You and your spouse going separate ways during the holidays?

The holiday season is fast approaching and every parent wants their children to have wonderful memories of the holidays. But November and December can also be stressful especially if you and your co-parent are separated or divorced. Here are some tips for reducing your scheduling stress this holiday season.

Keep the Communicate Chain Open

Your child custody agreement probably specifies parenting-time arrangements during the holidays, but it is always a good idea review the plan with your co-parent to make certain there are no surprises. If you know your holiday plans for the kids are going to be different this year, then it’s better to explain the situation to them well in advance rather than disclose the new plan at the last minute.

Be Flexible

If your co-parent wants to deviate from the normal parenting schedule this year, consider allowing the change. This can not only minimize conflict; your co-parent may be more likely to work with you in the future when you want to vary the schedule.

Keep your Children’s Best Interest at Heart

The most important thing for divorced parents to remember is that the holidays are about their children, not them. Even if you are unable to be with your children during the holiday break, encourage them to enjoy themselves with the other parent. Try to embrace the spirit of the holiday season, let go of anger and be thankful for what you have. If have disputes that raises legal questions, then contact me for a consultation and we can discuss the situation. In some cases, a modification of the child custody arrangement may be in order.

I wish you a happy and peaceful holiday.

Getting a Divorce – Now What

Choosing to dissolve a marriage can be a difficult decision. But once you’ve made that first step, you may find that the entire divorce process is much harder than you originally thought. You will have to make decisions on important issues regarding your finances and properties. If both of you share children, you and your spouse will have to decide on how to split parenting time between your households.

When a couple splits, the primary goals of the divorce process are to establish an equitable distribution of marital assets and debts. Each spouse will need to have an idea of how they will pay and maintain a new residence and maintain the marital residence. You need an experienced Collin County divorce attorney to help you through this process.

In order to get your fair share during divorce settlement negotiations it is imperative that you know what is owned and what is owed. This is a two-step process:

Determine what you own: Some marital assets are clearly shared and can be split equitably. Other assets including artwork, pension plans, inheritances or belongings brought into the marriage may be rightfully yours to take after a divorce.

Determine what you owe: Marital debt will be split based on who is more financially able to pay the debt, not by whose name the debt is in. The easiest way to determine marital debt is to get a copy of your credit report. Any debt you have will be listed on your report.

I can assist you with paperwork, resolve disputes, finding amicable solutions and even protecting your rights in court if necessary. I understand the value of reaching fair and amicable resolutions that preserve harmony in relationships. Call my office and set an appointment 972-369-0577.

How to Navigate Holiday Visitation Schedules

The holidays mean different things to different people. For some, it’s the best time of year. For others, it’s a stressful period full of family drama. Here are a few helpful hints for parents who are going through a divorce, or already divorced.

Stick to the Schedule

If you have a parenting schedule things are easier. You always want to have the parenting schedule in writing and agreed to by both parents in advance of the holidays. This can be done a couple of ways. If the formal divorce process has not yet begun, then you must agree on a parenting plan yourself. If you have a family attorney, they can help with this.

When you create the schedule, take a look at the entire year as a whole to determine a comprehensive visitation plan. Your parenting plan can be as broad or specific as you wish. The point is that both parents must agree, or it won’t be successful.

Christmas doesn’t have to happen on Dec 25

If you find yourself arguing over who gets to spend the day with the children, take a step back and remember it’s not about the calendar date. In other words, you make the day special no matter if it is Dec. 26 or Dec. 30. Whatever day you spend with the kids, you can make that just as special as December 25th. Don’t get too caught up on the actual day.

If you can be flexible with your time, it may not be worth the fight, aggravation and effect on the children.

Communicate with the Other Parent

It may seem impossible for some people to get along with the other parent, especially if you are recently divorced or separated. However, if you have children, you must do your best to communicate effectively.

Good communication (or at least some communication) is key to ensuring you will minimize the amount of time you spend fretting over where your “littles” will be eating turkey and opening gifts.

