Saturday, August 30, 2014

Non-payment of child support

I've had this question come up several times this week.

One parent won't support their child.
Other parent needs money.

There are many options.

1. Texas Attorney General - free but very slow.

2. Hire a private attorney - more aggressive and you are treated as a person and not merely a number like the TX A G cases.

Here are a few child support "interesting" facts --

1. Texas legislature now limits how far you can go back to collect on child support.  It is currently 4 hours.

2.  Past-due child support is subject to a 6% interest rate.  (It used to be 12% many years ago and the legislature reduced it.)  If you don't pay child support, eventually you are paying interest on interest.  I had a man that owed $10,000 in past due child support.  His kids were in their mid 30's.  He eventually owed approximately $20,000 due to interest.  The TX A G's office intervened in his father's probate and got the money for his ex-wife.  He was really upset.

3.  If you lose your job or have less income, you need to file to modify the child support.  A written agreement between the parties is not enough.  A judge must modify the child support to make the change effective.

4.  If you give your ex money directly and you were ordered by a judge to pay through the TX Disbursement Unit in San Antonio, then a judge can find that all the money you handed to your ex was a "gift" -- you still owe 100% (plus 6% interest) for unpaid child support.  If you were ordered to do something the judge expects you to follow the order.  If ex signs a piece of paper (even notarized) it is not binding on the judge.

5. If you were ordered to pay child support and now the child lives with you, you need to modify the court order.

6.  If you go to jail, you still owe the child support plus 6% interest.  Jail does not mean you don't owe the money.  The Texas legislature expects all parents to support their children.

7. If your children are on Medicaid then the citizens of the State of Texas are paying for your children.  It might be free to you but the citizens of TX are paying for your children's health insurance.  The TX A G office is supposed to get reimbursement for this insurance.

8.  If you accept any sort of federal or state assistance, such as Medicaid, food stamps, WIC, housing, etc. if you carefully read the paperwork that you signed, it states that you have signed over your rights to allow the TX A G to collect money from the other parent.

If you don't want the government in "your business" then don't apply for any sort of help for your children or yourself.

9.  Once all children are over the age of 18 you can no longer be jailed for being past due in child support.  But the debt never goes away.  You might find that your social security payments are reduced when you retire or your estate owes it when you die.

10.  If you are past due in child support, your credit can be ruined, you can lose your driver's license, you cannot renew your passport and you won't receive a professional license.  I had a doctor call me because the State of TX would not issue his professional license to practice because he owed a lot of money in past due child support.  In order to get a professional license, he had to pay the money due.  He was really upset.  He did not pay child support for over 6 years while he was going to medical school.  Now he was between a rock and a hard place.  TX A G would not work with him.  They took a very hard approach to his case.

11.  If the parent ordered to pay child support won't pay then the person can be jailed or monetarily fine.  Read your paperwork under "warnings".  One guy refused to pay and the Harris County jail kept him.  Apparently he really was nasty and the person in charge of release actually called his ex's attorney to try to keep him in jail longer.  I don't know what he did but he stayed in jail way over 6 months.

12.  TX A G's computer will attach any bank account where your social security number is associated if you are past due in child support.  One man called me frantic, his son's college fund was "gone".  He had his social security number on the account, along with his son's.  The TX A G computer "grabbed" it.  The son was able to eventually prove that all the money in the account was his and that his father never put any money into the account -- but it took a couple of months for the son to get his college money back.  Be aware that if your ss# is on any bank account, due to the TX A G's excellent computer system, your money will be found and eventually "grabbed" then the burden falls upon you to try to get it back.

I know lots more "interesting" facts but 12 are plenty to scare you.

Child support is a serious obligation & there can be criminal issues if you don't pay your child support.

If you have questions - talk to an attorney immeditely

I offer a free 10 minute free family law consultation to people.  I talk to at least 20 new people a week.

Below are some suggestions to make your life easier:

1.  The TX legislature meets every 2 years and makes changes to TX laws.  This includes probate, wills, divorce, common law marriage, spousal support (alimony), child support and other issues that might impact your life.

