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Texas Divorce Lawyer Leslie Barrows
21 minutes | 7 months ago
Retirement Planning with James McGlynn of Next Quarter Century, LLC
Leslie Barrows (00:06): Hi there. I’m attorney Leslie Barrows, and you’re listening to the Texas divorce lawyer podcast with me, Leslie Barrows. The goal of this podcast is to educate people in Texas about divorce. I want to be able to describe what divorce means, how it affects children, both young and groans and give my listeners a little bit of hope, especially if they are about to start or are in the middle of divorce proceedings. Welcome to the podcast. Hey there, it’s Leslie Barrows and we’re here for our podcast afternoon and I’m here with James McGlynn and he is with Next Quarter Century. So I wanted to welcome you, James, to the podcast. How are you doing today? James McGlynn: I’m doing great. Leslie yourself? Leslie Barrows: Good, just surviving COVID and trying to stay cool in the summer months here in Texas. So I know we’re all you know, trying to get through the heat for sure. Yes. And so James, tell me a little bit about your practice at the Next Quarter Century, what you’re doing and how you’re helping people with their managing their retirements. James McGlynn (01:18): Okay. I work for Next Quarter Century. I’m the CEO owner founder, and I do retirement planning for people who are just about to retire or just starting retirement as I am 61, myself. And I’ve been doing this for myself for a few years, as I wanted to learn about how to design my own retirement plan. So it’s really talking to friends and clients and talking to them one-on-one what do they want? And all the myriad plans that they’ve got in place, their pensions, their investments, and their future social security withdrawals, how to, how to get that all working together. I also can do some longevity, annuities and hybrid long-term care, which are somewhat more complicated, but a very good to help for retirement planning. Leslie Barrows (02:09): Okay. And you are a chartered financial analyst. What does that entail? James McGlynn (02:15): Chartered financial analyst is a three-year program where you have to learn everything about investments and the economics and what people who want to become professional money managers manage mutual fund money. That’s the that’s the designation that they want. And I, I learned that back in 1983, so it’s been quite a while. Leslie Barrows (02:33): Oh, cool. And then you’re also an R I C P. Is that is that a retirement income specialist? Okay. And what does that entail? James McGlynn (02:44): That it’s a three part exam, not nearly as intense as the CFA and that’s where, as I remember always telling myself when I retire, I really want to understand the programs that are out there. And this walks you all through details. What is Medicare? What is Medigap, social security, what are annuities now? You’ve got your money in your 401k now, what do you do with it? How do you get it out? And how do you live on that for the rest of your life? And so the RICP, it’s a very, fairly new program, but it’s very popular among people who want to find out what do I do to, to live on my money for the rest of my life. Leslie Barrows (03:23): Right. And that’s a, a great question. And I know with COVID, and we’ve had some unemployment and, and loss of income and loss of jobs, I know that it seems like there’s a kind of an increase of people retiring right now due to the pandemic. Have you seen that as well? James McGlynn (03:41): I’ve I was looking at someone’s account just yesterday. I just said, yeah, my mother’s, you know, 61 and she’s not in good health and she’s unemployed, but they’re probably not going to hire her back, you know, bad health and old. It’s not the time to be trying to look for a job. So I was helping them probably access social security at 62 for that person. Speaker 2 (04:02): Okay. And now we’re going to talk a little bit about the our top six issues for social security and what to look for, if you are going through a divorce. I know that I get that question a lot. You know, if, if the marriage is over 10 years, that that’s something where that’s a benefit, you know, that you’ll be able to collect the spousal benefits of your ex. So, but besides that, I’m so glad that you came in and joined the podcast today. So, so tell us a little bit about the spousal benefits that someone can earn. If you do have a 10 year marriage and the couple ends up getting divorced. James McGlynn (04:40): Okay. And I think that the most important thing to remember is going through the divorce, if you’re nine years, that you want to hold out for that 10 years, because if you get divorced before the 10 years, there is no spousal benefit whatsoever from social security. And in addition to the spousal benefit, there’s a survivor benefit if and when the ex passes away and that’s where the, the spousal benefit essentially can, can double. So it’s a very, very important to know that if an ex is passed away, not only are you entitled to some benefits there, but there could be a very good amount of benefits. Leslie Barrows (05:17): Okay. So yeah, if you’re, you know, in a marriage and it’s not going so well, and you’re at nine years, you’d be best to kind of hold out until you get that celebrate that ten-year anniversary. Right. And then say, Hey, I’m done with this guy. James McGlynn (05:29): Yes. And, and I’ve, I’ve, I’ve worked with someone who was married for almost 10 years and later she was asking, Hey, do I get survivor or spousal benefits? And they said, Nope, unless it’s 10, 10, plus you get nothing. There’s no prorated amount. So it’s, if you’re it maybe eight, eight and a half nine, just wait for the official date to get that 10 years. So you can be entitled to something from social security on the spousal benefits. Okay. Leslie Barrows (05:55): And do you still get that spousal if say you have a stay at home mom they’re married 10 years, you know, husband’s the breadwinner and she really hasn’t ever had a job or can chick contributed to social security. Is it so possible for a homemaker to to get those benefits going forward? James McGlynn (06:15): Yes. I think social security was designed in mind when all you had were almost Pell makers, not both of them earning income. So, and I do know people who have their spouses never worked, but they got, they got their own benefits and the spouse was entitled to essentially half of their benefits, you know? So if one got a thousand and the other, they’d also receive another 500 on the spouse. Leslie Barrows (06:39): Okay. And does it matter of you know, how many times that they’ve been married? I mean, can you have, you know, five or six spouses and still get the spousal benefits? James McGlynn (06:53): Six might be pushing it. As in, I think we, I had mentioned, and I always liked talking about Johnny Carson that he had, he was married four times. I think Joan, Joanie, a gentleman, Joanna it’s it’s. It was interesting. And then his last wife and the first wife was married for 13 years, the second, less than 10, then another 14 years. And he died with the last wife. So the spouses were entitled to their own spousal benefits on Johnny Carson, even though he had only, he contributed himself and they may have never worked in social security, but they’d still be entitled to benefits and it wouldn’t have affected his current spouse at the time. Leslie Barrows (07:35): Oh, okay. That’s good to know. So are there spousal benefits that are available when someone turned 62? James McGlynn (07:45): The social security originally was set up that everyone, the benefits were all set up at 65, they reduced, they lower that number so that you can get your social security benefits or spousal benefits at 62 at a reduced amount. And you were conversely, if you waited until 70 as a worker, you can maximize your benefit. However, the important thing to know on the spousal benefits that no spouse, if only if they’re only receiving spousal benefits should wait past full retirement aides. That dollar amount does not go up after that day. Leslie Barrows (08:19): Okay. Is there a recommended age when it would be better to, if you’re trying to collect the spousal benefits? I mean, is it 62 or 65 or does it, or does it really matter? James McGlynn (08:32): It gets complicated if you’re single and you weren’t ever married and have no dependence, it’s very easy to calculate when you should do it. But if it’s spousal, it really depends on your longevity on how much older one is than the other. As I said, 62 is the earliest for spousal, and that can only be earned if the spouse has filed their benefits except for in divorce. There is a benefit in divorce. So if you’re 62 and your ex is 62, have you been married or divorced for two plus years? You can file for spousal benefits, even though the ex has never filed for their own benefits. Oh, okay. That’s good to know. Whereas in marriage, you get no spousal benefits unless your current spouse has filed for benefits. So it’s another little extra twist to throw in there. Okay. Leslie Barrows (09:22): Now there are survivor benefits available at the age of 60. Can you tell us a little bit about that? James McGlynn (09:29): Yes. You know, analyzing social security. I understand where people get confused on it. Spousal benefits mean your ex or your current spouse is still alive. Survivor, better pets, main the extra, your current spouse has passed away. So the spousal benefits as, as, as we mentioned, can start at 62, but a survivor benefit can start at eight 60. So if and I, I, I, I actually was in a yoga class pre pandemic and the instructor said, Oh, I’m going to get my social security in a year or so. And then I has, I noseley asked her, well, well, tell me about it. So while I was divorced and he passed away, I said, you’re also entitled to survivor benefits. Cause she was already over eight 60. So she had no idea that she was entitled these benefits. As, as I tell people social security, doesn’t send you a letter and say, Hey, you’re, you’re entitled has benefits on your ex or your, your ex passed away. So that’s why get out here and try to educate people on what their benefits they’re entitled to. Leslie Barrows (10:31): So she, yeah, she would not have even known that that was out there. She, you know, she hadn’t said anything to you and, and you gave her that great information to, to reach out and you know, reach out to the social security administration and get that information. So that’s really good. Yep. Now as far as the spousal benefits you’ve said there’s you want to make sure to maximize at the full retirement age. So how do you make a decision about spousal benefits and maximizing to the full retirement age? James McGlynn (11:04): Okay. The, the terminology in social security full retirement age currently is either age 66 through eight 67. It, it changes but the, the oldest will be 67. The benefits can start at 62 but they it’s only like 35% of the X’s full retirement amount. And it goes up to 50%. So it’s not a huge increase and again, a deep, and if you’re currently still working, then social security will reduce your benefits. If you file before full retirement age and lets you make very little money, I think 18,000, if you’re making less than 18,000 than social security, you can keep your benefits. But if you make more than 18,000, they start taking, taking money away from you until you hit full retirement age. Oh, okay. Leslie Barrows (11:54): Now, and I know a lot of there are some careers where like for example, teachers and they can opt out of contributing to what social security is that correct? James McGlynn (12:06): Well teachers, they, they have are designed that they don’t pay into social security. You know, the teachers themselves opted out of the whole social security thinking of ha we don’t want to contribute to this thing. And then in 1983, when Reagan saw that the social security was running out of money, that’s when they put on some of these changes where they started taxing social security. That’s when they said, well, that’s great. The teachers aren’t contributing, but as spouses, we’re not gonna let them get, get a free ride on that. And also as workers, there’s also reduction, but if you’re a spouse and you’re in teacher retirement, it’s severely reduced your social security better. Leslie Barrows (12:43): Okay. But even if you know, you have teachers that are married and, and they divorce after the 10 year Mark and then it’s time for them to try to get spousal benefits. Is it still an option for them even though, you know, they’ve they were teachers and had opted out of contributing. James McGlynn (13:03): It’s something I would look at, but I wouldn’t be optimistic. There’s a whole lot Leslie Barrows (13:07): That you’re going to receive. Okay. James McGlynn (13:09): So then you say, why is that? Well, social security will say, if you wait until 60 to get remarried, we’ll give you the option to earn survivor benefit on your ex or your current spouse. But if you remarry it at 59 and a half and your first spouse passes away, you’re not entitled to survivor benefits. Unless of course you get divorced again, then option comes available. Leslie Barrows (13:32): Oh, okay. So that’s good to know about, about that for sure. If you’re going to remarry, just wait until age 60 then, correct? Yes. Okay. And then also our, our second or our sixth topic is filing for benefits on an ex spouse. You had some information that you wanted to share about, you know, what you should do if you’re trying to file for benefits on an ex spouse. Okay. James McGlynn (13:56): Yes. you know, talking to people, whether the divorce was amicable or not some say, Oh, I don’t want to file for spousal benefits and hurt his current spouse or himself. And so there’s no effect on the current spouse, if they were going to earn 500 a month and you’re going to earn 500 a month and theirs hasn’t reduced, it’s