Remember to think of this holiday season as an opportunity to create new traditions and to create great new memories with your children. Wishing you a wonderful holiday and Happy New Year!

Adopting a Child in McKinney

Adopting a child in Texas requires prospective parents to follow state-specific guidelines. The state has requirements for who can adopt and who can be adopted.

A child residing in Texas may only be adopted if:

  • The parent-child relationship has been terminated or a suit for termination is joined with the suit for adoption
  • The parent whose rights have not been terminated is presently the spouse of the petitioner and the proceeding is a stepparent petition
  • The child is at least two years old, the parent-child relationship has been terminated with respect to one parent, the person seeking adoption has been a managing conservator or has had actual care, possession and control of the child for six months preceding the adoption or is the child’s former stepparent, and the non-terminated parent consents to the adoption
  • The child is at least two years old, the parent-child relationship has been terminated with respect to one parent and the person seeking adoption is the child’s former stepparent and has been a managing conservator or has had actual care, possession and control of the child for a period of one year preceding the adoption

Individuals facing complex adoption issues may benefit from the assistance of a family law attorney who understands the best interests of the child and can guide the parties through adoption court.

A family attorney can guide you through the documentation process that you must submit to the Texas court. Prospective parents who are not related to the child must provide the court with documentation regarding their criminal histories. They must also provide proof that the child has resided with them for at least six months. The adoption process may include home studies by a social services agency and a lengthy court process.

From the initial consultation through the resolution of your case, I emphasize communication in order to keep you informed. If you have an adoption issue, call 972-369- 0577 to schedule a consultation.

Good Advice From a Divorce Lawyer

Going through a divorce is a stressful time. Divorce attorneys work hard to achieve favorable and fair results for their clients. Here are a few tips you’re better off knowing that will influence your relationship with your lawyer and the value they provide to you.

1. The court system is much different than what you see on TV
Court TV has most people convinced legal proceedings are interesting and short-lived. The cold, hard truth is that some divorces can last months or even a year. How quickly you get divorced in Texas depends on you and your spouse being able to cooperate and reach agreements.

2. Be Honest with your attorney
You need to provide your attorney with all key facts so they can analyze your case properly and give you appropriate advice. Even if you hide something from your attorney, the facts may very well come out anyway. Your failure to be up front may harm your case and your ability to obtain a good result.

3. Clients pay for an attorney’s time
Most attorneys charge on an hourly basis, which is stated in your retainer agreement. Your attorney will contact you when they need something from you. There are periods in every case where nothing is going on and there is down time. Your attorney should give you periodic updates on the status of things and it’s ok to check in yourself, but daily calls are unnecessary and only run up your bill.

Contact my office if you are planning to file for divorce and we will discuss your individual case. I work to ensure every client has the information and family law resources they need to understand the divorce process and know what to expect. Ryan Kreck Criminal and Family Law Attorney 972-369- 0577.

Accused of Child Abuse in Collin County?

Children, family members, or exes may contrive child abuse stories to inflict pain on someone. Many may not understand the gravity of what they are accusing, and the law tends to err on the side of the accuser when it comes to child abuse cases. Cases could also be advanced by a school teacher or nurse who notices an injury on a child. Each child abuse case is different and may require a different focus to build a defense.

What is injury to a child in Texas? The Family Code defines this when a person commits an offense if they intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence, by act or omission, engages in conduct that places a child younger than 15 years in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment. The abuse involved may involve various forms of abuse, including:

  • Physical or emotional injury
  • Sexual abuse
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Physical neglect
  • Medical neglect
  • Inadequate supervision

Do not talk to anyone from Child Protective Services (CPS) or law enforcement until you have contacted my office. Your best chance at protecting your rights and avoiding the penalties associated with a conviction is to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who also handles family law cases.

