Monday, January 27, 2014

On-Line Parenting Class - with internet link included

There is a new company providing parenting classes on-line...

They claim that you can take the class 24/7
from the convenience of your home or office.

Finish the class and print the certificate of completion immediately.

If needed, start & stop the class at your convenience in 30 minute sessions.  

Please don't call me -- I'm not associated in any way with this company!  I don't have their phone number - it was not on their brochure sent to my office.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Annual Free Credit Report

Beware of many websites that CLAIM they offer a free credit report!

Many are private companies that want you to sign up for something -- NOT FREE!

Instead use...

If you see a discrepancy, contact the credit bureau.  The bureau has 45 days to fix it.  If they re-verify the problem, it will still appear on your credit report.

Only one website is authorized to fill orders for the free annual credit report you are entitled to under law —

Other websites that claim to offer “free credit reports,” “free credit scores,” or even “free credit monitoring” are not part of the legally mandated free annual credit report program.

In some cases, the “free” product comes with strings attached. For example, some sites sign you up for a supposedly “free” service that changes to an account that requires payment after a trial period. If you don’t cancel during the trial period, you may suddenly see that you are being billed for your "free" service.

Some “imposter” sites use terms like “free report” in their names; others have URLs that purposely misspell in the hope that you will mistype the name of the official site. Some of these “imposter” sites direct you to other sites that try to sell you something or collect your personal information.

Never answer an email from a company claiming to help you.  Always go to a search engine and enter the information yourself.  Again, there are many evil people trying to collect your personal information.  So be very, very careful.

If someone calls you on the phone about problems with your credit report, don't give out any information.  I had a phone call from "Chase Bank" one night around 9 pm.  Something about the person on the phone seemed "funny" to me.  I hung up and dialed the 1-800 phone number on the back of my Chase credit card -- they had NOT called me -- it was a scammer trying to scare me into giving them my personal data.  

Identity Theft - what to do if your identity is stolen

If you are a victim of identity theft, you must file a police report with your local law enforcement agency and keep a copy of that report.  Many banks and credit agencies require such a report BEFORE they will acknowledge that a theft has occurred.

The 3 primary credit reporting bureaus are - Equifax, Experian and Trans Union - you need to place a security alert or freeze on your report.

Then request a copy of your credit report and review it for unauthorized account activity.  Then immediately report any unauthorized charges and accounts by phone AND follow up by writing a letter to confirm the telephone conversation!

If your wallet or purse is stolen, immediately cancel your credit and debit cards and order replacements.  Put a "stop payment" on all lost or stolen checks.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has authority to prosecute identity theft at the federal level.  Contact them at

Also check out for more information on this topic.

The FTC has a new called the ID Theft Affidavit that you might want to download and use too.

The federal legislation that makes identity theft illegal is known as THE IDENTITY AND ASSUMPTION DETERRENCE ACT OF 1998.

Texas law makes it a felony to steal another person's identity, and the person can be imprisoned and order to reimburse the victim for loss income or other expenses, but NOT attorney fees.

If you are interested in learning more about other laws, you might look at the FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT which helps you make corrections to your credit report, and the FAIR CREDIT BILLING ACT which helps you resolve billing errors on credit card accounts.  Plus, there is the ELECTRONIC RFUND TRANSFER ACT which applies to debit and credit cards and other electronic funds transfers.

Remember, some identity theft is done by someone that you know - relatives, friends, fellow employees or unhappy ex-relatives.  Do not ever give anyone your Social Security Number.
Your friends and relatives probably know where you live, work, your phone numbers and date of birth and maybe your TX Driver's License.  Hide your SS card from everyone!

There are companies out there that claim they can help you.  I've tried a couple and not been highly impressed by their services.  Right now I'm using Life-Lock after my cell phone was stolen during the past year.  I was lucky and the thief only had the phone for 2 hours before I discovered the loss and I was able to remotely erase the phone and turn it into a "brick"!

"Google" yourself and see how much information shows up on you.  I recently did this and was shocked to find out that many of my former home addresses show up on FREE people searches. Interestingly, some of the addresses that appeared I had never lived at so I'm not sure how these companies compile their information.  I had to go to each website & ask to be removed from their "public viewing".  I don't know how many actually removed my info.

If act you quickly and are pro-active, then your liability is limited to $50 per credit card and you are NOT liable for charges made after you report the card lost or stolen.

ALWAYS look at your monthly charge invoices and your bank statement for problems.  The burden is on YOU to move quickly if you see any suspicious activity.

