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Category Archives: Divorce

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.

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.

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.

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/

Who Keeps the Pet in a Texas Divorce?

The relationship you have with your pet is like nothing else. Pets can be man’s (or woman’s!) best friend, a constant companion and a source of comfort – especially during a difficult time. So, it’s no wonder that we often see divorces in which spouses’ greatest source of conflict is deciding who will keep a beloved family dog or cat. If you’re worried that your divorce may affect your relationship with your pet, here’s what you should know.

Texas Law on Pets in Divorce

Currently, Texas law treats family pets the same way it treats property. Courts seek to divide the property equally, deciding who gets the pet the way they would decide who gets any other asset – without regard to a spouse’s personal connection with the pet or where the pet would be happier.

Essentially, the current law treats a beloved family pet the same way it would any other personal property, like a lamp or a desk. In theory, a court could order that a pet be sold and the profits be divided equally between the two spouses.

Courts have explained this decision in the context of resources: Courtrooms are already full of people who are involved in heated child custody disputes or child custody modifications. Courts have said they simply don’t have the resources to hear pet custody cases, too.

Who Keeps the Pet in a Texas Divorce? | Schneider Law Firm, P.C. | iStock-1137961063
817-755-1852 – Based in Ft. Worth, the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., can help you in a divorce involving a beloved pet. We understand just how much a pet can mean, and we work to protect your rights.

The Law Might Be Changing…

Legal experts think that the law may change in the future. In fact, it already has changed in states like Alabama, Vermont, Alaska and California, and a change in the law seems likely in New York. These states have taken first steps to considering “puppy custody” by taking the best interests of a dog into account when determining which spouse the dog should live with.

Legal experts explain the change by taking into account the pet’s significance: Why should the law prevent spouses from dividing time with a pet? After all, the courts already let spouses work through extensive conflict related to inanimate objects. For many people, family pets are much, much more significant than any object.

How to Protect Your “Pet Custody” During a Divorce

So, how can you protect your relationship with your pet during a Texas divorce? If your relationship with your pet is important, mention it to your lawyer right away. Knowing that it is critical, your attorney can strategically work to protect your relationship with the pet during the divorce process. Often, it is possible for your attorney to negotiate with your spouse’s attorney so that the dog or cat lives with you after the divorce.

To get started protecting your relationship with your pet, call the Arlington office of Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-755-1852.

Sources:

https://www.law.com/texaslawyer/2019/02/25/the-best-interest-of-the-dog-a-beloved-pet-is-mere-property-in-a-divorce-but-maybe-not-for-long/

https://www.americanbar.org/groups/gpsolo/publications/gpsolo_ereport/2018/april-2018/pet-custody-who-keeps-pet-when-couples-divorce/

When a Child Custody Order Is Confusing

We sometimes hear from parents who are confused and upset by the court orders they received from Texas courts. For example, a child custody order might say different things on different pages, or it might be written in a way that doesn’t make sense or that’s too vague to follow.

The court order makes child custody and visitation a challenge, and it can cause disagreements between the parents. Sometimes, one parent accuses the other of not following the order when that parent was just following a different part of the order. Not following the order is called “being in contempt.” It’s a serious problem that can get you into deep trouble in Texas courts.

A Motion to Clarify

If your child custody order doesn’t make sense to you or the other parent, or if it’s causing conflict in your custody arrangement, there are actions you can take. Texas law allows parents and their attorneys to file something called a “motion to clarify.” The motion asks a court to clarify an order if the court finds that the order is not specific enough and that one parent could be held in contempt if the order was clarified.

Your lawyer can help you seek a motion to clarify before the court finds that one parent is in contempt, as part of a contempt proceeding, or after a denial of a motion for contempt.

When a Child Custody Order is Confusing | Schneider Law Firm, P.C. | iStock-1090431444

817-799-7125 – Texas law allows parents to file a motion for clarification when a child custody order is unclear, and a parent may be acting in contempt for not following it. Get help from an attorney at the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., in Arlington. 

What a Motion to Clarify Doesn’t Do

When the court grants the motion to clarify, it simply rules to change the order to be less confusing. There are things that a motion to clarify does not do, including:

  • Substantively change the order: A change in a court order is called a “child custody modification.” If you would like the order changed so that the terms of the arrangement are different, seeking a modification is probably a better fit for you. Talk with your attorney.
  • Apply retroactively to hold a parent in contempt: The order only applies going forward, so you can’t ask the court to clarify the order, and then immediately hold the other parent accountable for not following it in the past.

Get a Lawyer’s Help for Confusing Child Custody Orders

When a child custody order is confusing, it’s best to get legal help. Following only your interpretation of the order can lead to trouble. And if the other parent isn’t following the order because of confusion, get legal help too. Your attorney can protect your interests and your relationship with your child.  Start by calling the Arlington office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-799-7125.

