Fathers Rights Blogs

Social Networking: You Say It Or Show It? You Have to Defend It!

Social media provides everyone with a digital treasure trove of information. Always remember what you post online can and often will be used against you.

Approximately one half of all adult internet users in the United States have a profile on a social networking site. A 2010 Nielsen survey shows 22.7% of an American’s time is spent on social networking and continues to grow as social networking is considered the most popular online activity. When posting on Facebook, Twitter, or other social networking sites, just remember the updates you post can cause serious problems when searching for a job, starting a new relationship, or during involvement in a legal issue or lawsuit!

People are now sharing practically everything online. Can this get you in trouble? YOU BET!! Social networking technologies have forced people to learn how to navigate the murky waters between business and pleasure. Such a mixture creates a “Permanent Record” on social networking sites. On Facebook and Twitter, it is very common to see spouses discussing very private issues and sharing it with their “multi” buddies online and “Advertising their Product” for all to see. Social networking sites can provide any one who is confused, angry or distraught with a perfect venue for airing their gripes and disclosing their feelings in public!

Evidence from all social media sites is now being used by prosecutors, defense attorneys, personal injury attorneys, employment attorneys, securities litigators, and particularly family law attorneys. A 2010 American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers survey found that 81 % of divorce attorneys have increased their use of social media to find evidence against the opposing side. The main source of information is Facebook, with 66% of the attorneys citing it as the source for incrimination information followed by MySpace (15%) and Twitter (5%).

A Wide Variety of Evidence?
1. Incriminating photos
2. Incriminating statements and wall posts
3. Status Updates
4. Mood Indicators
5. List of Friends
6. Login/Log off records for example: not able to work, alcohol/drug use, intimate issues).

How to Preserve Evidence from Social Media Sites?
1. Publicly viewable profiles and content are fair game
2. Subpoenas directed to sites like Facebook are likely dead ends.
3. Well-tailored discovery requests to the person.
4. Motion compelling the user to execute a consent form permitting the discovery
seeking party to obtain the profile contents.

How to Authenticate Evidence from Social Media?
1. Stipulation
2. Admission from author/poster.
3. Testimony from person who copied information

Think about these Situations before using Social Media to sound off:
1. If you share a computer with a spouse or business partner and there is a potential break up; create a new web-based email address with a new password to ensure no other unauthorized access.
2. Don’t forget the children! Always more tech-savvy than mom and dad, monitor children to ensure information related to divorce proceedings or family problems do not become part of the internet!
3. Never make online references to finances. No big trips, bonuses or raises at work. This could affect your case adversely.
4. Always be careful with third- party conversations. The internet has many eyes and not just your friends.

The sudden advance and reach of social media is forcing the legal system to adapt quickly. Social media is causing legal professionals to look at new sources of evidence and discovery and to consider the implications of this technology.

By Nacol Law Firm | Social Networking
DETAIL

Alimony Expands in Texas

Spousal support law continues to evolve in Texas; but like the hot, dry summer days which seem to creep along, the process moves slowly.

Governor Rick Perry signed HB 901 on June 17, 2011. The law is effective for Texas divorce cases filed on or after September 1, 2011. In 1995, Texas was the 50th state to pass a law providing for spousal support and has been one of the most restrictive in the nation.

The new law provides potentially increased relief to spouses who have been out of the work force, are disabled, are victims of family violence or are the primary custodians of a disabled child.

Major changes to the spousal support law are:

1. The maximum amount of spousal support that courts may award increases from $2,500 to $5,000.00 per month, although still limited to 20 percent of the payer’s average gross monthly income.

2.  The duration of spousal support is extended from a maximum of 3 years to a maximum of 5, 7 or 10 years, generally depending on the length of the marriage.

3. The law clarifies that if a person has primary care for a disabled child, the custodial parent may be prevented because of the child’s disability from earning sufficient income to meet the custodial parent’s minimum reasonable needs.

4. The law also clarifies that a person may not be held in contempt for failing to pay spousal support which is in an agreed order and extends beyond the period of time provided under the law.

