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

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 months within 24 months of the filing of the petition for visitation. 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:

Grandparents Rights in Texas

Our firm's cases involving parents with grandparents and grandparents' rights as regards their grandchildren have been increasing. This appears to be a nationwide trend. There seems to be a number of demographic and cultural reasons for this:

  • The extraordinary growth of single parent families over the past two decades. Only 69% of children in the U.S. are raised in two parent families. This places a significant emotional and financial burden on those parents, who often seek help from their parents. That help can range from simply babysitting or extra cash on the one hand to temporary, or even permanent, custody on the other hand.

Divorce in Texas - How Much Will It Cost

How much will my divorce cost? When I speak to divorce clients, that is one of the first two questions they typically ask.  The other is how long will it take. Unfortunately, there is no single answer to these questions.  No two divorces are ever alike.

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