dallas fathers rights

My Children Are My Main Priority – Effective Co-Parenting

Co-parenting with an ex-spouse or partner gives children stability and fosters similar rules, discipline and rewards between households.  It promotes a child’s ability to more effectively and peacefully solve problems and establishes a life pattern children can carry into the future.

Effective co-parenting means that your own emotions – anger, resentment or hurt – must take back seat to the needs of your children.  Setting aside these feelings may be the hardest obstacle to overcome after a divorce.  It is important that you remember, co-parenting is not about your feelings, or those of your ex-spouse, but rather about your children’s future happiness and stability. 

The following are useful tips to assist you with co-parenting in the future.

  1. Do not talk negatively, or allow others to talk negatively, about the other parent, their family and friends or their home in hearing range of the child.
  2. Do not question the children about the other parent or the activities of the other parent regarding their personal lives. In simple terms, do not use the child to spy on the other parent.
  3. Do not argue or have heated discussions with the other parent when the children are present or during an exchange.
  4. Do not make promises to the children to try and win them over at the expense of the other parent.
  5. Communicate with the other parent and make similar rules in reference to discipline, bedtime routines, sleeping arrangements, and schedules. Appropriate discipline should be exercised by mutually agreed of both parents.
  6. At all times, the decision made by the parents should be for the child’s psychological, spiritual, and physical well-being and safety.
  7. Visitation arrangements should be made and confirmed beforehand between the parents without involving the child in order to avoid any false hopes, disappointments or resentments toward the other parent.
  8. Notify the other parent in a timely manner of the need to deviate from the order, including cancelling visits, rescheduling appointments, and promptness.
  9. Do not schedule activities for the child during the other parent’s period of possession without the other parent’s consent. However, both parents should work together to allow the child to be involved in extracurricular activities. 
  10.  Inform the other parent of any scholastic, medical, psychiatric, or extracurricular activity or appointments of the child.
  11.  Keep the other parent informed at all times of your address and telephone number. If you are out of town with the child, provide the other parent the address and phone number where your children may be reached in case of an emergency.
  12. Refer to the other parent as the child’s mother or father in conversation, rather than using the parents first or last name.
  13. Do not bring the child into adult issues and adult conversations about custody, the court, or about the other party.
  14. Do not ask the child where they want to live.
  15. Do not attempt to alienate the other parent from the child’s life.
  16. Do not allow stepparents or others to negatively alter or modify your relationship with the other parent.
  17. Do not use phrases that draw the children into your issues or make them feel guilty about time spent with their other parent.  For example, rather than saying, “I miss you,” say “I Love You.”

As you begin to co-parent, you and your ex are bound, on occasion, to disagree.  It isn’t necessary to meet in person—speaking over the phone or exchanging emails is fine for the majority of conversations. The goal is conflict-free communication, so see which type of contact works best for you.  Keep the conversations kid-based.

Remember, respect can go a long way, keep talking, don’t sweat the small stuff, and be willing to compromise.

By Nacol Law Firm | Child Custody
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Cohabitation and Domestic Partnership Agreements

Premarital and post-marital agreements in Texas have a complex history immersed in the community property presumption, the sate constitution, statutes and case law.  Originally, such agreements were found to be unenforceable.  But with amendments to the Texas Constitution, evolving statutes, recent case law, and improved draftsmanship, such agreements are now enforceable under contract law.

For some couples living together is a precursor to marriage; for others, there is no intent to ever marry, or the law prohibits the marriage, as in Texas with same sex marriages.  The simple fact is, domestic partnership agreements involve a wide variety of circumstances, which may or may not involve the gay or lesbian couple. 

Many couples choose to live together so they do not lose certain benefits under current rules of social security, military and insurance disability programs, or to stop those benefits from being taken away from their children.  In other cases, couples who are divorced, and who may have children, may want to protect certain assets.  In situations such as trust funds or inherited funds, beneficiaries simply do not want to place family money at risk.  Other couples choose to shelter their own resources from the real or perceived obligations of their partner.   

The marital agreement is considered to be a contract under Texas law. The premarital agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties.  No actual consideration is required; however, to conform with contractual law, it may be wise to provide benefits for the non-monied party to avoid a later finding of unconscionability, particularly if the financial condition of the non-monied party under the agreement will be poor. 

