dissolution of a marriage, except to the to the extent that such proceeding seeks to determine the division of property that is property of the estate; or

v.       regarding domestic violence.

 

B)    of the collection of a domestic support obligation from property that is not property of the estate;

C)    with respect to the withholding of income that is property of the estate or property of the debtor for payment of a domestic support obligation under a judicial or administrative order or a statue.  11 U.S.C § 362 (b)(2).

 

So, you can file for divorce except to the to the extent that such proceeding seeks to determine the division of property that is property of the estate.   You can ask the bankruptcy court to lift the automatic stay in order to proceed with the property division.  The decision to proceed with the property division is left to the decision of the Bankruptcy court.

 

 

The Wright Firm, L.L.P. is a law firm representing clients in North Texas in bankruptcy, family law, immigration, criminal law, probate, and in tax matters.  For more information on our firm, please contact The Wright Firm, L.L.P., at 972-353-4600 or visit our websites at www.thewrightlawyers.com or www.northtexas-bankruptcy.com.

 

Dallas Divorce Attorney: Annulment v. Divorce?

Posted on | September 26, 2011 | No Comments

Dallas Divorce Attorney: Annulment v. Divorce?

What’s the difference between an annulment and a divorce?  Here are a few key differences:

  1. Is the marriage valid to begin with?  An annulment is based on conditions existing BEFORE or AT THE TIME OF the wedding that prevent the marriage from being valid, whereas a divorce is based on problems AFTER the wedding that make the spouses want to end a valid marriage.  For example, if one spouse is underage on the wedding day – this is a ground for annulment.  If a spouse is caught cheating a week after the wedding – the marriage is valid, but the spouses want to end it.
  2. Grounds.  There is no such thing as a “no-fault” annulment.  A divorce can be granted on no-fault grounds without proof of specific misconduct.  However, an annulment can only be granted if one of 7 very specific grounds is plead and proven.  You have to show the court WHY the marriage is not valid to get an annulment.
  3. When to file?  You can file a divorce at any time during the marriage.  If you are filing for an annulment you must be very careful of the timing of filing.  Certain grounds of annulment require the case to be filed within 30 days, 90 days or one year of the date of marriage.  However if you are requesting an annulment based on mental incapacity, you can actually file the case AFTER the incapacitated spouse dies, as long as not more than one year has passed!
  4. Cooling-off period.  There is a 60-day “cooling-off” period from the date you file your divorce before you can complete it.  There is no such cooling-off period for annulments.

If you are considering filing for a divorce or an annulment, The Wright Firm is here to help!  Give us a call at (972) 353-4600 or check us out on the web at www.thewrightlawyers.com.

Dallas Divorce Lawyer: Can an illegal immigrant get a divorce in Texas?

Posted on | August 20, 2011 | No Comments

Dallas Divorce Lawyer: Texas laws allow parties to get divorced even thought they are in the country illegally. Under the laws of the State of Texas you must be a Texas resident for six months and a county resident for 90 days to file for a divorce. The Texas Family Code does not distinguish between “legal” and “illegal” residents. Many individuals avoid the Family Courts because they believe the court will report them to the Immigration Service; however, the court will not inquire as to immigration status and will not alert the government of your immigration status. So you are safe from deportation and can still get a divorce in Texas. For more information contact The Wright Firm, L.L.P. at 972-353-4600 (phones answered 24 hours a day) or visit our website at www.thewrightlawyers.com.

 

 

¿Puede un inmigrante ilegal conseguir un divorcio en Texas?

 

Las leyes de Texas permiten que personas obtengan el divorcio apesar de ser ilegal. Bajo las leyes del estado de Texas usted debe ser un residente de Texas por seis meses y un residente del condado por 90 días para archivar un divorcio. El código de la familia de Texas no distingue entre “los residentes legales” y “ilegales”. Muchos individuos evitan las cortes de la familia porque creen que la corte los reportaran al servicio de la inmigración; sin embargo, la corte no investigará y no alertará el gobierno de su estado de la inmigración. Para más información contacte The Wright, L.L.P. en 972-353-4600 (los teléfonos contestados 24 horas al día) o visite nuestros web site en www.thewrightlawyers.com.

Do I really need a lawyer for my Dallas County Divorce case?

Posted on | August 12, 2011 | No Comments

Dallas Divorce Attorney: I was checking the stats for the first half of the 2011 year for Denton County Family law cases and discovered that approximately 1494 cases were filed pro se.  Pro Se is where one represents himself or herself without the aid of legal counsel.  Now, this is not to say that you cannot represent yourself because surely you can.  And this is not to say that every case needs a Board Certified Super-Lawyer.  I would have to imagine that given the choice of having a lawyer or not  that most people would employ an attorney if they had the funds to hire one.   The truth is that some cases are not contested and don’t need a trial lawyer.  However, even in these cases, you still need to draft the appropriate documents and follow the applicable law.  There are some low cost alternatives to paying a lawyer by the hour if you have everything agreed.   Our firm offers a cheap divorce alternative.

