Family Law – why it is important to consult an attorney

Legal matters dealing with family law are very important and decisions made can affect the rest of your life. Some decisions made and agreements reached can not be changed later.  Issues involving property division are typically final once signed by the Judge and the time for appeal has passed.  This means you may not be able to go back and change a property division even if your spouse promised he would do something different than what is in the decree.  Issues of who has the right to claim a child on taxes can become permanent and even if custody changes it might not be able to be changed.

Depending on how the decree is worded you might be giving up rights to property you do not even realize  exists.  You may be barred from going after that property unless the decree is written to allow you to go after undisclosed property.  Texas requires a just and equitable division of property, this does not always mean it should be split  50/50.  We will post another blog later about things to consider when dividing property.

When it comes to issues with the children, such as support and visitation and access, these things are subject to modification. There must however be a material and substantial change to be able to request that change.  If there are some bad facts from the divorce they will in most cases be barred from evidence in a modification.  Modification typically deals with what has happened since the last final order.  This makes it important to consult with an attorney on issues of visitation, access and support prior to signing something.  Many times I have met with someone who already signed an agreed Final Decree of Divorce which has been signed by the judge.  They say they where told by the ex spouse they would do or allow something event though the decree says differently.  The ex spouse then uses that leverage when dealing with child related issues or just does not follow thought with it.  I then have to explain to them I will most likely not be able to fix the issue with out some substantial change since that last order.

It is also always important to follow the order when it relates to how and when to pay child support, and when and where exchange of the child will happen. If you make any changes to the drop off and pickup always do it in writing. We will have a blog in more detail about issues with paying child support in a way that is different from the order and how to handle visitaion issues when one party is not following the order.

There are many vital issues in the Final Decree of Divorce that if not done correctly, you may be stuck with for remainder of the years the child is a minor. In the event of property issues you may be stuck with it forever.

Please always consult an attorney on any legal issues.  This is why we offer a free consultation so people can come see us and get some basic advice without creating that attorney client relationship.

Covid 19 – Corona virus – precautions being taken

Your protection and that of our staff is our primary focus. As the Coronavirus situation unfolds, we want to let you know we are taking measures to sanitize the office and bathrooms each day. If you would like to talk to an attorney we are still taking appointments in the office as before. If you would like to talk to any attorney about an issue but do not want to come to the office we are offering face-time consultations or phone consultations. Please just let us know how we can help.

If you have been exposed to the virus or have been told to self quarantine then we ask that you not come to the office but utilize the face-time or phone consultation. We have the ability to conduct business by email as it relates to paper work or payments.

ADVICE TO Citizens WHEN QUESTIONED BY POLICE

This information is for citizens and is not intended to be any legal advice but to inform citizens of the problems they face when they come in contact with police who are questioning them about a serious crime.

Any questions about this should be discussed with your lawyer. Due to the ruling  in Texas, Salinas v Texas, the law has changed regarding the right to invoke your Fifth Amendment rights under the United States Constitution and the Texas Constitution by remaining silent when questioned by the police. Just not answering a police officers questions and remaining silent does not protect your right to the Fifth Amendment, you must specifically invoke your right to remain silent.

The advice that an attorney has told you in the past:

“don’t answer any questions if the police contact you.”

Is not sufficient now to rely upon the Fifth Amendment to protect your right to speak to the police. Some advice an attorney may tell you in the event of a DWI stop , once the alcohol questions below start may be proper:

“If I am free to leave, I would like to leave?”

If the answer is that you are not free to leave, then the following would be a good answer:

“I will not answer any questions or take any tests with out my lawyer present”.

You should then remain silent to any questioning and if you say anything insist on having your lawyer present.  You have the right to refuse the road side tests. As to the request to take the breath test it is best just to say : “I would like to consult with my lawyer and I will do what he says”. Although this will be taken by the officer as a refusal a jury may think this is a proper request .

DWI – How your decisions can affect your ability to get a Pretial Diversion

Many counties in Texas have started pretrial diversion programs for first time DWI’s.  Fort Bend and Harris County have these such programs. We practice in both of these and other surrounding counties and  have reviewed these programs.  Fort Bend County has a program that is newer and came in with the new District Attorney.

Both programs offer the ability to  have your DWI dismissed and the records expunged if you successfully qualify and complete the program.  There are restrictions that are similar to both programs. There was also a change in the law dealing with the expunction of DWI convictions and other convictions in the past under certain circumstances. We will have an article on that later.