2.  If you have a question, concern or even a fleeting thought, I highly recommend that you call an attorney in your county.

3.  There are many websites where you can post a free legal question...

4.  Sometimes it is worth meeting with an attorney in person and paying for an hour of that person's time and knowledge.

5.  Do not listen to your friends and family regarding legal questions or problems you might have. Most are not attorneys and they probably don't know current TX law.

6. If you don't like the answer you receive from one attorney then continue to shop around.  It's called the "practice" of law because there are no guarantees about your outcome.  Judges interpret the law differently, facts vary from case to case, and there are many other reasons why if you talk to 3 attorneys you might get 5 different answers.

It's a lot like your car.  It won't run one morning.  Why?  It could be a variety of things - out of gas, a bad battery, a bad alternator, it's not in park, or many other things.  No car repair is exactly the same.  Similarly no legal problem is the same.

So don't stick your head in the sand and expect your problem to go away -- it won't -- it usually gets worst.  Deal with it now while it's a small problem instead of ignoring it and waiting until it is a crisis.  It's a lot like a cut - you can either ignore it and risk it getting infected or clean the wound, put ointment on it and a band-aide and minimize the potential problem.

I talked to 3 people this week that never consulted with an attorney when it was merely a question or a minor problem, now they have a huge crisis on their hands.  It is so much easier to handle things when they are small and easy rather than when they are huge & difficult.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Digital Finger print cards for TX

Digital finger print card site.
I've not used it but another attorney sent it to me.
If it does not work, please let me know so I can delete this blog entry.
Digital Finger Print Cards

TXDPS Form for Domestic Adoptions - Criminal Background Check

TX Department of Public Safety criminal back-ground form for domestic adoptions...

Mediation websites

To learn more about mediation visit...

Texas Mediator Credentialing Association

Texas Mediator Association


Association for Conflict Resolution (National website)


Google "mediator" or "mediation"

There is no "license" to be a mediator.
Anyone can call themselves a mediator.
A person may or may not complete a 40 hour training to be a "mediator".

I am an Advanced Credentialed Mediator through the Texas Mediator Credentialing Association, on the board of ACR-Houston and a member of Association of Attorney Mediators.  In order to be a member of these organizations, I take advanced training on an annual basis to maintain my membership in these groups.

Houstonia Magazine - December 2013 - I'm a top Houston family lawyer!

Houstonia Magazine in their December 2013 issue listed me (for free) as one of the top family law attorneys in Houston.

I was unaware that I was even included in this magazine until a friend called me.

It was a true honor to be included since I did not pay for this advertising.

I think they chose me due to my outstanding rating on but I'm not sure how I was selected.

There was no category for "mediators" or I would have preferred to be listed there!

What a pleasant 2013 Christmas present - thanks Houstonia Magazine!!

Google has named me an "expert"!

Google has several of my blog posts listed as an expert on page 1 of several Google searches.

I have no control over Google's opinion of me.

I do not understand how or the reason why they list some of posts on page 1 of google.  I do not pay for these posts.  These posts (such as adult name change) have taken on a life of their own -- most of these posts are several years old and the laws have changed somewhat.

Unfortunately my old blog ( became "frozen" when Google+ came into the picture.  I paid my computer wizard to fix it and he eventually gave up and suggested that I just start a totally new blog -- hence

I've been on the internet for almost 18 years - I was one of the first attorneys to have a website -- my first site was designed by a high school student and was half a page!

Just because Google lists me does not mean that they are 100% accurate.

You can call me if you have a question.  If I cannot help you then I will try to refer you to someone that I know and trust.

The best free attorney referral site that I am aware of is
I use it.
I have a 10.0 rating on
I have many, many rave reviews.

I am beginning to receive phone calls from my listing.  Two old recommendations appear on page one.  I have 7 more outstanding recommendations but you can only see them if you click on the link to them.

I don't pay anything for this advertising!

