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When to Consider Modifying Your Child Custody Order

A child custody order explains the custody arrangement for your children and is often created during a divorce or legal separation. If your order no longer works for you and your family, you can request a child custody modification in court.

When Should You Consider Modifying Your Child Custody Order?

Here are common reasons why a parent may seek to modify an existing custody order.

  • A parent is relocating: If you or your ex-spouse decides to relocate to a distant location, the court will consider changing the custody order. 
  • A child is in immediate danger: If abuse is suspected in the current household, the court will consider a modification.
  • A parent’s work schedule changes: If either spouse’s work schedule changes, a modification may be required to ensure a child can attend school and other activities.
  • A parent’s health changes: If a parent receives a diagnosis requiring medical attention, the order may need to be modified to ensure a child’s life isn’t interrupted due to medical care.

Other reasons for modifications may include the death of a parent, custody order violations, remarriage and a parent’s inability to provide childcare.

The court may not consider changing a child custody order if it appears to work. After all, they’re most concerned about what’s in the best interests of your children. If a modification will disrupt your child’s life, the court will want solid reasons why it’s a must.

When to Consider Modifying Your Child Custody Order | Schneider Law Firm, P.C. | iStock-598689282
817-755-1852 – Change is inevitable. You may need to consider modifying your child custody order if it’s in your child’s best interests. To learn more, visit us today.

The Child Custody Modification Process

If you believe you have a solid reason for modification, you must file a petition or motion to modify child custody in court. Once filed, the other parent will receive notice of the motion. The case will then reopen and follow a similar process as the original case. If you can prove your case for modification, you and your ex-spouse will receive a new custody order reflecting the changes.

We recommend reaching out to an attorney who can help you determine your options and how to best proceed.

Reach Out to Schneider Law Firm in Ft. Worth Today

Do you believe you need a child custody order modification? If so, we’re here to help. To learn more about custody modifications, call our Ft. Worth office today at 817-755-1852 or send us a message.

How Divorce Will Affect Your Stimulus Payment

In April, the US Treasury Department and IRS began distributing economic impact payments (stimulus payments) to families across the country due to COVID-19. Married couples should expect $2,400 if their adjusted gross income (AGI) is $150,000 or less. Individuals can expect $1,200 if their AGI is $75,000 or less.

But what happens to your stimulus payments when you’re going through a divorce? Will you still be able to receive some financial assistance?

Were You Married During the 2018 Tax Filing?

If you haven’t yet filed your 2019 taxes (due to the extension), your stimulus payment will be based on your 2018 taxes. If you were married and filed jointly on your 2018 taxes, your stimulus payment will include $1,200 for both you and your spouse, regardless of your current divorce proceedings. You’ll also receive $500 for each child you and your spouse claim as a dependent.

The stimulus payment will be sent to your bank account used for your 2018 taxes if you chose direct deposit. If not, you’ll receive a check in the mail at the address used in your filing, even if it’s the previous marriage home.

Becoming Separated After the 2018 Tax Filing

If you became separated after the 2018 tax filing, you must file your 2019 taxes as quickly as possible. It’s important to notify the IRS of your updated status, so you may receive your payment. If you’ve already filed your 2019 taxes and are now separated, you’ll need to work with your ex-spouse to divide the stimulus payment between you.

What If I’m Unable to Work With My Ex-Spouse to Receive My Payment?

If you and your spouse are unable to work together to divide the payment, you have the option to seek a court order to divide the funds. We recommend reaching out to an experienced divorce attorney who can help you decide the best step to take next.

Questions About Your Stimulus Payment? Reach Out to Us.

We understand that times are tough right now. The stimulus payment is meant to bring you some relief. If you’re concerned about your ability to obtain the amount entitled to you, let us help. To learn more about how we can help, give our Arlington office a call at 817-799-7125 or send us a message.

The Consequences of Not Defending a Protective Order

During a divorce or child custody case, false allegations of violence are often made, resulting in a protective order. A restraining order turns your case into a criminal matter that requires proper defense. Without defense, there are far-reaching consequences that may go even further than damaging your case.

