Fathers Rights Blogs

Think Before Posting on Social Networks

Everyday millions of people log into their favorite social networking sites to start their day, catch up during the day and end the day visiting with friends, business associates or looking for new contacts. What we are all doing is giving and receiving information about ourselves and others! A recent Pew Report states that 50% of the U.S. population uses social networking websites on a regular basis and 26% of the 50+ population engages in social networking!

Other interesting facts from Pew Reports: the U.S. 18-29 year-olds use their cell phone for the internet compared with 49% of 30-49 year-olds and 21% of 50+ users. The popularity of texting, taking pictures or video is increasing the use of social networking sites for all ages. These users of social networking and messaging services post information without much discretion or future perception as to what is said and how this information can legally be used against them down the road.

The Ten Most Popular Social Networking Sites of 2012 – taken from Hitwise.com (1/7/2012)
1.  Facebook, 64.28% visits share
2.  You Tube, 19.57% visits share
3.  Twitter, 1.48% visits share
4.  Yahoo!Answers .96% visits share
5.  Tagged, .75% visits share
6.  Linkedin, .67% visits share
7.  Pinterest.com, .48% visits share
8.  MySpace, .44% visits share
9.  Google+, .42% visits share
10.  MyYearbook .39% visits share

You should exercise careful thoughtful judgment when posting on social networking sites.
Think before your post! Could this post , which is one click away to immortality, be potentially damaging to you, others you care about or business relationships?

In today’s world, many lawyers are asking very specific questions to their clients concerning email addresses, use of social networking sites and types of personal information the client has posted about themselves, or information publicly disclosed from other people’s social networking. Many lawyers now ask their clients to stop using or to deactivate their social networking sites during their litigation process. Better safe than sorry!

The use of Electronically Stored Information (ESI) is now starting to be addressed by the U.S. Government and many states regarding usage for legal issues. The Federal Rules have been recently amended to mention ESI and set up a framework on dealing with this information. The new rules include ESI to email, web pages, word processing files, computer databases, and just about anything that is stored on a computer. The definition of ESI also includes traditional email, instant and text messaging, voice mail, personal webmail, blogging and other new emerging technologies. Potential relevant information from any of these sources must now be preserved by litigants in the federal courts. Just remember what you do or say online can and will be used against you and distorted since “you said it”!

By Nacol Law Firm | Social Networking
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Ho! Ho! Ho! Texas Children’s Visitation Schedules and the Holidays

The Holiday season is now upon us and hopefully all parents have worked out the upcoming visitation schedules for the 2011 Holiday Season. But if not….. Here is a reminder of the current Texas Family Law Code’s Standard Possession Order for Holidays.

§ 153.314. Holiday Possession Unaffected by Distance Parents Reside Apart.
The following provisions govern possession of the child for certain specific holidays and supersede conflicting weekend or Thursday periods of possession without regard to the distance the parents reside apart. The possessory conservator and the managing conservator shall have rights of possession of the child as follows:

Christmas Break:
(1) the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child in even-numbered years beginning at 6 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the Christmas school vacation and ending at noon on December 28, and the managing conservator shall have possession for the same period in odd-numbered years;
(2) the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child in odd-numbered years beginning at noon on December 28 and ending at 6 p.m. on the day before school resumes after that vacation, and the managing conservator shall have possession for the same period in even-numbered years;

Thanksgiving:
(3) the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child in odd-numbered years, beginning at 6 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school before Thanksgiving and ending at 6 p.m. on the following Sunday, and the managing conservator shall have possession for the same period in even-numbered years;

Child’s Birthday:
(4) the parent not otherwise entitled under this standard order to present possession of a child on the child’s birthday shall have possession of the child beginning at 6 p.m. and ending at 8 p.m. on that day, provided that the parent picks up the child from the residence of the conservator entitled to possession and returns the child to that same place;

Father’s Day:
(5) if a conservator, the father shall have possession of the child beginning at 6 p.m. on the Friday preceding Father’s Day and ending on Father’s Day at 6 p.m., provided that, if he is not otherwise entitled under this standard order to present possession of the child, he picks up the child from the residence of the conservator entitled to possession and returns the child to that same place;

Mother’s Day:
(6) if a conservator, the mother shall have possession of the child beginning at 6 p.m. on the Friday preceding Mother’s Day and ending on Mother’s Day at 6 p.m., provided that, if she is not otherwise entitled under this standard order to present possession of the child, she picks up the child from the residence of the conservator entitled to possession and returns the child to that same place.

Texas child visitation orders may differ from the norm to accommodate family situations so you should always check your decree first! If in doubt about your holiday visitation time’s contact someone who can help you to make sure nothing happens to affect this special season with your children. ‘Tis the Season!

By Nacol Law Firm | Possession of Children
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Texas SB785: New Texas Law for Mistaken Paternity

We hear a lot about dead-beat dads, or parents who do not pay their child support obligations.  Now it is time for “fathers” or men who have been paying child support for children who are not their biological children to assert their rights.

Texas has a new law, Texas SB785, which permits men who have been ordered to pay child support, without genetic testing, to request genetic testing in order to determine whether they are the genetic parent of the child. 

But the clock is ticking.   If you suspect that you are paying child support for a child who is not your biological child, you must file the petition before September 1, 2012.

After September 1, 2012, a man must file a petition to determine genetic parentage no later than the first anniversary of the date on which he becomes aware of facts indicating that he is not the child’s genetic father.

In order to file for relief under this new law, the man must have signed an acknowledgement of paternity or failed to contest paternity in the previous proceeding because of a mistaken belief that he was the child’s father based on misrepresentations that led him to that conclusion.

If the man knew he was not the father at the time he signed the acknowledgement of paternity or the previous court order, the new law does not apply.

If the genetic testing concludes that the man is not the child’s genetic father, the court shall render an order terminating the parent-child relationship and terminating the man’s obligation for future child support.

The new order, however, does not affect the man’s obligations for child support or child support arrearages accrued before the date of the order.  However, the accrued obligations are not enforceable by contempt proceedings. 

Even if the parent-child relationship is terminated, the man may request the court to order period of possession or access to the child following the termination.  The court may order periods of possession or access to the child only if the court determines that denial of possession or access would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional well-being.  The law directs the court to focus on the child’s well-being, not on the man’s desire to continue seeing the child.

If you have been paying child support due to a mistaken belief that you were the father, the time to act is now.  If you wait to file for relief, you will be barred.  Contact an attorney now! 

By Nacol Law Firm | Paternity
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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
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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
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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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