In Texas a victim of identity theft can petition the district attorney for assistance in having their misappropriated identity redacted from court records if the identity was misused in a criminal proceeding.  Contact a criminal lawyer if this has happened to you.

The State of Texas also have has a "phishing" statute - TEX BUS & COMM Code Section 48.001

An identity theft victim may file a declaration with the DPS to create a PIN for their driver's license to prevent misuse by an identity thief - TEX GOV'T CODE article 411.0421

To request a security "freeze" on your consumer file with a consumer reporting agency you must send written notice by certified mail to a consumer reporting agency - TEX BUS & COMM Code Section 20.034.

I hope this post is helpful to you.  If you are a victim of identity theft, I am so sorry.  It is very time consuming and scary.  Good luck!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Name Changes for Adults & Children

I am now willing to do uncontested name changes for children and adults.

I will not do a child's name change unless BOTH parents agree to it.
Don't call me if the other parent will not sign the paperwork.
Don't call me if you and the other parent do not agree.

I won't take your money unless I think the name change will be approved by the judge.
I don't want to waste your time or money - most people appreciate my honesty.

If you have a felony conviction or outstanding warrants or are attempting to change your name to avoid creditors, I cannot help you.  The judge won't approve your name change and I don't want to waste your time or money.

I've only had one name change ever rejected by a judge in Harris County -- the lady lied and did not tell me about her conviction for prostitution.  I refused to refund her money since I did all the work.  I offered to expunge her criminal record but she did not want to pay for it.

My cost is $2,000 plus expenses.

Expenses include the filing fee of approximately $300.
A federal & state background criminal check - approximately $100.
2 DIGITIZED fingerprint cards - you need to do this before coming to see me.

In summary, a name change will run approximately $2,500.

After 911, the Harris County courts got much stricter to what they require to sign an Order to change a person's name. Sorry!

If you don't like my price, look on for an attorney to assist you.

The basic form is available at the Harris County Law Library on Congress in Downtown Houston.  You need to make a copy of the forms then re-type them and fill in the information.  You will need to "edit" these forms - do not merely copy and turn in a blank form -- that wont' work.  You must modify the form to fit your needs.

Rules for co-parenting children

Rules for Co-parenting:

1.  Do let the other parent know about discipline, bedtime routines, sleeping arrangements, illnesses, extracurricular activities and schedules.  If possible, both parents should use similar discipline at their homes. Consistency is good for kids.  

If you cannot agree on everything, your child can adapt.  Children are remarkably flexible and smart.  Do not comment on the other parent's "household rules".  You are different and will always have different wants and needs.  Support the rules at the other parent's home. Remember that your child now has two (2) homes where they live.  

2.  Do keep the other parent informed of any scholastic, medical, psychiatric, extracurricular activities or medical appointments for your child. Encourage the other parent to attend and participate, if possible.  Children want both of their parents to be involved in all aspects of their life.  Figure out ways to work together.  Some people talk once a week and other people text each other.  Do what works for both of you.  Be flexible.  There is no right or wrong way to co-parent.  Let the teachers and doctors know about the other parent in case there is ever an emergency.  

3.  Do refer to the other parent as the child's mom or dad in conversation, rather than using the parent's first (or last) name. For example, "your dad will pick you up from school today." or "I talked to your mom and we agreed that I would take you to school today."

4.  Try to make all major decisions regarding the child together after talking to each other.
This includes decisions regarding your child's educational, psychological, spiritual and physical well being and safety. Listen to the other parent.  Try to be flexible.  Try to work together to raise your child.  Children need both parents to learn and develop emotionally.  

5.  Do keep the other parent informed as to your current address, work information, telephone numbers, and email address.  If there is an emergency, you want the other parent to be able to contact you.

6.  Do keep the other parent informed if you are unable to pick up the child at the usual time.  Be courteous so that the other parent can make plans.  Remember that missing your visits with your child disappoints your child.  Please try to avoid cancelling visits or commitments that you've made with your child.

7.  Do not talk negatively or allow others to do so in front of your child.  This would include belittling remarks about the other parent (and family members), ridicules, or bring up allegations that are valid or invalid about "adult issues".  For example, no child needs to hear about the other parent having an affair.  No child needs to know that the other parent is "worthless" and "no good".  Many courts consider this a form of child abuse.  

8. Do not question your child about the other parent or use the child as a spy at the other parent's home.  Again, many judges consider this a form of child abuse.  Plus, judges don't take a child's comments seriously -- remember most small children still believe in the Easter bunny and Santa Claus -- so they are not reliable witnesses.  

9.  Do not argue or have heated discussions when the child can hear them.  This includes body language too - such as rolling the eyes or making inappropriate signs.  These non-verbal forms of communication are upsetting to children too. 

