Prepare for Your Divorce

May
23

What Happens in a Texas Divorce ?

Divorce can be frustrating, confusing, and resentful. Divorce is never a pleasant experience even in the most amicable terms. It is important to know what you are in for when a divorce is filed. An original petition will be filed, and your spouse must be served with a process server.

After service of the original petition, the Petitioner may file for a Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”) to protect the child and marital estate. Once a TRO is granted by the District Judge, a temporary order hearing will be set within 14 days. This temporary order hearing is extremely important and will determine the direction of the case.

Temporary Order hearings are usually condensed to 20 minutes a side depending on the complexities of the case. Within this 20 minutes, you will have to put on evidence for your entire case regarding custody of the children, management of the marital estate, and any other considerations such as receivership of a business.

After the temporary orders hearing, the case will dive into full throttle litigation. Discovery on both sides is usually conducted including interrogatories, admissions, and production of documentations. The documents that are usually requested consists of bank statements, retirement pensions, social media pages, text messages, and emails. Each case requires specific Discovery requests that are narrowly tailored to the facts presented. Discovery can last months and usually follow with motions to compel and sanctions. In highly contested cases the rigors of discovery and compiling documentation can be brutal.

During the Discovery phase, Depositions may be warranted. Depositions consists of your attorney questioning your spouse and any other witnesses that are relevant to the case for impeachment purposes. Depositions are necessary if the case will go to a jury, because impeachment of your spouse is a necessity to prove your truthfulness.

Mediation is, more often than not, mandatory in Courts, but this is the general rule. Certain Courts in the Dallas, Fort Worth, and Collin county do not require mandatory mediation. Each Court has its own rules of procedure and requirements. If the Mediation fails to produce a settlement between you and your spouse, then the only thing left is trial.

Depending on the complexities of the case and assets, a trial can last half a day or be a three-day trial. Most trials are before the District Judge. Certain facts may give rise to a jury trial but a jury trial is more costly and can take up more time. After the trial is complete the parties will have to wait for a ruling. This can take days to months depending on the case and jurisdiction.

When the final ruling is given to all parties, the Judge will charge one party to create a final order that will be submitted to the Court. This can give rise to more litigation depending on the interpretation of the Judge’s rulings by both parties. Finally, when both parties agree to a final order or the Judge determines which version of the final order is proper, then the case will be over.

Divorce can be a painful process that lasts 6 months to three years depending on the circumstances and the nature of the parties involved. If you are about to file for a Divorce in the DFW metroplex call Nacol Law Firm so that you have an experienced family law attorney to represent your interests throughout the process.

Julian Nacol
Dallas Fathers Rights Divorce Attorney
Nacol Law Firm PC

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May
22

Texas Divorce and My Children : What Are My Fathers Rights?

It is 2018 and many fathers are facing a regrettable and inevitable DIVORCE! Either through Mom’s decision or Dad’s, it may be the end of a joint family life that includes both parents in one residence. No one is ever happy, but by doing some research and trying to make reasonable decisions, fathers will persevere and hopefully you will be able to maintain your loving relationship with your children and family.

Some things to remember:

  • Your children love you and just because you are no longer living with their mom, doesn’t change your love. You keep your opinions to yourself and not share all your adult thoughts with your children. YOU LOVE THEM AND ALWAYS WILL! NOTHING HAS CHANGED IN YOUR INTEREST OR LOVE FOR YOUR Children. Mom is no longer in your home and love with the children. She has her own relationship with the family now. 
  • You do have definite rights to your children. When the decision has been made to file for divorce, employ an experienced attorney to help guide you through this process.  Negative statements, even when true, ARE NOT HELPFUL! Uninformed opinions from your soon to be ex, concerning your rights with the children, are suspect, since you now are on opposing sides. A very knowledgeable Fathers Rights Attorney is up to date on all current issues in Fathers Rights domestic litigation and the courts, and this is who you should listen to for guidance. 
  • As the divorce proceeds and behaviors by the divorcing couple become hostile and estranged, just remember that self-control and acting rationally, without anger, will help in eliminating future ammunition to be used against you in the divorce and custody case. Self-control in your behavior and attitude will help you keep an upper hand in the Divorce proceeding and help the outcome. 
  • Finally, you are not the victim! Don’t lay down dead and let Mom run over you! There is life after the death of a marriage and you will learn that not only may your life be better, but your life with your children will be enhanced! The children will have watched you act like an adult and parent who loves them and wants the best for them, but also wants a good life with them in the after-divorce life.

