What Exactly is a Standard Possession Order?

A Breakdown of the Texas Standard Possession Order

What is a Standard Possession Order (SPO) in Texas?

The Texas Legislature has made clear in the Texas Family Code §§153.3101 through 153.317, that a Standard Possession Order (or SPO) is in the best interest of the child. This is a presumption that may be rebutted if not in the child’s best interest. While many parents know generally what a Standard Possession Order entails (every other weekend, alternating holidays, etc.), the particulars are often unclear. Read More “What Exactly is a Standard Possession Order?”

We’re Divorcing, We Have A Sizeable Estate But I Don’t Know The Details

It’s not unusual in a divorce for one spouse to realize they know little about the finances. More often it’s a wife. Sometimes, she manages household finances and pays bills, but the other spouse knows about the investments, retirements and business interests. Sometimes, one spouse manages all household finances, including paying bills, and the other knows nothing about income, expenses, retirement or investments.
Read More “We’re Divorcing, We Have A Sizeable Estate But I Don’t Know The Details”

The Coronavirus Conundrum: Spring Break – To Return or Not to Return?

Must a Child be Returned when Spring Break was Supposed to End
if School Does Not Resume?

With the Coronavirus pandemic hitting our country at the time many school districts are recessed for the Spring Break holiday, many parent conservators are wondering whether they must return the children to the other parent after learning the break has been extended for an additional week or more.  The simple answer is, it’s not a simple answer. Read More “The Coronavirus Conundrum: Spring Break – To Return or Not to Return?”

What Is A Drive-By Mediation?

A drive-by mediation is where parties to a family law dispute meet with a mediator to confirm an existing agreement. Unlike most mediations, which are convened to resolve differences, a drive-by mediation is used to cement an existing agreement. For information about traditional mediation click here.

The term “Drive-By Mediation” is used because the agreement is already made, and the mediation is a short formality to make it enforceable and irrevocable. Bargaining and negotiation are not part of a drive-by mediation. It is not a legal term, but a nickname created by the legal community. Read More “What Is A Drive-By Mediation?”

Child Support and High-Income Earners

Child Support is Based on Net Monthly Income

In Texas, child support is calculated based on the payor’s (or obligor’s) net monthly income. The Texas Family Code states that net income is to be calculated by “subtracting from gross income social security taxes and federal income tax withholding for a single personal claiming one personal exemption.” Tex. Fam. Code §154.061(b). This means that simply attempting to calculate one’s child support obligation based on his or her take home pay is a mistake. Payments for monthly health insurance premiums, 401(k) contributions, and other payroll deductions not specified in the family code will be included for purposes of calculating one’s net monthly income. In addition to wages and salary, rental income, retirement and annuity income, disability, unemployment, and gifts are all considered income for purposes of calculating child support. Read More “Child Support and High-Income Earners”

Co-Parenting During The Holidays

Although it can be difficult any time of the year, co-parenting during the holidays can be particularly challenging for separated parents. Holidays are typically filled with family-based events during which most parents like to have the entire family together. However, if the spouses are separated it can unintentionally create frustration and anxiety for children that feel torn about spending time between two parents. Read More “Co-Parenting During The Holidays”

The Ultimate Guide To Myths And Misunderstandings About Prenups & Postnups

Who Really Needs a Prenup or Postnup?

Recently, a person in a contentious and expensive divorce told me they had no prenup because a lawyer said they didn’t need it. This person specifically asked about a prenup before marriage and a lawyer said it was unnecessary. I was shocked! I had no idea some attorneys still think that. Read More “The Ultimate Guide To Myths And Misunderstandings About Prenups & Postnups”