Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Fran Brochstein

Fran Brochstein2014video

Thursday, December 18, 2014

DNA testing site

We are the Preferred & Trusted Source for both Personal & Court Admissible
 Paternity & DNA Testing in Texas 

Same Day Appointments Available 

Gotta Know DNA Testing

 HOUSTON (713) 795-9955  
PEARLAND (713) 224-6650  
SAN ANTONIO (210) 305-4918

Walk-Ins Every Friday at Houston Office

Facts about DNA/ Paternity Testing -
As many as 1 in 10 men have doubt about fatherhood. Testing for paternity as early as possible will help bring Peace of Mind sooner, and save a child from future confusion and anxiety. 

We provide the answers to paternity quickly, painlessly, and compassionately.  Paternity Testing simply means establishing fatherhood. Everyone is born with a unique genetic blueprint known as DNA (Deoxyribo Nucleic Acid). 

DNA is passed down from mother and father to a child. DNA Identification provides a conclusive way to determine biological relationships. 

Consequently, DNA Testing has become the most accepted method to determine identity within the legal and scientific communities. 

We use a painless, non-invasive mouth swab (buccal swab) for collection instead of drawing blood (unless requested by the customer). 

The result from using the buccal swab are just as accurate as results obtained from a blood draw. Results are delivered in an average of 3 days.  

We are able to coordinate testing in any city, state or country. We have an exclusive relationship with DDC Lab (DNA Diagnostics) which allow us to offer you excellent and affordable service. 

The cost of court admissible (AABB) paternity test is $345.00. 

If you do not require court admissible test results, Gotta Know Testing now offers Peace of Mind Testing for only $245.00. 

Same day appointments are available in most cases. 

For your convenience we are available by appointment on Saturdays and have mobile collectors available 7 days a week.


Texas Descent and Distribution (The legal effect of not having a will)

The Texas Legislature has laws on how property will be divided if you die without a will in the State of Texas.

The State of Texas will not "take" your property - it will be divided by the heirs of the deceased person after a judge has determined who his heirs are legally.

Unfortunately, often the property is not divided the way the heirs want --

For example, if a man own separate property real estate then his widow gets to live in the house for the rest of her life (but she must maintain it at her own cost) and the children cannot take possession of the property until she dies or leaves the home.

If a woman dies and leave community property (not real estate) but clothes, money, jewelry, investments, etc. then the spouse gets 100% and her children get nothing. The daughters would not be entitled to any jewelry or her personal belongings.

It really gets complicated when there are children born outside of the current marriage, say a first marriage or a child born without the benefit of the parents being married, then the Texas Legislature has protected all children and the widow(er) only receives their 50% interest in the community estate.

Additionally, without a will then probate in Texas is slow and expensive.  The heirs are under the judge's control since the deceased did not express his desires in a will and he/she did not appoint an independent executor (executrix) to handle the affairs of the deceased's estate. The heirs need to probate the estate in order to have a clean title to sell any real estate.

If you don't probate the estate then the bank will eventually turn it over to the State of Texas unclaimed property division and it is very very difficult to get the money released.  You can look on the internet under Texas unclaimed property to learn what you need to try to get money you think belongs to you.

Here is what the Texas legislature decided was fair when a person dies without a will:

Married person with children

a.  Separate property real estate - surviving spouse's life estate in 1/3
and all children take equally subject to the spouse's life estate
all other property - 1/3 to spouse and 2/3 to children to be shared equally

c. community property -
real estate - all to surviving spouse if all children are also children of this marriage
and all other property - all to surviving spouse

d. If there are children from outside the existing marriage on the date of death of the deceased person then:
real estate - 1/2 to spouse and 1/2 to children
all other property - 1/2 to spouse and 1/2 to children

If a person is single or widowed with no children --
If the person died with no children then the deceased's mom and dad split the estate 50/50.
If the person died with parents and siblings then 1/2 to mom or dad and 1/2 to siblings.

Widow(er) with children
real estate and all other property - children share equally or to the descendants of the children.