Now the Divorce process has begun. Either you or your wife have “Lawyered Up” and the Legal Process has begun! Some very good advice to consider following at the beginning of a Divorce:

  1. Get your financial documents in order: Review our blog “Prepare for Your Divorceto start getting ready in the financial part of the divorce. Subject to the outstanding standing order of the court, be sure to protect all joint bank accounts and open new ones for your individual use. Also, if indicated and necessary, delete spouse from all your credit and charge cards.
  2. Depending on the age, meet with your children and discuss what is happening to your family. Make sure they know that your relationship with them will never change and you will always be their father and show this by loving actions and affections. Confirm that you are divorcing their Mother, not them. 
  3. Stay on your best behavior during this stressful time. Watch your consumption of alcohol intake and try to stay in good company. You need to show that you are not the aggressor. Never let Mom provoke you into a stressful situation where you may engage in a public spectacle with any form of emotional, physical or sexual abuse against Mom or others. The Judge or jury would not be impressed! 
  4. If you have not hired an attorney, now is the time to “lawyer up”. You need to find a competent attorney who has a good reputation dealing with fathers and their rights to their children. Look on legal websites and blogs to see if an attorney relates to your legal needs. Check on fathers’ rights blogs and see if an attorney has answered questions about a similar family situation as yours and has suggested good solutions to help resolve the issues.  Give this attorney a call and set up a consultation to see if he/she would be a fit for your legal need. 
  5. If life and divorce pressures are making you depressed, search out for help with supportive family or friends, clergy or professional counselors. Studies have concluded that Divorce is one of the most stressful events in an individual’s life. Get the support you need to be able to make wise decisions and to promote honest interaction with others during this most stressful time.

Like death, Divorce is one of life’s worst events. Know that this difficult time will someday be over, but also along this path there will be unknown surprises and events, that will test your honesty and dignity as a father and a parent. But in the end, you will make it and still be the father that you need to be to your children.

Stay Calm. This too shall pass….
Mark Nacol
Nacol Law Firm P.C.
Dallas Fathers Rights Attorney

By Nacol Law Firm | Prepare for Your Divorce
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May
13

Have You Been Hacked by Your Ex? Know Your Rights in Texas!

As technology continues to change our lives at a rapid pace, it’s easy to forget that so much of our most valuable and private information now hides in our computers, in our email accounts, phones, text messages iPads, and other devices. When you love someone, it may seem only natural and convenient to share your various passwords and account information or to leave your devices unprotected. However, when relationships become conflicted breakups, these security lapses can result in humiliating disasters with far-reaching consequences. As lawmakers try to keep up to help protect our information, it is more important than ever before to be aware of what is legal, what isn’t legal, and what steps you need to take in order to protect yourself from someone accessing your information for malicious purposes.

What are my online privacy rights?

Putting it bluntly, when you’re in a marriage or live-in relationship, you don’t have many. Texas did recently pass a bill (CSHB 896) to help define what a cyber-crime actually is, but it mostly doesn’t apply in this arena. Specifically, the law says a person commits an offense if they knowingly access a computer, network or system “with the intent to defraud or harm another or alter, damage, or delete property.” Although this language sounds reassuring, it is important to note that spouses are often given extraordinary leeway by courts with regards to what many would consider a reasonable invasion of privacy. In many instance, your spouse may still access anything in your computer, emails, or phone, and potentially even use that as evidence in any court proceedings. There are many examples of spouses aggressively attempting to do exactly that and successfully leveraging whatever they find to obtain custody, favorable settlements, or other advantages.

So what can I do?

If you are going through a divorce or break up,

  1. Immediately tell your spouse/ex that they DO NOT have permission to access any of your accounts, and document the message. You do have a right to privacy. If your spouse (Ex) continues to try to access your information, then they are potentially committing a criminal offense, and at the very least, any information they discover after written notice may not be admissible in court.
  2. CHANGE ALL OF YOUR PASSWORDS, and do it right away. Most of the popular online email services (Yahoo, Gmail, etc.) actually track your internet usage and display that information to anyone with your password who knows where to look. What about iCloud / Apple? If your spouse has your password, they can actually log in to iMessage from anywhere, see all of your past texts and read any texts that you receive in real time. Depending on your device settings, they may even be able to track your actual location. Change your passwords, and…
  3. If you can, enable two-step verification on all accounts which offer it. This extra step will guarantee that nobody can access your account without your knowledge and permission.

In short, there is still a lot of gray area as our legal system struggles to keep up with technology. The smartest thing you can do is make sure you protect your accounts, stay away from your spouse’s, and exercise caution in anything you do online or on your phone.

