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Recent Blog Posts

What Are Fathers’ Rights? Aren’t Both Parents’ Rights The Same?

 Posted on April 01, 2019 in Fathers’ Rights

The Fathers’ Rights movement involves a large array of different groups. On the whole, however, the movement fights for more equal child custody (conservatorship, possession and access) rights for fathers.

In the U.S., the movement arose in the 1960s and 1970s, after divorce rates began rising dramatically. At that time, many courts operated on the presumption that it was in children's best interest to live primarily with their mothers. As a result, mothers got the large majority of the available time with their kids, while fathers were often relegated to “visitor” status.

Many divorcing men found themselves responsible for large alimony and child support payments, even though they had little say over their children's upbringing and got to spend only a few days a month with their kids.

Over time, many states passed laws to remove any presumption that mothers should be given primary custody. Now, courts try to make their parenting orders in the best interest of the children.

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Spring Break is Here! Now It's Time to Plan for Summer!

 Posted on April 01, 2019 in Child Custody

Are you enjoying Spring Break with your children? Spring and Summer give parents time to reconnect and bond with their children, especially after divorce. If you share custody of your children, chances are you need to begin planning for your summer possession periods.

Where to Start?

The first place to start is your most recent custody order, whether it is your divorce decree or an order modifying your divorce decree. First, weekend possession continues during the summer, except when each parent is enjoying extended visitation with the children. If you have a Texas Standard Possession Order and are the non-custodial parent, you should have given notice to the other parent of a thirty-day period in which you plan to exercise summer possession of your children. If you failed to give notice, no need to worry. Your summer possession period defaults to the month of July. The custodial parent may then take a weekend from your extended summer visitation period by notifying you on or before April 15 of his desired weekend. Additionally, the custodial parent may also designate a weekend that is outside of your summer visitation during which you may not exercise visitation, so long as it does not interfere with Father's Day weekend or your designated summer possession.

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Is It Time For A Change?

 Posted on April 01, 2019 in Divorce

When you divorced, you probably did not anticipate all the possibilities that could make a change in custody necessary. Like many parents, you may have assumed that once the Judge signed your divorce decree, custody and visitation were set in stone. However, sometimes arrangements become unsuitable for the parents and the children. It is possible to modify custody orders in Texas, so you do not need to feel stuck with an unworkable order. However, there are conditions that must be met before the Court can modify your existing arrangement.

Change in Custody

The term “custody” is commonly used to describe the child's primary residence. In other words, which parent establishes the child's primary residence. If a parent wants to change that custody arrangement, he must show a material and substantial change in circumstances of a parent or a child, and that the requested change is in the child's best interest. When is there a material and substantial change? It depends on the facts, and often the timing of the request is critical.

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Thinking Ahead With Custody Battles

 Posted on April 01, 2019 in Child Custody

Custody battles can drain your soul. They can be exhausting. It is inevitable that parents want to give in on issues just to buy some peace and to get the pain to stop. But just like a band-aid falls off over time, exposing the wound, the temporary fix to your custody issue may eventually no longer work, revealing the same problem it was meant to stop. This is why we advise our clients to think ahead. And if you can’t think ahead, let your attorney think ahead for you and explain what life may look like under the temporary fix – 1, 2, 3 years down the road. There are three areas where thinking ahead may stop you from making a poor decision that could affect your child's future.

Child Support

A parent involved in a bitter custody fight wants the pain to stop. She is tempted to give in to her husband's suggestion that he reimburse her for reasonable expenses instead of paying child support. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, look into the future when that spouse questions why the other parent bought a particular pair of shoes from Nordstrom's rather than WalMart. Or questions the brand of milk she purchased for the children? What is reasonable is left to the reimbursing parent's discretion. A parent who agrees to waive child support, or who accepts child support below the state guidelines, should be careful. Once you have agreed to no support, you may not be able to modify support in the future. Texas law requires a material and substantial change in circumstances of a conservator or a child before an order may be modified. A party's change in income, standing alone, may not be sufficient to allow the court to modify the prior child support order once you have already agreed to accept below guideline support. Be careful and think ahead!

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Going to Court with a Personality Disorder

 Posted on April 01, 2019 in High Conflict Family Law

Did that really happen? Did she really say that? Did he just deny telling me he wanted a divorce? Am I crazy? Why is she asking me to stay when she told me to leave? If you are married to, or in a co-parenting relationship with, someone with Borderline Personality Disorder or a Narcissist, you have asked these or similar questions many times. Unfortunately, the family court system unintentionally fuels the soul for certain personalities that thrive on conflict and it can make divorce or co-parenting very difficult. What do you do when you are engaged in a court battle with someone who has a personality disorder?

Knowledge is Power

First, arm yourself with knowledge – knowledge about your spouse, the nature of her mental illness, and how to avoid engaging in conflict. There are many books about divorce and personality disorders. Get one and read it. splitting by Bill Eddy or Stop Walking on Eggshells by Randi Kreger are good resources. Make sure your attorney has a good understanding of personality disorders, as well. The handling of these cases requires different skills and knowledge from what is required of a typical divorce.

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Divorce And Your Home. Why Not To List Your House Until You Have Met With A Divorce Attorney.