I use yelp on my smart phone & I signed up for this free listing years ago.  It is finally starting to generate leads.

If you need something, check out

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Divorce Coach - Aaron Kaplan

The Kaplan Project, LLC offers a  highly confidential, nonjudgmental, nurturing, comforting, supportive, inspirational, goal-oriented coaching process designed to  guide you through all stages of the divorce journey, from deciding whether or not to divorce, the actual divorce process, as well as rebuilding and creating the life you truly and authentically want for yourself and your family following a divorce.  The coaching process that The Kaplan Project offers, enables clients to feel less stressed and anxious, have a safe, nonjudgmental space where they can  express themselves and their needs honestly and authentically, and nurture their best-selves, so that they are able to make the best possible decisions for their future based upon their own particular interests, needs, and concerns.  

As a ​certified, professional divorce coach, I help you navigate all of the rough spots in your divorce, avoid the biggest mistakes that can be made during a divorce,  build and maintain resilience, while saving you precious time and money so that you can manifest your best-self, and move forward into the future  with confidence and strength.

Aaron Kaplan

►Exploring the decision to divorce
►Preparing clients for the divorce process, and serving as their sounding board
▶︎Help you avoid huge emotional and financial mistakes
▶︎Help you employ and maintain a sound decision-making process.
▶︎Help you focus on what's important to you and help you set goals accordingly.
▶︎Helping clients develop and implement a sound strategy for achieving goals, and supporting the implementation
▶︎Helping clients build and maintain resilience
▶︎Connecting clients with other expert professionals such as lawyers and financial analysts
▶︎Helping clients develop better communication skills during the legal process.
▶︎Assist with the divorce transition, help lay a new foundation, and rebuild for the future

▶︎ Exploring strength & growth areas
▶︎ Strengthening communication skills
▶︎ Identifying and managing major stressors
▶︎ Resolving conflict
▶︎ Understanding personality differences
▶︎ Discussing Finances
▶︎ Establishing personal, couple, family goals
▶︎ Crisis Recovery & Rebuilding
▶︎ Creating and executing action plans & strategies to achieve goals and overcome challenges
▶︎Aligning and taking actions that honor and reflect your best self
▶︎Discovering the authentic qualities important to you in a partner
▶︎Developing and implementing a plan to attract the people you want to have relationships with
▶︎Embody the person you want to be in a relationship
▶︎Dealing with, and overcoming the challenges and upsets that may arise in dating and relationships


I am not associated professionally with this company.  I am including this divorce coach on my blog since "divorce coaching" is a new concept in Houston, Texas.  I receive no financial compensation for listing this company on my blog.  

It is my goal to educate the public about family law matters.  If I was going through a divorce I might want to talk to a divorce coach to determine if a divorce coach would be of assistance to me during this transitional period.  I believe his rates in 2014 are approx. $150 per hour - contact him directly for details

Laury Adams & Adams' Financial Resource Center

Use the Adams’ Mediation & Financial Resource Center
when you want to……..
• Review you current finances
• Create a comprehensive “Financial Photo” of your Assets and Liabilities
• Receive information and learn strategies for customizing a self-managed portfolio
• Find Investments that outperform the market
• Regularly monitor and evaluate your investments
• Build wealth by managing risk with the “Asset Risk Allocation” portfolio evaluator
• Plan for your well being at all stages of the life cycle including retirement
• Form a successful financial partnership with spouse or VSP (Very Special Person)
• Make wise decisions regarding large purchases: home, car, other
• Assure a positive cash flow
• Use credit for your convenience and benefit not the lenders (see credit section)
When a Financial Planner is not enough, use a MONEY COACH!
Live for Today and Plan for Tomorrow!
     Financial planning is only one step in achieving your goals. Plans are worthless without implementation. A Money Coach will help you develop and use skills that enable you to provide for your financial well-being at all stages of the life cycle. “Life Style/Life Cycle” financial management is a visionary concept that encourages individuals to manage money in order to maintain the desired standard of living throughout one’s life!
FAQ of Laury
Who are your investment clients?
     My investment clients are very bright professional people who want to be in control of their own finances but don’t have the time or inclination to search for the necessary information to make wise financial decisions.