There can not have been an accident, even a single car accident.  In Fort Bend County if there is an accident involved then you can possibly qualify for the DWI court but will not be able to get into the DA PT program.

If there was a breath test or blood test there is a limit on how high it can be to qualify for the DA PT program.  Harris County has a threshold of .15, anything over that does not automatically qualify for the program.  If it is over that amount you may still apply but will be a case by case basis and requirers some other special circumstance.  Fort Bend  County has its limit set at .12 but again you may still apply and it can be reviewed to see if possible to accept.  It would again take some special circumstance especially since there is the DWI court which also offers dismissal for first offense in most cases.

Both programs are also limited by not having any alcohol related priors. Even if your  alcohol related prior was not a conviction it will still probably preclude you from eligibility.

It never hurts to ask for these programs even if not automatically qualified.

The important thing to remember based on these requirements is that you are better off not taking the breath or blood test so you do not risk being over the threshold limit.  The ability to get into one of these programs is huge and you might disqualify yourself if you take the test.  This would mean someone who is actually over the alcohol level you are at might get the benefit of the program just by refusing the test.

You are also better off not taking the test because if you are .15 or higher you 1st time DWI would be a Class A misdemeanor and you would have a mandatory interlock on your vehicle as a condition of bond.  The state administrative fee’s would also be higher if you are convicted.

Always be polite and cooperative, but remember you are not required to do any of the road sided tests, including the eye test (HGN), walk and turn, one leg stand or any other test they may ask you to perform.  However if you refuse all roadside tests this could affect your ability to get into the program in some counties.  This includes normal things like saying your ABC’s or touching your fingers to you thumb in a pattern.  You are also not required to submit to a breath or blood test, your license may be suspended if you refuse just as it may if you blow over .08.  You must seek an attorney immediately if you get arrested. You must have a request filed with in 15 days of the arrest to challenge the suspension.  Even if your court date is not for weeks or even months you have time periods that run immediately.

How to Protect Your Credit During (and After) a Divorce

Many couples go through their divorce process without realizing the financial implications that can arise. By the time their divorce is finalized, they’ve accumulated debt and lost assets. Are you going through a divorce, and feeling financially overwhelmed? Follow our guide to protect your credit before, and after, your divorce so that you can move ahead financially strong and resilent.

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How To Strengthen Your Divorce Case

Navigating through a divorce is an emotionally and financially challenging experience—especially when children are involved. Whether you are striving for primary custody or simply wanting to retain collective property as yours, our simple, three-step guide will point the way to building a strong case that grants you what you’re asking for.

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First DWI in Texas

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), nearly 100,000 individuals were arrested on DUI charges in Texas in 2013. Also referred to as DWI, a charge of driving while intoxicated carries steep penalties. These consequences vary by state, but Texas law outlines that offenders face the possibility of jail time, heavy fines, and a suspension of their driving privileges.

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Moving a Child Out-of-State in Texas

Brief Case

Unfortunately, when a marriage begins to get rocky, couples may be concerned over their rights concerning their children. In some situations the mother or father may elect to leave their spouse, taking their children with them. When this decisions takes the children across state lines, however, there are actions that that the other spouse can take in order to protect their parental rights.

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DWI general issues

Over the past few years, the state of Texas has been buckling down on drunk driving. Many of the DWIs during the year are recorded around the holidays, especially the fourth of July, Christmas and New Years Eve. Not everyone arrested for DWI is intoxicated, to help those out who are not intoxicated and those who are, we at Foster Law Firm are dedicated to handle DWI cases for all of our clients. Don’t get unfairly lumped into the statistics. Just because you had something to drink and drove a car does not mean that you have broken the law. The law is that you can not be intoxicated and operate a motor vehicle in a public place. You, by law can drink and drive so long as you are not intoxicated. This means that you have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher or you have lost the normal use of your mental and physical faculties due to the introduction of alcohol, drugs or a combination thereof. Continue reading

Why every adult in Texas should have a Will!

By: Logene Foster, Lynn Foster and Lonnie Foster

Everyone in Texas who has attained the age of eighteen or who is or has been lawfully married, or who is a member of the armed forces of the United States  or of the  auxiliaries thereof or of the maritime service at the time the will is made, being of sound mind should consider a Will regardless of age.

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