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Kyle Whitaker Blog

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Cybercrimes and Juveniles: What Parents Need to Know

We live in a digital world. With the rise of technology has come an unfortunate rise in the rate of cybercrimes. As defined by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), cybercrime is “an act that violates the law, which is perpetrated using information and communication technology.” It...

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The New Year Brings More Divorces: An Overview of the Data

Divorce happens. The American Psychological Association (APA) estimates that somewhere between 40 percent and 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. While a divorce can be filed at any time, a disproportionate number of couples opt to file for divorce within the first three months of the year—particularly in January....

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What is The Main Reason You Need an Attorney

Criminal and family law matters may be the most trying times in life. Attorneys help clients endure these hardships. Most people immediately see the need for a good lawyer in a serious criminal case, like murder, or a high-stakes family law matter, like a high-asset divorce. In less serious matters,...

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Breaking Down Self-Defense in Texas

Defendants can escape punishment for a violent crime if an affirmative defense, like self-defense, applies. The Lone Star State has one of the broadest self-defense laws in the country. It’s based on the castle doctrine (“a man’s home is his castle”). In Medieval times, knights could do almost anything to...

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Expungement and Record Sealing: Starting Fresh

New laws have created new opportunities for people to move on with their lives. Texas law, unlike the law in many other states, includes multiple criminal records and sealing options. Almost every first-time offender, whether they were convicted of a misdemeanor or felony and whether that offense was violent or...

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Winter Holiday DUIs By the Numbers

Since coronavirus lockdowns ended, the number of impaired drivers has increased significantly. During these lockdowns, for the most part, roads emptied, and traffic enforcement ceased. Therefore, many motorists acquired bad habits, such as drinking and driving. DUIs aren’t just a safety issue. These infractions keep police and probation officers busy....

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Juvenile Crimes and the Criminal Justice System

Unless an attorney intervenes, juvenile criminal records follow defendants forever. Contrary to popular myth, the state does not automatically seal or expunge juvenile criminal records when former offenders turn 18. These crimes have long-lasting consequences. Most people assume a juvenile criminal conviction is a tip-of-the-iceberg matter. If police arrest the...

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Navigating the Divorce Process: Steps and Considerations

Recent legal changes make it more important than ever to work with a Fort Worth family law attorney. The overall divorce rate has leveled off since the 1990s. But divorce’s moral acceptability rate recently hit an all-time high. Marriage dissolution has moved from one of the most controversial moral issues...

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How Courts Determine Child Custody

Find out how child custody in Texas is generally handled and the various factors the court considers in making these arrangements. Child custody is among the most sensitive types of cases dealt with in the Texas family court. Decisions made during legal proceedings impact your child, the amount of time...

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Do I Have to Be Driving a Vehicle to Get a DWI?

Drunk driving is a serious criminal offense. Under Texas law (Texas Penal Code Sec. 49.04), you can be arrested and charged if you are found to be “intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.” A common misconception about our state’s DWI law is that people believe that...

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Can Juveniles Be Charged as an Adult?

Young people can get themselves into serious trouble. In some cases, a minor may even face a criminal allegation. Our state has a specialized legal process for juvenile offenders. In most cases, juvenile charges are handled through the juvenile justice system—which is focused on rehabilitation and is far more forgiving....

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What are the Requirements for a Prenup?

A prenuptial agreement (prenup) can provide clarity for a couple in the event of a divorce. Although not the most romantic thing in the world, there are several different tangible benefits associated with a prenup. Texas law allows couples to sign prenuptial agreements—but they must meet certain legal requirements to...

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How Long Does a Divorce Take?

Are you preparing for a divorce in Texas? It is normal to feel stressed out, even overwhelmed by the prospect. Like most people, you probably want the process to be done as soon as possible so that you can start to move forward with your life. This raises an important...

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Why Does the Divorce Process Take So Long?

Divorce is part of life for many couples. The American Psychosocial Association (APA) cites data showing that as many as half of married couples will eventually get divorced. Going through a divorce is never easy—it has the potential to be a long, drawn-out process. **Why does divorce take so long...

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Are Common Law Marriages Legal in TX?

Do you need an official license from the state to be legally married? The answer depends on your jurisdiction. While most states require a formal marriage license, there are still eight U.S. states that recognize the legal validity of common law marriages. Texas is one of the minority of states...

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What are the Most Serious Felony Charges in TX?

A felony is a serious criminal charge. In Texas, all felonies carry a potential sentence of at least one year in prison—with many felony charges carrying the risk of far more time behind bars. Notably, there are actually several different “classifications” of felony charges. The Texas Legislative Council publishes a...

