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Raggio Family Law News Blog

Child Custody
Don't Date During Your Divorce...

Lawmakers in Massachusetts are considering a bill that would prohibit people from dating or having a sexual relationship within their home while they are going through the process of getting a divorce.

 

An Act relative to divorce, Bill S.787, was filed by State Sen. Richard Ross, a Republican from Wrentham, on behalf of former Wrentham Selectman Robert LeClair.

 

Under the legislation, couples going through proceedings that involve children and a marital home would not be allowed to conduct relationships within the home until the divorce was finalized and custody issues were resolved. The only exception would be if they received "express permission" from the courts.

 

Query:  Does this mean such activity is to be precluded when the children are around? Or even when the children are in the other parents home for the entire summer?

 

Some Courts in Texas insert a "morality clause"  into their orders that prohibits a parent from having someone with whom they have an intimate relationship stay at the house between the hours of 10 pm and 8 am.

 

So we'll see if Massachusetts follows.

 

See the article here.

 

 

 

Filed under Family LawTags baby boomers, Child Custody, Dallas divorce attorney, Dallas divorce firm, Dallas family law attorney, divorce in the news
Reminder: April 1st Deadline in Texas Standard Possession Order

Under the Texas Standard Possession Order, April 1st of each year is the deadline for the non-primary parent to designate his or her 30 day extended summer possession period.  The standard possession order states that April 1st is the deadline for the non-primary parent to give written notice of the extended possession period to the primary parent.

 

Remember, the non-primary parent still has the same 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekends as during the school year. The extended summer possession time is additional, and must be exercised in two periods. Each possession period must be at least seven consecutive days long. An extended possession period must end at least seven days prior to the child resuming school, and cannot begin before the child's school has ended for summer vacation.

 

As always, refer to the court's final decree/order if there's any confusion.

Filed under Family LawTags Child Custody, Dallas divorce attorney
Another Federal Judge Strikes Down Another Gay Marriage Ban

A Federal Judge in Detroit yesterday struck down Michigan's 10 year old constitutional ban on gay marriage.

 

Since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down central provisions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) last year, Michigan joins a parade of states where Federal Courts have stricken down similar statutes or constitutional provisions, including Texas. The states, besides Texas and Michigan where gay marriage bans have been struck down are:  Utah, Ohio, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Virginia, Illinois, and Tennessee.

 

The Michigan decision was particular critical of arguments by the State that gay parents somehow raised children that were "less" than those raised in traditional families, despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary.

 

A news story is here.

 

 

Filed under Popular CultureTags Child Custody, Dallas divorce attorney
Ouch! Your Kid's Soical Media Can Hurt YOU!

We always tell our clients to be careful with their social media posts.  But we seldom think about what their child might post.

 

In a non family law case where the parent had won a settlement, the child's post on Facebook days later caused the parent's settlement to be voided.

 

Ouch!

 

You see, Patrick Snay, the former headmaster of a school in Florida, had sued the school (Gulliver) for discrimination, and had agreed to an $80,000 settlement.  And one of the terms of the settlement was CONFIDENTIALITY or non disclosure.

 

Such non disclosure provisions are common in litigation; they are also common in Divorce and Custody cases.  But that is for another day.

 

Snay's daughter posted the following to her 1200+ Facebook friends “Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver. Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT.”

 

Through some of her 1200 friends, the post made its way back to Gulliver's officials and lawyers, who asserted that the post violated the confidentiality provisions of the agreement, and should void the agreement.

 

And the agreement was set aside by a court of appeals.

 

So be careful what you tell your child about your personal business--especially if the child is active in social media!

 

There are potential  lessons for a family law case here.  The  Dallas Divorce Courts' Standing Orders and Temporary Injunctions issued in a divorce or other family law case have provisions that prevent either parent from involving the children in the divorce.  The best parents in a divorce rehearse with a  counselor how to tell the kids about the divorce, and tell them that the divorce is not about them, that both parents love them, and both parents are committed to make the transition to two households as smooth as possible. And give support to the kids during the process, but not much opinion.

 

In other cases, one or both parents flame the other parent repeatedly in front of the children because of their anger or other issues that the parent has.  many times such bad acts are brought before the Court, and dealt with in ways that are not liked by the flamers.  I have seen sanctions all the way to a change of custody.  An example of a  flame could be:  "We can't go to the movie tomorrow because your Daddy spent all the child support money on his [girlfriend][drugs][gambling] [boyfriend] [you pick--you get the point].

 

The Miami Herald story is here.

Filed under Popular CultureTags Child Custody, Dallas family law attorney, electronic evidence, Ken Raggio, social media
Your Cell Phone Leaves Digital Tracks

You may think that the calls and texts you send and receive from your cell phone are yours and private. 

 

Think again.

 

While it is clear that the content of such communications is private–absent a court order--data about to whom, from whom, the duration of such calls, and the facts of the text message's transmission, are NOT private.

 

AT&T just disclosed that it had honored over 300,000 requests for cell phone information from law enforcement agencies in 2013.  This does NOT include the number of requests from civil subpoenas, in cases like divorces or child custody cases.

 

The data that is clearly NOT private (in response to a subpoena) is the occurance  (date, time, duration, and to/from what number) of a call, text, or email.  Geotags--location information--may be in a different category. Click here to take read an older post, Think Before You Text, about the risks that text messages and e-mails can pose to clients.

 

So everyone leaves a digital trail of their cell phone usage that CAN show up in a divorce or custody case.

 

But there is one potential positive of getting the cell phone records: a case of call spoofing previously discussed in a previous News item here.

 

A story in PCMagazine about AT&T's responses to law enforcement requests is here

Filed under Popular CultureTags Child Custody, divorce in the news, electronic evidence
Spring Break Possession Issues

The Texas Standard Possession Order in the Family Code specifies how Spring Break works.  In general, one parent gets spring break in one year, and the  other parents gets the next year. 

 

But the devil is in the details.  Sometimes there are different holidays for different kids as they are in different schools.  Some times there is a school or other trip that doesn't fit the mold suggested by the legislature.

 

Clear, direct communication between the parents is usually the best way to work out these issues.  But sometimes a parent needs assistance in making sure everything goes as expected with no hiccups, or emergency retraining orders being filed that blows up a long planned event or trip.

 

Many times a consultation with an experienced lawyer WELL IN  ADVANCE of Spring Break can prevent a cluster right at Spring Break.  (That's why this is published in January, not March...)

 

Call us if we can help.

Filed under Family LawTags Child Custody
Deion Sanders Wins Custody of his Kids in Jury Trial

Deion Sanders won custody of his kids in a jury trial this week; actually the sole right to determine where his three children live. He willl make all educational, health and extracurricular decisions for his two sons, ages 11 and 13, and share that responsibility for his 9-year-old daughter with his estranged wife, Pilar Sanders. He was obviously elated. His Wife commented: “If that’s not one-sided, you have to be blind, dumb, crazy and stupid.” I wonder whether she was describing her husband, the lawyers, the jurors, the judge, the legal system, or all the above but expressly excusing herself.

 

The contentious divorce slogs on. Pilar tried to contest a premarital agreement she signed after not only having an experienced family law attorney advise her about the agreement, but after she executed she went to Court and told a Judge she knew what she was doing and understood it. But the enforceability of the agreement has been upheld.

 

But the end is coming. Oh, yea, until the appeal...

 

 

 

Filed under Family LawTags Child Custody, Dallas divorce attorney, divorce in the news
Too Much Facebook? Try a Deactivation Agreement

Is someone--like your teenager--using Facebook too much?  You want to have them quit Facebook? You could try reaching into your wallet.

 

A research consultant in Boston paid his 14-year-old daughter a $200 fee to quit the social network until summer, according to a post on his blog that has been further reported on tech websites. The consultant, Paul Baier, posted an inage of the "Facebook Deactivation Agreement" he made with his daughter on this Tuesday.

 

Per the agreement (signed by both parties) the teen promised to deactivate her account on the social network from this past Monday until June 26, 2013. In return, Baier will pay his daughter $50 in April and the remaining $150 in June, at the end of the five months.

 

The teaching point for parents of teenagers is clear.  But for those in a divorce or family law case, deactivating or de-publicizing Facebook or other social media accounts may be a very wise move.  Then the "other side" can't get easy access to potentially damaging materials. 

 

This does not mean deleting or terminating the account. The general rule is to deactivate, not terminate.  TERMINATION of an account could be viewed as SPOLIATION, or the destroying of evidence.  A lawyer in Virginia was ordered to pay $520,000 for his role in his client's DELETIONS from the client's Facebook account.  A link to the Virginia Supreme Court case is here.

 

 

Filed under Popular CultureTags Child Custody, Dallas family law attorney, divorce in the news, electronic evidence, social media, Technology and Family Law