I am proud to once again have received an AV Preeminent 5 Star Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell. This is the highest possible rating for in both legal ability and ethical standards reflecting the confidential opinions of the members of the Bar and Judiciary. This is the 18th consecutive year that I have been the recipient of this recognition. WHAT ARE MARTINDALE-HUBBELL® PEER REVIEW RATINGS™? The Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ are an objective indicator of a lawyer's high ethical standards and professional ability. Attorneys receive a Peer Review Ratings™ based on evaluations by other members of the bar and the judiciary in the United States and Canada. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ surveys lawyers across the continent, in similar areas of practice as the lawyer being rated. Reviewers are asked to assess their colleagues' general ethical standards and legal ability in a specific area of practice. The Ratings Explanation Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ reflect a combination of achieving a very high general ethical standards rating and a legal ability numerical rating. A threshold number of responses is required to achieve a rating. Legal Ability ratings are based on performance in five key areas, rated on a scale of one to five (with one being the lowest and five being the highest). These areas are: legal knowledge, judgment, communication ability, and legal experience. My opponent in the runoff election for judge of the 416th District Court has received no legal ability rating. When making your decision in the runoff vote for legal ability; vote for Michael Puhl.
I am frequently asked while campaigning for election to the 416th District Court, "What type of cases does the District Court hear?" and "Why is the court important to me?" The fact is that this is a serious court, considering the most serious of trial cases in Texas. Jurisdiction of District Courts in Texas District courts are the primary trial courts in Texas. The 416th District Court is a court of general jurisdiction. District courts generally have the following jurisdiction: original jurisdiction in all criminal cases of the grade of felony and misdemeanors involving official misconduct; cases of divorce, child custody and other domestic relations matters; suits for title to land or enforcement of liens on land; contested elections; suits for slander or defamation; and suits on behalf of the State for penalties, forfeitures and escheat. The district courts also have original jurisdiction in all civil matters involving over $200,000. In addition, district courts have the power to issue writs of habeas corpus, mandamus, injunctions, certiorari, sequestration, attachment, garnishment, and all writs necessary to enforce their jurisdiction. Serious decisions call for a judge with extensive experience, competence, a solid reputation and even temperament. I would appreciate your vote in the runoff election on May 24, 2016. -Michael Puhl Republican for Judge-416th District Court
Child Adoption in Texas
Adopting a child can change many lives for the better. It can be an intimating process to start as child adoption laws in Texas are complicated. Although sometimes tedious, the outcome is well worth all the paperwork. If you are ready to make a commitment to meet the physical, social, and emotional needs of a child, adoption is a great way to grow your family. There are some basic requirements to becoming an adoptive parent in Texas. The law does not care if you are single or married but you must show proof of marriage or divorce. In Texas, you must be 21, financially stable, and a mature adult. You must be willing to share background and lifestyle information. You must agree to a home study and visit from a licensed Texas social worker who will meet with you and all current household members. Everyone in the household must take part in a background check as well as an abuse and neglect check. Next, you need to make the decision if you want to use an adoption agency, proceed with a private adoption, or adopt through the foster care system. An adoption agency will help you identify a birth mother and child, match you with a child, assist in the placement of a child, and assist in the ending of parental rights and the finalization of the adoption. In a private adoption, a facilitator is often used. A facilitator is a person, who coordinates an adoption by matching a birth mother with possible adoptive parents. Adopting through the foster care system is the third way to adopt a child. In this case, Texas Child Protective Services place children into homes with foster parents that are approved to be potential adoptive parents. In many cases, these foster parents can become the adoptive parents. Foster care adoption is usually the least expensive way to adopt a child. There are three different types of child adoption. A domestic adoption is when both you and the child that you wish to adopt reside in the United States. If you both are in the same state, for example, Texas, that would constitute an intrastate adoption. For a Texas intrastate adoption, you must meet the legal requirements of only Texas. If the child you are adopting is coming from another state to Texas that is called an interstate adoption. You must meet the legal requirements of at least two states (where the child is coming from and from Texas) as well as the requirements of the Interstate Compact Act. An international adoption is when you adopt a child from another country other than where you reside. An international adoption would be subject to the laws of Texas, regulations of both the US and foreign government and the requirements of the Hague Convention. Needless to say, this process may take a little longer. The next question that comes up in your journey towards adoption is whether you want an open or closed adoption. The status quo used to be that most people had a closed adoption, but that has recently changed. In a closed adoption, birth parents and adopting family do not exchange any information that identifies them including last name, social security number, addresses, etc. The records and original birth certificate are sealed. An open adoption means that the birth mother and father, and adopting parent(s) exchange identifying information. A child will know more about their background. If they chose, the family and birth mother can be in contact with one another. How much of a relationship exists is up to both sides. It could be sending pictures once a year to celebrating birthdays together. There are many questions that arise during the Texas child adoption process. At Puhl Law Group, P.C we know adoption laws and can consult with you before, during or after you begin the process to adopt a child and expand your family.
Why is electing a Board Certified attorney as your next 416th district court judge important to you?
There are more than 90,000 attorneys licensed to practice in Texas. Only about 800 are Board Certified in family law. That equates to less than 1% of all attorneys practicing in Texas. Board Certification is a mark of excellence and a distinguishing accomplishment. Within the Texas legal community, Board Certification means an attorney has substantial, relevant experience in a select field of law as well as demonstrated, and tested, special competence in that area of law. Board Certified lawyers earn the right to publicly represent themselves as a specialist in a select area of the law. In fact, they are the only attorneys allowed by the State Bar of Texas to do so. This designation sets them apart as being an attorney with the highest, public commitment to excellence in their area of law. The process is voluntary and can only take place after an attorney has been in practice for five years, with a minimum of three years experience in the specialty area. Moreover, Board Certification is not a one-time event. It requires an ongoing involvement in the specialty area which is periodically substantiated with references from peers in that field. It also requires annual professional refreshment through Texas Board of Legal Specialization approved, continuing legal education course work to stay abreast of current trends in law. Few Texas attorneys have answered the challenge laid down 41 years ago by the Supreme Court of Texas and the State Bar of Texas to "...serve the public interest and advance the standards of the legal profession." On May 24, 2016 you have a choice to make in the runoff election to select the next judge of the 416th District Court of Collin County. Michael Puhl is Board Certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Vote for experience and proven competence.