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What is the Role of a Mediator During a Divorce?

Considering or preparing for a divorce? It can be an emotionally challenging, draining experience. The American Psychological Association (APA) reports that 20 percent of first marriages end in divorce within five years, and 48% of first marriages end in divorce within 20 years. Mediation may be the best legal option...

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Were Your Rights Violated During Your Arrest?

An arrest is stressful and confusing. Being taken into custody by federal, state, or local law enforcement officers can be overwhelming. You may feel like you have no power. However, you have very important rights under the law. If your rights were violated during or after an arrest, there are...

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DUI Arrests in Fort Worth, Texas

You can get charged with DUI in Texas if you are under the age of 21 and you have any detectable amount of alcohol in your blood; you should hire a criminal defense lawyer to represent you in your DUI case, even if you are legally a minor. Drunk driving...

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Do I have to Be Driving to Get a DWI in Texas?

Driving, which Texas law defines oddly, is a key component of a DWI case. Intoxication is usually the most important issue in a DWI. Prosecutors may prove intoxication by showing the defendant completely lose the use of their mental or physical faculties or the defendant had a BAC level above...

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Can the Police Search My Car?

Officers may only search private property if they have probable cause. Yes, but the right to search an automobile or other vehicle is not unlimited. In fact, the Fourth Amendment only allows “reasonable” searches and seizures. The legal definition of a reasonable search is discussed below. The punishment for a...

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Can You Carry a Knife in Texas?

What is a “knife” in Texas, how long can the blade be, and where can you carry a knife? In most cases, the answer to this question is “yes.” Texas is famous, or infamous, depending on your perspective, for its broad weapons-carry laws. These laws are not unlimited, but they...

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Steps to Take to Start the Divorce Process in Texas

Before you file for divorce, think about whether it is the right decision and think about why you want a divorce. The overall divorce rate has leveled off since the 1990s, partially because the marriage rate is lower. But the subsequent marriage divorce rate has continued to increase, mostly because...

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What Happens During a Juvenile Detention Hearing in Texas?

At a juvenile detention hearing, the judge weighs certain factors and decides if the child should remain in custody before trial. A juvenile detention hearing, which is often the juvenile’s first court appearance, resembles a bail hearing in adult court. Since the pandemic lockdowns ended, crime rates have increased. Many...

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What Does a Family Law Attorney Do?

Our Fort Worth family law attorney represents clients in sensitive matters that impact their rights in relationships, now and in the years to come.  Family law matters are among the most sensitive types of cases. They can impact your rights in regard to relationships with others, your financial security, and...

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Can Social Media Posts Be Used Against Me in a Divorce?

Our Fort Worth divorce attorney explains how social media posts can jeopardize your rights in a divorce settlement.  Posting on social media is a regular part of life for many people. Pictures, status updates, and other types of content provide an intimate window into our personal lives and daily activities....

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Cyberbullying and Davids Law

Our Fort Worth family law attorney explains how, in the state of Texas, David’s Law has empowered schools and family members of cyberbullying victims to seek justice for their loved ones. Bullying is a despicable act that can have devastating impacts on victims. In our technological age, it is increasingly...

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Marijuana and THC Oil Wax Charges

Despite the progressing laws regarding some forms of cannabis, possessing marijuana for recreational use or of THC oil or wax can result in trouble with the law and criminal penalties. Differences in Criminal Charges Between Marijuana and THC Oil/Wax There are many ways that people use cannabis, including smoking marijuana...

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Is Litigation Necessary to Complete Your Divorce?

Most divorce cases do not go to trial; after attending mediation, most couples are able to finalize a marital settlement agreement and complete their divorce. The percentage of legal disputes that go to trial is low; this applies in many areas of the law, from criminal cases to personal injury...

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How Does Your Spouse’s Addiction Affect Your Divorce Case?

People with substance use disorder have the same rights to equitable distribution and to parenting time with their minor children as everyone else, but your spouse’s addiction may continue to affect your finances and family relationships even after your divorce becomes final. Drug and alcohol addiction has destroyed many marriages....

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Can a Warrant Be Removed?

Arrest warrants do not expire on their own, but you can make the warrant go away by posting bond or appearing in court. In fictional stories, the plot device of a cat-and-mouse game where someone who is suspected of a crime attempts to elude law enforcement never gets old. It...