Married person with no children

Separate property real estate - if both parents are alive - 1/4 to mom, 1/4 to dad and 1/2 to spouse.

Separate property - one parents survives - 1/4 to parent and 1/4 to siblings and 1/2 to spouse.

Separate property no siblings or their descents - 1/2 to parents and 1/2 to spouse

No surviving parents - 1/2 to siblings and 1//2 to spouse

No siblings (or their descendants) or parents - all to spouse

All other property - to spouse

Community Property - All real and personal property is taken by the surviving spouse

Tips on how to stay married

I found a copy of an article about how to avoid divorce and stay happily married.

Unfortunately I don't know who wrote it so I could give the person credit.

Marriage advice I wish I'd known:

1.  Never stop "dating" your spouse.  Never take your spouse for granted.  Never get lazy about your love.

2.  Protect you own heart.  Be sure to love yourself fully, love the world opening but here is a special place in your heart where no one must enter except for your spouse.

3.  Fall in love over and over and over again.  Both of you are constantly changing. You are not the same people you were when you married and in 5 years you will not be the same person that you are today.  Change will come and in that you have to re-choose your spouse everyday.

4. Always see the best in your spouse.

5.  It is not your job to "fix" or change your spouse.

6.  Take full accountability for your own emotions.  Your spouse cannot make you sad or happy. You are responsible for finding your own happiness.

7.  Never blame your spouse if you get frustrated or angry at him/her.  These are your emotions and you need to "own" them.  If your spouse "triggers" negative emotions then you need to heal yourself.

8.  Allow your spouse to just be.  It is not your job to fix your spouse.  It is your job to hold your spouse and let him/her know it's ok when they are upset or sad.  Let your spouse know that you are actively listening and that your spouse is important to you.  Don't run away when your spouse is upset - be present and strong and assure your spouse that you are not going anywhere.

9.  It's ok to be silly.  Don't take yourself too seriously.  Laugh and make your spouse laugh.  Laughter makes the hard times a bit easier.

10. Fill your spouse's soul everyday - learn how to make your spouse feel validated and cherished.

11. Be present. Treat your spouse like you would treat your most valuable client.

12. Be willing present sexually too.

13.  Don't be an idiot. Everyone makes mistakes.  Try not to make too many big ones.  Neither of you are "perfect" but don't be too stupid either.  Think before you act.

14.  Give your spouse space.  Everyone needs some space to renew and get re-centered.

15. Be vulnerable.  Share your fears and feelings and quickly acknowledge your mistakes.

16.  Be fully transparent.  Don't wear a mask in your relationship with your spouse.  If you want to have trust then you must be willing to share everything.

17.  Never stop growing together.  Find common goals, dreams and visions to work towards.

18.  Don't worry about money.  It does not help when you fight.  Figure out ways to let both of you win.  Work together.

19.  Forgive immediately.  Don' hold onto past mistakes. Forgiveness is freedom.

20. Always choose love. Love will always endure.

Be the type of spouse that your spouse will want to brag about!

Excellent website for Texas Family Law Information

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Association for Conflict Resolution - Houston Chapter

It's time to join or renew your membership in the Association for Conflict Resolution - Houston Chapter.

Cost $35 per year or $15 per year for students.

Many excellent presentations for members and in 2015 we are going to host an evening to honor local Houston mediators.

The best free Texas website with free forms -

I keep posting about this free website.

Many forms for free on this website:

Divorce forms - for people with and without kids.
Hint: if you have kids be sure to print and fill out "Exhibit A - Standard Possession Order".

Name change forms for adults & minor children

Termination of withholding for child support form

Forms for people over 60

Wills & Estates - have power of attorney forms

This site is fairly easy to use.
If you cannot figure it out then hire an attorney to do the work for you correctly.

The divorce forms are acceptable by Texas Courts.  The Supreme Court of Texas has instructed judges to accept these forms if they are filled out correctly and any other forms that are required are also filled out correctly.

Each court can require extra forms.  So look on-line before going to court.  Many courts list their requirements and even have the forms available for free on-line.

