dallas fathers rights attorney Mark Nacol

Visitation with your children for the 2014 Holidays – Texas Standard Visitation Guidelines

Now is the time to start working on your Holiday 2014 Schedule for visitation with your children during this wonderful time of year! We would suggest that you review your individual order to see if you have specific provisions concerning visitation.  Because many families have specific situations that occur during this special time, this visitation time is the most modified area in the Standard Possession Order. The Holiday schedule will always override the Thursday or Weekend schedules.

Here is a reminder of the current Texas Family Law Code’s Standard Possession Order for the 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:

Texas Family Law Code’s Standard Visitation Guidelines for 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;

Texas Family Law Code’s Standard Visitation Guidelines for 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;

Texas Family Law Code’s Standard Visitation Guidelines for 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;

Texas Family Law Code’s Standard Visitation Guidelines for 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;

Texas Family Law Code’s Standard Visitation Guidelines for 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, contact a family law attorney who can help you to make sure nothing happens to affect this special season with your children. ‘Tis the Season To Be Jolly’!

By Nacol Law Firm | Possession of Children
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Texas Prenuptial Agreements

In Texas, Prenuptial Agreements are becoming a very important tool for prospective spouses in the event of future marital problems.  With the rise in divorce rates and more boomer/senior remarriages, many people with assets are turning to a marital contract to sidestep a potentially difficult and very expense divorce.

A prenuptial agreement allows prospective spouses to, legally in advance, specifically define rights and obligations to each other and further allows spouses to decide their future marital property rights with relativity minimal judicial actions.  A prenuptial agreement, in Texas,  can cover any matter except:

  1. Violate public policy or a statute imposing criminal penalties

  2. Adversely affect a child’s right to support

  3. Defraud a creditor

Texas Family Code 4.003(a)(8), (b),4.106(a).

Among the permissible provisions that parties can list in a prenuptial agreement are the following:

  1. Rights and obligations of any interest, present or future, legal or equitable, vested or contingent, in real or personal property.

  2. Right to manage, control and dispose, by agreement, property upon separation of the married parties, dissolution of the marriage, death of either party, or other agreed event.

  3. Modify or eliminate spousal support.

  4. Specific matters related to prospective spouses, including personal rights and obligations that are not in violation of state laws.

  5. Choice of a state or country law that will govern the prenuptial agreement.

  6. Creation of a Will or Trust.

  7. Disposing of the Estate upon the death of one of the spouses. Also ownership rights and disposition of benefits from a life insurance policy upon the death.

  8. Waive one party’s right to occupy the family homestead after the other party dies.

By Nacol Law Firm | Texas Prenuptial Agreements
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Texas Divorce – How Long Will It Take to Get Divorced and Other Important Facts

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 child 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
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Financial Basics in Surviving Your Divorce

So you have now decided to divorce. You know it will be painful & scary, but you believe the time is right to have a single life.  Financial vulnerability and risks are inevitable.

Every year, approximately three million men and women head down the emotional and financial path of divorce.  Following a divorce the cost is usually 25-50% more to maintain your pre-divorce lifestyle. A single household becomes twice as expensive as each spouse losses the benefit of the other spouses income. Economic discrimination due to gender gaps place additional financial burdens on women.   A woman’s standard of living may drop 27% while a man’s standard of living may increase 10%!

Now start with the financial basics in surviving your divorce! What are the basics?

  • A secure place to live

  • Create little or no debt

  • Protect retirement assets or income

  • Use of liquid money or assets

The most important of these basics is Liquid money! You will need money to find a place to live and hire an attorney.  You will also need money to pay your expenses during your divorce. Liquidity will definitely come in handy and enhance your position in the proceedings.

What about Debts? If possible pay off your debts now. The uses of savings or assets you can liquidate are the cleanest methods. Many divorced people find themselves responsible for their EX’s portion of debt since the exiting spouse refuses to pay. Legally, you may be responsible if your ex-spouse does not pay. Try to start your new life free of debt and with a new sense of self confidence!

What about Cash Issues and Retirement Assets in a Divorce? If you and your spouse have retirement savings, each of you will probably be entitled to a one-half share or a portion based on a fixed ration of the number of years married and number of years of investing.   This money could be kept for retirement or used to repay other current expenses or debts.  Make sure you examine prospective tax treatment to avoid the 10% penalty on early withdrawal by the IRS.

Some tax questions to know about:

  • Are spousal maintenance payments tax deductible?

  • Who will be able to claim Head of Household status?

  • Who gets the tax exemption for the kids?

  • Is child support non-deductible?

  • Which Attorney fees are tax deductible?

Always remember to “Look at the big picture”.  Keep your focus on finances and parenting.  If you need help from smart professions, as your attorney, accountant, or mental-health professional, get it now! They will help you and your family with focus, objectivity and a long-term vision that is very difficult for you during this tumultuous time in your life. Now you need to be able to articulate you needs and goals for the future.

Do not forget! This time too shall pass and you may be, with planning, better than ever in the future!

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Child Abuse and Family Violence in Texas

The Texas Family Code defines Family Violence as an act by a member of the family or household against another member that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or a threat on a family member in danger of imminent physical harm.  This abuse is defined as physical injury that results in substantial harm or genuine threat of sexual, intercourse or conduct; or encouraging the child to engage in sexual conduct.

What does “family” include?  Individuals related by blood or affinity, marriage or former marriage, biological parents of the same child, foster children, and members or former members of the same household (including roommates).

What about child abuse?

Some very interesting statistics:

  • A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds

  • More than four children die every day as a result of child abuse

  • 70% of children that die from abuse are under age of 4

  • Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level within all ethnic and cultural lines and all religions and all levels of education!

  • Approximately 30% of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children

Statistics re: childhelp.org

In Texas (2008 Crime in Texas.com), victims are primarily female (75%) and the offenders are primarily male (77%). The primarily weapon involved in family violence is physical force with the use of hands, feet or fists (78%).

How can you know if child abuse exists in a household?

Look for these most common child abuse indicators in children:

  • Injuries that are unexplained

  • Major and sudden changes in a child’s behavior

  • Return to earlier behavior: such as bed wetting, thumb sucking, and fear of dark or strangers or more serious language or memory problems

  • Serious fear of going home

  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits

  • Changes in school performance or attendance

  • Lack of personal care or hygiene

  • New risk taking behaviors

  • Inappropriate sexual behavior

If you are a family member, friend, teacher, or child-care giver of a child who has started displaying very different behaviors or showing injuries, it is imperative that you contact someone who can either help this child or prevent any more family violence from occurring in this child’s family. This child and family need help now!

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By Nacol Law Firm | Impact on Children
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Please contact father's rights Dallas attorney Mark Nacol, with the Nacol Law Firm P.C., for legal insight to your rights as a father. Mark Nacol provides counsel in the area of family law including divorce, father's rights, separation, 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 and serves 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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