Sources:

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.157.htm

https://texaslawhelp.org/article/clarifying-visitation-orders-answers-common-questions#toc-2

Business Valuation in Divorce: How it Works

In a divorce, property division can be complex. When a family business is involved, it can be especially complicated. Here’s what you should know.

Background: Property Division During Texas Divorces

Texas is a community property state, which means that property acquired by both spouses during a marriage is divided 50/50 during a divorce. The property acquired during the marriage is called “community property,” and other property is called “separate property.” Separate property includes things like property acquired before the marriage, property received as a gift by only one spouse and property inherited by only one spouse. 

Businesses are divided according to these property division rules. If a business was started during the marriage by both spouses, a Texas court would be likely to consider it community property. But what if it was started by one spouse before the marriage, and then grown by both spouses working together? A Texas court might decide that part of the business was separate property and part was community property.

And what about the value of the business itself? How much is 50/50? Businesses are valued based on their fair market values – the amount that would be paid in cash by a willing buyer who would like to buy the business, but wasn’t forced, to a willing seller who would like to sell, but wasn’t forced.

It’s common for the spouses to disagree about the value of the business. The spouse who operates the business and plans to keep it after the divorce typically wants the valuation to be low. At the same time, the other spouse typically wants the business valued at a greater amount so they will receive a greater portion of the assets.

How Are Businesses Valued in a Texas Divorce? | Schneider Law Firm | iStock-863940274
817-799-7125 – Located in Arlington, the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., handles Texas divorce proceedings involving complex assets, like businesses. Find out how to protect your interests in business valuation.

The Role of Experts in Business Valuation

Spouses and their lawyers typically turn to experts to assist in business valuation. These experts are usually certified public accountants (CPAs) who are accredited in business valuation. Sometimes one spouse hires a CPA. Other times, both sides hire their own experts to conduct independent valuations as part of the divorce process.

How the Value of a Business Is Determined

There is no one right way to value a business, and different CPAs may use different methods to arrive at different numbers. Different methods for business valuation include:

  • The asset approach: This approach calculates the value of the business by finding the value of the business’s assets after liabilities have been subtracted. 
  • The market approach: This approach compares the business to other, similar businesses in similar markets.
  • The income approach: This approach looks at economic data to project the future income the business will generate. CPAs then convert that number into a present-day value.

No matter which method he or she chooses, a CPA has to review a significant amount of information in order to value a business. The financial records are critical, and business valuation often takes time and resources.

In Business Valuation, Have the Right Legal Team 

If your divorce involves business valuation, your lawyer can work with a well-regarded CPA to properly value the business and make sure your rights are protected.  Start by calling the Arlington office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-799-7125.

Sources: 

https://www.law.com/texaslawyer/2019/03/20/business-valuations-in-divorce/

Do I Need a Lawyer to Help Me With My Texas Divorce?

Do I need a lawyer for my Texas divorce? It’s a common question. Sometimes, to save money, people will see what they can do to go through a divorce without a lawyer. There are resources available to help you do it, and there is no law that requires people to have a divorce attorney.

Still, the court holds individuals to the same high standards that it holds lawyers. If you handle your own divorce case, Texas family courts will expect you to know which documents to file, how the process works, and the rules of court. 

Getting a Divorce Decree Without a Lawyer

Further, your divorce decree will be just as binding if you do not have a lawyer (unless there are unusual circumstances). That means that you will be held to child support orders, property division decisions and parenting plans ordered by the court. This could be good news – representing yourself can be very effective.

However, it can also be very bad news. What if you aren’t fully aware of the best ways to protect your rights in a divorce? What if you’re missing critical details? You could be agreeing to an unfavorable outcome that a good attorney would have protected you from.

Remember, your divorce is one of the most significant life events you may experience. It should take priority. In the same way that you wouldn’t handle your own surgery after only doing internet research, you shouldn’t handle your own legal affairs without experienced help.

Do I Need a Lawyer for My Texas Divorce? | Schneider Law Firm, P.C. | iStock-1053768310
817-755-1852 – No law requires people to have a divorce attorney in Texas, but having one is a very good idea. Talking with a lawyer at Schneider Law Firm, P.C., can help you get started.

That’s why it is extremely important to talk with a lawyer, especially if any of the following things are true:

  • You are a victim of domestic violence and are afraid for your safety
  • You have a disability or have a child with a disability
  • Your spouse already has a lawyer
  • You have a lot of debt or important property, like a home, retirement accounts or a business
  • You need spousal maintenance/alimony
  • You think it’s likely that your spouse may not be acting fairly

Having an Attorney Means You Don’t Have to Do It Alone

Walking into a Texas courtroom by yourself can be one of the most intimidating things you ever do. If you have a lawyer by your side, you don’t have to go alone. When you walk into the room and see the judge, your ex and maybe even your ex’s lawyer, you’ll know that you have someone experienced and knowledgeable by your side. You’ll have someone to tell your side of the story and to forcefully advocate for the best possible outcome.