Each county charges a fee for a divorce.  So look on the county clerk's website to determine what your county charges.  For a divorce without kids it's approx. $275 and with kids it's around $300.  That is the only fee - no fee at the end to "finalize" your divorce.

If you are indigent, you can use this website to complete the forms to not pay filing fees.

Good luck!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

South Texas College of Law - Free legal assistance

South Texas College of Law has dramatically enlarged its free legal assistance for low-income and disadvantaged populations in the Houston area.

Their civil practice clinics are:

Child Welfare Clinic - for youth aging out of foster care

Estate Planning Clinic - preparation of end-of-lice documents including powers of attorney and wills.

Family Law Basic Clinic - divorces without property and no children

Family Law Advanced Clinic - divorces with children, modification of custody or support, SAPCR, (suits affecting the parent child relationship -- usually unmarried couples), and amicus appointments

Government Benefits Clinic - helping people file for Social Security and veterans benefits

Guardianship clinic - assistance for incapacitated adults and special needs minors.

Probate Clinic - helping people with probate

Their transitional clinics are:

Trademark Clinic - helping people and small businesses in filing trademark applications

Patent Clinic - started in fall, 2014 - new clinic to assist inventors with filing for a patent

Their Special Focus clinics are:
Asylum and Human Trafficking Clinic
Actual Innocence Clinic
Domestic Violence Clinic
Mediation Clinic

South Texas College of Law 
1303 San Jacinto Street
Houston, TX 77002


there is also 
Houston Volunteer Lawyers
another pro bono organization 

Illegally obtained Electronic Evidence and Family Law

This is an excerpt from Attorney Greg Enos' post to family law attorneys that practice in the Gulf Coast Region of Texas. His publication is known as the Mongoose and is published on the internet.  

He knows a lot more about this topic than I do!

Thanks Greg...

(Here is the bottom line - Attorneys are now being advised not to represent a person with illegal obtained electronic evidence. Attorneys are also advised not to tell the person - or even hint - to destroy of this evidence.)

PLEASE -- if you have a question about this - don't call me! Call the law firm shown below in large type. 

Illegal Electronic Evidence and Family Law  

Lawyers can be sued, arrested and sent to prison and disbarred for mishandling illegal electronic evidence, such as recordings, e-mails and text messages.   

An attorney can face personal, criminal and civil liability for using or disclosing an illegal recording or illegally intercepted electronic communication (e-mail or text message) provided to the attorney by a client. For example, the following can be separate and independent federal and state wiretap act violations:  (1) a client's disclosure to an attorney of an illegally obtained e-mail, (2) the attorney's disclosure to his staff, co-counsel or expert of the e-mail or its contents, (3) an attorney's use of information obtained from the illegal evidence in pleadings, (4) an attorney's use of the illegal evidence as attachments to pleadings and affidavits, (5) a lawyer's use of information obtained from the illegal evidence when questioning a witness, (6) a lawyer's use of the illegally obtained recording or communication as evidence in court or a deposition.

Each separate illegal use or disclosure of intercepted communication can be a federal or state felony and can result in a $10,000 civil penalty (plus actual damages and attorney's fees).

The Federal Wiretap Act (which applies to interception of phone, voice and electronic communications) can make a lawyer a criminal if she: 

(c) intentionally discloses, or endeavors to disclose, to any other person the contents of any wire, oral, or electronic communication, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of a wire, oral, or electronic communication in violation of this subsection;

(d) intentionally uses, or endeavors to use, the contents of any wire, oral, or electronic communication, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of a wire, oral, or electronic communication in violation of this subsection; 

18 U.S.C. § 2511(1)(c), (d). 

The Texas Wiretap Act is basically the same as the federal law except a lawyer can commit a crime if she is reckless in using an illegal recording or communication (which is a much broader standard of liability than "knows or has reason to know the information was obtained through [an illegal] interception...").  

Under the Texas law, a person commits a crime if she...

