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Questions Answered by Shawn H. Smith
1 Answer | Asked in Divorce for Texas on
Q: For temporary orders shouldn't all community assets be exhausted first before separate property is used to pay bills?

My wife has an IRA worth $5000. It is a community asset. Shouldn't she expected to liquidate this and use it before expecting me to use my separate property to pay past due and due community bills?

Shawn H. Smith
Shawn H. Smith answered on Aug 4, 2013

Probably not, unless it was specifically stated in the order. It also depends on what you are considering to be your separate property at this point. It would be a good Idea to consult your attorney about this, since you may be confused. If you don't have an attorney, it sounds like now would be... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce for Texas on
Q: How long does the court give you to complete required actions?

My spouse filed for divorce 12/5/11, I signed a waiver and it was uncontested on 3/2/12. She was ordered to complete a parenting class by the Bexar county judge. She still has not completed the course and has no motivation to do so. Should I file for divorce separately or is there a timeline she... Read more »

Shawn H. Smith
Shawn H. Smith answered on Aug 4, 2013

Your divorce will be final when the decree is signed by the two of you and a judge. If that is what happened on 3/2/12, then you have been divorced for a while now. If she has not done one of the terms of the Decree, then you can file a motion to enforce on her to get her to behave. You should... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Texas on
Q: How do I get my rights to my son that lives with his dad? We never married and we have A little girl too, that lives with me...
Shawn H. Smith
Shawn H. Smith answered on Jul 4, 2013

In order to get rights to your children, you will need to file a suit affecting the parent child relationship asking for custody. Contact a couple of family law attorneys in your area to find out what you need to do specifically in your case. Good luck.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Texas on
Q: What will terminate child support payments if the parents reunite?
Shawn H. Smith
Shawn H. Smith answered on Jun 23, 2013

There is usually a clause in the divorce decree that terminates child support payments upon remarriage of the parents. You will need to inform the attorney general of the change in circumstances to get them to stop any wage withholding etc.

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Texas on
Q: Is there a Texas statute of limitations for prosecuting sexual assault of a minor?
Shawn H. Smith
Shawn H. Smith answered on Jun 20, 2013

In Texas the statute of limitations is 10 years from the 18th birthday of the minor. Alternately, if there is DNA evidence there is no statute of limitations.

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce for Texas on
Q: I have been paying child support & working overtime. OT is not available anymore. Will they go by my 40 hr week salary?
Shawn H. Smith
Shawn H. Smith answered on Jun 18, 2013

You may have to file for a modification if the support was based on your higher salary. Call some attorneys in your area for a consultation to get an idea of what this process looks like. It is not automatic, you will need to take action to make sure it is adjusted properly.

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce for Texas on
Q: What right do I have to get a divorce since my husband is drug abuser? I need to protect myself.
Shawn H. Smith
Shawn H. Smith answered on Jun 18, 2013

You should contact some local attorneys right away. If you are concerned for your safety, call the police. There are several ways that you can protect yourself during the divorce process, including filing for a protective order. Most attorneys will offer you a free consultation, call around to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Texas on
Q: May a private party initiate proceedings and prosecute another in a criminal court, or must this be done by the DA?
Shawn H. Smith
Shawn H. Smith answered on Jun 18, 2013

Must be done through the DA. A private party can make a complaint to the police or the DA, but it is up to the state as to whether they will pick the charges up or not.

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce for Texas on
Q: Do I need a lawyer for divorce decree amendment?
Shawn H. Smith
Shawn H. Smith answered on May 22, 2013

It is difficult to answer that question without more details. Technically you don't, but you are much more likely to get it done properly if you do hire one. At this point, I would recommend calling a few local family law attorneys. Many of us will give a free initial consultation, and that way... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce for Texas on
Q: Married for 16 year he is in the military do i get any of his pension? Or any marital property that's all in his name?
Shawn H. Smith
Shawn H. Smith answered on May 20, 2013

Texas is a community property state, so it doesn't necessarily matter whose name the property is in, but rather was the property acquired during the marriage with community funds. Community funds include any salary your husband was paid during the marriage, which also gives you the rights to a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Texas on
Q: If my husband was abusive, can I get a settlement?
Shawn H. Smith
Shawn H. Smith answered on May 16, 2013

This is a pretty vague question, we would need a few details at least to answer fully. If you are talking about a settlement as part of a divorce, then yes. Abuse during the marriage can cause the judge to award you more of the property than they would otherwise, but it is not automatic and you... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Texas on
Q: How can my common law husband file a petition for joint custody which states my child cannot leave the state?