Child abuse is a very serious charge that must be effectively and aggressively defended in order to ensure that your rights and future are protected. If you or someone you know has been accused of child abuse it is important that you contact an attorney who will defend you both in court, and in the media if necessary.

I use my experience and knowledge in criminal and family law to investigate every detail of the charges and present a defense case that is based on protecting your rights. If you or someone you know has been charged with child abuse, contact my office for a free consultation 972-369- 0577. I have the experience you need to fight your case.

Protective Orders and Family Violence

Unfortunately, there are numerous cases where a member of a household is the victim of domestic violence. In such a circumstance, the Texas family code provides for certain persons to have the ability to seek protection from the court for themselves, their child, and/or other persons. In order to obtain a protective order, a party must very carefully and thoroughly make his or her application to the court.

There are numerous requirements prescribed by law for the application to be proper and for the applicant to obtain a protective order. In most circumstances, a person who applies for a protective order also seeks a temporary protective order for more immediate protection which can be, in some instances, applied for and obtained the same day. A protective order, unlike a restraining order can be enforced by both civil and criminal means.

Protective orders can be issued in cases of both family and dating violence when a person:

  • Commits any act that was intended to cause physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault; or
  • Makes a threat that reasonably places a person in fear of physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault.

How Can a Protective Order Help?
Protective orders can require an abuser to do a variety of things, and allows the police and court system a great deal more power in dealing with them if they violate the order. Some examples of things a protective order can force the abuser to compile with include:

  • Prevent acts of family or dating violence, and acts that are reasonably likely to annoy, harass, alarm, torment, or embarrass you.
  • Prevent all communication, or communication made in a threatening or harassing manner.
  • Prevent them from coming to your home or work.
  • Prevent them from coming to schools or day care facilities attended by household members.
  • Prevent them from removing your child from the Court’s jurisdiction.
  • Prevent them from removing pets or assistance animals from your possession.
  • Prevent them from harming or threatening to harm your pets or assistance animals.
  • Prevent them from transferring or disposing of any property that you own or lease together.
  • Require they allow you visitation with your child or children.
  • Require they complete counseling or a family violence intervention program.
  • Require they turn over any firearms in their possession to law enforcement.
  • Perform any other acts that the Court deems necessary to prevent or reduce the chance of them committing any additional acts of family or dating violence.

Who is Entitled to a Protective Order?
The person who committed the family violence against the victim must meet one of the following scenarios:

  • Related to the victim by blood or marriage
  • Currently living with the victim or must have lived with them at some time
  • Someone with whom the victim has had a child
  • Someone the victim has or had a relationship of a romantic or intimate nature
  • Someone that sexually assaults the victim
  • Someone of a third party interest; because of the victim’s marriage to or dating relationship with an individual whom the actor is or has been in a dating relationship or marriage

Contact a Collin County Family Attorney
If you are the victim of family or dating violence getting a protective order is the first step you should take to get yourself out of your situation. Not only will it make it easier for law enforcement to handle any calls you may need to make, it also puts your abuser in a serious legal situation if they violate the order. Please contact my office at 972-369- 0577 to discuss how you can begin getting through this difficult time in your life.

Divorce and Mediation

A growing majority of family law cases whether they are divorce, child custody cases, or even cases involving Child Protective Services are being resolved outside of Court. Mediation is more and more prevalent and effective at resolving these types of cases.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a confidential process where the mediator attempts to guide, not dictate, settlement discussions of the parties involved in the case. When I say mediation is confidential, it is different than attorney-client confidentiality. What is said in mediation stays at mediation. The mediator cannot be a witness and neither side can say “well at mediation you agreed to….”

Mediation has a lot of benefits compared to going to Court to seek an order from a Judge. In mediation, the parties agree to anything they want including ways to split property and time with the children. The Judge in your case has only certain options under the law to dispose of property in a divorce, or ways in which decisions are made about any child issues.

