Chapter 13 and the New “Conduit” Program in North Texas

Let’s Save Your Home If you are reading this, you likely live in the Northern District of Texas – in the DFW Metroplex – and may be searching for a way to save your home from foreclosure. My home, too, is by far, my most prized asset; and it isn't just about value; it's psychological: "There is no place like home." If you are like me, your home means everything to you and your family. It's where you've raised your children, where you find your most peaceful rest, where you work on your hobbies, and so much more. Falling behind on your mortgage payments - due to job loss, illness, divorce, et cetera -- is nothing short of frightening. Chapter 13 is a way to resolve this problem. Indeed, thousands of homeowners in the Northern District of Texas seek Chapter 13 protection each year. What's more, thousands of homeowners here emerge from their Chapter 13 reorganizations back on track – with their mortgage arrears satisfied and their ongoing monthly mortgage payments paid in full. … [Read more...]

Possession and Access

This month I want to talk about Possession and Access, what we more frequently call visitation. The law concerning Possession and Access is found in Texas Family Code Chapter 153 beginning at section 301. Much like child support, the "Standard Possession Schedule" is a GUIDELINE. It is the presumed minimum amount of visitation in the "best interest of the child." Just like child support the court can order more or less IF there is evidence before court indicating more or less that the Standard Possession Schedule is in the best interest of the child. Another thing that parties often overlook is what I believe to be the most important phrase of the entire Standard Possession Schedule (section 153.311) ...The parties may have possession of the child(ren) at times mutually agreed to in advance by the parties and, in the absence of mutual agreement, shall have possession of the child under the terms set out in the standard possession order. As a drafting tip in order to make it clearer … [Read more...]

INSURANCE 101

Insurance in our society has become a necessary evil. I use the word necessary because the law requires individuals to maintain certain types of insurance, including automobile liability insurance and health insurance. I use the word evil because: (1) it can be very expensive and (2) insurance can be very complicated. This article is intended to give you a basic knowledge of insurance as it may apply to your personal injury case. 1. Automobile Liability Insurance Every driver in the State of Texas is required to be covered by liability insurance. Liability insurance will pay any damages that are caused unintentionally by any person covered by the policy up to the stated policy limit. The minimum required policy limit in Texas is 30/60 or $30,000.00 per accident and $60,000.00 per occurrence. In other words, if one person's claim for injuries exceeds $30,000.00, the most the insurance company will pay that person is $30,000.00. If ten (10) people make claims for injuries arising … [Read more...]

The process of a Sexual Assault of a Child Case

Sexual assault is one of the worst crimes a person can be charged with. Even the mere accusation of sexual assault is enough to derail a person's life and alter it forever. It can interfere with employment, divorce and child custody matters, and one's standing in the community. This is particularly true if the alleged victim is a child. It is always a good idea to consult with an experienced sexual assault attorney if any hint of this accusation is made. Sexual Assault of a Child is governed by Chapter 21 of the Texas Penal Code, and certain provisions of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. However, his paper is not intended as a discussion of these statutes. It is intended to walk a person through the process of a child sexual assault prosecution to remove some of the mystery. 1. OUTCRY The first event in a sexual assault of a child case is the "outcry." A child tells someone they trust that abuse occurred. An outcry witness is the first person over the age of 18 to whom a … [Read more...]

How to Read the Visa Bulletin

The visa bulletin has changed recently to allow people filing for immigrant visas to file ahead of their priority date becoming current. The visa bulletin is now set up with two tables. Table A and Table B. Table A is the bulletin we would always see. These dates indicate whether the priority date on your petition is current or not depending on which category you would fit into or not. If your petition is current under this table you can file for your immigrant visa abroad or your adjustment of status (residency) here. A new Table B now allows applicants who are seeking an immigrant visa abroad to now file their applications early. This table sets priority dates on who can file their applications. But note that just because you are able to file your immigrant visa early does not mean you will get your immigrant visa early. Ultimately, you will still have to wait until your priority date becomes current under Table A to ultimately get an interview with immigration and be eligible for … [Read more...]

