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San Antonio Legal Blog

The challenges of co-parenting with a difficult ex-spouse

Setting boundaries with a difficult ex-spouse can be critical for divorced parents in Texas. Parents should keep two things in mind: One is that they should focus on what is in the best interests of the child. The other is that the best approach to co-parenting with a difficult former spouse is not that different from co-parenting with a more cooperative ex-spouse.

Parents should pay attention to the patterns they fall into that lead to conflict and disengage instead of escalating the situation. They do not have to reply to everything the other parent says or does. Instead, they can limit their communication to necessary information about the children and ignore everything else. Parents should also keep in mind that they do not have to respond immediately every time the other parent contacts them. This is particularly true if they are upset about something the other parent has said.

Modifying child support in Texas

Once you and your child’s other parent have a child support order take effect in Texas, the only way you can change the terms of that order is to request a modification. To request a review of your current child support order, you must first meet certain eligibility terms. You also need to demonstrate that your situation is now substantially different than it was when your existing child support order took effect.

If you meet specific eligibility requirements, you can request a child support order review, regardless of whether you are the parent who pays or receives support. How can you know whether you may be eligible for a child support modification?

NHTSA ignores calls to mandate truck safety systems

Accidents involving semi-tractor trailers claimed more than 4,000 lives around the country in 2017, and many of them occurred in Texas. The vast majority of the road users killed were either passenger vehicle occupants or pedestrians. Truck accident deaths have risen by 28% since 2009, but the rising death toll has not been enough to prompt federal regulators to implement rules that road safety experts say would save hundreds of lives each year.

Rear-end collisions involving large commercial vehicles are especially deadly as the truck drivers responsible are often distracted, fatigued, or impaired and traveling at highway speeds when they crash. Automatic emergency braking systems that are capable of preventing this type of truck accident have been available for many years, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has ignored at least 10 calls from the National Transportation Safety Board to make them mandatory safety equipment in big rigs.

Precautions for protecting investments during divorce

Divorce can mean that some people in Texas have significant assets to split, such as annuities, securities, retirement accounts and more. It is important to understand the rules associated with dividing these accounts in a divorce and how to avoid or minimize taxes and penalties.

Withdrawing from retirement accounts or annuities can carry significant penalties. For some investments, the easy solution might seem to be selling the asset and splitting the profit. However, for some assets, such as securities, a sale might trigger capital gains taxes. To divide a 401(k) or a 403(b) in a divorce, it is necessary to have a qualified domestic relations order, a type of court order. This goes to the plan administrator. While a QDRO is not necessary for an IRA, the funds usually must be rolled into new IRAs to avoid penalties. People should keep in mind that withdrawals may be taxed from some types of retirement accounts. This tax should be accounted for when assessing the value of retirement accounts.

Fatal traffic accident deaths are decreasing

Many Texas residents will be happy to hear that fatal traffic accidents have continued to decrease. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there was a 2.4% drop in traffic deaths in the United States in 2018. This downward trend is also continuing in 2019. Technology used in newer vehicles seems to be playing a role in this decrease.

While this is definitely good news, there are still too many accidents that lead to serious injury and death. In the year 2018, over 36,000 people died on U.S. roads. Many of these crashes were preventable, so a lot of work still needs to be done.

Divorce, your family business and the matter of valuation

When a family business becomes involved in a couple’s decision to end their marriage, the company takes center stage in the property division process.

Basically, there are three options for consideration in working out the business's fate. Two of them require performing a valuation.

Teen distracted driving examined in study

Distracted driving is one of the most highly publicized threats on the road today in Texas, and many states have implemented harsh penalties for people who use their mobile phones and other devices while behind the wheel. One study released for Teen Driver Safety Week particularly highlights the behavior of teens on the road. Because teen drivers are less experienced and may be more reckless, distracted driving could potentially pose an even greater threat for teens. In addition, studies have shown that teens are more likely to drive distracted than people in other age groups and are also at higher risks for car accidents and serious injuries.

Researchers at Michigan State University studied 3,200 drivers between 2011 and 2013; they used in-car devices to monitor driving activity, safety incidents and the behaviors of drivers, including their engagement with distracting devices or other matters. They noted that this in-car evidence was crucial to their study, especially as many police reports taken after car crashes rely primarily on self-reported conduct, which can often be inaccurate. They mapped out multiple types of distracting behaviors, including over 60 different categories ranging from using the radio to surfing websites.

Major indicators that a marriage is headed for divorce

Initiating a divorce in Texas is a huge decision. Some feel that it would be easier if there was one major sign that indicated separation is the best option. However, things are usually much more complicated. There are usually several factors that drive marriage mates apart.

One factor that could indicate that a divorce is imminent is that the couple no longer engages in activities together that they enjoy. When couples do not play together, they usually don't stay together. Some couples have been able to rekindle that part of their relationship. Others get divorced because the absence of fun may indicate high levels of anger and resentment that the couple feel are too difficult to overcome.

What are the dangers of nighttime driving

As a Texas motorist, you may be familiar with driving at night. Even as the sun sets, many people still fill the roadways. Whether you are coming home from work, traveling to work or are going to have dinner with friends, you may need to navigate the roads in the darkness. Doing so, however, puts you at risk for becoming involved in a deadly car accident. According to AAA, you are three times more likely to become involved in a fatal auto accident at night than you are during the day. What are the reasons for this increased risk?

The lack of natural light is the biggest contributor to the increased death rate. Without ample sunlight, people experience a deficit in their peripheral vision and depth perception. This is especially true for drivers over the age of 65 years old, as they need three times the amount of light to see properly. When driving at night, it is difficult to judge the distance and speed of oncoming traffic. It is best to wait for all vehicles to pass and avoid pulling out in traffic. 

How truckers can avoid distracted driving

When Texas truck drivers hit the road, they may sometimes focus on reaching their destination instead of getting a good night's sleep. However, drowsy driving can be dangerous. If truckers want to stay safe on the road, it is important for them to get enough rest.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that drowsy driving is a larger problem than many people may realize. In 2017, drowsy-driving resulted in the deaths of 795 people. Drivers might get into an accident at any hour of the day but when they are tired, drivers are most likely to crash between midnight and 6 a.m. It is also common for drivers to get into a collision in the late afternoon. Some truck drivers may think they can avoid drowsy driving by consuming energy drinks and coffee. However, these beverages may sometimes make truckers think they are more awake than they really are. Professional drivers might still get into a collision even after drinking several cups of coffee.