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Three Ways That Divorce Makes Filing Taxes Complicated

The IRS requires you, your estranged spouse, and your lawyers to sort out many tax-related matters when you file tax returns before and shortly after your divorce. Texas is one of only nine states that still follow community property laws, where each spouse walks away from the marriage with 50%...

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Three Common Divorce Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Lack of organization, being dishonest with the court about your financial situation and making exaggerated claims about how horrible your ex-spouse is will not help you get a fair divorce settlement but being transparent with your divorce lawyer will. Most divorced people will tell you that they never felt angrier,...

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What Constitutes Domestic Violence in TX?

Domestic violence, also known as family violence, is any act of physical violence or threat of physical violence against a member of the same family or same household. Family violence, also known as domestic violence, is a common cause of conflict and estrangement among members of the same family. It...

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Police Body Cameras and Texas Criminal Cases

Police body camera footage of your arrest can provide evidence that can persuade a jury to acquit you, but many controversies and gray areas surround which body camera footage can be shown to the public. Last year, Texas legislators introduced several pieces of legislation intended to prevent police violence; these...

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How Does Divorce Affect Your Taxes?

Alimony and child support do not count as taxable income or as tax-deductible expenses, but your divorce could affect the taxes on capital gains from the salary of the marital home or on income from a pension earned by one of the former spouses. If filing your taxes is the...

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Do You Lose Your License for a DWI in Texas?

Were you arrested for drunk driving or drugged driving in Texas? If so, it is crucial that you know what to do to protect your ability to drive. You can lose your driver’s license for a DWI in Texas. In fact, your license can be suspended administratively before you are...

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What are the Penalties for Public Intoxication in TX?

Under Texas law (Texas Penal Code § 49.01), a person can be arrested for and charged with the offense of public intoxication if he or she “_appears in a public place while intoxicated to the degree that the person may endanger the person or another._” It should be emphasized that...

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When Can a Juvenile Be Tried as an Adult in Court?

In Texas, when children or juveniles are accused of crimes, their cases are normally tried in juvenile courts and not under the adult criminal justice system. But, in certain cases, the law can sometimes mandate or allow the courts to treat children as adults. In such cases, a juvenile can...

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Can I Keep My Health Insurance After Divorce?

Regardless of which state you’re getting a divorce in, health insurance coverage under the policy of a spouse will be terminated after the divorce has been finalized. Most policies, however, permit dependent spouses to obtain coverage through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) for 36 months after the divorce....

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How to Report a Drunk Driver in TX

So you’re walking down the street, biking around the neighborhood, or driving down the highway, and you see a vehicle moving erratically. You’re thinking about whether you should mind your own business or call the police. Yes – you should. It’s crucial to protect the roads and other road users’...

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Does An Affair Really Impact The Terms of a TX Divorce?

Cheating, adultery, infidelity, or an affair, regardless of what it’s called, has permanently damaged countless marriages worldwide. In general, marriages that involve extramarital affairs often end in divorce. If you are considering divorce, you’re probably wondering if an affair would impact the terms of your divorce. Spoiler alert – yes,...

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Are All Police Encounters Videotaped in TX?

No. Not all police encounters are videotaped in TX. While the state has a body-worn camera policy, it is not mandatory. Only seven states currently require the statewide use of body-worn cameras by the police. These states include South Carolina, New Mexico, New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois, Connecticut, and Colorado. Texas...

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How Can Prosecutors Prove I Was Drinking and Driving?

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) with alcohol or drugs isn’t only dangerous. It is also illegal in all states. Despite this, drunk driving remains to be one of the top causes of motor vehicle crashes in the country, often causing life-changing injuries and deaths. This is why DWI laws are strictly...

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How Does Moving Out Affect Divorce?

Divorce is usually an incredibly trying and overwhelming time for the divorcing couple and any kids involved. Depending on your situation, you may be looking forward to moving out of the marital home as soon as you can but are also worried about how it may affect the impending divorce....

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Are Criminal Records Wiped at 18?

No. Your criminal records will not be wiped, cleared, sealed, or expunged just because you turned 18. Unsealed criminal records can be seen and requested by law enforcement officers, juvenile justice officers, probation officers, educational institutions, and prospective employers, among others. Texas law does allow you to seal your juvenile...

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Is Self-Defense a Violent Crime?

Everyone has the right to protect themselves from physical harm. They can act in self-defense and not be liable for a violent crime. However, what exactly is self-defense? Is it punching or kicking anyone who threatens you? Or is it only utilizing force if retreating just isn’t possible? In any...

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Can a Divorce Affect My Retirement Funds?

