What is an Entry Hearing?
In this video, attorney Sean Palmer explains what an entry hearing is.
The Palmer Law Firm
303 E. Main St., Ste. 230
League City, TX 77573
Is a Diamond Really forever?
A diamond is forever, but an expensive engagement ring means the marriage might not last that long. According to a new study, spending between $2,000 and $4,000 on an engagement ring is significantly associated with an increase in the risk of divorce.
The fact that expensive rings don't yield happier unions may be surprising to some. Perhaps ill-matched couples use giant diamonds to cover up the cracks in their emotional foundations. Or maybe couples that have modest rings feel that their boundless love is a celebration enough.
Whatever the case, the study's authors conclude that "our findings provide little evidence to support the validity of the wedding industry’s general message that connects expensive (wedding rings) with positive marital outcomes."
Source: The Atlantic
The Palmer Law Firm
303 E. Main St., Suite 230
League City, TX 77573
In today's discussion, Attorney Sean Palmer explains the dangers of using social media during divorce.
The Palmer Law Firm
303 E. Main St., Suite 230
League City, Texas 77573
When a husband and wife are facing the emotional and psychological turmoil of a divorce, a question inevitably comes up is whether the parties should seek an out-of-court settlement or would they be better off taking the matter to trial? This is probably the most critical question you will face in your divorce, and there are pros and cons to each approach:
Letting the Judge Decide
If parties cannot (or will not) settle out of court, then the alternative is to let the family court decide. A family judge is a county judge, but unlike district judges, they only deal with matters that fall under the Texas Family Code. This judge is supposed to act with impartiality and without any preconceived ideas about your case until they have heard the evidence presented by each side. Bringing a case to court has significant risks because you must convince a judge about every aspect of your case - from trying to get custody of your children to who gets the lawn mower. Most people have a skewed idea of what court is about; they think it is a stage in which they just have portray their spouse to be the worst human on Earth and therefore they should give everything to you, “the good guy." The fact is, such unfocused mud-slinging very rarely will sway a family judge one way or the other. Parties really need to present their case in a way that will follow the strict rules of what can and can’t be said, and at the same time prove each point you present. When you choose litigation, you are putting all your trust in your attorney that they will present the best case for you and the court system will do the just thing. This may be the only option you have if settlement offers from your spouse are less than what is fair and equitable. On the other hand, if a settlement offer is close enough to what you could reasonably get in court, then the high cost and risk may not be worth the trouble of taking it to court.
Communication is Key to Settlement
If you are one of the rare few spouses who maintain good communication and respect through the divorce process, then you may be able to settle matters on your own; perhaps you and your spouse may utilize your attorneys only in an administrative capacity to help make sure the legalities are done correctly. However, in my experience, less than 1% of all divorce cases are resolved in this way. Most couples lack communication and/or respect by the time they file for divorce, or they will lose this ability by the time the case reaches the negotiation phase. For the other 99%, they lack the ability to communicate and cooperate. Under these circumstances it may be nearly impossible to settle your issues and avoid court. Fortunately, that does not mean all these couples are fated to have a contested trial to end their case. In Texas, there are a whole range of procedures to help couples who can’t communicate to nonetheless settle their case. These procedures are called Alternative Dispute Resolution. These are private meetings outside the court system which are designed to bring about a mutually agreed settlement. In divorce cases, we most commonly use a process called mediation, but there are many other procedures such as settlement conferences, mini-trials, and arbitration that can be tailored to your case's needs.
Which is Right for Your Case?
I believe that each client is an individual with unique needs, and so each divorce case is also unique and will be successful or not depending on the attention to those special details. If you are facing a divorce, you should begin to think about those details. Depending on where you are in the emotional process, this may be hard. However, the earlier you begin to think strategically about your case, the better the outcome will be. Ask yourself: What are your plans for the future? Will you remarry? Do you plan to have any more children? Will you purchase a new house? Will you start a new job? Money is always an important issue when considering whether to go to trial or settle. At the earliest stage, many people try to avoid attorneys altogether to save money. What these people fail to understand about settlement and negotiation is that it will only work if both parties are negotiating from a position of strength. The only way for you to be able to have that strength is to hire a reputable, experienced attorney who is ready and able to take the case all the way- and win.
Pets In a Texas Divorce
Attorney Sean Palmer gives an update on lawsuits against the company responsible for managing Texas's power grid. Also, it is National Love Your Pet Day and Attorney Palmer discusses what to do when you have beloved pets involved in your Texas Divorce.
Does where you propose marriage predict your likelihood of ending up divorced? The following locations are popular destinations for places to pop the question only to wind up in divorce court:
10. Santorini, Greece
2% end in divorce.
9. Venice, Italy
3% end in in divorce.
4% end in divorce.
7. The Maldives
5% end in divorce.
6. Bodrum, Turkey
7% end in divorce.
10% end in divorce.