SS Disability for Seizures

There are a few medical conditions and even some psycho-somatic conditions which cause an individual to experience seizure activity. There are between six and forty distinct types of seizures depending on where you look. SSA divides them into just 2 categories, convulsive epilepsy, and non-convulsive epilepsy. To be found disabled due to seizure activity, you need to have a diagnosis as to the type(s) you experience, the frequency which you experience them, and the fact that this occurs even though you are taking your anti-consultants as prescribed by your doctor. For non-convulsive seizure activity, you need to be experiencing an average of 1 or more events per week, for at least 3 months in a row, even while taking your medication. For convulsive seizure activity, the requirement is at least 1 a month for at least 3 months in a row while you are taking medication. The frequency is less often because these seizures generally involve more severe symptoms both during and after … [Read more...]

PERSONAL INJURY PROTECTION INSURANCE (PIP)

PERSONAL INJURY PROTECTION INSURANCE (“PIP”): USE IT OR LOSE IT Texas law affords its motorists the option of obtaining what is referred to as “Personal Injury Protection” in connection with their automobile liability coverage. Texas’ Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) statute requires that any automobile liability policy provide to a covered insured, members of the insured’s household, and any authorized operator or passenger, including a guest occupant, up to $2,500 per person for payment of certain expenses resulting from an automobile accident. Most Texas drivers have such coverage on their policies. But despite this fact, surprising numbers of these drivers do not take advantage of this coverage when they are injured. PIP coverage applies to bodily injury resulting from a “motor vehicle accident.” A “motor vehicle accident” is a situation in which (1) one or more vehicles are involved with another vehicle, an object, or a person; (2) the vehicle is being used, including exit … [Read more...]

Clearing Your Record

Anytime a person is arrested and booked into jail, a record is created.  This record quickly proliferates to many databases and is easily accessible to the public. Many counties in the DFW and Houston areas have booking photos of each person arrested available online at no cost.  Even if the case is ultimately dismissed, there is a finding of  not guilty, or community supervision is successfully completed, the stigma of the arrest remains for all the public to see.  Further, the reality is that the arrest record alone is often as harmful as being found guilty to many prospective employers. In Texas, there are two main avenues to limit the arrest and case record from public view: expunction and non-disclosure.  An expunction is the complete erasure of the arrest and case record from government databases and downline reporting companies.  In general, an expunction is available to a person under any one of the following circumstances: the person is found not guilty of the charge at … [Read more...]

Avoiding Summer Time Drama in Your Divorce

Like every year, summer’s high temperatures can lead to high drama for families that are going through a divorce. Smooth sailing custody arrangements can quickly be derailed by the free flowing schedule imposed on parents when the kids are out of school. Here are some tips to help you navigate rough summer waters: 1. Have a plan This may seem like an obvious one; however, married couples are often used to relying on one another to cover childcare or summer camp plans for the kids. When you are going through a divorce, it’s essential that you make your own plans for the children when they are in your care. Do not rely on your soon-to-be ex-spouse to manage all of the affairs for the children – even if that is what he or she has always done. If the kids are with you, they are your responsibility. 2. Communication Once you make your plans, inform the other parent as to what those plans are. Are you taking the kids on a vacation? Great! Communicate your itinerary to the other … [Read more...]

Revocable Living Trusts

For most people, a carefully prepared will and, in the case of incapacity, powers of attorney are sufficient for a complete estate plan. However, there are times when a revocable living trust may be preferable. How does one decide which is a better choice for their circumstances? A Revocable Living Trust (aka “living trust”) can allow your estate to avoid probate while allowing you to maintain control over your property and other assets. By avoiding probate, your estate can potentially save time, money and ensure privacy. Although a properly drafted Texas will is not difficult to probate, if you are a Texas resident and own real estate in multiple states, a living trust can avoid the cost of multiple probate proceedings in additional states. In addition, since estate assets and beneficiaries are listed publicly during probate, greater privacy is secured in avoiding probate with a living trust. Furthermore, a living trust may make it less likely that beneficiaries challenge your … [Read more...]