Patricia L. Brown & Associates
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Patricia's Legal Blog for Central Texas Families


Should grandparents visit their grandchildren during this COVID19 outbreak? Here is advice from professionals. We are grandparents and we have not visited our three grandchildren in Austin. And we will not until there is a dependable vaccine. But we now participate in nightly baths with our baby grands via FaceTime and all of us LOVE it! Here is good advice from professionals.

The news on how the coronavirus has been affecting children has been largely reassuring: Most kids who get sick appear to experience only very mild symptoms. Yet as schools and day care centers close, and frazzled parents juggle the need to go to work or to work from home while caring for their children, one question emerges: Is it safe for kids to spend time with their grandparents?

Corona virus Update

With the outbreak of the new corona virus (COVID-19), we are very concerned with protecting the well-being of our clients, as well as our staff. Our motto, "We're Close To You" has always had two meanings: first, the vast majority of our clients are neighbors and come from within a ten-mile radius of our office; secondly, we pride ourselves on feeling a sensitivity and deep empathy for our client's circumstances.

How Much Will My Divorce Cost? How Long Will It Take?

The top two questions clients ask us are "How much will my divorce cost" and "How long will my divorce take". We have managed well over a thousand divorce cases in Williamson and Travis county in Texas since we began practicing in Round Rock in 1998. While that experience has been invaluable with the judges and courts in those counties, no two divorces are exactly alike. Each client's circumstances is unique and therefore each provide some unique challenges and opportunities. 

Communicating With Your Attorney Economically

Psychologists say divorce is the second most stressful event in life, after the death of a spouse or child. It can also be very expensive. However, there are ways to minimize costs that we have written about before. In a word: preparation. In two words: preparation and organization. Here is some more detailed advice from a California attorney:

You know that advice your best friend gave you about writing a scathing note to your ex when you are fuming about something they said or did? They probably advised you to write down everything you want to tell your ex. Get everything out. Say every mean thing you've ever wanted to say. Then, when you're done - delete it. Or send it to yourself. It's not worth sending it to your ex when you are upset. Pick your battles. Communicate when you're calm. Anything you say can be used against you when you are going through a divorce. So, be mindful.

4 Tax Strategies That Could Make a Divorce Settlement Easier

The tax reform act that when into effect January 1, 2018, has had a significant impact on all Americans, including all divorcing couples, especially wealthier couples with significant assets. This article from the N.Y. Times recommends such divorcing couples consider 4 strategies, some new, some have always been good advice for everyone:

1. Move alimony into a trust

2. Sell the family home

3. Negotiate the value of dependents

4. Practice before filing

Grandparents Find Hope in a Bill That Would Make it Easier to Seek Visitation Rights

In Texas, the custody statute does not provide statutory factors for a court to determine proper custody. Conditions for grandparent visitation rights include a determination that one of the child's parents is deceased, incompetent, incarcerated, or has had his or her parental rights terminated. Visitation may also be awarded if the parents are divorced, the child has been abused or neglected, the child has been adjudicated a delinquent or in need of supervision, or the child has lived with the grandparent for at least six. Adoption cuts off the visitation rights of the grandparent unless the adoption is granted to a step-parent.

Grandparents Rights - The Law

On June 5, 2000, the United States Supreme Court handed down a seminal ruling as regards the complex issue of grandparents rights. In the case of Troxel v. Granville, the court struck down a Washington state law that allowed any third party (i.e. grandparents, etc.) to petition state courts for child visitation rights over parental objections. The Court held that "the interest of parents in the care, custody and control of their children-is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court." That fundamental right is implicated in grandparent visitation cases, and as such, it struck down the Washington visitation statute because it unconstitutionally infringed on the right.

More On Unmarried Parents' Child Custody

Some 40% of babies born in the United States are born to unwed mothers vs. about 10% in 1970, according to a UN report. Almost 60% are living with their baby's father. Like married couples, many of these relationships fail, leaving the challenge of determining custody, particularly for fathers. Our firm has handled a growing number of such cases.

Which Should We Do First? Marry or Buy A House?

This is a question Baby Boomers didn't face: it wasn't considered an option! You got married, used a VA loan and/or saved for a down payment, bought a home, then had children. Today, millennials, GenXers, GenYers, etc., deploy their own sequence to suit their individual circumstances and wishes. Previous sociological taboos have vanished, and economic circumstances have forced a rethinking of priorities.

Challenges of Senior Divorce in Texas

Over the past two decades our firm has been in business, we have noticed an increasing number of divorce clients are over 50. This trend has been noticed by many social science observers and pollsters. According to Pew Research, the divorce rate for people over 50 has more than doubled from 1990 to 2015, while the divorce rate for those aged 25-39 has dropped by 21% over the same period. The trend is so profound, it has been dubbed "grey divorce". This, despite the U.S. divorce rate hitting a 40 year low.

What are the forces driving the growth of senior divorce:

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Office Location:

595 Round Rock West Drive
Suite 201
Round Rock, Texas 78681

Phone: 512-436-0826
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Friday: 8:30am - 12.00pm