Thinking You May Need a Lawyer?

If you think you might need a divorce attorney, it’s worth it to schedule a consultation. At the Ft. Worth office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., our attorneys can answer your questions about divorce, guide you through the process and help you achieve the best possible results. Call 817-755-1852 to talk with us about your situation.

Being a Good Parent, Even When You Can’t Always Be With Your Child

According to a 2019 research study, only about 60% of kids in the United States live with their married, biological parents. The rest live in many different situations—commonly residing with one biological parent with visitation from the second biological parent after a divorce. With this happening so frequently, it’s no wonder that many parents wonder how they can continue being good parents to their children, even when they can’t always be with them. Here are some tips.

Always Show Up When You Say You Will

Keeping your child’s trust is much, much easier than re-establishing if after you’ve lost it. So, it is critical to your relationship with your child that you don’t promise things you can’t deliver, and that you always show up when you say you will.

Of course, this is harder than it sounds. Modern-day parenting is complex, and most parents juggle heavy workloads and many competing responsibilities. But your children should always come first. Block off your visitation time on your calendar and make sure other people in your life understand that visitation time always take priority.

How to Be a Good Parent | Schneider Law Firm, P.C.
817-755-1852 – After a divorce, there are actions you can take to stay connected with your child. Here are some tips from the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., in Arlington, TX.

Make Visitation Time a Special Time to Focus on Your Child 

During your visitation time, make sure your child is your primary focus. Set aside time to do something with your child, like making an art project, going to the park or just playing video games together. It’s easy to get caught up in using parenting time to take children to and from activities but try to resist it: quality time is important.

If possible, make a special place in your home for your child—like your child’s bedroom that you decorate together. If that’s not possible, make sure your child has his or her own bed, toy bins and artwork on display. No matter what, make sure your child feels welcome in your home.

Find Ways to Stay Connected

Even if you can’t see your child every day, finding ways to stay connected can keep you feeling close. Set aside time to call your child or to send texts regularly. Add your child’s special events to your calendar so you will be sure to remember, even if you’re not there. Sometimes a silly GIF and a heartfelt “hope you had a great day” can go a long way toward making your kid smile.

Contact Us for Help With Legal Issues That Affect Your Kids

At the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., we understand just how important your relationship with your kids can be, and we work hard to protect it. If a legal issue affects your kids, our attorneys can help you take action and achieve the best possible outcome. For a confidential consultation, call our Arlington office at 817-799-7125.

Sources:

The Effects of Divorce on Children

In the past, we’ve written about how child development is affected when Texas couples divorce. A study, which included 8,000 people, found that divorce can have a substantial impact on a child’s ability to form relationships later in life. But, how does divorce affect children during childhood? And what can parents do to minimize the impact?

Research Shows the Biggest Impact Is in the First Few Years

While some children may feel a lifelong impact from their parents’ divorce, research shows that most children feel the biggest impact in the first year or two after a divorce. A study published in the journal Family Law Quarterly concluded that children commonly feel stress, anxiety, anger and other strong feelings immediately after the divorce. But, most of the time, they are naturally resilient and bounce back quickly.

Effects of Divorce Are Different at Different Ages and Stages

Not all divorces affect children in the same ways. All families are different, but children can be impacted differently depending on their developmental stages. For example:

  • Very young children may struggle to understand why the divorce is happening or why their home lives are different.
  • School-age children may blame themselves for the divorce or spend time wondering if things could be their fault.
  • Tweens and teens may become angry, blaming one parent or resenting necessary lifestyle changes. Research has also associated divorce and adolescent adjustment problems, like getting bad grades in school or disruptive behaviors.

The way you address these impacts also depends on your child’s developmental stage. No matter what, it’s important to pay attention to how your child is affected and to take steps to work through matters with them. If you are looking for warning signs—like anxiety or anger—you’ll be better prepared to help minimize the impact of your divorce on your children.

The Effects of Divorce on Children | Schneider Law Firm, P.C.
817-799-7125 – Research shows that most children feel the biggest impact in the first year or two after a divorce, and the effects of divorce are different at different ages and stages.

How to Minimize the Impact of a Divorce on Your Children

There are many ways to minimize the impact of a divorce on your children. One of the most important is to avoid putting your child in the middle of family conflict. That means not talking badly about your ex to your children, not forcing children to choose between parents, and avoiding oversharing of sensitive or emotional information.

You can also try to help keep as many routines as possible in place. Continue attending events you always attended with your children and stick to family routines. Of course, things will be different, but comfort and consistency can help support your child through the challenging first year after a divorce.

Divorcing With Kids? Contact an Attorney.

If you need legal help protecting the best interests of your children during your Texas divorce, call the Arlington office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-799-7125. Our Texas divorce lawyers are here to support you and your family.

Sources: