Payment of child support is a matter that the Texas Attorney General takes very seriously. The obligation that a person accepts with a new birth to provide support lasts while the child is growing up, and absence from the home where the child lives does not make a difference.
Enforcing the Law
Fairness and decency require both parents to take an active role in the life of a child by providing custodial care, financial and medical support, or a combination of all forms of support. To make sure that child support is provided as ordered, Texas law has strict enforcement measures, including:
- withholding of income from wages
- a legal judgment to obtain past due support payments
- access to income from tax refunds, winnings from a lottery, and benefits of unemployment insurance
- liens against financial holdings or real estate
- suspension of licenses
- issuance of contempt of court charges
- passport restrictions
The laws allow authorities to impose penalties to make a person comply with the law. Some measures may seem extreme, reflecting the importance of securing funds that ensure the welfare of a child. Wage garnishment has a history of effective collection of funds, but the methods now included in Texas law add more approaches that are highly successful as well.
The law is on your side when your child does not receive the support they need as ordered by the court. You can face a battle to get it, however, and an Arlington divorce attorney is your best ally.
As a single parent, you need a lawyer who can provide an aggressive approach to child support collection. The attorneys at the Law Offices of David Kohm know how to use the tools provided by Texas law to get the support that your children are entitled to receive. Your situation is not likely to improve until you take steps to initiate action. Call 817-204-0900 to schedule an appointment for aggressive representation—all first consultations are free.
Texas is one of the few states required to determine the issue of the disposition of fertilized, frozen embryos in a divorce situation. In a recent case, Roman v. Roman, the Texas Court of Appeals was asked to consider the parties rights to become a parent, the right not to become a parent, and whether an enforceable contract was possible regarding embryos not yet placed in a woman’s uterus. In the end, the Court found a binding and enforceable contract existed and apparently superseded the rights to become a parent.
A couple, Randy M. Roman and Augusta N. Roman, decided to wait two years to have children. However, when the time came, the couple was unsuccessful at conceiving on their own. There were several attempts by the couple at artificial insemination following, but after being unable to conceive in this way, the parties sought in vitro fertilization.
As a part of the process, ova were removed from Ms. Roman’s ovaries and fertilized with Mr. Roman’s sperm. The embryos were then frozen, awaiting in vitro insertion into Ms. Roman’s uterus.
However, before an embryo was place in Ms. Roman’s uterus, Mr. Roman sought divorce. During the divorce, the frozen embryos remained at the lab. Ms. Roman requested the embryo in the divorce proceedings, but Mr. Roman objected.
The problem with allowing Ms. Roman the frozen embryos was in a contract signed by the parties with their fertility doctor. It provided, among other things, that, “If we are divorced or either of us files for divorce while any of our frozen embryos are still in the program, we hereby authorize and direct, jointly and individually, that one of the following actions be taken: The frozen embryo(s) shall be discarded.”
Ms. Roman’s position was that if the embryos are discarded, it may be her last chance to bear children. Mr. Roman took the position, among others, that he did not wish to procreate outside of a marital relationship and that the contract was valid between the parties. Though Ms. Roman had agreed that Mr. Roman would not be recognized as the father, he felt that was not possible on either moral or legal grounds.
At the trial court level, the court sided with Ms. Roman, determining her right to become a parent entitled her to possession of the embryos. Mr. Roman appealed. The Texas Court of Appeals reversed the trial court and ruled the contract signed by the parties must be enforced and the Court did not have power to amend or disregard it. Therefore, the frozen embryos were to be destroyed.
The Basis for the Decision
The Court first considered that only six cases could be found relating to the issue of frozen embryos, and that in most of those case, a valid contract existed. It noted that the Supreme Court of Tennessee weighed the rights of the parties and the right of the wife to bear children vs. the husband’s right to not become a parent. It also noted that New York upheld a written agreement, while New Jersey would not enforce an oral agreement. In the New Jersey case, it was distinguished from the present case, in that the husband desired the embryos for future use with another woman.
It also cited Texas Gestational Agreement Statutes regarding parentage and recognized that they were not directly applicable to the Romans’ situation. However, the court did recognize a public policy in the State of Texas to permit an agreement for possession of frozen embryos by parties and for their disposition in the event of a contingency.
The Texas statutes cited by the Court played a pivotal role in its determination. Sometimes a court will refuse to enforce a contract on public policy grounds. However, in this case, it determined that the legislature set public policy, and creation of a contract in these situations was consistent with that policy.
Contract Law Applied
The Court found the following contract principles were present, thereby why the contract was enforceable:
- The contract was clear and unambiguous.
- There was a meeting of the minds between the parties.
- No coercion was present.
- Both parties were capable of entering into a contract.
Ms. Roman appealed the case to the Texas Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court, but both declined to hear the case. (When an appellate court refuses an appeal of a lower court, the lower court’s ruling stands.)
Due to the increased popularity of methods such as in vitro fertilization, it is unlikely that this will be the last time such an issue comes before a court. Different results may be expected, for example, if unfertilized eggs of a female or unused sperm of a male are at issue. If an oral contract is involved, the Court may rule differently. However, when a fertilized embryo is involved and the parties have a written, clearly worded, unambiguous contract, the contract will be enforced.
The Law Offices of David Kohm has assisted hundreds of single parents collect past due child support payments over the past two decades. A marriage or relationship may end, but the monetary costs of raising a child do not. Mortgage and rent, food, utilities, clothing, school expenses, and even medical costs remain. These costs make collecting child support a high priority for the single parent with child custody.
Texas determines the amount of child support by a percentage of the noncustodial parent’s income. In a very general sense, the noncustodial parent will pay between 20 and 40%, depending on the number of children involved.
Note: If child support has not been established, it is imperative for the custodial parent to obtain an order for support. If necessary, a paternity proceeding can be initiated.
If the custodial parent is not receiving child support on a regular basis, there are means of collecting the past due amount. In Texas, payments are past due if not paid within 30 days. As child support is normally a monthly obligation, any payment more than 30 days past due can trigger other collection methods. Hiring an experienced Arlington divorce attorney can help in this regard.
Among the means of collecting support include:
- A wage withholding order – this is a form of garnishment in which child support is taken from the other parent’s paycheck. Wage withholding orders are common for collection of child support.
- Garnishment of bank accounts or personal property – If the support obligor is not paying, seizure of funds in a financial account is possible.
- Interception of income tax refunds – both federal and state income tax refunds may be taken to pay past due amounts.
- Liens filed against real estate owned by the obligor
In extreme cases, a court may order the obligor to jail for contempt, as failure to pay is a violation of a court order.
A court will apply interest to past due amounts. If a parent has not established paternity, time may be important. If a person is presumed to be a parent, the custodial parent may only have 4 years to file a paternity petition. Contacting Attorney David Kohm or his associates at 817-204-0900 is a good first step at collecting the child support you need.
Dividing property during a divorce can be tricky because things are not always black and white. A great deal of property is acquired over the course of your marriage, and it can be nearly impossible to agree on who will keep individual items. There may also be intellectual property considerations that can become difficult to divide. The Law Offices of David Kohm can help you work through this difficult process, but here are a few tips on what you should expect.
What is Property?
Property is anything with a monetary or sentimental value. The obvious property to divide includes real estate, rental properties, vehicles, and investment accounts. However, you also need to consider retirement accounts, pension plans, and even pets.
There really is no limit to what is considered property, so it’s important to make a complete list of the items that matter the most to you, and an Arlington divorce attorney can work with you to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Understanding Separate Property
In Texas, some property is considered separate and is not up for division. This includes:
- items that were inherited by one spouse either before or during the marriage
- anything you brought into the marriage
- gifts received during the marriage
- personal-injury proceeds
In the case of gifts and inheritances, you may have to show documentation to prove that the asset falls into one of these categories.
The property that can be divided amicably between divorcing partners or through court decree is defined as marital property. Also referred to as community property, it includes everything that is acquired over the course of the marriage. Whether one spouse bought it with his or her own salary and is the only name listed on any legal title is not relevant. If it was purchased during the marriage, it is community property. The one exception may be gifts that are given to the other partner or received by one partner from outside properties.
The matter of property division during divorce can become tricky. When items are gifts, you have to prove that they are legally defined as such, and that can be troubling when there were no records attached to the gift.
An amicable settlement between partners is always preferred, but it isn’t always possible. Whether you are sorting out the property on your own or leaving it to the courts with a contested divorce, trust the Law Offices of David Kohm to help you. Call today at 817-204-0900 to schedule your free consultation.
One of the most difficult aspects of divorce is the need for courts to make a decision on child custody. As a parent, you have the ability to influence the court by your behavior and your attitudes. The attorneys at the Law Offices of David Kohm recommend that you consider mediation or evaluation to avoid leaving the final decision to a judge.
As you face one of the most important decisions in your life, you need the valued guidance of an Arlington divorce attorney who is an expert in family law and divorce law. The Law Offices of David Kohm offer you the services of an attorney who is a certified mediator to advise you on child custody issues. David Kohm is experienced in the management of contested divorce proceedings that often involve violence, felony convictions, adultery, and other difficult situations.
Influential Relationship Factors
When the decision on custody is left to the court, a judge takes numerous matters under consideration to decide the best outcome for each child. Your personal relationships are often used as a guide for the court’s decision, including:
- the way you communicate with your spouse regarding your offspring
- the way your children interact with both of you and with their brothers and sisters
- the quality and amount of time spent with the children prior to your separation
Influential Physical Factors
The court must take into account physical matters that weigh heavily on a final decision, such as the:
- number of children involved and the age of each
- safety of each child
- needs of each child
- stated preference of a child who is old enough to make a valid decision
- presence of a stable home environment
- absence of evidence of domestic violence
- evidence of a plan to provide quality education
- physical fitness of parents
- employment obligations
You share the court’s concern for the welfare of your children, and you want the best for them. Make an appointment with the Law Offices of David Kohm at 817-204-0900 today to make sure that you get expert guidance on a most important matter.
If you are involved in a child custody battle, you are probably feeling very overwhelmed. Your children are probably feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, just as much as you are. Divorces are never easy for any of the people that are involved, but there are thing that you can do to make it easier on your children. Below are some tips that will make it easier for your children to get through the divorce, courtesy of the Law Offices of David Kohm.
Let Your Children Know They Are Loved
Many children feel that they are unloved when they watch their parents go through a divorce. That’s why you always want to make sure that your children know they are loved by both you and your spouse, despite all of the problems the two of you are currently experiencing.
In addition, many children believe that they are the reason for their parents’ divorce. You should let your children know that the separation is not their fault. Sometimes just once isn’t enough—keep reminding them to make sure they understand.
Be Honest with Your Children
Many parents feel the need to hide things from their children. However, that’s something you should never do. Children are very inquisitive and can sense when something isn’t right. Be honest with your children when they ask you questions pertaining to the divorce.
Some parents make the mistake of doing all the talking, but it’s important to remember that conversations are two-sided. Give you children a chance to express their feelings to you candidly. They may be experiencing a whirlwind of emotions and keeping those feelings bottled up inside, which is never healthy, for children or otherwise.
Don’t Speak Badly About Your Spouse
You may hate your spouse’s guts right now, but you should never express that hatred in front of your children. It’s important to remember that your former spouse is still your children’s mother or father, and that despite everything, you’re all still a family. Revealing your strong feelings about your divorce will only cause divisions in your children, adding to their confusion and stress.
Get the Support You Need
Your children aren’t the only one going through a stressful time—you are, too. Texas divorce law can be difficult to understand, but you can get help and support by contacting the Law Offices of David Kohm. Call 817-204-0900 to speak with an Arlington divorce attorney.
Whether you are facing an uncontested or contested divorce, the Law Offices of David Kohm may be able to assist you to ensure your rights are fully protected.
An uncontested divorce is a divorce in which both parties agree to the terms of the divorce and there is nothing in dispute. The spouse against whom the divorce is filed usually signs a Waiver of Service and the spouse filing the divorce files the Waiver of Service with the Court. There is a 60 day waiting period from the time the divorce is filed with the court and both parties sign an Agreed Divorce Decree. After the 60 day waiting period is over, one party presents the Agreed Divorce Decree to the judge and the judge is able to grant the divorce.
Using the services of the Arlington divorce attorney David Kohm ensures that all of the requirements are met for the divorce to be granted by the judge.
A non-agreed, or contested, divorce is a divorce in which there is at least one issue that the parties are in dispute about. One of the parties will file the divorce; the other party must usually be served because he or she is not willing to sign a Waiver of Service. The other party may file an answer with the court once he or she is served.
Using the services of the attorneys at the Law Offices of David Kohm will protect your rights whether you are the party filing the divorce or the party against whom the divorce is filed.
Typically, once an answer has been filed, the parties will spend the next several months attempting to negotiate a settlement and reach an agreement for the divorce decree. Sometimes, the court can order the parties into a mediation. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, the court can allow a trial on the issues that are in dispute in order for the judge to make a ruling on the issues.
Call David Kohm Today
Protect yourself and contact the Law Offices of David Kohm at 817-204-0900 for more assistance with your divorce today.
For individuals about to enter into marriage, it is important to think about the future. No one thinks that their marriage will end in divorce, though almost half end up that way. For those about to take the dive, a prenuptial agreement can be an important protection. The attorneys at the Law Offices of David Kohm understand the difficulty associated with contested divorces. A good Arlington attorney will have seen how things can go wrong for people who fail to protect their assets. Signing a prenuptial agreement can ensure that a person’s most precious assets are out of the line of fire if divorce comes.
What is a Prenuptial Agreement?
Prior to entering a marriage, some people choose to agree on what will happen if the marriage fails. Couples who do not enter into an agreement often have a contested divorce. Under that arrangement, there will be a fight in the courts and in settlement talks over who gets what property. Agreements can sort out these things, splitting up the following important assets:
- Real property, including homes and land
- Monetary assets
- Investment assets
- Expensive jewelry and other personal property
In addition, a prenup agreement can help parties determine what will happen with custody rights if the marriage fails to last. These divorce fights can often turn ugly for people who fail to plan ahead.
How Does a Prenuptial Protect Assets?
Prenuptial contracts are binding on both parties if they are entered into legally. This means that a party with tremendous wealth can ensure that a divorce will not leave them hurting financially. In reality, both parties can benefit from the certainty that comes with these agreements. Any experienced Arlington attorney can attest that divorces are ugly and expensive without a pre-signed agreement. Neither party should have to go through that process. This is why it is so important to get in touch with a solid attorney before ever getting married. The Law Offices of David Kohm can help you draft a reliable agreement if you give them a call at 817-204-0900.
As the New Year approaches, many couples celebrate together. Unfortunately, some of those couples aren’t meant to be together for much longer. If your marriage appears to be at an end this holiday season, the New Year is an opportunity to give yourself hope for a better life. Contact the Law Offices of David Kohm to get started on your divorce case.
Texas Divorce Law
Texas is a community property state, which means that the divorce courts consider all the property either you or your spouse bought while married to belong equally to both of you. For example, houses, cars, and jewelry belong to both spouses even if the mortgage or loan paperwork was only in one spouse’s name.
There are some exceptions to this rule, and divorce courts also consider financial impact when making property division decisions. Your Arlington divorce attorney can help you understand how the division of marital property is likely to work in your case and come up with a strategy to help you ensure your property is divided fairly.
Child Custody Issues
Child custody is one of the most difficult aspects of divorce. If you and your spouse had children together, the divorce courts will have to decide who gets custody of the children, how much visitation the other parent is entitled to, and how much child support each parent must pay.
In Texas divorce law, courts decide this based on the standard of the “best interests of the children.” This means that the court will grant custody, visitation, and child support orders based on what it believes is best for your children. In many cases, children are placed with their mothers, but that doesn’t have to happen. Your attorney can help you create a fair custody agreement with your former spouse.
While divorce isn’t easy, it doesn’t have to be impossible. With the right representation, you can get a fair outcome to your divorce case. Please contact the Law Offices of David Kohm at 817-204-0900 to schedule a consultation.
Opening your home to an adopted child, especially when the holiday season approaches, is a loving thing to do. A child needs a home that is safe and secure, and you have one that you want to share. The adoption process is not an easy one, but the guidance of an Arlington adoption lawyer gives you the best chance for a good outcome. The attorneys at the Law Offices of David Kohm are authorities on family law and adoption.
Success Guided by Experience
The matching of a child who needs a home with a family that wants to provide one is a wonderful combination that helps everyone. The holiday season reminds families of the importance of shared bonds. An action by the court that puts a child in your home legally is worth whatever effort it takes.
Some adoptions are easy, and you can hope that yours is one of them. Others have complexities that result from unique aspects of each situation. Your attorney works with adoption cases like yours every day, and you can count on David Kohm to represent your interests superbly.
Eligibility for Adoption
Texas adoption law contains numerous laws that are related to the process, creating a legal maze that is understood only by lawyers. When you consult with the attorneys at the Law Offices of David Kohm, you get a full understanding of Texas adoption law. Some of the requirements for adoption include some or all of the following:
- the child has only one lawful guardian as a result of one parent ending his or her legal rights to the child
- the child must have reached age two, unless both parents have signed away their legal rights to the child
- the child can have eligible adoption status only one time
In consultation with your Arlington adoption lawyer, you can learn what is required of you as an adoptive parent. There are home inspections, evaluations and investigations that prove your worthy status. Your attorney can provide valuable guidance as you approach the adoption process during the holiday season. Call the Law Offices of David Kohm at 817-204-0900 to embark on a wonderful journey.