In order to receive “maintenance,” (which is the statutory term for spousal support), the spouse seeking support must lack sufficient property to provide for the spouse’s “minimum reasonable needs”, AND one of the following:

(1)  The recipient must be unable to earn sufficient income to provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs because of an incapacitating mental or physical disability;

(2)  The marriage lasted for 10 years or longer and the recipient lacks the ability to earn sufficient income to provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs;

(3)  The recipient is the custodian of a child of the marriage of any age who required substantial care and personal supervision because of a physical or mental disability that prevents the spouse from earning sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs; OR

(4)   The person ordered to pay support must have been convicted of or received deferred jurisdiction for an act of family violence during the pendency of the suit or within two years of the date the suit is filed.

Under the previous law, under most circumstances, the court could only order maintenance for a maximum of three years, regardless of the length of the marriage. Under the new law, the court can order maintenance to continue for:

(1)  5 years if the parties were married less than 10 years and the maintenance is awarded due to family violence;

(2)  5 years if the parties were married more than 10 years, but less than 20 years.

(3)  7 years if the parties were married more than 20 years, but less than 30 years;

(4)  10 years if the parties were married for more than 30 years.

In cases where the maintenance is awarded due to the mental or physical disability of the spouse or a child of the marriage, the court may order that the maintenance continue as long as the disability continues.

However, in all circumstances, the law provides that the Court shall order maintenance for the shortest reasonable period that allows the recipient to earn sufficient income to meet his or her reasonable needs.

If you are contemplating dissolving your marriage and have questions concerning your financial future, seek competent legal counsel to help you determine whether you could be eligible for spousal support under the expanded provisions of the new law.

By Nacol Law Firm | Stay At Home Dads
DETAIL

Hers, His, Ours: Marriage – Divorce – Remarriage

Today’s family unit is often in a state of flux. After a divorce, most people remarry and often there are children involved. In the new, blended family, one or both spouses may be paying child support. Newly-born or adopted children may also enter into the picture.

Sometimes, the cycle continues: marriage, divorce, remarriage, divorce.

Now, mom or dad has children in multiple households.

Do the additional children change the amount of child support to be paid? Not without a court order.

In Texas, child support may be reduced when an obligor (person paying child support) has additional children that the obligor is legally required to support. These children may be new biological children, or legally adopted children. Generally, Texas courts do not consider stepchildren as a factor in reducing child support.

Texas courts follow statutory guidelines in determining amount of child support. Many people are familiar with the following basic formula: 20% of net income for one child; 25% of net income for two children; 30% of net income for three children; and so on.

However, under the legal guidelines, the court also considers whether the obligor has a legal obligation to support other children, either under another child support order or because the obligor has legal custody of the child. In cases involving the children in multiple households, the court may consult the following chart from Section 154.129 of the Texas Family Code:

CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES

BASED ON THE MONTHLY NET RESOURCES OF THE OBLIGOR

 

1 child 20% of Obligor’s Net Resources

2 children 25% of Obligor’s Net Resources

3 children 30% of Obligor’s Net Resources

4 children 35% of Obligor’s Net Resources

5 children 40% of Obligor’s Net Resources

6+ children Not less than the amount for 5 children

 

Depending on the number of other children an obligor has a duty to support, the percentage of child support may be lower. For example, if the obligor was previously married and has 1 child to support in the previous marriage, the amount of support paid for one child before the court decreases to 17.50 percent. See the chart below.

 

Multiple Family Adjusted Guidelines

(% of Net Resources)

Net Monthly Resources X Percentage Below = Monthly Child Support Obligation

 

 

Number of other children for whom the obligor has a duty of support

Number of Children Before the Court

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

0

20.00

25.00

30.00

35.00

40.00

40.00

40.00

1

17.50

22.50

27.38

32.20

37.33

37.71

38.00

2

16.00

20.63

25.20

30.33

35.43

36.00

36.44

3

14.75

19.00

24.00

29.00

34.00

34.67

35.20

4

13.60

18.33

23.14

28.00

32.89

33.60

34.18

5

13.33

17.86

22.50

27.22

32.00

32.73

33.33

6

13.14

17.50

22.00

26.60

31.27

32.00

32.62

7

13.00

17.22

21.60

26.09

30.67

31.38

32.00

The court may also consider additional factors listed in Section 154.123 of the Texas Family Code.

