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McKinney, TX 75070

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Recent blog posts

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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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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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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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?

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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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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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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.
  2. Managing Negative Emotions – TURN DOWN THE VOLUME OR SWITCH THE CHANNEL. Choose to focus on WHY you feel the way you do and not WHAT you are feeling. When you focus on the WHY it allows for a “cool” processing while when you focus on the WHAT it yields a “hot” processing and can open the door to even more rumination.
  3. Staying Balanced: Savoring. – DO THE UNCOMMON AND SAVOR WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY. Generally speaking, things that make us happy, stop making us happy after some time (it is called “hedonic adaptation” or “the hedonic treadmill”). We are made happier by things that aren't commonplace. So yes, eating chocolate now and again as a treat will make you happier than it will when it is an everyday thing.
  4. Looking to the Future: Abstract Thinking – THINKING ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT IN ABSTRACT TERMS OPENS UP MORE POSSIBILITIES FOR ACTION than thinking concretely. During divorce, clients typically are very focused on simply getting through it than thinking about where they want to be next. So, if you miss companionship and sharing, instead of thinking concretely about an individual who might give you that (and how you might meet him or her), you think about companionship and sharing in abstract. This makes you realize that a sense of companionship can come from many situations (lunch with a friend, movie date, happy hour, etc.).
  5. Making Sense of the Experience: WRITING… OR MAYBE NOT… as sometimes going back and writing what emotions you may be experiencing during the divorce process may actually lead to more rumination. Some have found it beneficial to write in a stream of consciousness style focusing on their deepest emotions or in first or third person, exploring the breakdown of the marriage as a turning point in their lives and what they have learned from it. You may need to determine if this helps you or not.

At The Ramage Law Group, you are more than just a case to us. You are a client and a member of the family. We believe in making sure we leave you in a much better place than when you first came to us, and we will not stop until we get there. And we will get there!

When marriages break down, there is usually some resentment and anger. It's natural. Sometimes, however, the divorcing spouses go through a long period of rage and blame. For exes with children, that can lead to difficulty co-parenting.

Assuming that neither spouse is guilty of child abuse or neglect, however, you are going to have to work together on raising your children. You’ll need to be civil to each other at countless events involving your kids, ranging from parent night at school to weddings and grandchildren.

How can you build a productive co-parenting relationship when you weren’t able to maintain a positive marriage? It won’t be easy, but there are steps you can take to make it easier.

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Posted on in Divorce

We are often shocked to hear that someone we love and admire is getting a divorce. You thought this couple was the perfect pair—what went wrong? What issues could have destroyed their marriage?

There is no perfect marriage. Every couple faces problems. Many get through them, but others cannot come together as a couple and as a result, the marriage ends in divorce.

Indeed, it is all about how a couple acts toward each other. Kindness and empathy can help couples weather the toughest marital storms. When couples get defensive and hostile and want to constantly fight, problems do not resolve. In fact, they only get worse.

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Posted on in Divorce

During a divorce, you no doubt have numerous issues on your mind. Child custody, child support, maintenance, asset division, to name a few. One thing many people neglect, though, is finances. How will you support yourself after a divorce?

Child support and maintenance won’t pay all your expenses. If you currently aren’t working, now's the time to get a job. You need to pay bills, pay off debts and save up for college and other huge expenses.

It's not just about paying for a divorce; you’ll also need to fund your new life. Your new life will consist of just you (and kids, if you have them). Your spouse will no longer be contributing to your household budget, so it's up to you to get on a solid financial foot. Not sure where to start? Here are some tips to help.

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Most parents want what is best for their children. In a divorce, they may choose to share custody of the children so both parents are a part of the children's’ lives. But what if the other parent neglects the child due to a substance abuse issue?

Courts have the best interests of the children in mind when making custody decisions. Therefore, allegations of drug or alcohol abuse by either parent will be taken seriously. The court may order drug or alcohol testing or even temporarily halt visitation rights until the addicted parent enters and completes a recovery program.

Before the Divorce is Finalized

While the divorce is still in process, one parent can maybe claim that the other parent has a substance abuse issue. In some cases, these allegations are false. One or both parents may be asked to submit to drug and alcohol tests.

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When a couple has older children and decides that the marriage is broken, they may wait until the children have graduated from high school before filing for divorce. But even when divorce happens while the children are away at college, children are still emotionally affected by their parents’ split.

When a couple has children, there really is noright time to divorce. Going away to college can be scary enough, but having to deal with your family falling apart as well can make school even tougher. Even if the parents split up when the college student is young, the effects can carry on more than a decade later.

A study conducted by Texas A&M discovered that divorce is an environmental factor that can create various emotions. Some children are angry or devastated, while others may be happy that they no longer have to hear their parent's fight. Many people try to suppress their emotions and hope they will eventually go away, but the preferred route is to discuss your feelings with someone.

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Posted on in Special Education Law

Today is World Down Syndrome Day! The Ramage Law Group celebrated by wearing crazy and unique socks. Let's all spread the awareness throughout our individual communities on the uniqueness of individuals with Down syndrome.

The reality is that individuals with Down syndrome are some of the happiest individuals in the world. They touch others' lives in ways that no one can, and they teach others to take the time to smell the roses, count the stars, and feel the cool breeze in the air. These individuals live for the moment they are creating – they do not live in the past or worry about the future. They have a contagious smile and laughter that only makes you thankful to know them. More and more people's lives are touched by Down syndrome every day. By helping to raise awareness of Down syndrome you will be helping to change the perception of these individuals, help to create jobs, and helping to create a world where people with Down syndrome are fully included and accepted.

Please show your support, help raise awareness and wear funny, crazy and unique socks today!

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A family lawyer does much more than simply provide legal answers. Our lawyers explore a variety of different solutions to help you achieve your goals and secure your family's financial and emotional future and stability.

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