Remember that your child is learning how to communicate with others by your example -- is this truly what you want your child to remember about you?  Is this how you want your child to treat you when they grow up?  

10.  Do not use phrases to draw the child into your issues, or make your child feel guilty about spending time with the other parent.  For example, don't say "I miss you" -- rather use "I love you."

11. Do not allow step-parents (or new relationships) to negatively alter to modify your relationship with the other parent.  If this new person is hostile, then be cautious about entering into a relationship with this person -- it sounds like future trouble!

12.  Do not attempt to alienate the other parent from your child's life.  It took 2 of you to create this child -- it will probably take 2 of you to raise this child.  Learn ways of working together even though you are now apart.

There are numerous studies that show that having both parents involved in a child's life is very helpful to raise a smart, successful adult.  Please work together to raise your child.

13.  Do not ask the child where he/she wants to live.  The child has 2 homes now! You might want to keep a photo of the other parent by the child's bedside so your child can say good night to their other parent each evening at bedtime.  

14.  Do not discuss any litigation or potential litigation with your child.  Keep the child out of adult "business". Judges do not like people that discuss "adult business" with children.  It is a child's job to be a child.  YOU are the adult & you need to act like the adult.  You will be co-parenting your child for the rest of your life.  It never ends.  Learn ways to get along and be civil. It does get easier as time goes on.  Consider counseling if you cannot figure out ways to communicate without hostility or anger.

15.  Your child watches everything the parents do and is learning how to behave.  You are a role model for your child.  Are you setting a good example for your child? When your child grows up is this the way that you want your child to treat you?  You are creating your child's future memories, how do you want your child to remember you when they grow up -- pissed off all the time, fighting or someone that cared, loved them, and made them feel safe. 

16.  Do not make promises to your child and then not keep them.  It hurts kids and they don't forget broken promises.  Don't be the parent that tries to make the other parent break their promises.  Work together.  

17.  Do not try to buy your way into your child's heart.  What a child needs most of all is YOUR TIME.  Just hang out. If money is an issue, then read a book or watch television together.  Go to a park and play.  Or just throw a ball out in your yard.  

Ask your adult friends about their childhood memories of their parents.  They won't usually remember how much stuff cost but they will remember when their parents lost their temper or the best memories of their parents.  I'm sure that you don't want your child to remember you as always being angry and arguing.  

In summary, there are no rules in co-parenting.  Be flexible.  Try different things.  If you cannot figure it out, then try counseling - together or alone.  Remember that you are parents -- but you are also human.We all make mistakes -- be gentle when the other parent makes a mistake because next time it could be you & you want the same courtesy extended to you.  In life there are often "bumps in the road" - illnesses, layoffs, accidents,broken cars, etc.  Work together. Be courteous - treat the other parent like you would any stranger you met on the street.  In the long run, your child will benefit by your good behavior.  Children are very smart and intuitive. They know what's going on around them.  

Your child is learning how to be a parent by everything you do NOW! 

Rules kids would make for their separated parents -- if they could

If children could make rules for their parents to follow, I suspect that it would include the following:

1.  Keep me out of "adult stuff".  

I don't need to hear bad things about the other parent and/or their family members.

I don't want to hear that my other parent had an affair or caused the break-up of our family.
It hurts me to hear these things.  

I don't care if I'm an adult, I still don't want to hear about how bad my other parent was in the past.  I love you both.  I don't need to know this bad stuff about the other parent. I already know it -- but I don't want to hear it come out of your mouth!

2.  I don't want to hear you say bad things about my other parent.

It hurts me when you talk badly about my other parent.  
I love both of you.  
I'm 50% of both of you -- when you talk bad about my other parent then you are also saying that I'm 50% bad. 
Please stop rolling your eyes and other body language when I bring up the other parent. 
It hurts me.

3.  Don't make me feel bad for loving my other parent.

It took 2 people to create me.  
YOU chose my other parent to be my parent.  
So what does it show about you if you hooked up with such a bad person.
I love both of you.
It hurts me when you try to make me feel guilty. 
 I don't care if the other parent is a "bad" person or had an affair.  

4.  Please get along.

I want both of you to participate in my life.
Why cannot you behave at public events (games, plays, birthdays & graduation)?
You are embarrassing me by your outbursts and yelling at each other.
Please be civil. 
You don't have to sit next to each other -- but don't make a "scene" & embarrass me in front of my friends.
I love you both and want you both there.

5.  Don't make me choose sides.

This is a form of child abuse.  
I hate being put in the middle.
I love you both.