DETAIL
Sep
22

HELP! The Warning Signs of Divorce

When the warning signs of a fractured relationship with your spouse have been surfacing for quite a while, many people are still caught off guard when their spouse asks for “The Divorce”.  Although the husband may cause marriage problems, about 75% of divorces are initiated by the wife.  

Usually one spouse is in shock/denial and may want to truly try to salvage the marriage. At times a spouse will try to blame the other spouse of being a quitter for wanting to be legally released from an unacceptable marriage. Often the non-initiating spouse is at the point where it is a relief that “The Divorce” question has surfaced and will readily agree that divorce is the right option.

Marriage and family is not an easy proposition at times and sometimes it is easier to just say goodbye and return to single life. But if you truly love your spouse and family you should look at the warning signs and try to change the direction of the marriage.  Every relationship has its up and downs and needs new considerations at times. Take time to review your relationship and catch early warning signs that the marriage may be running off its tracks.  

What are some serious signs that you and your spouse could be headed for a DIVORCE?

  1. Spouse interaction is more negative than positive: Marriage researcher, Dr. John Gottman researched the negative/positive effect and found that stable marriages have 5:1 ratio of positivity to negativity during conflict. Whereas unstable marriages have .8:1 ratio of positivity to negativity during conflict (Gottman & Levenson 1999). The acceleration of verbal criticism, nagging, and sarcasm in a relationship can be a definite sign that there is trouble in the marriage.  
  2. Stonewalling when “you can’t break down the wall”: Stonewalling is a refusal to communicate or cooperate through body language or verbally shutting down when a situation with your spouse gets out of control and you don’t know how to handle the situation. This is very serious and may be the time to bring in a marriage counselor to help work through this problem.
  3. No Conflict Resolution: Marriage researcher, John Gottman, states that the lack of communication isn’t the marriage breaker but the lack of effective conflict resolution. This is a very serious problem when couples can’t reasonably work out their differences without causing injury to their relationship and finally quit communicating with each other to avoid more disagreement and conflict.
    Other times one spouse or both have reached the point where every conflict has become a situation that must be “won” by bullying the other spouse into submission. There must be a “winner” but with this win comes mutual loss of respect, increasing distance and eventual withdrawal from the relationship.
  4. Emotional and Physical Disengagement and Disaffection: When couples can’t communicate, they will find different avenues for emotional engagements.  Many neglected spouses will look out of the marriage at other values or priorities that helps them feel connected. A new religion, lifestyle, or job opportunity that the other spouse would never agree with can now be a reality for them.
    Emotional Disengagement is usually accompanied by withdrawal of affection. Couples in a divorce situation consider themselves “fallen out of love” with their spouse.
  5. Sudden Change in Behavior? Has your partner suddenly started caring more about their appearance and spending more time “away from” home. Or more time is spent with their children and instead of “our marriage” everything is centered around “our children”?
    Has your sex life disappeared? This is a good indicator that your emotional disengagement is advancing steadily and the spouses take no pleasure in each other. These are serious signals of rapidly eroding bonds in your marriage if not in a terminal state.
  6. Preparation for the “Single Life”: As people get tired of dealing with each other and the total indifference of the relationship, they will start living parallel lives and finally dissolve their personal relationship. Many couples heading for divorce will take up new habits and friends that differ from their spouses. New social networks will be centered around a single lifestyle.

Sounds like your current life with your spouse? DON’T GIVE UP YET! IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO SALVAGE A FADING MARRIAGE! If people will realize that a marriage is not perfect and there will be conflict a certain percentage of time. Concentrate on working out a solution together to have a positive, loving relationship that can withstand the bad times. Just Remember: there was some spark that drew you to your spouse. Try to find it again or divorce.

By Nacol Law Firm | Prepare for Your Divorce
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Jan
07

TIS THE SEASON FOR FILING A TEXAS DIVORCE ?

Welcome to January, the Divorce Month of the New Year! After a bad holiday season, many people have made the decision to file for divorce. The most popular months for filing divorce in the United States occur in January through March.

Going through a Divorce is painful no matter what the circumstances. When you decide to start the Texas Divorce Process, make sure you are financially prepared. Financial planning helps you in making sound decisions and start to prepare for your post-divorce life.

Below is a list of items you need to gather before counseling with an attorney. Financial Documents are a must to show what your true assets and liabilities are in the marriage.