Divorce can be very challenging not just emotionally but financially as well. You will have to make a lot of decisions regarding the division of your assets and property, which includes your retirement funds. In most cases, retirement savings are among the most sizable assets that married couples own. This...

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When Does a Crime Become a Hate Crime in Texas?

Reports by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) indicate that more hate crimes were reported in a recent year than had occurred in any of the past ten years. Distinguishing a hate crime from other types of offenses is important, as the penalties for a crime can increase substantially based...

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What Elements Must Be Proven for a DWI Conviction?

Most non-lawyers have a general knowledge of what a particular criminal violation might be. However, they generally don’t know what exactly the state must move in order to convict a client of a crime. These required proofs are broken down into discrete sections, each of which must be proven beyond...

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Is Hemp Flower Legal in Texas?

In August 2021, a Texas appeals court ruled that products made from hemp flowers in other states could be sold in Texas. In the same decision, the court upheld the existing ban on the processing and manufacturing in Texas of hemp flower products intended for smoking or vaping. The decision...

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What Are The Consequences of a DWI in Texas?

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) or under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs risks not only your life but also the safety and lives of other people. It could likewise land you in jail. In Texas, a driver is considered legally intoxicated when a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08%....

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How Does Family Court Determine If a Parent is Unfit?

One of the most challenging and contentious aspects of a breakup, separation, or divorce is the issue of child custody, which is also called conservatorship, possession, and access in Texas. In most cases, both parents will fight to gain custody of their children. But when making child custody determinations, the...

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Are All Police Interrogations Recorded?

The Model Code of Pre-Arraignment Procedures § 130.4 (3), set out by the American Law Institute, states that law enforcement agencies should make a sound recording of “any questioning of the arrested person and any statement he makes in response thereto.” The Constitution Project also recommends that custodial interrogations of...

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Stages of Criminal Prosecution in Texas

Like all court systems, the Texas court system has two conflicting goals: they aim to protect the public on one hand and must also protect the constitutionally guaranteed rights of the criminally accused. To uphold the rights of defendants, all Texas criminal courts and law enforcement authorities should follow specific...

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New Texas Firearm Laws for 2021

On September 1, 2021, a new law stemming from House Bill 1927 took effect in the State of Texas. This law overhauled Texas firearm rights and possible criminal penalties, and now, most Texans over the age of 21 can carry a handgun in public - openly or concealed - without...

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Can You Carry a Knife on You in Texas?

Texas law regulates the carrying of weapons - not just firearms but also knives. Knives are also deadly weapons, so the law addresses when people may and may not lawfully carry certain types. There are two categories of knives under the law: A “knife” is a hand instrument with the...

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How Long Does a Temporary Injunction Last?

There are different reasons why a court might issue temporary injunctions, including to protect a person or child, preserve property or evidence, and more. These injunctions prohibit a party from doing something, such as selling property or leaving town with a child. When a court issues a temporary injunction, it...

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3 Reasons Not to Talk to the Police

Regardless of whether you’ve been detained, imprisoned, arrested, or feel like you can’t just walk away from a cop, it’s important to know that you generally don’t have to answer the questions that a police officer is asking you. However, keep in mind that there are specific circumstances in which...

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National Impaired Driving Month in December

There is no doubt that driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) is a dangerous decision that results in many accidents, injuries, and fatalities each year in Texas and throughout the United States. For this reason, safety advocates have deemed December as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. Not only do...

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Will Your Custody be Affected if You're a Parent with COVID-19?

Navigating shared custody is difficult enough during a pandemic, but the situation becomes significantly more complicated if one parent starts showing possible symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19. If this happens, how exactly will it impact your child custody arrangement? The guidance from Texas courts so far indicates that existing...

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How Can Divorce Affect Taxes?

When you are going through a divorce, taxes are probably the last thing on your mind. However, tax time comes around once a year and never fails, so it is important to be aware of the various effects that divorce and related issues can have on your taxes. You should...

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The Impact of COVID-19 Outbreak on Child Custody Plans

With unprecedented stay-at-home orders and social distancing recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Texas and across the United States, it is not a surprise that many parents are stressed and confused about sharing child custody. First, public health orders are not intended to automatically disrupt or halt existing...

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What to Consider When Divorcing a Business Partner

Starting your own business can be rewarding both financially and personally. If you start a business with your spouse, it can provide you with more freedom and result in a partnership in more ways than one. However, what happens if you and your spouse/business partner decide to get divorced?  ...