One example is in mediation, the spouses in a divorce can agree to an alimony settlement. Under Texas Law, no Court can award alimony to any party in a divorce. The law requires that any settlement reached in mediation has to be signed by the Court in the final order which contains the terms of the mediated settlement agreement.

It is Extremely Important to Have a Lawyer with You at Mediation

First, the mediator, while nearly all of mediators in Texas are lawyers or former judges; they are NOT your lawyer. Each mediator will make this disclaimer at the beginning of mediation. Second, it is important to have an opinion from your own lawyer about what you may or may not get from the Judge handling your case. One way to assess whether or not the mediation offer of settlement is good is to compare it to what you may receive in Court. Most importantly for family law cases, if you do not have a lawyer at mediation, you may inadvertently agree to mediation agreement, which may not be enforceable in Court.

The Court has certain restrictions about how it can enforce an order from mediation. Any agreement or Court Order, which is not enforceable, is ultimately no good if there is no way to make sure the other side sticks to their agreement.

If you are thinking about going back to Court on a child custody issue or preparing for a divorce, please contact my office to discuss what I can do to help you and prepare to resolve your case in the most efficient and effective way possible.

Avoid a DWI in Collin County this July 4th Weekend

With July 4th falling on Monday this year many of you will turn it into a long weekend of fun, family, friends and parties. Law enforcement will also be out in full force this weekend due to the increase in crowds and especially the increase in alcohol consumption.

Drinking & Driving in Collin County Will Result in a DWI
If you are pulled over this holiday weekend and you have been drinking there is a very good chance you will be arrested. While mistakes certainly happen, it is important to know your rights. Be sure to contact your lawyer as soon as possible. It is best practice to have your lawyers phone number saved in your cell phone. My number is (903) 870-8662.
If you are going to consume alcohol, be sure to have someone to drive sober. If you cannot find a designated driver, just download the Lyft or Uber App on your smartphone and enter your credit card information. When you are ready to go home, simply request a ride and a driver will come to your exact location.
Remember you also can get a DWI on the lake too, known as BWI (Boating While Intoxicated). Your outing to the lake quickly changes when a law enforcement vessel approaches and boards your boat to do a safety inspection. After they ask to see the number of life preservers on board, the discussion turns quickly to the smell of alcohol coming from your breath.

The Bottom Line
A DWI arrest does not mean you will be convicted. There are many factors that can influence your case. Remember, if you get stopped, exercise your right to remain silent. Ask to call your Collin County Criminal Attorney. Stop reading this now and add my phone number to your cell phone (903) 870-8662.
While no one should even drive when they are intoxicated, it’s a safe bet that your chances for getting caught go up around the holidays. Drink and drive responsibly. And even if you aren’t drinking make sure you use extra care – and watch out for the other drivers on the road this holiday weekend.

Wishing you a safe and happy July 4th!

Modifying Child Visitation Agreements

If you went through a divorce and share children, you likely agreed to a child visitation agreement that took into consideration both of your circumstances at the time. Or you had the court decide the ultimate terms of the visitation order. However, as your circumstances – or those of your former partner or the child’s– have changed, it may become necessary to make modifications to your visitation agreement so that it continues to protect your best interests of that of your children.

While it may become necessary for you and your family to modify the terms of your visitation agreement, I have commonly helped clients pursue modifications under the following circumstances:

  • A parent struggles with substance abuse
  • A parent endangers the child
  • Persistent violations of the existing visitation agreement
  • Living situation of one or both parents has changed
  • Domestic abuse affects the child
  • Extracurricular activities of the child
  • Child alienation
  • Enforcement of possession schedule
  • Other criminal activity

I understand the difficult emotional issues that come with child custody and visitation in divorces and other family law disputes. I offer aggressive and compassionate representation, taking the time to learn your objectives so that we can formulate a strategy to get the outcome you are looking to receive or to prepare for a request for modification from the other parent. Protecting the best interests of my clients and their family is my goal as they are going through a modification suit. To review the details of your circumstances call my office at 972-369-0577 today.