11% end in divorce.
3. New York City
14% end in divorce.
18% end in divorce.
23% end in divorce.
Marriage is a wonderful institution but it is a complex bond of finances, lifestyles, expectations, and many other aspects. The location where you propose may or may not indicate your likelihood of getting a divorce. If you do decide divorce is the only option, you should get all the facts about the process before you begin it.
For the first time since December 20, fewer than 10,000 Texans are hospitalized with COVID-19 according to the Texas Tribune. However, the current number of 9,401 Texans hospitalized, and the emergence in Texas of new, highly contagious strains signals the grim reality that it will long time before things will return to normal.
As the COVID crisis lingers, it's effect on people's lives, especially those trying to manage children between two homes, grows increasingly burdensome. For those who have family law disputes, the challenges are increasing as the COVID crisis lingers into its second year. Here are the top three problems that our firm has experienced with our clients:
1. Job Loss Affecting Child Support Payments
One of the most obvious and direct impacts to daily life due to the COVID crisis is how it has hurt family income. As more small businesses flounder and shut down, job losses in Texas are climbing steadily. Separated and divorced parents are often already struggling to make ends meet, but as the COVID crisis endures, they will see savings dry up and soon existing child support payments may slow or stop.
Courts in the Houston and Galveston areas remain sensitive to parents in this situation but are proceeding with child support enforcement case as normal. They are issuing contempt orders as readily as before, and it is incumbent on the parent ordered to pay support to approach the Court early about having their child support obligation reduced if they are experiencing financial difficulty due to COVID related job loss or reduction in hours. Failure by the payer to seek to have the previous order modified- even if temporarily - may result in contempt actions being brought by either the obligee or the Texas Attorney General. And despite the understanding the Courts may grant the obligor in these extraordinary times, it should be noted that the Courts have not abandoned the expectation that parents must supply evidence of their particular financial challenges or economic hardships. It's recommended that parents seek legal counsel to assist them. Many lawyers, such as our firm, offer affordable limited scope services to help in this situation.
2. Changes in Living Conditions
For many Texas families, the day to day physical living conditions and circumstances have been negatively impacted by the lingering COVID crisis.
In a recent divorce case, the father sought the immediate sale of the marital home where the mother and the two children were still living. The father, an optometrist, claimed that the COVID crisis had reduced his income by half, and as the sole wage earner, he could no longer afford to pay the mortgage and costs for the couple's large home. The mother counter-argued that the father chose to keep his practice closed longer than necessary and that COVID restrictions had been lifted.
The Court reviewed the larger financial situation of the couple and ordered the immediate sale of the home and temporary support payments for the mother for her to rent a smaller house. The Court declared that "COVID-19 has at least temporarily ruined the financial prospects of both of these parties. And neither of them is to blame."
3. In-person vs. Online Learning
Many if not most Texas schools offer two options for children to attend school- traditional attendance at the school ("brick and mortar") or virtual learning using software and the internet ("online"). However, when parents do not agree on what is best for the children- as often happens during and after divorces- then disputes arise that often wind up in court.
In a different recent divorce case, a temporary order directed the mother would be the temporary primary caregiver of the children and the father would have weekend visitations through the divorce proceedings. It also directed that the children should be taught virtually. The mother, although not working herself and being supported financially by the husband, was not satisfied with the temporary order because she wanted the kids in school. After the temporary hearing, the mother shut off her internet service- which she calculated she could do because it was not specifically prohibited by the Court. Without internet access the kids could not attend school virtually. The father was soon alerted to the situation and took the mother back to court. At the emergency hearing the mother pressed to explain her actions and their impact on the children's education. The mother "mostly deflec[ed]" and stated the children's educational needs were being met otherwise. The Court ultimately ordered the mother to immediately provide internet and all necessary equipment for the children to attend school virtually. The Court also admonished the mother that if she again attempted to thwart the order, then primary care would be given to the father.
The COVID crisis has been with us for over a year and it seems we have a long way to go before things return to normal. The long length of this crisis is having trickle-down effects on separated and divorced families in many ways. These result is an increase in conflicts where often the only resolution is to seek relief from the courts with the help of an experienced family law attorney.
If you have experienced any of these issues, or you if you think there are other issues that are more widely experienced that the ones we have listed, we invite your comments below.
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Attorney Sean Y. Palmer has over 20 years of legal experience as a Texas Attorney and over 25 years as a Qualified Mediator in civil, family and CPS cases. Palmer practices exclusively in the area Family Law and handles Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Adoptions, and other Family Law Litigation cases. He represents clients throughout the greater Houston Galveston area, including: Clear Lake, NASA, Webster, Friendswood, Seabrook, League City, Galveston, Texas City, Dickinson, La Porte, La Marque, Clear Lake Shores, Bacliff, Kemah, Pasadena, Baytown, Deer Park, Harris County, and Galveston County, Texas.