What are the advantages of using the Adams’ Financial Resource Service?
YOU have a consultant who considers your total financial needs --return on investments, cash flow, major purchases, retirement, college costs and other obligations.
YOU receive information to become knowledgeable about current and future investments.
YOU are provided with options for a customized investment portfolio to fit your personal needs and tolerance for risk. Your financial situation is just as unique as your fingerprint. If current holdings are appropriate, they are never sold to be transferred to a “model.” Selling non-retirement assets could trigger unnecessary taxes.
YOU have an Investment Monitoring Program to help you organize, track, evaluate, and coordinate all your investments, including retirement plans and holdings at any brokerage.
YOU can build wealth while limiting risk by finding no-load mutual funds that outperform the indices in both increasing and declining markets. The “Asset Risk Allocation” chart is designed to show risk by automatically calculating percentages of assets in each of five categories.
YOU can schedule personal consultations to evaluate your portfolio at six-month intervals or more often if desired,
YOU are never locked in to binding contracts. Fees are based only on the services that are provided. The service is based solely on clients’ needs. Information and options that are provided are always in YOUR best interest. . Adams’ revenues have never been generated from the sale of financial products. Since 1979, the continuation of this service has been due to the satisfaction and success of my clients.

I am not connect with this company in any way and I receive no compensation for listing this company on my blog.  If I was going through a divorce, this is a company that I would research to determine if Laury Adams could help me.  

Lifetime Planning - Patricia Barrett

I am not connected to this company in any way & receive no compensation for putting this company on my blog.  It's a company that I would look at if I was going through a divorce.


Owner: Patricia Barrett

“Your guide through the financial maze of divorce”
No products to sell — just personalized, expert, financial counseltailored to the individual situations of Houston area couples

When you are going through a divorce, lack of specialized financial expertise can lead to mistakes resulting in long-lasting, devastating consequences. Patricia helps you to understand the financial issues involved in:
  • Determining an equitable settlement
  • Protecting your children’s future
  • Keeping your home
  • Alimony and/or child support 
  • Reimbursement by separate property to the community property
  • Reimbursement by community property to separate property
  • Valuing a pension or other deferred asset
  • Tax ramifications of settlements
  • Determining a pre- and post-divorce standard of living
  • Demystifying separate and community property
  • Executive compensation and benefits, including stock options, bonuses, restricted stock, and pensions

Patricia’s expertise can help you regardless of your specific type of divorce. 
  • Informal Agreement without assistance
  • Litigation
  • Collaborative
  • Early Intervention Mediation
- See more at:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Adult Name Changes

On my old blog, "google" has decided I am an expert at adult name changes.  Unfortunately, when G+ came around my old blog "froze". I cannot access it or make any changes on my posts.

FYI -- Instead of finger print cards the new policy are having your fingerprints digitized.  There are several locations that handle this.  I'm just learning more about these digitized fingerprints.

If you want me to assist you, plan on spending around $3,000 - $2,500 for me and around $500 for filing fees and the criminal background check fee.

The Harris County family judges expect me to do a lot of work and it takes quite a bit of my time preparing the necessary paperwork, filing the finger prints with the right government agency to get a criminal background check and following up with the judge's staff to make sure the criminal background check has been received.

If you cannot afford that then look on for an attorney to help you or try to do it yourself.  There is no reason you cannot do it yourself but it is complicated & you have to have a state and probably federal criminal background check done by an approved agency that the Judge will accept.  If you don't understand what I've just said or you don't have time, hire an attorney to assist you.

FREE OPTION:  There is an excellent free Texas website - that has FREE name change forms on it.  You might try to do it yourself. Of course, you still have to pay the filing fees and have a criminal background check done.

A name change after 911 is no longer simple or quick.

Plan on it taking up to 4-6 months. I'd rather be conservative and then pleasantly surprise you with quicker results.

Good luck!