the system isn’t logical. They don’t have a certain amount of money that you spread out. If there are multiple divorce spouses of 10 plus years, they could all be entitled to spousal benefits and it’s, and it’s not effected a current spouse and the current spouse or the ex spouse is not even informed that you file for benefits. Leslie Barrows (14:34): Oh, okay. So they don’t even know that you’re receiving them. James McGlynn (14:38): If you send them a letter and say, thanks for these benefits, we waited 10 plus years. Leslie Barrows (14:42): Oh, okay. Unless you take a picture of the deposit, I guess, and posted on social media or something. James McGlynn (14:49): I had no idea I was going to still money from him or her. Leslie Barrows (14:53): And what do you recommend for, you know, people that have need to get started with retirement planning? I know that, you know, a lot of people talk about it, but it’s kind of like doing your will. You never get to that point of, Hey, I really need help. I need guidance. You know, what’s your recommendation for, if you’re shopping around and need to find, you know, the, the person that’s gonna work with you the best for any retirement planning. James McGlynn (15:20): That’s a great question. I would, I would say it depends on your age. I focus on people who are near retirement. To me, it’s fairly simple if you’re just starting out working. So you max out your 401k or your get your match, do a Roth or health savings account. And then come to me after you’ve filled up all those buckets. But when you get close to retirement, whether it’s in your fifties or sixties, I think someone with an RICP designation, that’s what we focus on the most. Okay. You’ve already spent your 30 years accumulating your money. Now we want to have you set up to have it live for the next 25, 30 years and maximize it. Leslie Barrows (15:59): Okay. And and so your focus is on mostly they’re about to take the next step and they’re pretty close to retirement age and they want to make sure that they’re going to be taken care of and financially okay. For retirement. Is that correct? James McGlynn (16:15): Yes. And I may have mentioned about five years ago, I stopped being a mutual fund manager. I started focusing on retirement planning and most of my friends are either mutual fund managers, hedge fund managers, very well educated on investments. When it comes to some of this retirement stuff, they have no clue whether it’s social security, Medicare, new cities long-term care. I go I’ve been, I spent 40 years knowing this investment. What do I do about this stuff? And, and that’s where I help out. And I think as myself in my late fifties to now 61, any anybody who’s going through those phases, I’m going through those phases as well and doing my Roth conversions and setting up, when am I going to get my social security? So I’m, I’m a participant as opposed to someone who says, well, this is what the book says to do. That’s what I’m doing for myself. Leslie Barrows (17:06): And you’re familiar with the long-term care. And that’s an option for people windy, recommend that people start contributing to along a long-term care plan. James McGlynn (17:20): That’s one that I did for myself in my mid fifties. I think that was a, that’s the, that’s the perfect time to do it. When you, when your kids have left the house, you got to take care of your you’re in your dependence or semi-independent, and now, now they’re gone and it’s okay. Now we need to plan for ourselves. And to me, it’s a great legacy benefit. If your kids have to take care of you, cause you don’t have long-term care, I think they prefer you to buy it, spend some money to take care long-term care so that they can monitor you, but not have to monitor you 24 seven. So the, the mid fifties is good and there’s some new products hybrid long-term care where the the premiums don’t go up in price. And that’s, that’s the scary part of you have standalone long-term care where the premiums have gone up and up and the hybrid long-term care, which is based on a life insurance product. That those ones, that’s what I’ve got for myself. And that’s where I try to help people get with, get for themselves. Okay. Leslie Barrows (18:19): Okay. Yeah. Cause I know that’s something that comes up a lot is, is, you know, I’m interested in it, but right now, I don’t know if I need to invest in it and when I’m in my forties, cause you know, I’m trying to make sure my kids are in college or getting there or graduating from high school. So I do get that question a lot too. And the estate planning and family law arena, for sure. I appreciate you so much coming today and where can our listeners find you? James McGlynn (18:48): Well, I have a website next quarter century.com. Okay. And I, and I got the name next quarter century, as I was talking to him, one of my investment broker friends. I said, I’m tired of worrying about the next quarter on earnings. I care about the next quarter century. So that’s it next quarter century. And I read like once a month for a blog, humble dollar.com and I’ve got that blog tied into my website as well. And I’ll also have a retirement book on Amazon and available retirement planning tips for baby boomers. Leslie Barrows (19:19): Okay. That’s awesome. Well, thank you again so much for your time. And those are just a great, you know information, little tidbits that we can all take, you know, from you and even share that information with our friends on via social media or, you know, if this comes up, cause you really just never know when when this might happen or, you know, there may be a divorce and you probably weren’t even thinking that, Hey, you know, they were married 10 years, they’re entitled to benefits. So it’s really good information for sure. Have a great day. Thank you. Bye-Bye Leslie Barrows Thanks for listening to the Texas divorce lawyer podcast with me, attorney Leslie Barrows. If you like my show and want to know more, check out my website, embarrass firm.com or please leave a review on iTunes, Spotify, or whichever social media outlet you are listening on. Be sure to join me next time and thanks for listening.The post Retirement Planning with James McGlynn of Next Quarter Century, LLC first appeared on Barrows Firm Podcast.
9 minutes | a year ago
What Does A Modification Case Look Like In Texas
Hi there. I’m attorney Leslie Barrows and you’re listening to the Texas Divorce Lawyer Podcast with me Leslie Barrows. The goal of this podcast is to educate people in Texas about divorce. I want to be able to describe what divorce means, how it affects children, both young and grown and give my listeners a little bit of Hope – especially if they are about to start or are in the middle of divorce proceedings. Welcome to the podcast. Host: Okay, this is the third podcast of this day. Question number one: What is the overall process of a modification case? Leslie Barrows: Okay. So a modification is basically ‘I’ve gone I’ve gotten my divorce order things have changed and I want to go back to court’ because I’ve tried to work it out or maybe you’re not talking with the other side and you guys have kids together. So what you would be filing is a modification post-divorce and in the modification, in order to start that process, you’re going to file a petition to modify the last order that you have which a lot of times is going to be the final divorce decree that you received. So if you’re going to petition to modify your divorce decree, and you’re looking at starting that petition and you’re going to change child support would be something. You’re also going to ask that you update or maybe change the health insurance. So that’s something that you can add to that modification. You can also change your possession and access schedule that the parent has with the children. So how you would start that process is you would retain counsel, file a petition to modify and then you would serve the other party. And then once they had service they’ll file a file an answer with the court. And once that’s done then you can set the case for hearing in order to get the process started and that also allows you to time to obtain financial information or from the other side if you’re trying to modify or increase your child support, which is pretty common. And also if you’re trying to change the possession and access schedule that the parent has with the children or child, then you would make sure that was requested in your petition to modify. And when you go to court then you would have a temporary orders hearing related to your petition to modify at that temporary orders hearing you would make sure that you had the necessary witnesses, that you had written down your wish list of what do I want to accomplish at this hearing? Are you trying to move to a different School District? Are you trying to move out of the county that was in your original divorce? Those are all just a lot of times that’s what will be seen in a modification is someone’s remarried and we’re needing to go in and modify because maybe they need to move or maybe there’s a new job opportunity. That’s come about that we need to modify the final decree of divorce. Then after that temporary orders hearing you would have to enter into a temporary order which would be signed by the judge and by all parties and that would be drafted and on file with the clerk in whatever County your modification is, and I wanted just to add too if you got divorced or have an order out of another state you need to make sure to give that information to your Attorney so they can transfer the case to the county where you’re currently living if you have access to the children. Also, a lot of times on a modification there will be a time where the kids that are over twelve the other side can file for or you can file for a motion to confer. So what that is is that the kiddo can go and meet with the judge in Chambers and then we’ll know when we’ll be back up there, except the judge and the child and they can have a preference of where they want to reside or who they want to live with. So we’ll see a lot of those an increase in those cases in August after a child is gone and visited with a parent a lot over the summer. So we will have an increase in those and in August. So after your temporary orders hearing, you’ll have an order and then what you would do is file a pre-trial scheduling order and make sure you get all those deadlines because that’s really important. You want to make sure that this case moves on that, It’s you know that it’s going to have a final trial setting in case you need that. And then also you’re going to do go to mediation because that’s court ordered that you go to mediation and try to resolve your issues at mediation. You’ll also have to decide whether or not you want to do Discovery. So the same thing with Discovery is, you know, do we want to invest in depositions. Do we want to do a request for production of documents? Do we need to get medical records? Do we need to get counseling records for the kids? These are all things that you’re going to make sure you want to talk to your attorney about if you’re filing a modification for child support and a modification for possession and access of the children. Then at mediation, if you guys come to what’s called a mediated settlement agreement that is where everyone signs that at mediation and then and then one of the attorneys will prepare the final order and then that would be entered with the court and signed off by all parties and that would end your case. And if you don’t settle in mediation, you have a chance to go back to court. If you don’t like your temporary orders that you’ve maybe already had and then you would have your case on the trial docket and usually the cases for modifications can take one day to two days. It just depends on the issues that you really have with what you’re trying to modify. So that’s something that you would take into account. A lot of times too with modifications, if you’re trying to change possession access, you’re probably going to want what’s called a custody evaluation and you really need to start that early on in your process because if you wait till the last minute and you’re up against a trial deadline the social workers really want to have at least six months to conduct that or the custody evaluation and that’s usually done through family court services. If you have a case in Tarrant County that custody evaluator will go and interview relatives. They’ll check your references. They’ll do criminal background checks. They’ll go visit with both homes of this of the other parents. They’ll also interview the children at the parents’ homes, and they’ll even interview the parents in their office. So these are all things that are going to happen if you’re going to need a custody evaluation. If you’re trying to change the possession and access schedule. I guess possession and access for the children and the other spouse or the former spouse. So I know that’s just a quick General overview of a modification and every case I’m telling you is different and you know, if you need drug testing, if you need CPS records, you know, these are all things that you just have to take Into account. I know my information seems a little general, but it’s it really depends on your case in the intricacies of your case. You know, we see a lot with modifications where you know, they want an increase in child support or they want to equal possession schedule instead of what’s called The Standard Possession Order, which is in a lot of our final divorce decrees. Thanks for listening to the Texas Divorce Lawyer Podcast with me attorney Leslie Barrows if you Like my show and want to know more check out my website at barrowsfirm.com, or please leave a review on iTunes, Spotify or whichever social media outlet you are listening on. Be sure to join me next time and thanks for listening.The post What Does A Modification Case Look Like In Texas first appeared on Barrows Firm Podcast.
7 minutes | a year ago
The Top 5 Questions I Get Asked By New Clients
Hi there. I’m attorney Leslie Barrows and you’re listening to the Texas divorce lawyer podcast with me Leslie Barrows. The goal of this podcast is to educate people in Texas about divorce. I want to be able to describe what divorce means, how it affects children, both young and grown and give my listeners a little bit of Hope especially if they are about to start or are in the middle of Divorce proceedings welcome to the podcast. So I’m going to address some commonly asked questions that have been coming into my office at the barrows firm in this podcast Host: Okay. So we’ve got the top five questions. Let’s go ahead and start with the question. Number one. How much will my case cost? Leslie Barrows: Usually when we’re looking at the cost of a case you’re looking at how contested the cases is it going to be an uncontested case? You know, you have spouses that agree and you’re going to have the other spouse sign a waiver and just draft documents and then file those with the court that is something that we look at verses if you have, or you’re going to have a contested case, so that’s going to be a lot more expensive a lot more time that would be involved for your attorneys and paralegals. So you’re looking at you know filing fees and process server to serve the parties in the lawsuit you’d also be looking at going to a lot of hearings if your case is contested which can be really expensive because you can be on the docket at the family center and you could have to come back to court. So the more time that you’re spending down at the courthouse the more costly your case is going to become if also you’re trying to get documents maybe CPS records you need witnesses to come to court all of those just start adding up when you have to subpoena Witnesses and pay witness fees and start getting documents such as you know, a lot of times with kid cases, we want to get the school records and that just really can, cost you a lot of money because every time you go to court it costs a lot of money and a lot of attorney time. So also you will probably need some depositions in cases and those are costly so you have to have someone do a transcript of the depositions that you can use. You’re looking at an increase in if you’re needing to get financial documents and conduct what’s called Discovery. So these are all just different things that can happen in your case where you’re going to have an increase in your and your costs. Host: Okay question number two, how long will my case take? LB: So we get that a lot where people ask, “how long is this going to take?” “Can I get divorced in 60 days?” Well, it just depends on the other side and agreements that you have so you can file a petition for divorce and then on the sixty-first day take in your final decree of divorce and get that entered but what people have to understand is you file the petition, you wait your 60 days and then on the sixty-first day you already have a final order in hand that everyone signed off on and everything’s been agreed to so does that kind of case always happen? The answer’s no. It’s always going to be over 60 days. So you’re looking at the more contested the case is the more hearings that you have, it could take up to a year for your case to even go to final trial. So that’s something that you have to take into account as well with How long your case is and how much you’re the cost of your case is going to end up being. Host: Okay question number three- does Leslie have any experience dealing with people who have mental health disorder? LB: Okay. So we do have a lot of people who call into the office and say my other spouse is a narcissist and I say well we deal with that a lot and we have people who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia. I have a lot of different people that have been involved in using drugs or using alcohol. So I have a lot of experience with that in dealing with parties and related to having mental health disorders. I’ve been handling mental health commitment and hearings for I think probably 13 years. So I have a lot of experience with working with people that that are going through a difficult time and have been committed to a mental hospital. Host: Question number four- is Leslie a fighter? Is she aggressive? I need someone who will fight for me. LB: Now as far as being a fighter, I’m definitely a fighter. I’m definitely an advocate for my clients. As far as being aggressive. I’m aggressive in court when I need to be, I feel that I’m also aggressive enough given the case. You have to understand when people call in and say I want to hire a bulldog. Everybody wants that in the beginning but being a bulldog 24/7 on the case can actually cause more harm than good. So you just really have to take into account, the case and the situation and the facts that you know are involved in the case that you’re trying to pursue in Family Court. Host: Alright question number 5. What is Leslie’s tenure? How long has she been practicing? LB: I’ve been licensed since 2005 and I have been practicing family law since 2007. So as far as experience, I’ve had experience since 2007. Amanda Rourke in my office has been litigating family law cases for the past two years. So these are the most commonly asked questions that we’ve been receiving and during our intake calls for divorces this month. Thanks for listening to the Texas divorce lawyer podcast with me, attorney Leslie Barrows. If you like my show and want to know more check out my website at BarrowsFirm.com, or please leave a review on iTunes, Spotify or whichever Social media outlet you are listening on. Be sure to join me next time and thanks for listening.The post The Top 5 Questions I Get Asked By New Clients first appeared on Barrows Firm Podcast.
14 minutes | a year ago
What Does A Divorce Case Look Like In Texas
Hi there. I’m attorney Leslie Barrows and you’re listening to the Texas Divorce Lawyer Podcast with me Leslie Barrows. The goal of this podcast is to educate people in Texas about divorce. I want to be able to describe what divorce means, how it affects children, both young and grown and give my listeners a little bit of Hope – especially if they are about to start or are in the middle of divorce proceedings. Welcome to the podcast. Host: Question number one today is: What is the overall process of divorce? And what will my case look like? Leslie Barrows: When you are considering divorce, the first thing that you would do in order to start the lawsuit is petition for the divorce, which that starts the lawsuit and in the petition for divorce, you’re going to list the date of marriage and the date of separation and the reason that you want divorce. And so there are all kinds of different reasons and the main reason for divorce, generally is that just basically – you guys aren’t getting along and you wish to move on and not be with your spouse anymore. A lot of people will also allege a different reason maybe there’s been Family Violence or you have a protective order pending or in the works. Also, adultery is a big one, you know, maybe someone has stepped out of the marriage and had a relationship with somebody else. So you have to consider, you know what reason you want to list in your petition for divorce to start the process. And I know a lot of times if there’s Family Violence and police have never been called, there’s no police reports. Sometimes people will choose to not add that in there divorce because they don’t want to upset their other spouse. You also will list your kids’ names and their dates of birth and where they’re currently living and then if you are a wanting a name change, that’s something to that would be in the divorce and the petition – you pretty much will also always ask for attorneys fees and court costs. And I know that some people don’t want that in there, sometimes if you’re trying to work out an agreement with your other spouse, so will generally take that out if we’re going to have an agreed divorce but at this is something where we’re thinking it’s going to go to court. We’re going to put everything into our petition to make sure that we have all the bases covered. You also want to consider whether or not you want to have a restraining order in your divorce. Now restraining order is a scary term because people think oh, well, that’s really going to once my husband or my wife receives this that’s going to really scare them and you know and cause a lot of problems in the house because you’re still living in the house. So what a restraining order does is that just make sure that the kids aren’t taken out of school that the financial accounts are not aren’t changed. You know, you are not cut off of credit cards. You can’t go in and change the beneficiaries of your will you can’t change the beneficiaries of your life insurance policy. So, there’s a whole list of different requests that we can make and that is just trying to protect you and your maybe finances or if you have a business together with your spouse just to make sure that nothing’s going on where you’re being cut out of the financials. That’s something that you really have to consider when you’re filing for a petition for divorce is whether or not you want to add a restraining order in there and it would be a temporary restraining order. Now the next step once you file the petition for the restraining order, you’re going to consider whether or not you want to have a temporary orders hearing. So a temporary orders hearing is a hearing that would be at the courthouse and they would be heard by the associate judge. If you’re in Tarrant County, if you’re in Denton County, you could be going before the District judge. So that’s something where you would have a temporary orders hearing and you need to have a date and make sure that date and that notice of hearing was all in your petition for divorce. You’re TRO which is a temporary restraining order and you’ll have a notice of your temporary orders. So all of that information is going to all those documents are going to be served on the other side. So I want to kind of go over what happens in a temporary orders hearing. That’s something where you’re going to have decisions on a temporary basis of who’s going to be living in that the marital residence sometimes you’re going to have to decide are you going to be able to cohabitate with your spouse or is this something where you guys are going to need to set up two separate households. Maybe one person stays in the house and then the other one gets an apartment if you if they haven’t already done that. You’ll also need to check out what’s happening with the kids. If you have kids and your divorce who’s going to maintain who’s going to pay child support and what schools are they going to continue to stay in the same school district. So with children you want to make sure that everything pretty much stays the same with the kiddos. We want to we want them to not be involved in the litigation and not know about what’s going on. And that’s something where we want to make sure that the parents are talking to each other if they can. If not, we don’t want the kids to be involved in the court process. If you’re running a business with your spouse or you have your own business, this is somewhere during the temporary orders. This is something where you’re going to make sure that the business is continuing to run and that there is being some oversight of the financials and the accounts. Child support and health insurance will be addressed regarding the whole family. Usually whoever is carrying the health insurance. You’re going to keep that going and continue to pay that. Child support will be ordered unless you’re doing a 50/50 or equal possession schedule with the children. You’ll also have spousal support. If you are entitled to spousal support on a temporary basis now that’s usually determined on your monthly budget how much it’s going to cost for you to stay in the house or stay and new place so that you could be eligible to have spousal support. So while those are all just some things that are decided at the temporary orders hearing and that you want to make sure that you’ve listed all of those, you know different requests in your original petition for divorce that served on your other on your spouse. Then the next step is once there’s been serviced on your spouse. They’re needing to file an answer and usually – I mean pretty much 90% of the time they go in and get a their own attorney. Then that attorney reaches out to us and says, hey are there any agreements we can make and if we can’t make agreements on all issues, then we’ll continue to go to our temporary orders hearing and have the judge decide our issues that we can’t resolve. Now if you’re going to a temporary orders hearing you’ll definitely need to help out and make sure that we have all the witnesses, that we have tax returns, we have paychecks. That’s a big thing that we need to make sure we have all of our financial information and how much is it cost to run your household will need to know how much you’re paying for your mortgage and how much it’s costing for the kids and if they have tutoring if they have special needs we know these are all things that we need to account for and prepare for our temporary orders hearing. We will also need to make sure that all we have at least three years of tax returns. So that’s something that we need to make sure that that that’s done and that those are exchanged with the other side. After temporary orders hearing you can go in and they’ll be a new an order a temporary order and that will stay in place until the next time you would go to court or the next time you would be in. The temporary orders hearing after that you draft. Basically, we would have an order and that would lay out all of the decisions that were made at the temporary orders hearing for divorce The next step usually is to get a pre-trial scheduling order and to go and make sure that all the dates have been set for final trial and you get deadlines to make sure that maybe if you need a custody evaluation, or if you have children, sometimes we have to get a custody evaluator appointed you’ll need to make sure that we get a mediation date. We have Discovery deadlines and a final trial. That’s something that’s really important. If you think that a case is going to drag on for a long time. You make sure that you have a pre-trial scheduling order from the court that gives us all of those deadlines. And then of course there’s an option for doing Discovery. That would be something that is a case-by-case basis, you know are we going to send Discovery over to opposing counsel and maybe we would send a request for production of documents or request for admissions. And sometimes we have to do depositions. So it just depends on the case. The discovery is something that your attorney and just make sure that you have everything you need to make sure you make the best decision of whether or not you need to do Discovery. You also need to make sure that you go to mediation if it’s court-ordered and mediators that are specialized in different kinds of cases. So it’s really important that you pick the right mediator for your case. If it’s a case where you have a business or you have some tax issues, you have a house and some a lot of assets, you need to make sure that you get a mediator that has the experience that you need to mediate your case and a lot of times our cases settle at mediation. So mediation is very is a very positive approach to resolving your issues and keeping your case and all your private information out of court. I highly recommend you know, making sure you select the best mediator. Then once we go to mediation if the case doesn’t settle the case we continue on and we would go on to a final trial and front of the district court. So that’s something that has takes lots of time to get ready for you have to get witnesses, you have to subpoena the witnesses and get records. Maybe there are CPS records or school records may be mental health records that you’re going to have to get all this information it is very important for your trial and making sure that you have prepared all of your witnesses and then even prepared yourself because the judges want to hear from the other side and or both sides and they’re going to give you that opportunity to be heard and you have a right to a bench trial. Which that’s what we do a lot of times and that’s just in front of the district judge in a very few cases we go to a jury trial. So that’s something to that you can ask for but there’s not a lot of jury trials and family law honestly for divorces. So it’s a very expensive process and it is really sometimes unnecessary. And if you’re going to a jury trial for your divorce, just know that that’s really rare that you would do something like that. So that kind of wraps up in a nutshell the divorce process and starting with the petition then deciding on if you wanted TRO which is the temporary restraining order, then deciding to if you want to temporary orders hearing, then you want to make sure you get a pre-trial scheduling order that sets all those deadlines, and that’s really important. Then you need to decide whether or not you want to do Discovery and send out, you know request for production request for inspection of documents. You’ll also go to mediation and prior to mediation, you’re going to have to do an inventory and appraisement and make sure that you have listed all of the assets that you you have and provide documentation to your attorney and that all that information is sworn to and goes over to the other side of the case. And then if your case doesn’t settle at mediation remember that you’re looking at trial, so all of this can take if you’re looking at a final trial you’re looking at about eight months you’d have to you’d start the process and you’re looking at maybe having to final Trial in eight months. That’s just given the different courts and how long you’d need for trial usually our trials and divorces take about a day. So sometimes if you have a lot of issues it could take more than one day, so that’s something to keep in mind. Thanks for listening to the Texas Divorce Lawyer Podcast with me attorney Leslie Barrows, if you like my show and want to know more check out my website at barrowsfirm.com or please leave a review on iTunes, Spotify or whichever social media outlet you are listening on. Be sure to join me next time and thanks for listening.The post What Does A Divorce Case Look Like In Texas first appeared on Barrows Firm Podcast.
30 minutes | 2 years ago
A Therapists Commentary of Divorce Challenges with Children – Guest Melanie Burman
INTRO: Hi there. I’m attorney Leslie Barrows and you’re listening to the Texas Divorce Lawyer Podcast with me Leslie Barrows. The goal of this podcast is to educate people in Texas about divorce. I want to be able to describe what divorce means how it affects children both young and grown and give my listeners a little bit of hope especially if they are about to start or are in the middle of divorce proceedings. Welcome to the podcast. Leslie Barrows: This is Leslie Barrows attorney of the Barrows firm, and today I’m talking to Melanie Burman and so glad she’s here hanging out with me today on it on a Monday morning which you know those can be challenging for all of you guys. But Melanie is a great resource for working. If you’re having any issues with, Let’s see, you’re wanting someone to go to individual or group therapy. She’s been in private practice for over 30 years at the Grapevine Behavioral Health Care Associates and I know I’ve seen a lot of clients to her and also a lot of the judges know her and are familiar with her and send her, you know people going through the litigation process down at the Family Court House of course. So I wanted to welcome Melanie here today. Melanie Burman: Well thank you Leslie and glad to be here. LB: So Melanie I just want to talk about kind of what you’ve been doing and what you see from your perspective as working with you know day in and day out with people going through kind of lots of different things in their life. You know you’ve been you help people with anxiety and depression and a lot of you do the parent-teen relationships which you know I think a lot of us see that too because with technology and in addition things like that we get that a lot. So what’s your favorite group of people to work with. MB: Well my favorite group is marriage and family and that evolved after a few years of practice. I remember learning that in school and you put which it obviously was years ago and I was told during a class that when you if you could have a family session and not say anything you’ve really come a long way. Now that doesn’t always happen and of course, it doesn’t happen with the higher conflict families. But I have been blessed to have families come in, a large group of families sometimes, in-laws and all of that and they choose their topic and they choose who the leader of the group is and I just kind of facilitate. So that is always that’s always a blessing for me. Unfortunately, I also have the higher conflict families which test my skills. LB: So you’ve had more than just the typical husband-wife or same-sex couples in your office. MB: I have. LB: OK. That’s interesting. So that’s an option then. How do you start with marital counseling? What’s your recommendation for couples maybe you know they’re having some financial struggles or maybe some we know one of them has an addiction or just having a lot of conflicts. What do you start with and marital counseling? MB: Well in a referral that is not a court-related referral I generally have both parties come in, both a husband and a wife. And I give them each time to talk about what their strengths are in the relationship. I also generally start early in the session by asking them have you agreed to have the two of you agreed on what the problem is. And it’s interesting that often probably 60 percent they’ll say yes we do. Sometimes they do not. So we want to get an idea of what they identify as a problem and then to help them identify what their strengths are in the relationship and what their strengths are in their partner to see if they can state those and that usually helps me get a framework of how to move forward. LB: And how long when someone comes in? Do you initially do you meet with the couple? MB: It’s usually for an hour usually 50 minutes to an hour. LB: OK. And do you ever divide those sessions up where maybe the husband comes in first or are the wife comes in a different time or how does that work? MB: Well if there is going to be separate sessions I schedule them on different days so that one you know if one comes in and is crying and upset then they don’t have their partner doesn’t have to see them when they leave. So we may make a decision after the first session if there is going to be separate sessions or individual sessions and then we will schedule them. LB: So when people come to you for marital counseling is there like a top-five issues that the couples have or what do you see, given your expertise in this field. MB: Sex sexual relationship is often a priority financial infidelity or financial mismanagement is often an issue that comes up. Poor communication is an issue. It’s interesting because the things that we learn are we are supposed to address prior marriage are the ones that come up later. Communication, sexuality, finances, decision making, religion those kinds of things are often what appears at the end. That that brings a couple in for counseling. LB: Do you see a lot of people to where maybe you have a blended family you know they’re coming into maybe they’re their second marriage or maybe someone’s bringing kids in from a different relationship. Do you find that that can cause them tension and stress on the relationships too? MB: It definitely does. I think when a couple blends a family they have somewhat of a delusion about it they like the Brady Bunch and it may be for a while but there are always issues that come up and it is a difficult job and being a step-parent takes it. It is a different relationship than being a parent. So I helped those couples figure out where they fit in and how they can relate to the child that is a stepchild and how to figure out their role with that child. LB: And do you find too where you have maybe there’s been an adoption of an infant and the child gotten older and the families like I don’t know what to do with this kiddo you know we had the kiddo and adopted the child from at a foster care have you ever seen that happen? MB: I have a couple of cases now that are active where the behavior can be unpredictable. Know of course it depends on the child’s development and the personality and there’s a lot of unknown factors. But yeah sometimes the children will start having emotional struggles that somewhat blindside the family, unfortunately. However I’m sure they are told to expect that – also personality issues might come up which I think may be genetic. You know we really don’t know some of that and therefore the parents are uncertain how to manage that. LB: And as far as marital counseling when people come in and they try to work with the counseling is there ever a time where you say hey you know you guys are just not making any progress. I mean ultimately they end up having to you know get attorneys or decide that they’re going to go file for divorce. MB: That’s usually a statement that comes from them. Sometimes they will come in initially and saying that we know we are considering a divorce or one of the persons are considering a divorce and I request that they give it some time and work on some issues to see if we can move past that. If they get to the point where they say well you know I’m ready to talk to an attorney. That is unfortunate but there are times that I do have to address that with them. LB: OK, And once they do if they do have to file for divorce do you still stay involved or do they just kind of move on through the court system? MB: Well it kind of depends on the dynamics. Sometimes I stay involved. Sometimes I can work with a couple if they have developed some trust and feel comfortable working with me. I can work with them on the divorce process and kind of what’s going to happen and how to communicate with the children and how to prepare the family for this change. It really depends on the couple. LB: Yeah. I get that question a lot two of you know hey we’re going to separate we’re trying to work it out. I’ve been as kind