6.  No fighting in front of me.

I get physically and emotionally upset with you fight in front of me.
I hate it.
Please stop it.
I love you both.

7. Don't make me a messenger or put me in the middle.

I'm a kid -- I cannot remember all this "adult stuff" you want to tell my other parent.
I cannot remember it all.
Please talk directly to the other parent.

8.  Don't share or take your anger out on me.

When you are mad at the other parent, I hate it when you yell at me because you are upset.
This is not fair to me.
Please let me be a kid.

9.  Don't ask me to spy.
I hate it when you ask me a bunch of questions about my other parent.
I stresses me out.
I just want to be a kid.
I love you both - don't put me in the middle.
It's like a quiz that I cannot pass.

10.  Give me one-on-one time with both parents.

I want to spend time with both of my parents.  
Let me text or Skype my other parent without interfering.
I don't love you less because I want to talk to my other parent.
I love you both.
Please let me be a kid and love you both.
You both created me -- together.
No you are apart -- but I still love you both!

A Child's Bill of Rights

We hold these truths to be self-evident that all children in the United States are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights among which are the right to life, happiness, and the security of frequent contact & love by both of their parents regardless of their parent's marital status.

Article 1.  All children have the right to, openly and without fear of any kind, be able to express their love and affection for both their parents equally.

Article 2.  All children have the right to never be blamed in any way for their parent's divorce or separation.

Article 3.  All children have the right to feel secure and loved by both parents and to be cared for properly both emotionally and financially.

Article 4.  All children have the right to be listed to and accepted as a child with feelings and needs.

Article 5.  All children have the right to be informed of important decisions affecting them and why those decisions were made in an age-appropriate manner. 

Article 6.  All children have the right to never be placed in the awkward position of having to choose between either of their parents or to be made to take sides for or against either parent.

Article 7.  All children have the right to be able to heal properly, without undue stress and suffering from the hurt, pain and anger that often accompanies a divorce or separation of their parents.

Article 8.  All children have the right to be properly educated about divorce and separation to help understand that their parents are human too and that the adults are also experiencing personal hurt, anger and pain regarding a divorce or separation.

Article 9.  All children have the right to remain active in both of their parent's lives and to have as much physical and emotional contact with each parent as reasonably possible.

Article 10.  All children have the right to be loved by both of their parents unconditionally.

Common mutual injunctions used in family courts

Below are some common mutual injunctions that family courts will issue in cases.

Be aware that these are just some of the injunctions used - there are many more.

A family court judge can enjoin the parties before him/her from anything that the judge deems important.

Each party shall be enjoined, until further Court order, from engaging in any of the following conduct:

Disturbing the peace of the children named herein.

Removing the children named herein beyond the jurisdiction of the Court acting directly or in concert with others.

Disrupting or withdrawing the children from the school or daycare facility where the children are presently enrolled.

Initiating any discussions with the children concerning any aspect of this pending litigation.

Discussing any aspect of the lawsuit with others in the presence of the children.

Making any disparaging remarks about the other parent, the current spouse of the other parent, or other family members of the other parent in the presence of the children.

Allowing the children to remain in the presence of any other person(s) making disparaging remarks about the other parent, the current spouse of the other parent, or other family members of the other parent.

Communicating with the other parent by telephone or in writing in a vulgar, profane, obscene, or indecent language, or in a coarse or offensive manner.

Threatening the other parent, by telephone or in writing, to take unlawful action against any person.

Placing one or more telephone calls, anonymously, at an unreasonable hour, in an offensive and repetitious manner, or without a legitimate purpose of communication.

Causing bodily injury to the other parent or to the children.

Threatening the other or a child with imminent bodily injury.

Destroying, removing, concealing, encumbering, transferring or otherwise harming or reducing the value of the property of one or both of the parties.

Falsify8ng any writing or recording relating to the property of either of the parties.

Opening or diverting mail addressed to the other party.

Entering, operating or exercising control over the motor vehicle in the possession of the other party.

Taking any action to terminate or limit credit or charge cards in the name of the other party.

Signing or endorsing the other party's name on any negotiable instrument, check, or draft, such as tax refunds, insurance payments, dividends, or attempting to negotiate any negotiable instrument payable to the other party, without the personal signature of the other party.

Terminating or in any manner affecting the services of water, electricity, gas, telephone, cable television, or other contractual services, such as security, pest control, landscaping or yard maintenance, at the other party's residence or in any manner attempting to withdraw any deposits for service in connection with those services.

Incurring any indebtedness, other than legal expenses in connection with this suit, except as specifically authorized by order of this Court.