< November 2013 Archives | McKinney Texas Family Law Blog

November 2013 Archives

New To Child Custody? This is For You

When going through a divorce, one of the first concerns of any parent is what will happen to my kids? Child Custody can be the most challenging aspect of a divorce and if you are going through this, you'll find these 5 top concerns beneficial. 1. Can I get primary custody of my kids?  Sure, if you are the better choice for your kids.  At divorce is the only time when the custody playing field is level, where there are no legal presumptions favoring either party.  Once a court order is entered making you or your spouse the primary parent, the primary parent has an advantage going forward, based on the presumption that the original order was correct and in the best interest of the children. 2. Can the custody provisions in the divorce decree be changed later? Yes, the court will have jurisdiction over your kids until they reach age 18 or graduate from high school.  All orders pertaining to them can be modified as necessary as time goes by. That includes conservatorship, possession, and child support. The party wanting to modify the order has the burden of proving there has been a material and substantial change in circumstances warranting a modification and that a new order will be in the best interest of the children.  3. If I have the children half the time will I still have to pay child support? Unless  you are designated the primary parent, most likely you will.  If you and your spouse have worked out a possession schedule which is truly 50-50, and have a plan for equitably paying the children's expenses, then it is possible no child support will be ordered paid by either party. It is also possible to have child support paid by the higher earning parent, based only on the difference between the parents' incomes.  That would result in a much lower amount to be paid by the higher earning spouse. 4. Who gets to take the federal tax exemptions for the children? That is a matter of federal law, so the Texas judge has no power to allocate the tax exemptions.  As a practical matter, the parent with the primary conservator designation has the default claim on the exemption, although the parent directly paying more than one-half the child's expenses may be able to thereby prove his or her right to the exemption.  In addition, the parties can make a written agreement allocating the exemptions, which the IRS will honor. At Puhl and Berbarie, in most cases we usually advise against doing that, since there is no way to modify the agreement should circumstances change, except by agreement of both parents which would be hard to get at that point. 5. What is the standard possession order?  An expanded standard possession order? These orders allocate to the non-primary parent certain periods of time when he or she has an enforceable right to possession of the children and allocates the rest of the time to the primary parent. Parents can always agree on any periods of possession if they want to change the schedule, but where there is no agreement, a specific order protects each party's rights to possession of the children on the stated days. The non-primary parent has the right to elect to operate under the expanded standard possession order, which gives that parent more time with the children.

Michael Puhl To Speak at TCA's Annual Professional Growth Conference

DALLAS (November 19, 2013) -Michael Puhl, family law attorney, will participate as a conference speaker at the 2013 Texas Counselors Association Annual Professional Growth Conference to be held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, San Antonio, Texas on November 20 through 23, 2013. Mental health providers from throughout the State of Texas are expected to attend.  Michael will be joined by Christy Bradshaw Schmidt MA, LPC on November 21, 2013 to assist counselors survive and thrive in the courtroom. The goal of the program is to educate and provide general professional knowledge to counselors about the many legal implications of their professional therapeutic relationship with clients and to assist them in their role as expert and non-expert witnesses at trial.  Professionals will be instructed on how to prepare for court and other hearings as well is to understand and avoid dual professional roles in the courtroom. The program is designed to help the professional to understand the trial process and their role in legal proceedings.  On the following day Mr. Puhl will participate as a member of a panel of professional and regulatory board officials to address rules changes affecting the profession as well as trends in the field of couples and family therapy. Michael is the Chairman of the Texas Board of Examiners for Marriage and Family Therapists and principal of the McKinney, Texas law firm of Puhl and Berbarie.

Divorce and Its Most Frequently Asked Questions

When it comes to divorce, it's normal to have all sorts of questions when dealing with emotional, financial, or other types of stress and in our experience we tend to come across the same question more than once. We put together our most frequently asked questions to share with anyone who is contemplating the idea of divorce.  It's our job to provide as much information as possible as we are committed to fight for our clients' best interests. We'd love to hear your feedback! 1. How much will it cost me to get divorced?  This is the one question everyone wants and needs to have answered, but the fact is there is never any way to answer it at the outset of a case, except, "It depends."  It depends on how angry you and your spouse are.  It depends on how much each of you know about your assets and liabilities.  The less each of you needs to vent and wants to fight, and the more each of you knows about your property, the less it will cost.  It depends on whether you anticipate a custody battle, or whether you and your spouse can work out reasonable agreements about your children.  It depends on the lawyer your spouse hires.  In many instances, the more competent your spouse's lawyer, the less the case will cost.  At Puhl and Berbarie we are very cost conscious and guard your money as carefully as we possibly can. All of our family law attorneys are Board Certified, and we customarily allocate tasks to the person who can competently complete the work at the lowest cost to you.

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