The Effects of a Protective Order on Your Case

A protective order or restraining order is a court order used to protect a party from further harm from another party. For example, it’s often used to prevent further violence, abuse or harassment. If you are served with a protective order, you must defend yourself to avoid the court finding you:

  • Unfit to share joint custody of your children
  • Unable to be trusted with unsupervised visitation with your children
  • At fault for the end of your marriage, resulting in your spouse receiving a larger share of community property or spousal support from you

You Must Secure Protective Order Defense

It is the court’s responsibility to decide what’s in the best interests of your children with the facts given. You must secure protective order defense to protect yourself. In some cases, it’s possible to discover the victim of an order of protection is actually the perpetrator. Yet, it takes someone experienced to dig deeper and gather evidence in your favor.

We recommend reaching out to an experienced divorce and defense attorney who can guide you through this trying time.

The Consequences of Not Defending a Protective Order | Schneider Law Firm, P.C. | iStock-478317522
817-799-7125 – Have you received a protective order during your divorce? You need experienced defense to avoid the consequences. To learn more, visit us today.

What if the Allegations Are True?

If violence or abuse of any kind has occurred, there’s a defense available for that as well. You can seek help for your past mistakes. Before a case can be made in your favor, you’ll need to take some additional steps such as seeking therapy or anger management. An attorney can help you decide what next steps you should take to help you and your case.

Protective Order? Reach Out to the Attorneys at Schneider Law.

Have you received a protective order during a divorce? It’s possible to find help. Our attorneys have experience in both criminal defense and family law, ensuring you receive the guidance you need. To learn more about protective orders, call our Arlington office at 817-799-7125 or send us a message.

Legal Tools for Fighting Domestic Violence in Texas

If you’re in a relationship and your partner makes you feel unsafe–through physical abuse, emotional abuse, gaslighting you, isolating you from friends and family or in any other way–the lawyers at the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., are determined to protect you.

Our attorneys help survivors of domestic violence by using the legal tools that Texas courts make available. We can help you understand what these tools are and take steps to use them efficiently, protecting you and your family.

Protective Orders

One of the tools available is the petition for a protective order (which people also call a “restraining order”). In cases of family violence, we can file a request for a protective order on your behalf to protect you or your children, as well as your pets. Protective orders are an option for many people, including a victim who is related to the offender, living with the offender, or has a child with the offender.

There are several types of protective orders:

  • Temporary restraining orders: These can be granted by the court very quickly and remain in place for 14 days. 
  • Permanent protective orders: If you feel you need a longer protective order, you can ask a judge for a permanent order for protection, which lasts two years. To do this, you and your attorney will need to attend a second hearing.
  • Sexual assault protective orders (SAPOs): These can last from two years to a lifetime. They require the perpetrator to say 200 yards away from where you live, work or go to school.

Safety Planning

Domestic violence experts recommend that you have a safety plan in place. A safety plan is a practical plan for staying safe while you are in a relationship, while you are leaving that relationship or after you have left. Many people can be part of your safety plan, including your friends and family, coworkers and boss.

It’s important to have a safety plan in place because, in times of stress, adrenaline can keep you from thinking clearly. If you have rehearsed different scenarios, you’ll be more likely to think clearly and follow the plan you practiced.

Need Domestic Violence Help?

If you think you might need help escaping domestic violence, talk confidentially with one of our lawyers. At the Ft. Worth office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., our attorneys can answer your questions about the legal protections available to you, guide you through the legal system and help you achieve the best possible results. Call 817-755-1852 or send us a message to talk with us about your situation.

How Divorce Will Affect Your Stimulus Payment

In April, the US Treasury Department and IRS began distributing economic impact payments (stimulus payments) to families across the country due to COVID-19. Married couples should expect $2,400 if their adjusted gross income (AGI) is $150,000 or less. Individuals can expect $1,200 if their AGI is $75,000 or less.

But what happens to your stimulus payments when you’re going through a divorce? Will you still be able to receive some financial assistance?

Were You Married During the 2018 Tax Filing?

If you haven’t yet filed your 2019 taxes (due to the extension), your stimulus payment will be based on your 2018 taxes. If you were married and filed jointly on your 2018 taxes, your stimulus payment will include $1,200 for both you and your spouse, regardless of your current divorce proceedings. You’ll also receive $500 for each child you and your spouse claim as a dependent.

The stimulus payment will be sent to your bank account used for your 2018 taxes if you chose direct deposit. If not, you’ll receive a check in the mail at the address used in your filing, even if it’s the previous marriage home.

How Divorce Will Affect Your Stimulus Payment | Schneider Law Firm, P.C. | iStock-1218907252
817-799-7125 – Will your divorce affect your stimulus payment? It’s possible. To learn more about your stimulus payment, visit us today.

Becoming Separated After the 2018 Tax Filing

If you became separated after the 2018 tax filing, you must file your 2019 taxes as quickly as possible. It’s important to notify the IRS of your updated status, so you may receive your payment. If you’ve already filed your 2019 taxes and are now separated, you’ll need to work with your ex-spouse to divide the stimulus payment between you.

What If I’m Unable to Work With My Ex-Spouse to Receive My Payment?

If you and your spouse are unable to work together to divide the payment, you have the option to seek a court order to divide the funds. We recommend reaching out to an experienced divorce attorney who can help you decide the best step to take next.

Questions About Your Stimulus Payment? Reach Out to Us.

We understand that times are tough right now. The stimulus payment is meant to bring you some relief. If you’re concerned about your ability to obtain the amount entitled to you, let us help. To learn more about how we can help, give our Arlington office a call at 817-799-7125 or send us a message.

Child Custody Agreements and Summer Vacation Planning

Summer is the perfect time for a family vacation. Yet, as a divorced parent, how do you plan the perfect summer vacay around your child custody agreement? Here are a few necessary steps you should take.

First Things First: Check Your Custody Agreement

Before you start planning, check your child custody agreement. Do both you and your ex-spouse have specific dates each year for vacations? Or, do you have unspecified vacation time to use any time throughout the year? Understanding your agreement will help you decide how to move forward.

If you have unspecified vacations, give your ex-spouse at least a few weeks’ notice before your vacation. If there are scheduling conflicts, it’s best to work them out in advance.

Communicate With Your Ex-Spouse

For all vacations, make sure you communicate specifics with your ex-spouse. You’ll want clear ground rules in place to ensure the safety of your children. 

Some questions you and your ex-spouse should discuss include:

  • Are you able to leave the state or the country? 
  • Do you need to provide a travel itinerary to your ex-spouse?
  • Are there certain activities your child shouldn’t take part in?
  • What should be done in case of an emergency?
  • Will the other spouse receive additional days with the child to make up for the vacation?

Once you have this initial discussion, it’s best to create a plan to use for next time you decide to take a trip. Your family law attorney can help you modify your child custody agreement to include these specifics.

Remember to Be Reasonable

It’s best to be open and reasonable with your ex-spouse when vacation planning. Try your best to not schedule vacations during important events such as holidays, especially if it’s your spouse’s time with the children. Remember to keep your child’s best interests in mind at all times.

Call Schneider Law Firm, P.C. for Custody Help

Are you struggling with balancing a child custody agreement with vacation planning? Our team of family law attorneys can help. To learn more about child custody or to speak with an attorney, give our Ft. Worth law firm a call at 817-755-1852 or send us a message.

3 Things You Should Know About Social Media Before, During and After Your Divorce

In 2019, social media is just as popular as ever. Studies show that social media has 3.397 billion active users worldwide. That’s more than 42 percent of the world’s population. With such significant usage, it’s no wonder that social media has impacted the way courts handle divorce. In fact, polls show that 81 percent of divorce attorneys now consider social networking evidence worth presenting in court.

1. What You Do on Social Media Can Be Used Against You in Court

Remember that your spouse can use what you do and say on social media against you in divorce or custody proceedings – whether or not they can currently see it. The law allows spouses to request social media records as evidence of many things, including:

  • Your income and spending habits
  • Proof of where you were at specific times
  • Violations of restraining orders
  • The company you keep
  • Your communications with your ex
  • Your state of mind

So, complaining about your spouse on Facebook isn’t a good idea – even if you set the filters so they can’t see your profile. And avoid bragging about big purchases, trips and job promotions. Those things can lead to disputes over property and spending. In fact, it may be a good idea to take a break from social media in general when going through the divorce process.