(2) intentionally discloses or endeavors to disclose to another person the contents of a wire, oral, or electronic communication if the person knows or has reason to know the information was obtained through the interception of a wire, oral, or electronic communication in violation of this subsection; 

(3) intentionally uses or endeavors to use the contents of a wire, oral, or electronic communication if the person knows or is reckless about whether the information was obtained through the interception of a wire, oral, or electronic communication in violation of this subsection;  

Tex. Penal Code § 16.02(b).   

The Austin law firm of Noelke English Maples St. Leger Blair, LLP has provided excellent guidance for attorneys that we all should follow:  
DO: Advise your clients that they cannot delete, destroy, remove, or otherwise edit electronic data.

DO: Advise your clients on the law of intercepting email and other forms of communication. The best policy is to advise your clients NOT to access their spouse's email accounts at all, even if they think they have consent to do so.

DO: Advise your clients to change all of their passwords. And if you suspect that spyware has been installed, have the computer or phone inspected by an expert.

DON'T: Represent a person who has illegally obtained electronic material. Period. It is not worth the risk.   

DON'T: Take possession of illegally obtained material. If you have it in your possession, read it or listen to it, you may be committing a crime by using it in the preparation of your case.
DON'T: If you have illegally obtained discovery in your possession, don't produce it in discovery without the advice of a criminal defense attorney.

DON'T: Turn over your client's cell phone or computer for copying without a written agreement in place as to how it will be searched. There may be privileged or non-discoverable data on these devices that does not need to be produced.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Happy Holidays & thanks for reading my blog

Happy Holidays!
Merry Christmas!

Hopefully Santa and his elves will be very good to you this Christmas season.

May the coming year bring all of us good health, joy, happiness and unlimited prosperity!

Thank you for looking at my blog.

If you need me to reply, you MUST email me

Do not write a comment and expect me to reply directly to you -- this blog won't let me do that!

Google Ad words on this blog

Google ads are now appearing on this blog.

I have no control over them or the content.

Let me know what you think of them.

So far they look fine to me.  Hopefully, there won't be an issues with them!

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Free e-book on Texas family law and medation

My new you tube video on my law practice

Men that claim that they are treated unfairly in Harris County Family Courts

I receive many phone calls from men claiming that they are treated unfairly in Harris County Family Courts.

That tells me that (1) they did not fight or (2) they did not hire a smart, aggressive, experienced family law attorney.

Many attorneys make all sorts of promises about what they will do but they "wimp" out and don't advocate effectively for their clients.

Unfortunately, people don't know how to find and hire a decent family law attorney.  Websites are not enough.  You need to talk to your friends and family about attorneys they know and respect.

Quite frankly, there are many attorneys that I would never hire to represent me or any of my friends and family.  They "talk" boldly but they "bail" when the work gets tough.

One of the best free websites is or  You can read comments made by attorneys voluntarily answering free questions for Texas residents.  This shows a lot of commitment to the area of family law.

Never hire anyone that does not practice primarily in the area of family law.  I would not hire my dentist to fix my car.  Many attorneys that don't practice family law "disrespect" it.  Family law is a lot tough that most attorneys imagine.  Many excellent litigators have "lost" in family courts because they are not familiar with family law.

Texas law is gender neutral.

Judge James Lombardino in the 308th judicial court of Harris County and his associate judge, Alyssa Lemkuiil, treat fathers fairly from my experience.

I once mediated a case with a baby less than a month old.  We did not settle. I followed  up with this case and learned that Dad and Mom got equal access (50/50) to their child that was less than a month old!

So if you are a male in Harris County, I urge you - "beg" you - to do your research and find a family law attorney that you trust and that does not make all sorts of promises just to sign you up and get your money.  A good family law attorney will explain the pros and cons of every case (there always are cons to any case -- there is no such thing as a "slam dunk" case) and will be your advocate and guide you in how to do what is right for your children.

Look around and make your selection carefully.

It's a lot like dogs -- a tiny poodle might make a lot of noise but a big pit bull might be quiet but deadly.  Don't pick someone just because they have a loud bark!