Whether you've recently lost your job and are concerned about the continued affordability of your court-mandated child support payments to your child's other parent or are seeking a modification of the support due to you, you may be wondering what awaits you. Modification of a child support award can be a fairly straightforward process. However, there are some nuances to Texas's child support laws you may not expect, and seeking modification while your financial situation is still in flux could limit your future options. Read on to learn more about the circumstances in which a Texas child support order can be changed, as well as what you'll need to show to persuade a judge that modification is both necessary and in your child's best interests. Modification of Support Texas child support orders can be modified through either an informal review process or formal court hearing. To prevail, you'll need to prove a "significant change in circumstances" has occurred since the initial child support order or most recent modification. The only exceptions to this requirement are if the original order was entered (or changed) more than three years ago or if the ordered support varies significantly from what the child support guidelines require. This restriction is designed to prevent a "race to court" each time a parent's income or living situation changes. Filing a child support modification petition without alleging the requisite change in circumstances could lead to dismissal of your claim or even prevent you from re-filing for a certain period of time. Changes in Circumstances What constitutes a "material and substantial" change for child support purposes can vary according to the judge's discretion, but often includes: - a job change;- an increase or decrease in salary;- a pregnancy or partner's pregnancy that will result in additional expenses for another child;- being called to active duty in the military (or returning from active duty);- a loss of court-mandated insurance coverage; or- being transferred to another state and losing parenting time as a result. While many may want to petition for a reduction in child support payments immediately after a job loss, this isn't always enough to demonstrate a "material and substantial" change in circumstances, especially if the local job market is strong or you work in an industry where finding a new job is easy. Modifying your child support during the job hunt, only to modify it again once you've obtained a job at a different rate of pay, can be an inefficient use of court resources, leading the court to deny your request until a salary decrease becomes long-term. By that same token, seeking to modify your support obligation because you or your partner is pregnant with another child may not be enough to convince the court that your obligation to your older child or children should be diminished unless you can demonstrate additional changes in your circumstances that make it impossible to meet these obligations. Modifying A Delinquent Child Support Award At times it may be necessary to seek modification of a child support award even though the other parent hasn't been making timely payments on the current support award. Fortunately, the existence of unpaid back child support shouldn't negatively impact your ability to have the support obligation raised if you can demonstrate the other necessary factors. On the other side of the coin, a parent who is delinquent in his or her child support payments can still petition for modification. While the court will likely address the arrearage and may put the petitioner on a payment plan, the court still has the power to amend the child support award going forward. However, it's unlikely that any modification put into place would be applied retroactively. This means that petitioning for modification isn't a good way to try to reduce your child support arrearage. What to Prove to Prevail in a Motion for Modification In order to prevail on the modification you seek, you'll need to establish several factors through a preponderance of the evidence. These include: - the modification you're seeking will bring the child support obligation in line with current legal requirements;- the modification is in your child's best interests; and- the situation leading to the modification is likely to be a long-term one. Because modifying a child support order can eliminate your ability to request subsequent modifications for at least a few years, it's important to seek legal advice before petitioning the court for a modification. In some cases, waiting to file may be in your best interests, while other situations require quick and decisive action. Your attorney will be able to work with you to take a holistic look at the situation and determine your best (and worst) options.
Getting a divorce is seriously stressful. When the going gets tough, you need an advocate to guide you and protect your interests. With your emotions on tilt, you need help with decision-making that will affect the rest of your life. You need to find a good divorce lawyer. Taking Names Do you already have a divorce attorney? Even if he’s not an experienced divorce lawyer, he can likely recommend one. What about friends or co-workers who went through the process of divorce? Were they satisfied with their divorce lawyer? If you fail to get the names of good divorce lawyers, try the local bar association. Just remember, divorces can get complicated, so it’s critical to choose a lawyer who is experienced in divorce law. Interviewing Divorce Lawyers When you get the names of 3-4 divorce lawyers, call each of them to set up a free consultation. When you are interviewing potential lawyers, ask pertinent questions as if they are applying for a job opening at your firm. Just as you expect your divorce lawyer to respect you, respect their time. Remember, you’re not chatting over a cup of coffee. Listen to what he proposes to do for you and answer his questions honestly. Then, briefly tell your story, such as you have three children, and the husband wants custody. Next, ask any questions the attorney didn’t cover. Here are a few sample questions: • Is divorce law your specialty, or will another lawyer in your firm handle my case? If so, may I meet him/her today?• How many years experience do you have handling divorce cases?• Can you get me the best settlement regardless of the impediments?• How much do you charge for your services? Do you ask for a retainer upfront? May I get a breakdown of your pricing?• How may I reach you in the event of an emergency? Things to Think About While interviewing your prospective divorce lawyer, did you get a comfortable feeling? For instance, does he speak in layman’s language or use highfalutin legal terms? Does he appear compassionate? Did he have the patience to explain everything you needed to know? If he promises the moon and guarantees you a win, leave and don’t look back. There is no definitive answer to a divorce’s outcome until the judge reaches a final decision. You may not know that after you’ve chosen a divorce lawyer, you can change lawyers if you’re unhappy. You will, however, be responsible for legal fees on services already rendered.
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The Amputee Coalition (https://www.amputee-coalition.org/resources/limb-loss-statistics/#2) states that over 185,000 Americans become amputees every year and that there are almost 2 million now living with limb loss. In the US, the leading causes of amputation are blood vessel diseases, but many are also due to traumatic injuries or infection. Costs of Limb Loss Amputees will require medical services associated with their limb loss for the rest of their lives. Early on, the services will involve wound care and other treatments for the trauma. Later services will often include the fabrication and servicing of a prosthetic along with physical therapy that will enable them to once again become independent. In cases where mobility is an issue and wheelchairs are needed, the cost of the wheelchairs and the modifications to the amputee's home must be addressed. Types of Limb Loss Claims The circumstances of each limb loss case will differ, and that will determine the kind of claim that the victim will file. The most common types of claims filed in amputation cases are: Personal Injury Claim The limb was lost because of an accident wherein another party was negligent; the victim may be entitled to damages from the person who caused the accident. The way to seek those damages is with a personal injury lawsuit. With this type of claim, you are going to want to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer. Medical Malpractice Claim Hospitals and physicians make errors all the time, and in some cases, those errors can result in a patient's limb being amputated. For example, a physician's wrong diagnosis can result in a patient getting an amputation unnecessarily. Similarly, if a patient has an untreated infection, it can cause them to lose a limb. In some cases, hospitals have amputated the wrong patient's limbs. In these cases, a medical malpractice lawsuit may be warranted. Workers' Compensation A worker who suffers an injury on the job that results in them losing a limb will have the right to seek workers' compensation. They will be entitled to it even if their own negligence played a part in the accident. Whatever the cause of the amputation, it will be helpful to secure the services of an amputation lawyer. Civil suits are complex, and a claimant may risk their settlement if they proceed without an attorney's guidance. No amount of money can compensate for losing a limb, but an accident victim should not have to cover the costs associated with someone else's negligence. Liable parties should compensate their victims fully.