 Posted on March 01, 2019 in Divorce

Spring is on its way! Most of us get restless in the Spring. We think of projects we have put off. We clean out closets and the garage. Spring cleaning consumes some of us. What if your Spring includes a planned divorce or move? There are some things you should consider before making decisions about what to do with the house, typically the most valuable marital asset.

Perhaps you are planning to divorce and are on friendly terms with your soon-to-be former spouse. Perhaps you are thinking that you will place the house on the market before you hire an attorney and go ahead and split the proceeds 50-50. At first blush this may make sense. After all, Spring seems to be the right time to sell a house in the Frisco, Allen and McKinney areas. But, be careful. This may or may or may not make the most sense for you in your divorce.

The first question you should ask is when was the residence purchased? If it was before the marriage, it will be the separate property of the spouse who purchased it, even if there has been a refinance after the marriage. There may be reimbursement claims to the community estate for improvements made to the separate property during the marriage. If the house was purchased during the marriage, and it makes sense to sell the property, there may be a reason not to divide the proceeds equally. The law in the State of Texas does not presume or require a 50-50 division upon divorce. Rather, it must be equitable. An equitable division takes into consideration many other factors, such as the nature of all the assets to be divided. Each asset does not necessarily get divided. Rather, it is the entire value of the estate that is divided.

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What to Look For If You Suspect Your Spouse Is Hiding Money

 Posted on March 01, 2019 in High Conflict Family Law

If you’re involved in a high-conflict divorce, there is a fair chance your ex will try to conceal income or assets in order to reduce their obligations.

If you suspect this could be happening, discuss your concerns with your divorce attorney. They can review your finances for evidence of suspicious activity and bring in a financial expert, such as a forensic accountant, if necessary.

What should you look for if you suspect hidden money?

It may be common for one spouse to handle the finances, but an acrimonious divorce is not the time to be in the dark. If you are unfamiliar with your financial picture, familiarize yourself now. Get copies of a few years’ worth of tax returns and their underlying documents. If you don’t understand them, get help from your divorce attorney or another appropriate professional.

You should see all of your income and your spouse's income — including tip income — listed appropriately on your income tax return.

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What Are The Consequences of Lying in a Child Custody Hearing?

 Posted on March 01, 2019 in Child Custody

Especially in a high-conflict divorce, it sometimes seems necessary to do whatever it takes to get conservatorship (custody) of your kids. That might include exaggerating the frequency of your caregiving, for example, to present a more favorable picture to the court. It could also involve making false statements about the other parent's caregiving — or even fabricating abuse or neglect allegations.

Don’t do it. There is a very good chance you will be caught, and doing it could bring about just the consequences you most fear — less parenting time for you and more for your ex.

In Texas, child custody is called “conservatorship,” and the order dividing time between the parents is called a standard possession order. What other states call “visitation,” Texas calls “possession and access to a child.” In the large majority of cases, both parents get some time in possession of the child. They may also receive joint managing conservatorship, which essentially means sharing the authority to make significant decisions about the child's life.

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Feeling The Need To Change Your Custody Agreement Now That Spring Break Has Passed? Now Is The Time With Summer Fast Approaching!

 Posted on March 01, 2019 in Child Custody

Spring and Summer give parents time to reconnect and bond with their children, especially after divorce. If you share custody of your children, chances are you need to begin planning for your summer possession periods. At The Ramage Law Group, we have an office in Frisco and McKinney, Texas staffed with child custody attorneys working with several clients on this very matter due to a lack of shared time over the recent holiday. Maybe it is time for you to also review your current order and fight for more time?

Where to Start?

The first place to start is your most recent custody order, whether it is your divorce decree or an order modifying your divorce decree. First, weekend possession continues during the summer, except when each parent is enjoying extended visitation with the children. If you have a Texas Standard Possession Order and are the non-custodial parent, you will need to give notice to the other parent of a thirty-day period in which you plan to exercise summer possession of your children. If you fail to give notice, your summer possession period defaults to the month of July. The custodial parent may then take a weekend from your extended summer visitation period by notifying you on or before April 15 of his desired weekend. Additionally, the custodial parent may also designate a weekend that is outside of your summer visitation during which you may not exercise visitation, so long as it does not interfere with Father's Day weekend of a party's designated summer possession.

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5 Coping Strategies When Starting the Divorce Process:

 Posted on March 01, 2019 in Divorce

The Ramage Law Group has 27+ years of experience in helping families in the McKinney, Frisco, Plano, Allen, and surround areas specifically in Family Law and Divorce. We have found that although some coping strategies are great in theory, they do not always work effectively in practice.

We conduct client feedback throughout the entire divorce process as we understand how difficult this process can be while filled with such uncertainty and often agony that we have created 5 Coping Strategies that seem to work based off the feedback from our clients. Please feel free to try these yourself or perhaps share with a loved one who is going through the very process.

  1. Rumination – STOP THE LOOP IN YOUR HEAD by simply addressing it head on. Imagining the worst possible outcome and all that it implies actually stops the ruminating (usually coupled with discussions with a therapist) as now it becomes something we can tackle and deal with. Rumination is the repetitive and intrusive thoughts that the brain unconsciously searches for and results in that endless loop of rumination that preoccupies us during times of stress, sapping our emotional and cognitive energy.

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