Jeremy J. Poet Law Firm, PLLC Family Law and Criminal Defense Lawyer Sherman TX | Grayson County 2023-10-03T19:33:15Z http://www.poetlaw.com/feed/atom/ WordPress On Behalf of Jeremy J. Poet Law Firm, PLLC <![CDATA[Is divorce different if one spouse is in the military?]]> http://www.poetlaw.com/?p=47119 2023-09-28T06:19:21Z 2023-10-03T19:33:15Z Military divorce presents technical requirements and considerations that civilians don't have to worry about.

State law

The legal process of divorce is generally controlled by the law of the state where the spouses live. This means if both spouses live in Texas, they must follow the laws of Texas when resolving issues in property division, child custody and child support. This can create some difficulties for military members who are stationed in other states or deployed overseas.

Military benefits

Retirement accounts are difficult to divide in all kinds of divorces, and military divorces are no exception. But military personnel and their spouses depend on their military benefits throughout their lives. In some cases, this extends even to their housing. Generally, both spouses can keep their health care, commissary and exchange benefits until the divorce is finalized. However, in many cases they will lose their military family housing 30 days after they begin living separately. In some cases, the military will pay for the moving expenses of a non-military spouse who has been living overseas with a military spouse.

Other benefits

Many nonmilitary spouses receive their health care benefits through the Tricare program. They lose these benefits in divorce, but have the option to continue coverage for up to 36 months by paying for it. In cases involving marriages of long duration, spouses may continue to receive benefits under the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act. To learn how the law will apply to the facts of a specific case, it's best to consult with professionals who are familiar with military divorce.

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On Behalf of Jeremy J. Poet Law Firm, PLLC <![CDATA[Dividing your property during a divorce in Texas]]> http://www.poetlaw.com/?p=47113 2023-08-04T11:54:27Z 2023-08-09T11:54:18Z Which type of property will be divided in my divorce? The other type of property, which is subject to division, is community property. It is important to remember here that not only will community property be divided but community debts will also be divided. Toward the end of the divorce process, the judge will divide your community property and debt by signing the final decree. This document will:
  • List the community property that each spouse will retain. If a property cannot be divided easily, the judge will order you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse to sell that property and split the money from the sale.
  • List each of your separate properties (if applicable).
  • List each of your debts.
  • Order that the community property benefits for retirement of each spouse are either awarded (totally) to the spouse who earned the benefits or order that the spouses divide the retirement benefits between them.

Exactly what is considered community property and debt?

Community property is all property that you and your spouse own together at the time of your divorce. The only property that is not included is property that you can prove belonged to one of you at the time when you got married and thus will continue to be considered separate property. Some examples of community property are real estate (a house or land), cars, money, a business, retirement account(s), furniture and other items that you purchased together as a couple. The same concept applies to community debt. It is debt that you acquired together during the time that you were married.

Dividing community property in Texas

In Texas, all community property must be divided between the two spouses in the divorce "in a manner that the court deems just and right." That means the property will be divided fairly, not necessarily in a 50/50 split. It is important that you protect your rights in such a situation. Having the proper legal support will help you to take the right steps to ensure that your interests are protected so that you can move on to a bright future.]]>
On Behalf of Jeremy J. Poet Law Firm, PLLC <![CDATA[Can the child support order deviate from the state guidelines?]]> http://www.poetlaw.com/?p=47112 2023-07-14T08:23:12Z 2023-07-19T08:22:47Z state law addresses potential deviations from the guidelines.

The child support guidelines might not suit every case

The court will make its determinations based on the best interests of the child. The guidelines are calculated to ensure that threshold is met, but there are times when it might not be applicable. The parent who wants to deviate from the guidelines must rebut the presumption that the they suit the child’s best interests. The amount must be just and appropriate based on the child’s needs. If, for example, the child has a disability that must be addressed, then the payments could be more than what the guidelines say. Other factors include the parents’ ability to contribute to the child’s upkeep and care. Some people are in a better financial state than others. If the custodial parent comes from wealth and has significant resources, then the support order might not be as much as it would be in a different landscape. The same is true for people who are of lesser means and might need more than what the guidelines indicate. The obligor could have access to significant sums through employment, property or other means. This too could mean that the payments will differ from what the guideline says. Other factors include child care; alimony; if there are extra payments for education; if either side derives extra benefits from an employer; debts; and other costs.