Financial Documents needed when preparing for a Texas divorce:

  1. Tax Returns (at least three years) or Tax Liens and all IRS related documents
  2. Wills and Trusts with all attachments reflecting corpus and trust holdings
  3. Listing of all liabilities (including mortgages, credit card debt, personal loans, automobile loans, etc.):
    -Name of entity, address and telephone number
    -Account number
    -Amount owed
    -Monthly payment
    -Property securing payment (if any)
    -Most current statements and account status of lenders
  4. A Listing of all Real Property, address and location, including (includes time-shares and vacation properties):
    -Deeds of Trust
    -Notes including equity loans and second liens
    -Legal Descriptions
    -Mortgage Companies and Loan Servicers (Name, Address, Telephone Number, Account Number, Balance of Note, Monthly Payments)
    -Current fair market value
    -Appraisals
  5. Motor Vehicles (including mobile homes, boats, trailers, motorcycles, recreational vehicles; exclude company owned):
    -Year
    -Make
    -Model
    -Value
    -Name on title
    -VIN Number
    -Fair Market Value
    -Name of creditor (if any), address and telephone
    -Persons listed on debt
    -Account number
    -Balance of any loan and monthly payment
    -Net Equity in vehicle
  6. Cash and accounts with financial institutions (checking, savings, commercial bank accounts, credit union funds, IRA’s, CD’s, 401K’s, pension plans and any other form of retirement accounts):
    -Name of institution, address and telephone number
    -Amount in institution on date of marriage
    -Amount in institution currently
    -Account Number
    -Names on Account
    -Company loans and documents related to benefits
  7. A listing of separate property (property owned prior to marriage, family heirlooms, property gifted, inherited property):
    -Records that trace your separate property. These assets will remain yours if properly documented
  8. Retirement Benefits:
    -Exact name of plan
    -Address of plan administrator
    -Employer
    -Employee
    -Starting date of contributions
    -Amount currently in account
    -Balance of any loan against plan
    -Documents
  9. Publicly traded stock, bonds and other securities (include securities not in a brokerage, mutual fund, or retirement account):
    -Number of shares
    -Type of securities
    -Certificate numbers
    -In possession of
    -Name of exchange which listed
    -Pledged as collateral?
    -Date acquired
    -Tax basis
    -Current market value
    -If stock (date option granted, number of shares and value per share)
    -Stock options plans and related documents
  10. Insurance and Annuities Policies and Inventory:
    -Name of insurance company
    -Policy Number
    -Insured
    -Type of insurance (whole/term/universal)
    -Amount of monthly premiums
    -Date of Issue
    -Face amount
    -Cash surrender value
    -Current surrender value
    -Designated beneficiary
    -Other policies and amendments
  11. Closely held business interests:
    -Name of business
    -Address
    -Type of business
    -% of ownership
    -Number of shares owned if applicable
    -Value of shares
    -Balance of accounts receivables
    -Cash flow reports
    -Balance of liabilities
    -List of company assets
    -Possible hobbies or side businesses that generate income
  12. Mineral Interests (include any property in which you own the mineral estate, separate and apart from the surface estate, such as oil and gas leases; also include royalty interests, work interests, and producing and non-producing oil and gas wells:
    -Name of mineral interest
    -Type of interest
    -County of location
    -Legal description
    -Name of producer/operator
    -Current market value
    -needs leases or production documents related to the asset
  13. Money owed by spouse (including any expected federal or state income tax refund but not including receivables connected with any business)
  14. Household furniture, furnishings and Fixtures
    -photos
    -purchase documents
  15. Electronics and computers including software and hard drive
  16. Antiques, artwork and collectibles (including works of art, paintings, tapestry, rugs, crystal, coin or stamp collections) Other large collections need to be appraised! (Guns, quilts, action figures, books)
  17. Miscellaneous sporting goods and firearms
  18. Jewelry including appraisals
  19. Animals and livestock
  20. Farming equipment
  21. Club Memberships
  22. Safe deposit box items
  23. Burial plots including documents of ownership
  24. Items in any storage facility
  25. Travel Awards Benefits (including frequent flyer miles)
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Please contact father’s rights Dallas Attorney Mark Nacol, or father’s rights Dallas Attorney Julian Nacol with the Nacol Law Firm P.C., for legal insight to your rights as a father. Both attorney Mark Nacol, and attorney Julian Nacol , provide counsel in the area of family law including divorce, father’s rights, interstate jurisdiction, child support, child custody, visitation, paternity, parent alienation, modifications, property division, asset division and more. Attorney Mark A. Nacol is board certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Our attorneys at The Nacol Law Firm P.C. serve clients throughout Texas, including Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Grayson, Kaufman, Rockwall and Tarrant counties and the communities of Addison, Allen, Arlington, Carrollton, Dallas, Fort Worth, Frisco, Garland, Grapevine, Highland Park, McKinney, Mesquite, Plano, Prosper, Richardson, Rowlett and University Park, Murphy,Wylie, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Irving, along with surrounding DFW areas.

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