to each other as we can where we’re you know we’ve each made mistakes. But how do we tell our children that we’re going to separate? Is there a certain way that you do that you know? Because of course, you’re going to have a lot of change because you’ll be you know two houses or some people move in to still cohabitate in the house which you know that that only lasts for a certain period of time until they each start dating. Yes. Is there any I mean because you want to keep the kids out of the divorce part and just continue to tell them you know hey we love you but how do you go about that if you how do you go about telling a kid that you know their parents are going to divorce? MB: I think the first thing to do is consider the age of the child and understand their perception of time. So you don’t tell a child something that isn’t going to happen until three months or six months away. I think it’s always important to be able to have some answers for the child. If you say yeah we’re getting a divorce and then you say you know emotionally and then more am I going to live I don’t know. You want to have this view. I don’t know as you possibly can. You will have some. But you want to be able to say this is what’s going to happen. And on this day someone so is moving here or so-and-so staying here so that they know kind of what the picture looks like. Also, I say this often, it is important to understand that you cannot tell a child anything you – you can’t tell anybody anything. But if you tell a child we’re getting a divorce because someone so had an affair or so and so it was irresponsible or whatever it might be or someone so doesn’t love me anymore you cannot undo that. So I think it’s better to not answer questions and gently not answer them until you can be clear about what you need to say to a child and is it with. LB: So if you have multiple children is it good to keep them all in the loop all in one conversation with everybody there or do you, Do you meet with them individually if they’re of different ages? MB: Well it would depend of course on the ages if you have a like an eight to 10 year spread you might want to talk to the older one separately than the younger ones. I think if you talk to the younger ones you would want to have the older ones there. Generally though, the best thing to do is talk to all of the children at one time with both parents. LB: Okay. Now you also get a lot of people that come in and I’m sure you hear this too where you know I’ll say well why are you getting divorced? Usually, it’s one of the main questions and you hear the adultery but most of the more I hear lately is what he’s a narcissist. So we have that term but to you what is that? What does that really mean? MB: Well to the diagnosis of a narcissist that is it’s a clinical pattern of behavior in terms of being kind of self-centered and not taking responsibility, lack of empathy, poor communication, a real lack of compassion. I think that probably all of us go through some of that as the marriage gets older. However, I do think that it’s unfortunate that the divorce process sometimes can result and generally man being more defensive or frustrated in the process and those types of personality traits tend to come out. I think that’s more of them. I mean I can’t say for sure. Sometimes there’s a real narcissist out there but a lot of those traits are more about being guarded and being protective. LB: And what did the, when they come to you what do they say about the women? MB: Generally that the male in the relationship will refer to the woman as emotional and careless not a good mom. Sometimes I refer to them as a borderline which is most of us know is a collection again of emotions and reactions that are include histrionic drama lots of cheerfulness a lot of hopelessness. Again I think that is somewhat a woman’s response to a divorce where those types of reactions happen whether or not they’re truly borderline. I don’t know but that is part of the traits I think that come out. LB: And that borderline – that’s comes from a borderline personality disorder? MB: Correct. LB: OK. And those are aren’t personality disorders hard to hard to diagnose? MB: Well they’re difficult because it really is just a group of coping and characters that a person’s a person has that fits into a specific kind of label. And we probably all move in and out of some of those throughout our lives and as we grow up I think it becomes more realistic when it creates a pattern of dysfunction in more than one relationship. LB: Okay. And do you see a lot of a different kind of drug and alcohol addictions and porn addictions? When you’re working with couples and that’s leading them to call each other names and for the marriage to start going south? MB: I do. I see a lot of addiction. LB: And has there been an increase in porn addiction with technology and in the I guess social media? MB: Right. Yes absolutely. There has been. LB: And do you, Do you treat that or do you refer that to another specialist if that’s something that’s going on in the marriage? MB: I can treat – I treat alcohol and drug addictions often that is an area of specialty an area that I like treating as well. Pornography addiction. I can work with that depending on the degree of the addiction. I may refer out depending on how deeply that person may have gotten into pornography and how they are able to cope with it. You know abstinence and that sort of thing. LB: And do you think that when a couple comes to you that you know if they’re on social media or they have trust issues in their relationship that there should be some kind of accountability so maybe that the couple can rebuild their trust? MB: I generally recommend that if there is infidelity or drug use, pornography – that couple have an open media agreement where they can look at each other’s phones and computers and that sort of thing. Not every night, not in a demanding way but we usually negotiate some type of communication around that so that both people and their relationship can feel comfortable about sharing that. LB: OK. Now I wanted to transition it is the first of July and usually, you know under a lot of divorce decrees kids will be spending a lot of times with dads you know the whole month of July which can be all can be difficult for the moms. Do you have any pointers or something that you would tell moms that if this is you know one of their you know agreements that they had in their divorce decree how was how’s a good way to or what’s a good way to cope with that with your child being gone the entire month of July for summer? MB: Well I think it’s good too, usually there is some kind of an arrangement for a phone call if it’s limited to limit it to whatever the court papers say or whatever the agreement is to have your phone calls with the child. Talk about what the child is doing do not ask if the child is happy do not ask if the child misses you don’t say any of those kinds of things try to be where that child is and enjoy – hear you hear what their activities are and enjoy try to enjoy with them what they are doing. If it’s new when it’s one of the first summers that this happens I suggest you get a committee or a team of peers and friends that you can call when you have anxiety that can help you kind of I guess talk you down a little bit. I also think it is a very good idea for all the single moms out there that have these things they want to do that they haven’t been able to do – to do them. If they’ve always wanted to take a weekend in Dallas shopping and spending a night at a hotel do it to do some of those things that they haven’t been able to do because they have the children to use that time to enjoy being alone. LB: And also it’s even it is the month of July, so a lot of times we’ll see an increase in August. You know dads that come in and say Hey I talked to my kid about that’s over 12 about where they want to live and they want to come live with me now. So do you see that a lot where they go hey I’ve been here for the whole month and now the kiddo wants to they want we want to flip custody? MB: I do see that I do. And luckily my position is in neutral and that’s what I am able to say is that you know I don’t have an opinion. I can’t make a recommendation. I the judge asked me to if the attorneys agree and want me to work with the family to help have to help kind of figure out what might be best for the child. I can do that but generally, that is not something that I get too involved in. LB: Yeah. It’s a hot topic for sure I usually come around August. MB: Exactly. LB: And you’re also a parent facility at Tate or what is that? MB: A parent facilitator is a, It’s a court-ordered or attorney agreed position for a counselor or an attorney that works with the family to develop parenting skills communication skills. It works with the current order that they have either a temporary order or a permanent order that helps it helps the couple work through the ups and downs of that particular order. For example, a parent facilitator may help determine where the child goes to school or about extracurricular. It may appear facilitator may help negotiate telephone time or telephone roles with a child. It allows a third neutral party that is in contact with the attorneys and the judge if requested to be able to help the parents learn how to be divorced without those little complications and conflict is possible. LB: And when you are a parent a parenting facilitator, do you have to have a court order? Or can you just, Can they just come to you without a court order and try to work out their visitation issues? MB: They can come to me it’s not considered parents limitation specifically now they can come. Agreed through the attorneys with a rule 11 or something like that. I have a couple I’m seeing now that I’m not sure how they found me. I am kind of doing parents alliteration but I’m calling it cope parent counts co-parenting class. I’m not the one calling your co-parenting so because court because parents imitation is a specific title throughout the Texas family law code. LB: And so usually when you have the parent facilitation most people are operating what under your standard possession order which is you know first, third and fifth weekends and you get the Thursdays. Do you also see, are you seeing an increase in what may be a 2-2-5 or which, or a 50/50 possession and access schedule? MB: I’m definitely seeing an increase in increase in a 50/50 access schedule and the 2-2-3 or is it is a pattern is a schedule that I’m seeing quite a bit of as well. And I think what’s interesting with the 2-2-3 is that if there is a fifth weekend that allows the parents to either kind of make a decision for example on the fifth-weekend mom will take the older kids and Dad will take the younger ones then they’ll flip on whatever the fifth weekend is. So that gives them four weekends to kind of determine how they want to spend that time. LB: Yeah. Because I think with the standard possession schedule you know it’s like you’re pretty much a weekend parents there are at least the 2-2-3 is one where you know you get more time during the actual work week or school week. MB: Correct. Yes. LB: And but a lot of times people want a 50/50 and they don’t live close to each other. And you know they don’t really co-parent well. So what’s your recommendation for the people that hey you know they don’t really get along at all? MB: Well that 50/50 is definitely easier if there is communication and some geographical closeness. I when they’re asking for a 50/50 I will tell them kind of the pros and cons of that and you know and explain the what their schedule might be like you know if somebody says you don’t want a 50/50 and I’ll hire a nanny to take the kids to school. Well, that’s great but that’s not always what’s best for the child. So I try to help them see what would be in the best interests of the child if it’s a 2-2-3 or if it’s a Thursday/Sunday or the expanded standard. You know they have an extra Thursday and Monday with an additional Tuesday we try to look at all the options so that each parent feels like they’re getting the time they need with the child but it isn’t in the best interest of the child. LB: And you know you’ll see that a lot where they’ll say Hey well I want to, I want more time but then you know I’m going to hire a nanny or I just have a new girlfriend. I’ve been dating for two months and or I have you know Grandma or Grandpa is that always in the child’s best interest to have these other people involved in the transporting? MB: Well I think sometimes it can be of course but you know it depends on the relationship if Grandma has been around and been doing that I think that’s good. If that is something grandma has been doing Grandma may get tired of it after about three months if the kids are grumpy in the morning or whatever it might be. I do not recommend a new girlfriend being a part of that. Usually, my recommendation is that the children do not meet their new girlfriend until you are divorced – divorced finally divorced and at least six months post-divorce and six months in a dating relationship. LB: OK. MB: So I that would not be ideal at all. LB: Is there any way to you know for people how do you nicely tell people that you know you want to parent your child not a grandparent or you know some of that more a new stepmom. How do you nicely do that? MB: Well I nicely do it about twice and then I have to get really direct. I just try to explain to them that you know the goal of a shared custody plan is for that parent to have that morning time or that evening time or that extracurricular time with them and that, of course, all of us are going to need some help but the child is spend is there just spend time with the parent, not another adult. LB: And also you know we see a lot with you know everyone wants their kids to be you know an elite in these select baseball and these competitive cheerleading events and you know go try out for Miss, Miss Teen Texas or whatever. So if you have a couple that is divorced and you know the mom or the dad whoever is the one that just keeps signing these kids up over and over. So when it’s dad or mom’s time they they’re just they can’t take them to all these appearances like there’s too much going on. What’s your recommendation for extracurricular activities? MB: Generally it depends on how the child is how much the child had been involved prior to the divorce. But you know I could recommend that each child can pick one extracurricular activity that they can choose for the child and on you know on their time or if it bleeds into the other parents time that there is definitely some communication about it. So if each parent picks one extracurricular activity it does kind of keep the schedule a little more in control. It really depends again on communication. Some parents do that beautifully. Not everybody does. So it depends on the mode of the schedule and the communication of the parents. LB: And I’ve noticed in the last probably what like five years we’ve seen that increase in the Talking Parents app or the Our Family Wizard, have you? Do you see an increase in the parents having to communicate through these apps now because their communication is so poor? MB: I do and generally found that parent facilitator or the reunification therapist I have access to the app. It’s good because it allows me to see what kind of communication is happening but it’s also good because it is confidential or I mean they know I’m on it but they don’t see when I’ve read certain communications. But I do think it makes each parent think before they speak which is also another thing I’m working with them on and you can erase things from the app but it doesn’t go away it goes into the erase file. So it’s still there. I think that is a very good app that makes parents accountable and makes them think before they react. LB: Now you’re also going you do reunification therapy for children. Can you tell us a little bit about what reunification therapy is? MB: Reunification therapy is a process where if a child had in some way estranged from another parent such as hasn’t had much of a relationship with another parent, the parent had been for whatever reason unavailable, not involved – if there is some significant parental alienation where one parent may have a coach to encourage the child has specific feelings about the other parent – that’s a position I would take and help educate the parents and help the estranged parent and the child to develop a relationship. LB: And so with that kind of therapy do you bring in the child I guess alone because maybe they’ve never met the other parent. Right so you have to there’s a lot of coordination with that reunification. Therapy is that correct. MB: That’s correct. Yes. LB: Okay. Well, thank you so much for being here today. And he was just you know great information for all of us and we appreciate you. Thank you. MB: Absolutely, Leslie thank you. OUT: Thanks for listening to the Texas Divorce Lawyer Podcast with me, attorney Leslie Barrows. If you like my show and want to know more, check out my Web site at barrowsfirm.com or please leave a review on iTunes, Spotify, or whichever social media outlet you’re listening on. Be sure to join me next time and thanks for listening!The post A Therapists Commentary of Divorce Challenges with Children – Guest Melanie Burman first appeared on Barrows Firm Podcast.
26 minutes | 2 years ago
Divorcing with Children
In today’s Texas Divorce Lawyer Podcast, Attorney Leslie Barrows discusses Divorcing with Children. Ms. Barrows provides some important information on approaching the children on the topic of divorce, and what may have the least amount of emotional impact? Are there different approaches depending on the age of the child/children? What kinds of reactions should parents be prepared for? What are some other considerations when divorcing with children that can impact a child emotionally? How can these be mitigated? At what point during the divorce is custody initially established? What, if any, input from the child is considered for custody? Attorney Leslie Barrows also provides information about some terms that people may not be familiar with, such as: Joint Managing Conservatorship, Sole Managing Conservatorship and Possession Of and Access to the Child. Finally Attorney Leslie Barrows wraps up the discussion with Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution for determining child custody, for modifications and enforcement actions. Podcast Transcription Hi there. I’m attorney Leslie barrows and you’re listening to the Texas divorce lawyer podcast with me Leslie Barrows. The goal of this podcast is to educate people in Texas about divorce. I want to be able to describe what divorce means how it affects children both young and grown and give my listeners a little bit of hope especially if they are about to start or are in the middle of divorce proceedings. Welcome to the podcast. Host: Welcome to the podcast. Today we’re going to be talking about divorce when you have children and some of the effects that it can have on the children. We’re here with Leslie Barrows from the Barrows firm in Southlake Texas. Today we’re gonna be talking a little bit about divorcing when you have children and some of the effects that it can have. We know that on your blog you’re are doing a multipart series concerning this and we’re going to kind of touch a little bit on two of the first postings that we’ve got out there. We’re going to talk a little bit about some of the effects that divorce has on children and then some of the issues that come up with the initial court proceedings and custody and things like that. So, whenever you’re ready. Leslie Barrows: All right. Host: When it comes to divorce as a parent, how should they approach the child or the children on the topic of divorce that has the least emotional impact for that child? Leslie Barrows: Well of course you know divorce is hard for families especially families with children. And I think you really just have to know your family in the eight and the ages of the children. We all will agree that children are resilient but we want to make sure that we keep them out of the divorce proceedings and I think that you know the the best thing to do is if you’re going to have to tell your family that you know you know mom and dad are going to split up and the children are going to go to different homes and there’s going to be some changes that the two have the least emotional impact on them would be to. Get the help to mental health professionals to make sure that you’re You’re broaching the subject the appropriate time and in place and just make sure that the kids are on the same page with with what’s going to be going on and the changes that are going to take place in the home. Of course, it’s going to be challenging and I always tell people for children don’t introduce them to new boyfriends or girlfriends or paramours just so you know while you’re going through the divorce that they just maintain contact with with the parents. I mean of course you’re going to have a lot of emotional impact on the children but you want to keep that to a minimum given they’re their ages and you know all the children react differently I mean some can be you know just stay busy and go to their friends houses or some can have attachment issues where they don’t they don’t like the transition from going over to mom and dad’s house so there can be some attachment issues as well . So you have to just do what’s best for for your kids and try to keep that emotion down you know and just continue to tell them you know we we both love you . We want to do what’s right for the family it’s just we’re not giving up on you that you have a home that’s safe and we’ll make sure that that you’re taking care of. Host: So you mentioned something about different ages so when it comes to children of different ages you’ve got kids that are younger kids are older . What kind of approaches would you take for the different age groups or would you have a different approach. Leslie Barrows: Well I think kids under you know preschool they’re really not going to you know be really impacted as much as of older children. I mean teenagers are are are hard already deal with because they have so many things going on in there with school and friends and and hormones. So I think teenagers can really be affected pretty you know take it pretty hard just. Is it something that you would do depending on their their age and and make sure that you communicate with them because a lot of times you’ll find that kids if you try to talk about divorce that they’ll kind of clam up and not want to talk about it. And maybe that’s an option where you say Hey I’m gonna go get them and therapist that they can talk to on their own and not mom and dad you know they’re not going to be a part of the therapy and and then you can be guided by a mental health professional of how you should what’s going to be best for your child. Host: So would you maybe look at The Help or kind of get some ideas about you know preparing for that ahead of time because kids are going to have different reactions so you kind of touch on a little bit but what are some of these reactions again if you could just kind of talk about that again about you know how what kind of reactions can a parent should a parent expect and do and I’m sure it’s a multitude of different things. Leslie Barrows: I think you you know they’ll be upset. I mean I’ve had children where especially if they already have mental health issues you know diagnosed with bipolar or ADHD or schizophrenia it depends on the kiddos or maybe their their disabled child so there’s different reactions that you can get. I mean you have upset shock. You know sometimes kids go, ‘Well my friend went through this, going through that’ or ‘my friend at school’ given whatever age their parents or divorce and so it’s I know with with our kids you know we talk about them you know with their friends you know about their parents that are divorced. I don’t think you’re going to get anyone that’s going to be happy and jump up for joy. I think you’re going to get just a wide wide range of emotions almost kind of like the grieving process where they’re in shock and then they’ve kind of come to accept it and as time goes on then they start accepting that oh I’m going to Dad’s house on this weekend and this isn’t the time I talk to my mom but if I want to talk to her I’ll talk to her on the phone . So I think that with the use of Cell phones. Now to that if if the kids are older that that that’s a good tool to use because if they’re feeling lonely or they’re thinking about their mom or their dad when they’re over at the other parent’s house they can call them. And then everything you know they feel better about it. Host: So you think maybe you like a structure of some kind . You know helps children out . You know like there’s a structure of you know that this weekend you’re going to Dad’s house this weekend you’re going to mom’s house or you know holidays and things like that. Does that seem to kind of help do you think. Leslie Barrows: Yeah you know I was talking to a group of middle school girls last week at one of the Middle School middle schools in town and I asked the question we started off with was what’s your what’s your pick of the week. What are you looking forward to and a lot of them. We’re like oh I’m going to my dad’s I’m going to go see my dog over there. So just kids are are so are pretty accepting you know about what’s going on and if as an adult you tell them you know this is going to be best for everybody and for the family then then you know they’re gonna be accepting of the new schedule and the change. Host: So during that time. But what point is there kind of an establishment of custody is is something that the parents just have to work out between themselves or is or like an order of some kind. How does that kind of work out. Leslie Barrows: Well when a when a couple’s going to get divorced someone will have to file a petition for divorce and that starts the proceeding and and usually the the other side is served the paperwork and then we would have a temporary orders hearing where someone’s going to be named the you know the if you’re going to have joint managing conservators. That’s usually the standard unless you have some kind of emergency like family violence or drug use or some some kind of safety issue. But usually when you file for divorce you’re going to have to know that who’s the primary caretaker of the kids. And where are the kids going to stay in and what schools usually what we go by. But I mean once you file for the divorce you’re gonna have temporary orders within 14 days usually and then at that time someone’s going to be name the joint managing conservator of the children the custody would be established at that time on a temporary basis at some point. Host: Does a child have any say in kind of like the custody part of it? Leslie Barrows: Well under the Family Code there is this one. You know this one part of the family code where a 12 year old can go in and say that they want to talk to the judge and they want and that the judge if somebody asks for the party says hey I want the judge to talk to the child then for kids that are age 12 and up the judge can talk to the child. It says Ciao. So if that’s ever asked for and usually it’s going to be in custody modifications and divorces once the kiddo turns 12 years old and so you know our judges are really good about meeting with the kids and we bring them in you know to make sure that doesn’t disrupt their school schedule and then bring them in and they’re taken in the back and it’s kind of a laid back talk that they have with the judge. But none of the parties go. Also there’s some judges that will bring in a court reporter as well and sometimes you can get a transcript of the meeting with the kiddos as well. But usually those are the kids that are going to be 12 and up and a lot of the judges in the mental health professionals and other attorneys you know we want to make sure that we don’t want kids to be trying to say that they have to pick or choose their mom or dad because usually they of course love both of them and add in there’s so much stress with them being in the middle of these custody battles and the you know they contested or high conflict divorces where those are just decisions that kids kids shouldn’t be making that those are adult decisions. So I think the judges are really good about telling them you know you don’t have to make that decision. I’m going to make the decision I’m going to tell your parents where you’re going to be. So they kind of listen to the child. There are still you know mitigating factors and everything that kind of go along with that. That has to be considered. If the child just comes up and says I’m going to live with mom that’s just not a guaranteed thing it’s still up to the right and everything is kind of taken into consideration . Yeah and you know we always like it we throw around the term best interests of the child so that that actually goes to what is best for the child . Have they been in the school district. Are there any special needs. Do they do they play sports that they didn’t you know running track with with the school for some time and that’s something they really enjoy you know are they unbanned. Do they have siblings. I mean there’s all kinds of things after that the judge considers as well. If a child a child is going to be interviewed by the judge. Host: I know a lot of times is legal terms that are kind of thrown out and any kind of proceeding and there’s some that doing some research for this podcast to sit down and talk with you. I came across some that I think would be good for people to kind of get a better understanding of what they mean because it’s something that came up pretty often. So let’s kind of talk about what does it mean when it says joint managing conservatorship. Leslie Barrows: OK. So joint managing conservatorship is usually the presumption that you’re going to have both parents involved in the raising of the children. So that’s pretty much a standard. If people come in and they say I want custody well under joint managing conservator ship we have rights and duties which would be right to designate where the children go to school. You know to designate where you have the child go seek medical attention things like that. So when when you’re seeing you know cases where it says joint managing conservatorship and the other side saying that they have custody it’s because they’re making the decisions usually of where the child goes to school and where the child resides so those are the top two that people usually want and and would argue the most about it’s who’s going to be primary who’s going to be the primary person to do that. And you know when we’re trying to mediate cases and resolve resolve high conflict cases we’re making sure that you know people are kind of steering away from the term of who has custody. And who has primary because it’s kind of like you’re trying to one up the other the other parent but you still need both parents to raise the children. So they are typical as joint managing conservatorship as well the sole managing conservatorship. That’s going to be where you have you have maybe dad or mom’s taken off and abandon the kiddo you have five possibly family violence. We’ll we’ll get sole managing conservatorship if there’s a protective order and that will be on a temporary basis or, but most the time the sole managing is is going to be you know family violence or really serious drug problems where you know they just can’t the other parent just can’t get off drugs and that’s just not a safe environment. So you would have most likely have the supervised possession of the child if the even if the parents even visiting. Host: So the sole managing conservatorship like that would be more like so if someone says sole custody kind of the same thing. Leslie Barrows: Yeah. And you don’t you don’t see cease you see sole custody. When CPS is involved you know so you’re gonna have something pretty extreme as happen where these two cannot get along at all. And so you’re going to have to have some supervised visits is usually what you’re going to do with the sole managing. Host: This sounds daunting I can’t understand what it means but possession of and access to the child that. Leslie Barrows: Yes. So that’s that’s gonna be your schedule so you’ll have joint managing conservatorship or sole managing and then you would have a possession schedule for the for the child. And you know we all throw around because we hear it every day of standard possession order while in the state of Texas it’s just a standard possession order would be first third and fifth weekends then the the non-custodial parent. So non-custodial means where the they don’t have the primary right to designate where the kiddo resides. So really I think you just look at it as this is going to be the schedule or doing more equal sharing of schedules maybe like a week on week off. Sometimes that works with families but it’s the week on week off is difficult because you have to you have to make sure that these people get along if they don’t get along and they don’t live close week on week off housing and work because you have to be in the same school district too. Sure. Because you don’t want to have to drive your kiddo all the way from you know that’s 50 miles away and have to do drop offs at the school. If the if the parent lives you know some you know several miles away from the school. So that’s that’s what possession of and access to the child. And I know we talk about standard possession orders too. And that would be the first third fifth and there’s also standard holidays that the families would have to take into account. And the big shocker is always the summer where the non-custodial parent has basically the whole month of July. So that can be really tough on people because I think when maybe they entered into the agreement they were like oh I really didn’t understand what would be if I didn’t have my kid for a whole month. You know it was summer and people that live over 100 miles away or in other states and not you know get transferred a lot of times you’ll lose yours. Your Summers if you’re the custodial parent during the school year because that’s the time where you’re going to have to give some extra time for with the kid with you know the child with the the adult that lives outside of the the state because you know we’ll see that a lot with with the military and people that get transferred for for work. So it makes sense. Host: So when it does come to things like that and there are issues I could kind of go through that I know there’s there’s mediation and some different resolution kind of things modifications. Can you talk a little bit about how that works? Leslie Barrows: Well I think you know pretty much every every judge is going to want you to try to mediate because you don’t want to have to go from you know your temporary orders hearing and then go straight to final trial without trying to do some kind of alternative dispute resolution you know arbitration is making this pretty popular in the civil world and we’re having you know we can arbitrate too in in these family law cases. So mediation is a great tool and we you know we’ve had a lot of success with cases settling at mediation which is good because I tell I tell people that at least you have control of what’s going to happen. You’re not going in front of a judge that has you know doesn’t know you doesn’t know your kids you know doesn’t know anything about you just what’s you know what your count. You know your attorney is going to present . So that’s why I think that mediation is so good because you have to still continue to co parent with this. You know the other side if you have kids and you know when you have have litigation you are it’s like an attack. So you know if you’re attacking these people that are you know you’ve had kids with it’s hard to move forward and then work together for for the for your kids. And sometimes if the people don’t get along I was going to throw that into that we have we have these new apps that you know we’re using for four people to talk on their phones through these apps. So we have our family wizard we have clothes we have a talking parents and the cool thing about the apps is that these and I really only recommend those apps if you really can’t get along with the other side. So you know because we want the communication to be up to be open but you can put your your schedule on there if you’re going to. If they if the child’s in sports you can put that and upload it you can upload medical receipts which is good because you know wonder are with our final decrees you’re going to make sure that your your explanation of benefits is up in the system and so you’d ask for reimbursement. So hey you need to send me the 20 bucks for the copay . As you know the your son got sick. So that was something to that is really helpful in high conflict cases you know and sometimes what’s cool is even if we get it ordered they figure out hey this is really not how we should be talking. And so as the case progresses you know they’ve gotten off of that that they’re not they’re not using the app anymore all right so do you have any kind of last bit of advice or words of wisdom on the on the subject. Well you know I tell people to if you can if you’re if you’re planning on filing a modification or are filing for divorce have tried to sit down and talk with the other side before before you do it and see see what if you can come up with any agreements because if you can do that it really saves a lot of a lot of time and heartache if you can do that. So for sure you know tried you could even try mediation before you file you know your lawsuit. Some people do that and it works for them it just really depends on on the couple and on the personalities. So if you have a over you know overbearing personality it’s not going over. You just have to file a lawsuit and serve the person sorry. Host: So let’s talk a little bit about Leslie and the Barrows Firm. So is there anything new coming up with the with yourself or with the firm? Leslie Barrows: Well I you know we’re we’re back after the 20 night where you know we’re starting off 2019 pretty busy where we’ve been planning the women empowered luncheon at the Hilton which is done by the Southlake Chamber. So we’re doing that in March. And of course we have the Aim for Safety which is which is coming up in February which would be a good time through the Chamber of Commerce as well. But as far as seminars to where we’ll be attending some seminars just for our continuing legal education credit that you know at we have to have with the State Bar of Texas . Host: Very important . If someone is likely to have heard today or they have any other questions how can we get in touch with you. Leslie Barrows: They can visit our Web site and the barrowsfirm.com or they can reach out to us by phone of course at 8 1 7- 4 8 1- 1 5 8 3. Host: We’ve been listening to attorney Leslie Barrows talk about divorcing with children. You can read more on this in her multipart blog series on our Web site at barrowsfirm.com. So thanks Leslie today for being with us again and as always thank you. And for everyone else out there have a great day and we’ll see you soon. Thanks for listening to the Texas divorce lawyer podcast with me attorney Leslie Barrows . If you like my show and want to know more check out my Web site at Barry’s firm dot com or please leave a review on iTunes, Spotify or whichever social media outlet you’re listening on. Be sure to join me next time, and thanks for listening.The post Divorcing with Children first appeared on Barrows Firm Podcast.
14 minutes | 2 years ago
Divorce & Child Custody During the Holidays
Divorce and Child Custody during the holidays can be a really difficult time for families that have recently been broken up as a result of a divorce or even when families begin blending together for the next chapters in their lives. Attorney Leslie Barrows discusses Divorce and Child Custody issues, topics and keys to look for during the holidays in an effort to make the holidays enjoyable for all family members, especially the children. For more information about Divorce and Child Custody During The Holidays issues or questions, contact The Barrows Firm at 817-481-1583 or online at https://barrowsfirm.com. Episode 1 Host (00:00): Welcome to the Barrows Firm podcast today, we’re going to be talking about divorce and child custody during the holidays. We’re here today with Leslie Barrows as always. When it comes to that, how are you going to approach or how should a parent approach that topic of divorce during that first holiday, especially when you’re going through that divorce period? Leslie Barrows (00:21): Well, of course it it’s tough when you have a pending case during the holidays, for sure. I know I’m working with families for you know, over over 10 years, we’ve heard all kinds of stories. So I think your, your first step would be to make sure that you and your spouse are on the same page. That if it’s a topic where, you know, you’re going to say that, you know, it, we, mom and dad are going through this situation. It’s not something where the children should be involved in, but that, you know, mom and dad are going to going to their relationship’s not working, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t love you. We, we love you. A lot of families too, we’ll seek mental health or, or a therapist to make sure that you know, they discuss this correctly with their children because it is a really touchy subject. It depends on you know, the age of the kids. And if you have college kids, I mean, it’s even really tough on them because that’s, you know, their mom and dad and their relationship is all they’ve known for a long time. So I think it depends on the age of the children. But you know, the children that are under 18 and say, you know, we have a simple divorce we’re going through and the couple has children. Then usually there’s already going to be injunctions in place saying, Hey, let’s not talk about the case and litigation, but we can talk about, you know, that mom and dad aren’t going to be together. And that usually people are separating and getting their own their own home. So that’s, that’s kind of a practice tip of, of how to talk to the children. And if you think that you need some kind of help with how to go about talking with that with your children, then you would go to maybe a therapist or someone at church to, to help you along as well. That’s trained to be able to talk to children about, you know relationships that are splitting up. And you’re going through a divorce right now. Host (02:26): When you do bring this up with the children, how deep do you kind of take the subject on that? Because obviously the children at some point are going to know that there’s a divorce occurring. So how deep would you go with them on, on that subject Leslie Barrows (02:40): It’s really going to be ages three and up, I would think, and the kids all the way up until high school. So as far as approaching it usually if you can, you would talk maybe at the home or maybe in private with the other spouse, if you guys along. But a lot of people don’t get along. So that’s why they’re getting divorced, but I mean, I’ve met lots of families where they did get along and they told the, the children together that, Hey, mom and dad are, or, you know, are not gonna be married, but we’re still going to continue with with loving you and raising you guys together. But if you don’t get along then it’s, it’s another topic, usually one parent tells tells the child, Hey you know, daddy’s not in the house cause you know, dad’s moved out, we’re not getting along. So I think that it really just depends on the situation and where you guys are in the process, but of course communication is key to to making sure that you guys are on the same page while you have this the divorce case opened during the holiday season. For sure. Host (03:54): So if you do have that divorce case open during the holiday season, do you have any kind of tips or recommendations for that time period? Leslie Barrows (04:02): Every family has their own Christmas traditions, but if you’ve been involved in you know, you’ve had the same tradition of, you know Christmas morning or Christmas Eve, well, make new traditions, you know, if you have a relative and you know, maybe you’re still going through a divorce and you’re living in the same home, then maybe you know, you travel somewhere and you take the kids. If it’s, if you guys have, have worked that out, go see a relative or go on an adventure and make a new start, making a new tradition and getting used to you know, spending time alone. Because I mean, when you are going through a divorce, it is tough because there’s probably been someone who’s been the primary parent. I would also say don’t make any new introductions of if you’re dating someone well, that’s, that’s good for you, but during the holidays and if you have children and you’re in basically the parents are going through a divorce, I would say no new introductions of people that you’re dating or, you know, don’t introduce your new girlfriend or boyfriend. I think that there’s going to be an appropriate time for that, but during the holidays is not, is not the time to do that. Host (05:15): Once we kind of go through that divorce phase and, and everything kind of gets taken care of- when it comes to holiday seasons in that time frame, how, how does that schedule work? Leslie Barrows (05:27): The most standard language that we see under the family code is of course we would have Thanksgiving. So that would be the custodial parent would have the even year. So it’s usually years. So whoever has whoever has the child the most, which would be the custodial parent you’d have even years. And then the non-custodial parent would have the odd years for Thanksgiving. And then for Christmas, the the custodial parent would have the number year and then the non-custodial parent would have the even number year. So, and, and that’s designed so, you know, one person would have Thanksgiving and then and then of course Christmas would be with the other the other parents, so they can get some time as well. And most of the decrees that we see if the families they usually follow that. I mean, I’ve had some couples where they say, well, we always like Thanksgiving, and then you always have Christmas. So if you’ve agreed to that and it’s in writing, then, then, then they have that in their decree. So I would look at your final decree of divorce and see what’s in there, but that’s usually the standard under the Texas family code for possession and access during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Host (06:49): What do they do If there’s no order. So if they’ve had a divorce that was maybe a divorce where they, they mutually agreed upon some things, but there was no real order done for child support or maybe it’s a pre-divorce and there, there’s just not an order yet. How do they work that out? Leslie Barrows (07:06): Yeah, usually if you, if you, so if you weren’t married and you don’t have an order usually what happens is that you would have to communicate with the other side about you know, what’s what you’ve agreed to. And so I think that communication would be key if you don’t have an order in place you know, you, but you have to communicate, you can’t just come and pick up the kiddo from, from daycare and take the child out of state or do something crazy like that. So I think that for sure, the communication is, is key, especially if you don’t have an order, which, and if you don’t, I would recommend that you get one just so you can have something in black and white that says this is the holiday schedule, and this is what we would do going forward just for the stability of the family. But, you know, there’s all kinds of orders that we see too. Cause you know some grandparents raised their, their grandkids and they split custody with, with parents. So we have seen all kinds of orders as far as you know, handling the kids at, at the holidays for sure. Host (08:16): Is it difficulty to set up some kind of order or custody for, for that time? If there was no prior marriage? Leslie Barrows (08:24): If you don’t have a court order and you don’t really want to go back to court, then you probably need to put everything in writing and emails or letters with the other side, for sure. If you don’t have an order. And also things change, you know, with people have kids and then a lot of people get remarried, so you’ll have the blended families as well. And you know, so you could have, you know, dad remarries and, and, you know, the new wife has children and they all want to be on the schedule. So I’ve seen couples where I’m on the blended families that, that, you know, it can be challenging of course, to have a blended family, but the, the parties do work it out and get together and make sure that everybody’s on the same schedule of if mom, if dad remarries and, and has has kids. And so does this new new wife or the other way around. So it does work. And if, sometimes we will go back to court and do modifications of orders if you’re wanting that. And usually the parties seem to agree on, on those, those arrangements, for sure. Host (09:35): I know sometimes we come upon the holidays and maybe this year, you know, everything went normal, but let’s say next year, you know, I have a big trip or something planned but it’s not my year to have the children during the holiday season. So if, if there are some kind of special circumstances or things that come up like that what is kind of the procedure for, for working that out or figuring out how that works? Leslie Barrows (10:00): Well, we do see that. So if you know, there’s a death in the family then usually they’ll the parties will put that in writing and however they communicate usually text or email is what we see a lot. And you know, I would not, you know, prepay your vacation to Disney if it’s not your time for sure, but I would make sure that you communicate with the other side and if weddings, things like that the, the couples will switch time. So they’ll say, okay, well I’ll get another weekend or I’ll get more time in this summer to make sure that I get my equal, equal time with, with the kids. So I would, you know, it just really depends on your relationship with the other side. And if they’re, if they’re willing to work with you, because if, if that’s something you want to do is, you know, you want to take the family on a trip and it’s not your time. Then you’re going to have to give up something- you’re going to have to give up the Thanksgiving, or you’re going to have to give up you know, another weekend. And if you can’t work it out, usually we, that’s not really a reason to go back to court to modify your, your custody order. So, you know, it’s not like you can call an attorney and go, Hey, I need to go have the judge order. You know, the, my ex spouse to allow me to go to Disney, they’re really not gonna care. Host (11:20): You mentioned blended families a little bit earlier. And you gave a couple of tips, any additional things that you’d like to cover for blended families. Leslie Barrows (11:28): I always tell ’em step parents to back to back out and to not try to take control of situations and try to change things if, if they’re new to the family and their step mom or dad that seems to create a lot of conflict. And I, I think that, you know, with blended families, it takes so many years of, of blending and making sure that the, that the, all the get along and a lot of them don’t. But the problem is too is you have, you have step kids, so you could have, you know, you could have five or seven kids in one house and, you know, you have an only child going to a new home where they have five or seven, you know, step siblings, and this is a complete change. And I think that that’s where, you know, you, as the parent should say, you know, I know this transition’s happening. You have a new marriage, or, you know, you have a new spouse, but I need to make sure that my child is protected and being watched when, you know, it’s during your time. And that’s where those mental health professionals are just so critical to, you know, you, you’re doing the right thing for, for your, for your kiddo and making sure that it is a safe environment and that the child feels that, you know, they’re loved and not just while they’re at the new, new home with the step kids. So I think it’s, it’s just every year’s different. And I think the, the blended family is, is challenging for sure. Host (12:57): Do you have any final thoughts or anything on the, on the subject that you’d like to put out there? Leslie Barrows (13:02): Well, I just want to wish everyone a happy holidays, and I know that this is a time for, for families to be together and families will be traveling. So make sure you have a will and make sure that you have all your estate planning needs in place, because you know, 2019 comes and, and we want to make sure that everybody’s on set on that. Host (13:23): So, Leslie, how does everyone get in touch with you? Leslie Barrows (13:26): You’ll call us at (817) 481-1583 again, (817) 481-1583. Speaker 1 (13:35): So we’ve been listening to Leslie Barrows today. Talk about divorce and child custody during that holiday season. Leslie. So thank you for being with us today. And for everyone out there have a safe holiday and we will see you all next time.The post Divorce & Child Custody During the Holidays first appeared on Barrows Firm Podcast.
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