He was arrested the day before for domestic violence....one of many incidents

Shawn H. Smith
Shawn H. Smith answered on May 16, 2013

He can file a petition asking for whatever he wants, that doesn't mean that the judge will grant it. Joint custody agreements often contain geographical restrictions, but they usualy refer to the child moving outside of an area, not just leaving Texas to visit another place. It sounds like you... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Texas on
Q: My boyfriend is getting charged with domestic violence, can charges be dropped if victim never wanted charges filed?

My boyfriend and I got into a fight and the police were called. I never wanted to press charges against him, and when the police came they never asked me wether I wanted to press charges or not. What can we do to try and get the charges dismissed without him having to go to jail?

Shawn H. Smith
Shawn H. Smith answered on May 14, 2013

This is a very common situation. Usually, in a domestic dispute, the police will charge him and take him in just to diffuse the situation. What you need to understand is that, at least in Texas, civilians don't actually press charges, the district attorney does. It is your choice as to whether you... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Texas on
Q: How do I go about getting my record expunged?
Shawn H. Smith
Shawn H. Smith answered on May 13, 2013

In Texas you qualify for an expunction in a few different cases. If you receive deferred adjudication for a class C misdemeanor and complete it successfully, you should qualify. If you were charged with a higher offense, but subsequently had the charge dismissed or were acquitted, then in most... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Texas on
Q: How much time will my husband be facing if he got arrested in Garland, Texas for aggravated assault against his father...

If no weapons were used and this is his first crime ever committed in the state of Texas?

Shawn H. Smith
Shawn H. Smith answered on May 11, 2013

If the aggravated assault was not due to the fact that he used a weapon, then they must be alleging that he caused serious bodily injury. This is a second degree felony in Texas, carrying a punishment range of 2 to 20 years in prison, with a possible fine of $10,000. The actual amount of... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Texas on
Q: My husband and I were split up we have 2 boys and he fathered a child how much child support does he have to pay

He and i got back together before he found out about the pregnancy and have been together since we split up Dec 2011 got back together July 2012 found out about pregnancy Aug 2012 baby born Jan 2013. Now need to start paying child support but dont know how much and want to make sure our children... Read more »

Shawn H. Smith
Shawn H. Smith answered on May 10, 2013

The amount of child support will be based on his income. You may want to speak with an attorney about getting an order together to handle both child support and visitation/custody assuming he wants to be in the child's life. It is always best to get this type of situation under control early so... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Texas on
Q: What is the penalty for possession of marijuana on school grounds?
Shawn H. Smith
Shawn H. Smith answered on May 10, 2013

Depends on how much they get caught with. Generally it gets bumped up one level for being on school grounds since that is a "drug free zone". So if they had under 2 ounces, it will be a class A misdemeanor instead of a class B misdemeanor.

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Texas on
Q: My husband was appointed a lawyer who, in his profile doesnt handle criminal cases, to a criminal case...

Can he request a criminal attorney?

Shawn H. Smith
Shawn H. Smith answered on May 10, 2013

Not sure what profile you are speaking of here, but that doesn't mean that he doesn't practice criminal law, just that he is not advertising it in the particular profile you are looking at. If you are not happy with the representation he has been appointed, the best idea is probably to scrape... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Texas on
Q: When you cant afford a lawyer are the one they give you really going to help
Shawn H. Smith
Shawn H. Smith answered on Apr 27, 2013

Court appointed lawyers are still bound by the same ethical responsibilities to represent their clients that a lawyer you hire would be. They should do everything in their power to assure that your rights are protected. The downside of having a court appointed lawyer is that you don't get to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Texas on
Q: Spouse is in jail on a family violence charge. he turned down his crt appointed attorney. will this put off court date?
Shawn H. Smith
Shawn H. Smith answered on Apr 27, 2013

That depends on the Judge. He will still be brought before the court and admonished by the judge to either hire an attorney or accept a court appointed one. Most of the time judges will not allow this to delay things for very long, if at all. If he is doing it to delay, it will not work out well... Read more »

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