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San Antonio Legal Blog

Is joint custody the best option for your kids?

As you and your spouse contemplate obtaining a Texas divorce, your children likely are your main concern. How will they handle your divorce and the breakup of their family? Will both of you continue to play a vital role in their lives after your divorce?

If the two of you can come to a joint custody agreement regarding your children, this can not only make your divorce as easy as possible on your kids, but also can ensure that both of you will continue to provide the vital parenting they so greatly need.

Garnishing a tax return for child support arrears

As a custodial parent in San Antonio, you likely rely heavily on the child support payments you receive from your ex-spouse or partner in order to ensure that your children are properly cared for. Missed payments can therefore throw your financial state into disarray, forcing you and your kids to endure undue hardships. Fortunately, the state provides a number of different methods through which you can ensure child support payment enforcement. One that many who come to us here at The Law Office of Roland R. Esparza often inquire about at this time of the year is garnishing a federal tax return. 

The federal government typically limits who can take funds from someone's tax return. Yet child support arrears are one of the few cases which permit tax return garnishments. In this case, if your ex-spouse has any overdue payments, the local child support agency will be granted access to their federal return prior to it being dispersed to them in order to settle any missed payments. Thus, the matter of them settling their back payments with this additional income is taken out of their hands entirely. 

Texas hit and run causes deaths of two teenaged sisters

It is difficult enough for families in Texas to face losing one family member as the result of a car crash; to lose two at the same time may be almost unbearable. Nevertheless, that is what a family from Frisco, Texas, is going through at this very moment due to a crash that took the lives of two sisters, both teenagers, last Saturday. Authorities arrested a 61-year-old man whom they claim was responsible for the crash and who allegedly left the scene following the collision. 

The accident occurred in Kyle, Texas, at the point where the access road to Interstate 35 intersects with Windy Hill Road. The sedan in which the two girls were riding contained three other occupants: their younger sister, their father and a friend of the family. It is not clear who was driving the sedan when a pickup collided with it, nor is the current condition of the other three occupants available, although authorities confirm that each underwent transportation to the hospital for evaluation.

2 key considerations for an amicable divorce with kids

Contrary to common belief, money is not the root of all contention in some San Antonio divorce cases. Child custody, visitation and support are major sources of conflict that can make the proceedings challenging to navigate if one or both parents are not entirely vested in their children’s best interests. 

To prevent the children from becoming leverage and suffering from the negative impact of divorce, both parents should work to put aside their differences and strive to be the best parents they can be. Though their marriage is over, co-parenting is an ongoing undertaking that requires a great deal of communication and collaboration. Here are things parents can do to ease the transition of divorce while keeping things amicable. 

Fatal Texas semi crash sends 7 to hospital

Truck accidents can cause a great deal of damage due to the size of the vehicle. Multi-vehicle crashes can be similarly devastating because of the number of people involved. Therefore, it follows that a multi-vehicle accident that involves one or more 18-wheelers can be particularly devastating, and such was the case in Weatherford, Texas, when a semi-truck collided with several cars on a Friday afternoon. The crash sent seven people to the hospital, resulted in the death of one vehicle occupant and caused the semi to roll over and spill its cargo of plastic Gatorade bottles onto the roadway.

The accident occurred around mile marker 408 near the Cleburne Highway exit of eastbound Interstate 20 in Weatherford. The semi-truck driver failed to stop in time to avoid backed-up traffic just beyond the overpass and caused a chain reaction by crashing into an SUV, sending it into a passenger car that spun around and crashed into a pickup. The semi may also have struck the pickup while sliding toward the median and hitting the cable system that caused it to overturn onto its driver's side. 

The risk of an accident following a breakup

Drivers can become emotionally distressed for countless reasons, whether they just found out that they lost their job, or they are worried about an upcoming move to a new home. However, romantic issues can be especially devastating, and many people are emotionally distraught when they find out that their girlfriend or boyfriend decided to end the relationship, or that their spouse wants to file for a divorce. When these hardships arise, drivers may be more likely to cause a collision.

Drivers who are struggling with these intense emotions may be more likely to lose their mental focus and become distracted on the road. Furthermore, they may be tired due to missing a lot of sleep, and they may even turn to alcohol or some type of illegal drug in an attempt to cope with the challenges they are going through. All of these factors can play a role in motor vehicle collisions and many accidents have occurred over the years due to these behaviors.

How can child support modifications be requested and approved?

Divorced couples in Texas may find that over time, their needs, income and situations change, but the responsibility of caring for children remains. When the custodial or physical parent needs an adjustment made to child support, there is a process to go through to get what they need to handle the everyday living needs of their children. For those parents whose jobs have changed and they may be making less money and want to request a change to the amount they are paying, there is also a process to go through, according to the Attorney General of Texas.

For a child support order to be modification eligible, it must meet one or more of the following requirements:

  •          The last modification or establishment was more than three years prior
  •          A substantial and material change in circumstances has occurred
  •          The monthly child support amount differs by $100 or 20 percent of what would be awarded

Are hands-free cellphones a safe option for drivers?

Although it is not illegal for you to use a hand-held cellphone while driving in Texas, many states have banned this practice because of its deadly consequences. As a result, many people have started using hands-free cellphones while behind the wheel to limit their risk of becoming involved in a deadly car accident. Yet, studies show that using a hands-free cellphone to talk to friends or family while operating a vehicle may not be the safest option.

The problem lies in the fact that using a hands-free cellphone still creates a significant amount of cognitive distraction. This occurs when your brain is trying to engage in two complex tasks at the same time and is unable to fully concentrate on either one of them. Instead, your focus bounces back and forth from one task to the other, leaving gaps in time where you are really concentrating on the road at all. It is during these moments where your risk of becoming involved in an accident increases significantly.

Texas drunk-driving trends compared to national numbers

Thanks to numerous organizations and campaigns, awareness of drunk driving is very high. Education and legislation have brought favorable results. In fact, the national rate of fatalities from drunk driving has gone down 63 percent since 1982, with an 80 percent drop in accidents for underage drinkers, shares Responsibility.org.

However, numbers vary from state to state. How does Texas fare compared with national trends?

Joint parenting tips

Parents in Texas who must learn how to raise their children with a former spouse or partner that they are no longer romantically involved with can find this a challenging thing indeed. Co-parenting, also called joint parenting, requires mothers and fathers to develop a level of consciousness about how they parent for the good of their kids.

Healthline recommends that the first thing parents should do is adopt a child-first mentality. This will then guide their thoughts and actions and may help them to avoid getting pulled into battles with each other. Some people find that maintaining a professional tone in their written communication and even in-person exchanges can aid them in keeping their own emotions out of discussions by treating the other person as they would someone at work.