Social Media in a Divorce | Schneider Law Firm, P.C. | iStock-1169192820
817-755-1852 – Based in Ft. Worth, the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., can help with a full range of divorce issues, including the use of social media as evidence.

2. Destroying Evidence or Playing Tricks Can Get You In Big Trouble

As damaging as social media posts can be, destroying them can be worse. Texas courts place harsh consequences on parties who intentionally destroy evidence. If the court finds that you have intentionally destroyed text messages, chat sessions or social media posts, you may be in more trouble than if you had just left the messages alone.

Likewise, it’s also not a good idea to try to “trick” or “bait” your ex through social media communications, text messages or posts. The plan could backfire and have a negative impact on your case. Instead, tell your lawyer if you believe that your spouse is not being truthful.

3. Get Legal Help as Soon as Possible

If you think that a divorce may be in your future, it’s a good idea to talk with an attorney sooner rather than later. The meeting is private and confidential, so your spouse will not know that you contacted counsel. In getting an early start, you can begin making plans ahead of time, including how to protect yourself financially, preserve your relationship with your children and move forward with your life.

You can also have time to adjust your social media habits accordingly before you’re in the middle of a heated divorce. Consider all of your posts as if you were viewing them through the eyes of the court. That way, you won’t be left at a disadvantage because things you have posted in the past can be used against you.

Questions About Social Media? Ask a Lawyer.

If you have questions about social media in divorce, get started by scheduling a confidential consultation with a lawyer at the Ft. Worth office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C. Call 817-755-1852.

Sources:

https://www.natlawreview.com/article/family-law-social-media-evidence-divorce-cases

https://www.brandwatch.com/blog/amazing-social-media-statistics-and-facts/

How Will a Global Pandemic Affect Divorce Rates?

As many Americans face lockdowns with their spouses–and more quarreling in already tense relationships–they find themselves wondering if divorce is looming on the horizon. How do significant historical events affect the divorce rate? And what does this mean for us?

Divorce and 9/11

Sometimes, when things are uncertain, couples seek comfort with the familiar. One notable example is 9/11. Immediately after the terrorist attacks in New York City, the divorce rate dropped by 32%. The rate dropped in New York and the surrounding area, as well as in other large cities, like Los Angeles.

A similar divorce rate drop happened after the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995. Couples simply chose to stay together rather than separate during a difficult time. However, the divorce decrease may not have lasted that long. While couples chose to stay together immediately following the event, the divorce rate eventually increased in the long term.

Divorce and the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

One study of military families found an increase in the divorce rate for soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11. The divorce rate directly correlated to the amount of time the military spouse was deployed in a war zone. 

Couples that experienced deployment to war zones were 28% more likely to divorce within three years of marriage, compared with couples that experienced similar deployment in more peaceful times before 9/11.

The 2013 RAND Corporation study found that, after deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan, couples faced the increased stress of being apart, as well as the stresses that can come when a military spouse returns to civilian life–like PTSD.

Divorce and Natural Disasters

Stress of all types can have an impact on the divorce rate. Studies have generally found that the stress of natural disasters drives couples apart. After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, for example, the divorce rate notoriously spiked. Divorce rates also increased after Hurricane Hugo, Hurricane Andrew and Hurricane Sandy.

Divorce and COVID-19

The New York Times recently reported that, in China, where the novel coronavirus forced hundreds of millions of people into lockdown, the number of divorce applications surged in at least two Chinese provinces when restrictions were lifted.

So, how will coronavirus affect the divorce rate globally? Only time will tell. The global pandemic is unprecedented. While there have been other pandemics, this one comes at a unique time in American history where divorce is more accepted than earlier in history.

Reach Out to Our Team for Divorce Help

At the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., we understand the major stresses that COVID-19 and the things that come with it–like social isolation and job loss–can put on a marriage. If you would like to seek legal counsel, our attorneys can help you achieve the best possible outcome. For a confidential consultation, call our Arlington office at 817-755-1852 or send us a message.