Qualified assistance can help with achieving family law goals

Texans undoubtedly want the best for their children, but the child support guidelines do not always suit every situation. Regardless of whether it is the obligor who wants a deviation or the custodial parent who is asking for it, it is imperative to have assistance that can assess the situation and take the necessary steps to try and reach the desired objective. Having assistance that will listen intently to a person’s concerns and goals can make a major difference in feeling comfortable and moving forward in the case. Perhaps there are openings to negotiate with the other party. Or there are viable strategies for the child support order to differ from what the guidelines say. Having guidance from professionals who can craft custom solutions using forward-thinking strategies can be crucial to achieving a successful result. This is particularly true with people who are in the younger range and have school-age children. No matter the situation, there are options and having comprehensive help from the start can be useful in reaching a positive result.  ]]>
On Behalf of Jeremy J. Poet Law Firm, PLLC <![CDATA[Protecting your assets in a divorce]]> http://www.poetlaw.com/?p=47111 2023-06-13T07:10:20Z 2023-06-16T14:24:28Z protect your assets during divorce. With an early start and careful planning, you can survive your divorce with your finances intact, enabling you to move forward with a sense of security.

Be realistic

Recognize that a divorce will likely affect your finances. Almost everyone comes out of a divorce with less financial stability than before. Accepting this reality can help you focus on making the right decisions to get you back on your feet and work toward rebuilding your financial life.

Identify your assets and debts

You might worry that you do not have much to begin with and fear losing everything, but chances are, you have more than you think. Before your divorce starts, make a list of your assets and debts and obtain accurate values for each. You will need this when negotiating property division with your spouse and having a big picture view of what you have can give you an idea of what your financial needs will be post-divorce.

Marital and separate property

Review this list and label each asset and debt as marital property and separate property. Marital property is property acquired during your marriage, while separate property is property acquired before your marriage, with some exceptions. If you are unsure of how to label a piece of property, it might help to speak with a professional.

Create an emergency fund

Put some money aside in a separate account as an emergency fund. You can do this before your divorce starts or after it is filed, but do not hide this money from your spouse. While you do not have to give your spouse access to the money, you can face legal penalties for hiding money or assets in your divorce. This money should go on to your “big picture” list of assets and debts.

Close joint accounts

Open new bank accounts in your own name and close joint accounts with your spouse. This can save you the stress of worrying about your spouse draining the accounts and leaving you without money. When you begin the property division process, this money will likely go to you, since it is in your account, but it must still be considered as part of the overall property division.

Tax considerations

Do not forget about the potential tax consequences of any assets you receive. You might negotiate an equitable property division but find that you must pay tax on the assets you received. A common example involves a 401(k) or other retirement accounts. You could receive a portion of your spouse’s 401(k), but you will likely be taxed on that portion. Make sure your ultimate property division agreement or order takes any taxes into consideration. These steps can set you on the right path to financial security after your divorce. Receiving advice on your specific situation can also help.]]>
On Behalf of Jeremy J. Poet Law Firm, PLLC <![CDATA[Is your child being subjected to parental alienation?]]> http://www.poetlaw.com/?p=47109 2023-05-09T10:44:10Z 2023-05-12T10:43:27Z parental alienation.

Why does parental alienation occur?

There are several reasons. In some cases, the manipulating parent wants to use the damage they cause as a justification to further restrict the other parent’s access to the child. For example, a manipulating parent may lead the child to believe that the other parent is a liar, which then causes the child to distrust the other parent. This lack of trust creates friction and disagreement between the child and the other parent. The manipulating parent then uses this contention to go to court to argue that a more restrictive parenting time arrangement is in the child’s best interests. In other instances, the manipulating parent is simply being vindictive. They’ve been hurt at some point, and now they want to use the child to get back at the other parent. Of course, the child doesn’t detect this, and they instead act on information that they believe to be true.

How does alienation occur?

An alienating parent can utilize a number of techniques to manipulate their child. Here are just some of the most commonly utilized strategies:
  • Telling the child intimate details about the parents’ failed marriage
  • Lying to the child about statements that the other parent has made
  • Withholding information from the other parent about important information about the child, such as medical appointments and diagnoses as well as extracurricular activities
  • Fabricating stories about egregious actions taken by the other parent, including even going so far as to lie about child abuse or neglect that occurred in the past.
  • Preventing the other parent from having contact with the child, whether through canceled visitation or refusal to allow phone communication
There may be other creative ways that a parent may engage in manipulation, so make sure that you’re being observant and taking action if you believe that parental alienation is occurring.

What can you do if you think that your child is being subjected to parental alienation?

Fortunately, there’s a lot that you can do. Start taking notes of every event that you think might be indicative of alienating behavior. Also, ask your child questions about their behavior to try to get to the root cause. Also, be on the lookout for these signs of alienation to determine if you need help from an expert or a mental health professional:
  • Your child suddenly starts criticizing you without proper justification
  • That criticism extends to other members of your family
  • The child shows unwavering support for the other parent
  • The child believes in falsehoods
  • Your child doesn’t have any sense of guilt over the way they treat you
  • Your child uses language that isn’t in line with their age when making statements against you
  • The other parent blames you for everything
  • The other parent talks badly about you to the child

Do you need legal help?

If you suspect that alienation is occurring, then you may need to take legal action. After all, modifying your existing custody arrangement might be the only way for you to bring this alienation to a stop. If you’d like to learn more about how to go about doing that, then now may be the best time for you to research the process and what it can do for you and your child.]]>
On Behalf of Jeremy J. Poet Law Firm, PLLC <![CDATA[Expungement and non-disclosure under Texas law]]> http://www.poetlaw.com/?p=47024 2023-04-04T05:12:22Z 2023-04-07T05:06:50Z expunction, oftentimes referred to as expungement, and non-disclosure. Each of these avenues can protect you from the harmful effects of your criminal record, but they aren’t protections that are automatically handed out. Therefore, let’s take a look at each and what you can do to position yourself to successfully seeking them out.

Expunction under Texas law

Expunction is the removal of your criminal history, in its entirety, from all public records. Not even law enforcement officers and prosecutors can see your history if it’s been expunged. In other words, if your successfully expunge your record, then it’s like the conviction never happened in the first place. Although this is a powerful way to reclaim your life, it’s limited to an extent in that only certain criminal records can be expunged. Under Texas law, only those who fit into the following categories may be able to have their criminal records expunged:
  • Those who were arrested but never charged
  • The conviction was obtained through a plea bargain
  • A conviction was overturned on appeal
  • A deferred adjudication was issued for a Class C misdemeanor
So, if you’ve been convicted of a Class A or B misdemeanor or a felony, then you can’t have your record expunged.

Non-disclosure under Texas law

This is where non-disclosure comes in. If you were convicted of a more serious offense, then non-disclosure may be your only option. Here, your records are removed from public view, but they’re still observable to law enforcement and prosecutors. So, even though this is a more limited protection, it can still enhance your ability to secure employment and housing. In order to successfully secure an order of non-disclosure, though, you’ll have to demonstrate that you meet certain requirements. This includes that you haven’t previously been convicted of a serious crime like child endangerment, stalking, family violence, kidnapping, or a sex offense requiring registration as a sex offender. You’ll also need to gather relevant documents in preparation for submission to the court. This includes charging documents and an order showing that you’ve completed your probation and abided by other penalties imposed upon you. In addition, you'd want to be ready to argue why it’s in the best interest of justice for your record to be sealed. These are probably going to be subjective arguments, so think through your circumstances and how you can articulate that sealing your record is fair.

Do you want help dealing with your criminal record?

Successfully expunging or sealing your record can change the trajectory of your future. But if you’re ill prepared as you file your request or go into your court hearing on these matters, then you might find yourself less likely to succeed. That’s why it might be wise for you to have an advocate on your side as you navigate your request. An attorney who is experienced in handling these matters can give you the advice and guidance that you need to make the decisions that are right for you. If you’d like to learn more about what that representation would look like, please consider reaching out to an experienced criminal defense firm like ours for more information.  ]]>
On Behalf of Jeremy J. Poet Law Firm, PLLC <![CDATA[Constitutional violations serve as defense against DWI charges]]> http://www.poetlaw.com/?p=47023 2023-03-09T17:46:54Z 2023-03-13T16:46:25Z Violation of your Constitutional rights The United States Constitution grants you certain rights, that no one, not even law enforcement, can take away from you. Your attorney may discover that your Fourth, Fifth, and/or Sixth Amendment rights were violated when you were arrested and charged with a DWI.
  • Fourth Amendment: The Fourth Amendment protects you from unlawful searches and seizures. A police officer may have violated your Fourth Amendment rights if they stop and/or search your vehicle for no reason. Under the Fourth Amendment, police officers must have reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle and probable cause to arrest you or search your vehicle.
  • Fifth Amendment: The Fifth Amendment protects you from self-incrimination. If you have been arrested and taken into custody, an officer must read you your Miranda rights. The officer must tell you that you have the right to remain silent, anything you say may be used against you in court, you have the right to an attorney and if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you. An officer may not interrogate you without reading you your rights and may not continue to question you if you request to speak to an attorney.
  • Sixth Amendment: The Sixth Amendment protects your right to a speedy trial and assistance of counsel. The state must bring the accused to trial in a timely manner and you must be given the right to cross-examine witnesses, police, and anyone else testifying against you.
If your Constitutional rights have been violated, your attorney can file for the suppression of any evidence against you that was collected because of that violation. Without this evidence, the charges against you may be reduced or dismissed.]]>
On Behalf of Jeremy J. Poet Law Firm, PLLC <![CDATA[Is there a way to get out of your prenuptial agreement?]]> http://www.poetlaw.com/?p=47022 2023-02-21T10:54:36Z 2023-02-24T10:53:21Z marriage dissolution is complete. Facing this reality can be extraordinarily stressful, but before you sit back and accept that you’re tied to the agreement, you should carefully analyze the document and the circumstances surrounding its signing to see if there’s a way to escape the agreement. If you’re successful in doing so, you might obtain the long-term financial stability that you deserve.

How can you challenge the validity of a prenuptial agreement?

Fortunately, you have a lot of options here. These are just some of the ways that you may be able to have your prenuptial agreement deemed invalid:
  • Show that the agreement was never reduced to writing: In order to be legally binding, your prenuptial agreement has to be put in writing. Verbal promises probably aren’t going to hold in court.
  • Demonstrate coercion: If you were pressured or threatened in some fashion as a way to get you to sign off on a prenuptial agreement, your execution of the document in question was illegally obtained. So, make sure you consider the circumstances surrounding the creation and signing of the document and what your spouse said to you at the time.
  • Implicate time constraints: A prenuptial agreement carries a lot of weight. Therefore, you should have ample time to consider its terms before signing off on it. If you were given a limited amount of time to agree to it, you might be able to successfully argue that the agreement should be deemed invalid due to lack of consideration.
  • Show that certain provisions are illegal: Even if you can’t invalidate the entire prenuptial agreement, you may be able to bounce several of its provisions if you can demonstrate that they were illegal. For example, a prenuptial agreement can’t give away child support and visitation rights that would otherwise be obtained through divorce proceedings.
  • Illustrate how you relied on false information: Prenuptial agreements are supposed to be founded on honesty and trust. But if your spouse lied to you about their assets and/or their debts, which you relied on to make the decision to sign a prenuptial agreement, you have a strong chance of showing that your consent to the agreement was fraudulently obtained and the agreement is, therefore, void.
  • Demonstrate extreme unfairness: Even if a prenuptial agreement is legally executed, a court may find it unenforceable if the court deems it so one sided that it is fundamentally unfair. So, as you’re looking over your prenuptial agreement, think of ways that you can show that it more fully protects your spouse than it does you.

Be ready to fight for the fair outcome that’s right for you

The outcome of your prenuptial agreement dispute can have long-lasting implications. That’s why if this is an issue in your divorce, you should craft a well thought out legal strategy aimed at the legal intricacies involved in your case. An experienced attorney may be able to help you do this so that you’re adequately fighting for what you deserve out of your divorce. But the burden is on you to be proactive in initiating this fight, which might start with choosing a legal ally to have in your corner.]]>
On Behalf of Jeremy J. Poet Law Firm, PLLC <![CDATA[Five dangers of DIY divorce]]> http://www.poetlaw.com/?p=47021 2023-01-11T11:20:38Z 2023-01-16T11:19:40Z Why do people try to navigate divorce on their own? There are several reasons why individuals think that it’s a good idea to pursue marriage dissolution on their own. Some think it will save them time and money, while others think that taking a DIY approach will give them more control over the process. However, these perceptions are often inaccurate, and there are usually other dangers lurking out there for those who choose to take this path toward divorce.

The risks of DIY divorce

Pursuing marriage dissolution on your own is dangerous. Here are just a few reasons why:
  1. You may not know how to identify hidden assets: You should be entitled to your half of the marital estate. But you can only achieve this outcome if you’ve included all assets in the property division process. If your spouse is hiding assets from you and you don’t realize it, you can lose out on a significant amount of wealth. An attorney who is experienced in this area of the law, though, will be able to help you analyze the marital estate to ensure that you’re protecting your interests.
  2. You might misunderstand the best interests analysis: If you and your spouse can’t agree on a custody arrangement, the court is ultimately going to decide what it should look like based on your child’s best interests. This is a comprehensive analysis that takes a number of factors into account. But if you don’t understand those factors, you may not understand how you can argue for a custody arrangement that you think is best for your kid. By acquiescing to what your spouse wants, you could be putting your relationship with your child at risk or even putting your child’s well-being on the line.
  3. You might gloss over important information: If you want to achieve the best outcome possible in your divorce, you need to know which information is important and which issues need to be addressed. An attorney who is well-versed in this area of the law can help you identify that key information and develop strategies to address critical issues in your marriage dissolution.
  4. DIY divorce can be more costly: Given that you may be short changed in the property division process if you try to go it alone, a DIY divorce can actually end up being more costly.
  5. A DIY approach can be more stressful: Divorce is an emotional process, and the tension involved can be magnified by the legal issues at stake. By having an attorney on your side, you create a buffer between you and your spouse, and your communications can be filtered through a legal lens. This can reduce conflict and lead to more expeditious resolution of your divorce.

Do you want to learn more about what an attorney can do for you?

If you’re heading toward divorce, you want to position yourself as strongly as possible. If you want to know how an attorney can help you do that and increase your chances of living the post-divorce life that you want, now is the time to think about reaching out to a legal team that you think is right for you.]]>
On Behalf of Jeremy J. Poet Law Firm, PLLC <![CDATA[Realities surrounding alcohol use]]> http://www.poetlaw.com/?p=47020 2022-12-30T02:02:47Z 2022-12-30T02:02:47Z affect blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

Common misconceptions

There are particular techniques that will lessen the effects of a hangover. However, the only proven method is stopping drinking and waiting or going to sleep. In the end, improving alertness does not mean alcohol has left the system. Alcohol impairs judgment and coordination. At the same time, misconceptions surround it being a stimulant when it is actually a depressant, not a stimulant. Drinking sedates parts of the brain that control judgment, self-control, and inhibitions. Excitable, if not violent behavior could be the outcome.

Getting behind the wheel

The decision to drive after drinking carries serious consequences if a driver’s BAC is 0.08 or more. For commercial drivers, the outcome can be catastrophic and career-ending. Finding other ways to get home can prevent future problems. People make mistakes that can result in legal problems. The flashing lights reflecting in the mirror are the first indication of trouble. Those who are arrested for DUI should know that a conviction is not automatic. Help from a criminal defense attorney skilled in this complex and ever-changing area of the law can make a significant difference.]]>