In order to benefit from these factors, the obligor must present evidence that rebuts the presumption that the statutory guidelines is in the best interest of the children. When a person has children in more than one household, determining child support can be complicated. A wise person will seek the professional help of an experienced family law attorney.

By Nacol Law Firm | Child Support For Fathers
DETAIL

Texas SB785: Termination of parent-child relationship due to mistaken Paternity

Texas Senate Bill 785- Termination of the parent-child relationship and duty to pay child support in circumstances involving mistaken paternity.

After a battle spanning three legislative sessions over a six- year period, Texas SB785 became law effective May 12, 2011.

The new law addresses this situation:  a man signs an acknowledgment of paternity for a child or was adjudicated to be the father of the child in a previous proceeding without genetic testing. Subsequently, the man finds evidence of misrepresentations concerning whether he is really the child’s genetic father.

The “father” must file a petition to terminate no later than the first anniversary of the date he becomes aware of the facts that indicate he is not the child’s genetic father.

A court hearing will be held to determine whether the petitioner and child will submit to genetic testing to determine the parent-child relationship.

If the result of genetic testing excludes the petitioner as the child’s genetic father, the court shall render an order terminating the parent-child relationship.

The new court order ends the petitioner’s obligation for future support of the child effective on the date the order is rendered.  This new order, however, does not affect the petitioner’s obligations for child support or any child support arrearages accrued before the date that the new order was rendered.

The petitioner may also request the court order periods of possession or access to the child following termination of the parent-child relationship. The court may order possession or access to the child only if it determines that denial of possession or access to the child would impair the child’s physical health or emotional well-being.

The changes in law made by this Act apply to any order for child support regardless of when the child support order was rendered.

Texas has finally made it a law that a misrepresentation of the truth cannot hold a man to a false parental obligation for 18 years!  

By Nacol Law Firm | Paternity
DETAIL

Facts About Divorce in Texas (How Long Will It Take to Get Divorced?)

To file for a divorce in Texas, you must be a Texas Resident for 6 months, and you must have lived within the county you plan to file in for at least 90 days immediately prior to filing of your divorce petition.  Time spent by a Texas resident outside of Texas, while in the military, satisfies the residency requirement in Texas for a divorce.

Texas does not recognize legal separations. 

It is possible to get a divorce even though the other party does not want the divorce to take place.  Texas is a “no fault divorce state.” “No fault” means that one spouse does not have to prove the other spouse has done anything wrong in order to obtain a divorce. You cannot be held to a marriage because your spouse does not want to sign or refuses to participate in the divorce process.  The court will enter divorce orders even if the other party refuses to sign them.

Texas requires a minimum 60 day waiting period before any divorce can be finalized. The 60 day period begins to run from the time the Original Petition for Divorce is actually filed with the court.  In other words, the shortest time it will take to finalize a divorced in Texas is 61 days.  On occasion, in domestic violence cases, there is an exception to the 60 day rule.  If the parties are in agreement, a divorce proceeding can be finalized immediately following the sixty-day waiting period.  On average, however, the time period is more likely to run 90 to 120 days in an uncontested divorce due to the crowding of court dockets and the time necessary for counsel to draft necessary legal documents and obtain the agreement of both parties regarding the wording of the final documents.  If the parties are not in agreement, the time necessary to finalize the divorce will depend on the conduct of both parties and their attorneys, the court’s schedule, the matters in controversy and the complexity of the contested issues. From start to finish, the divorce process may go through a number of phases which might include temporary orders, exchange of financial information, psychological evaluations (in custody cases), alternative dispute resolution, trial, and appeal. A divorce in which the parties are deeply in opposition to an agreement on some or all of the core issues may take anywhere from several months to several years to complete.

As to the division of marital assets, Texas is a community property state.  For more information on community and separate property, see our blog, Divorce:  What is separate property and what is community property.

It is important to remember that, although the statutory waiting period to finalize a divorced is 60 days, it is more likely than not that your divorce will “not” be finalized on the 61st day following the filing of your petition for divorce.

By Nacol Law Firm | Filing for a Divorce
DETAIL
Page 31 of 33« First...1020...2930313233

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.

TOP