Sources: 

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/27/world/coronavirus-lockdown-relationships.html

https://www.rand.org/news/press/2013/09/03.html

https://slate.com/technology/2012/11/sandy-birth-divorce-and-marriage-rates-how-disasters-influence-families-and-relationships.html

Can I Still Contact an Attorney During Uncertain Times?

It probably comes as no surprise that COVID-19 has slowed or stopped many important activities in Texas and across the globe. The Texas courts are no exception. Courts have slowed across the state, and jury trials are on hold. 

You should know, however, that stay home orders do not include many essential services. And “workers supporting the operations of the judicial system” are an essential service. Judges, clerks and court staff are all working–they’re just working in ways that help protect them and others from potential exposure to the coronavirus.

So, if you have an essential legal matter that needs to be taken care of, courts will be able to act–even in such uncertain times. You should not hesitate to contact an attorney for the help you need. This is especially true for matters like:

  • Child protection
  • CPS hearings, like removals, status reviews and permanency review hearings
  • Domestic abuse/family violence, including temporary restraining orders (TROs)
  • Adoptions
  • Child support bond releases
  • Protection of someone you love when their health or safety is at risk

Video Conferences Through Zoom

Courts are adapting to what may be our “new normal” for some time. For example, many essential hearings are taking place as video conferences. Texas courts have access to new remote proceedings capability through Zoom, and the court system says that some proceedings can be conducted remotely through this technology.

If you’ve never done a Zoom conference before, you’ll likely become familiar soon. The number of Zoom users has increased significantly. If you do appear at a video conference, your lawyer will walk you through how it works to help ensure things go smoothly.

Estate Planning and COVID-19

It’s also a good time to talk with an attorney about your estate planning documents. Having an estate plan in place can give you peace of mind, even during uncertain times. Your lawyer can draft a will, power of attorney, health care directive and other important documents.

These documents will help make sure your wishes are followed in the event of serious illness. They can give your loved ones the tools necessary to manage your affairs and to make important decisions about your healthcare and finances.

Questions About Family Court? Contact an Attorney.

If you need legal help protecting your interests or the interests of a loved one during uncertain times, call the Arlington office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-799-7125 or send us a message. Our Texas divorce lawyers are here to support you and your family. 

Sources:https://www.txcourts.gov/media/coronavirus-covid-19-court-operation-guidance/

Special Considerations in a Military Divorce

Divorce is a trying time for many, especially those within the United States Armed Forces. Although the divorce process doesn’t change for service members, there are some unique challenges involved.

Special Considerations in a Military Divorce

Every divorce case is different. This is most evident in military divorces. Some of the special considerations that arise during a military divorce include:

  • Child support calculations: If a parent is deployed overseas, tax issues may arise that directly impact the calculation of child support payments.
  • Child custody and deployment: Creating a solid and efficient child custody plan becomes challenging when one parent is deployed. 
  • Modifications due to changing circumstances: In the military, change is inevitable. Child custody, alimony, or child support modifications may be required to accommodate new changes such as deployments or relocations.

Another difference lies in your retirement benefits. State and federal laws allow both spouses to access military retirement benefits due to divorce. According to the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act, a court can award up to 50% of a service member’s retirement pay to an ex-spouse. 

Of course, the division depends on many factors such as the length of active-duty service. This protection complicates property division in a military divorce.

Special Considerations in a Military Divorce | iStock-1208349126

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and Divorce

When one or both spouses are currently deployed, divorce can become a bit tricky or may need to be postponed. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act protects all active-duty service members while on active duty. The act prevents service members from being taken to court for civil proceedings such as divorce and child support hearings. 

The protection begins on the date of entering active duty and ends within 30 to 90 days after discharge. 

Call the Military Divorce Attorneys at Schneider Law Firm

As you can see, you must enter a military divorce with care. We recommend reaching out to an experienced military divorce attorney who can guide you through the process. Allow us to support you along the way. To learn more about military divorce or to discuss your case, call our Ft. Worth office at 817-755-1852 or send us a message.