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Revenge Porn in Texas

The age of the internet has created new opportunities for people to harass or seek revenge on former intimate partners or other parties. One common way people might seek to hurt others is referred to as “revenge porn,” which involves publishing nude or sexual pictures or videos of someone online...

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Take or Not to Take a Breathalyzer Test?

Getting pulled over is always a stressful experience, and your stress levels can shoot through the roof if the officer starts suspecting that you might be intoxicated. The officer might ask you questions, such as whether you have been drinking, where you are heading, and more. If the officer notices...

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In Texas, Legal Separation Doesn’t Exist

There are many reasons why you might want to live apart from your spouse without legally ending your marriage with a divorce. Some people hope that some time living separately can help them reconcile their differences and make the marriage stronger in the end. Others know their marriage relationship is...

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Penalties for DWI in Texas

The State of Texas takes Driving While Intoxicated offenses seriously Texas is cracking down on those who drive while intoxicated or under the influence. The State makes it clear that it does not tolerate drivers who operate their vehicles while intoxicated and the penalties put in place reflect this. If...

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How Can Having an Affair Affect Your Children?

Infidelity can affect a family dynamic in many ways. Even though an affair involves a spouse being unfaithful to the other spouse, children can also feel the effects of the affair and, sometimes, for years to come. An affair can affect your parent-child relationship, and it is important to understand...

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Infecting Someone with an STD Can be a Crime

Knowingly putting someone else at risk of contracting a sexually-transmitted disease (STD) without their knowledge is morally wrong. However, did you know that you can also face criminal charges for doing so? If someone accuses you of intentionally or recklessly infecting them with an STD and you are arrested, you...

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What is the Difference Between a DUI and DWI in Texas?

While many people use the terms interchangeably, a DUI and DWI are two separate offenses in Texas Under the Texas Penal Code, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) are separate and distinct charges. Both involve a person driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol. Also, if...

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Texas DWI Laws

Driving While Intoxicated is a serious offense in Texas and the potential penalties are severe In Texas, you may face a DWI charge if you are found to be driving while intoxicated. Intoxicated means that you are not in normal control of your mental or physical faculties as a result...

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Is Parental Alienation a Crime in Texas?

When two people separate or divorce, it’s rarely amicable. With such strong emotions for each other gone awry, there can be a lot of anger, bitterness, and resentment. When those same two people have children, they can lose sight of what’s important and channel that anger and bitterness into the...

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Is property split 50-50 in a Texas divorce?

Texas, like most states, treats property and assets obtained during a marriage as shared property, and it gives both spouses an equal right to it. But some people hear the words “equitable distribution of assets” and they think that means an equal distribution of property – like an imaginary line...

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Texas S.B. 1253 Interrogations and Interviews Law

According to a report by the National Registry of Exonerations, approximately 60 percent of wrongful convictions over the last 25 years were the result of misconduct by law enforcement officers and prosecutors. The study also cited coerced confessions during police interrogations as a leading cause of wrongful convictions. In the...

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Divorce Checklist

Life is busy. And complicated. Sometimes it doesn’t take much to throw us off course. When it comes to divorce, staying organized and on track is key — the divorce process itself can be challenging, emotionally draining, and stressful. Having a divorce checklist can guide you through the process, keeping...

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What Does No Refusal Mean in Texas?

No Refusal & DWI As you gear up for the rapidly approaching holiday season, keep in mind that Texas’ “no refusal” program is in effect for Fort Worth and Tarrant County during the week of Thanksgiving through January 2, 2018. If you are pulled over under the suspicion of driving...

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Holidays and Parenting Time

While the holiday season can be stressful for many, for parents who are divorced and sharing joint custody of their children, navigating time sharing around the holidays can be particularly challenging. Advance planning, coordination, and cooperation are key to ensuring a happy holiday season for all involved. Texas courts are...

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Texas Second Chance Bill

Texas Second Chance Bill And Nondisclosures Everyone makes mistakes. Usually, we try and learn from those transgressions and move on. When the mistakes involve breaking the law and result in a criminal record, it is more difficult to move forward in life. That criminal record will impact your life now...

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Why you should fight back against a first-time DWI

Texas has some of the harshest penalties for drunk driving in the country, and even if it is your first offense, you could face serious administrative and criminal consequences. A conviction is never your only option, and you can fight back against a DWI charge and protect yourself with a...

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Divorce and holidays Keeping bah humbugs away

This is the time of year when you probably start thinking about all the favorite traditions you share with your children during the holidays. Perhaps you’ve even ventured out to stores in Texas to buy a few gifts or get groceries in preparation of your celebrations. Such times are special,...

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