Here are some of the choices:

Option 1 / Drafting Only, No Children – $500.00 Includes:

  • Drafting the Original Petition, Waiver of Citation and Final Decree
  • Detailed how-to instructions to take you from Filing to Final Hearing
  • Does not include the filing fee

 

Option 2/ Drafting Only, Case Involves Children – $750.00 Includes:

  • Drafting the Original Petition, Waiver of Citation, Final Decree and Employer’s Withholding Order
  • Detailed how-to instructions to take you from Filing to Final Hearing
  • Does not include the filing fee

If you would like an attorney involved in your case, we offer those options as well.

For more information on uncontested and contested family law and divorce cases in Dallas County, Texas contact The Wright Firm at 972-353-4600 or visit our website at www.thewrightlawyers.com.

 

Dallas Divorce Attorney: Wacky Marriage Laws

Posted on | August 7, 2011 | No Comments

Clients complain to me all the time about how strange Dallas Family Law is.  Well, to all of those critics, I say take a look at the following weird marriage laws from other U.S. States:

  1. Montana is the only state in America where BOTH the bride and the groom can use a “proxy” to stand in for them if they cannot be present at their own wedding.  (Okay, to be fair – Texas does permit ONE prospective spouse to appear by proxy.  See Texas Family Code Section 2.203)
  2. For a few months, Arkansas law permitted ANYONE under 18 (even infants) to marry if they had parental consent.  The state legislators forgot to put in an age minimum! This goof was corrected in April 2008, and we will assume all toddler marriages have since been annulled.
  3. I double-dare you to divorce me!  In Delaware an official legal ground for annulment is that you got married “because of a jest or dare.”
  4. In Kentucky it is illegal to marry the same person 4 times.  You can get married to and divorced from different people, however, as many times as you want.
  5. Massachusetts has a 2 unusual marriage laws to its credit:
    1. A married couple may not sleep in the nude in a rented room (what pervy innkeeper keeps an eye on this?); and
    2. In Truro, MA – A groom-to-be must prove his manliness by hunting and killing either 6 blackbirds or 3 crows.  Nothing more manly than a bird hunter!
    3. In South Carolina, it is a misdemeanor for a man over the age of 16 to propose marriage and not “mean it.”  But, I suppose if someone dared the guy to propose, he could always run to Delaware for an annulment…
    4. In Wichita, Kansas, a woman cannot use her husband’s mistreatment of her mother as a ground for divorce.  Good news for guys who hate their mother-in-law.
    5. Keep those lips to yourself!  In Hartford, Connecticut, it is illegal for married couples to kiss on Sunday.
    6. In New Orleans, Louisiana, it is against the law for a palm reader, fortune teller, or other “mystic” to perform a wedding ceremony.  Are they afraid the medium is going to tip off the couple about their future marital problems?

Have questions about our (much more normal!) Texas laws on marriage and divorce?  Give The Wright Firm a call at (972) 353-4600 or check us out on the web at www.thewrightlawyers.com!

Original MSN story can be found here: http://glo.msn.com/relationships/10-obscure-marriage-laws-5450.gallery?gt1=49006

Dallas Family Law: Defeating the Dallas Deadbeat!

Posted on | July 8, 2011 | No Comments

Dallas Family Law: Your divorce is final.  You got custody of the kids, and your ex was ordered by a judge to pay child support.  But now – it’s a few months later and he/she hasn’t paid you a dime!  How do you make the Dallas deadbeat pay?

The Texas Family Code has a whole chapter on this!  You should file what is called a Motion for Enforcement.  This will be filed under the same case number as your Dallas divorce or custody case.  Your Motion will need to specify a few things:

  1. WHAT part of your divorce decree or custody order that your ex is violating.
  2. HOW your ex is violating the order (i.e. by not paying).
  3. WHAT relief you are asking the Court to grant you.
  4. EACH date that a payment was due, how much was paid on each date ($0.00 may be the answer), and what the total unpaid amount is.

You should also attach a copy of the official payment record maintained by the Office of the Attorney General.  In some counties, this is available at the District Clerk’s office.  If not, check the Attorney General’s website at https://childsupport.oag.state.tx.us/wps/portal/csi.

The enforcement process is similar in nature to a criminal trial, because the deadbeat parent can potentially be jailed for violating a Court’s order.  A parent found to be in contempt of court for violating a child support order may be fined, jailed, ordered to pay past due as well as current child support, and even ordered to pay YOUR attorney fees for having to go to the expense of suing to enforce the Court’s order.

If you want help filing a Motion for Enforcement of a child support order, the Dallas Family Law Attorneys at The Wright Firm are here to help you!  Give us a call at (972) 353-4600, or check us out on the web at www.thewrightlawyers.com.

keep looking »