Matters that may be dealt with in a premarital agreement include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. the right to buy, sell, use, transfer, exchange, abandon, lease, consume, expend, assign, create a security interest in, mortgage, encumber, dispose of, or otherwise manage and control property;
  2. the rights and obligations of each of the parties in any of the property of either or both of them whenever or wherever acquired or located;
  3. the disposition of property on separation, marital dissolution, death, or the occurrence or nonoccurrence of any other event;
  4. the modification or elimination of spousal support;
  5. the making of a will, trust, or other arrangement to carry out the provisions of the agreement;
  6. the ownership rights in and disposition of the death benefit from a life insurance policy;
  7. the choice of law governing the construction of the agreement; and
  8. any other matter, including their personal rights and obligations, not in violation of public policy or a statute imposing a criminal penalty.

Child support may not be adversely affected by a premarital agreement.  Therefore, provisions providing for the elimination of child support upon separation or divorce are unenforceable.  However, provisions for private education, college expenses, and choice of residence may be included, but may still be reviewed by a court to determine if they are in keeping with public policy.

In post-marital agreements, it has been noted that a fiduciary duty exists that is not present in pre-marital agreements between spouses or prospective spouses.  Case law states that a confidential relationship between husband and wife imposes the same duties of good faith and fair dealing on spouses as required of partners and other fiduciaries.  However, adverse parties who have retained independent counsel may not owe fiduciary duties to one another.  Texas Legislature enacted Section 4.105 with the understanding that married spouses owing fiduciary duties to one another would negotiate and execute post-marital agreements.  Not withstanding these duties, the legislature manifested the strong policy preference that voluntarily made post-marital agreements are enforceable.

Cohabitation, domestic partnership, premarital and post-marital agreements may be as creative as a party determines necessary.  However, care must be given to see that such agreements protect the party, keep with public policy, and adhere to current Texas family law and applicable contractual law.

By Nacol Law Firm | Property and Asset Division
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Texas and Federal Confidentiality Laws – Use Caution with Your Texas Divorce

There are many legal and proper ways to obtain proof of a spouse’s infidelity.  Take care to avoid tactics used to obtain private information that may violate federal and Texas confidentiality laws and a spouse’s right to privacy.  You may be tempted by others to obtain proof of a partner’s infidelity by various inappropriate and/or illegal methods.  Reading emails, recording telephone calls, installing spyware or geographical tracking devices or even setting up hidden cameras are just a few methods a spouse may be offered when entertaining the thought of catching a cheating spouse.  However, such actions may expose both parties and their attorney to civil liability and possible criminal penalties.  Under Texas law, it is a crime to install a geographical tracking device on a vehicle owned by another person.  When emotions are running high, it is imperative that you seek proper counsel as to the proper legal action to be taken when establishing facts.

Both federal and state wiretapping laws apply to divorcing spouses.  A spouse may sue the other spouse or their agents for invasion of privacy.  Federal law regulates electronic surveillance of conversations and access to emails, faxes and voicemail.  The law imposes civil and criminal sanctions for intentional interceptions of electronic communications.  However, accessing email after it has been transmitted, i.e. downloading a text from your telephone or email from the hard drive of a family computer, is not an offense under the Federal Act.  Texas has laws that also prohibit the interception of communications.  Under such laws, counsel may also be held liable if they disclose information received from the intercepted communications provided by their clients.

Federal and Texas laws both allow recording of telephone calls and other electronic communications with the consent of at least one party to the communication.  Under the one-party consent statutes, a spouse may record conversations in which he or she is participating.  This has been extended to include parental recording of a child’s conversations with a third party, including the other parent.  The parent can consent to the recording on behalf of the child so long as the parent has a good faith objective and a reasonable belief that it is in the best interest of the child, even if the child is unaware of the recording.

It is important that a spouse take great care in their means and methods of gathering information.  Information obtained by illegal means can expose one, even if he or she is a spouse, to civil liabilities and possible criminal prosecution.  Texas recognizes that every person has a certain right to privacy.  Such right is violated if a person intentionally intrudes upon the private affairs of another by offensive means.  Accessing stored email or secretly recording a spouse can be a violation of a spouse’s right to privacy.  If a suit is filed, the damaged spouse may recover monetary damages, including punitive damages.

For answers to your questions on gathering information for your Texas Divorce, contact Dallas fathers rights attorney Mark Nacol with the Nacol Law Firm, P.C.

By Nacol Law Firm | Texas Confidentiality Laws
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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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