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The Law Office of Lisa A. Vance, P.C.

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Divorce and Family Law Matters

We are now accepting clients statewide in Texas.

WE ARE WORKING!

As the situation with COVID-19 continues to develop and evolve, the safety, health and well-being of our clients and our team is extremely important to us. We are watching for the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and international medical experts to learn how we can best manage our facility and our clients.

We would like to reassure you that The Law Office of Lisa A. Vance, P.C. will continue to be available to provide services to all of our clients.

Our lawyers and paralegals are working in the office and electronically, although most of us are working from home. Below is a list of FAQs regarding our response and commitment to you during COVID-19.

Can I even have a consultation with my lawyer remotely?

Yes, The Office of Lisa A. Vance, P.C. has a comprehensive remote working capability and all of our lawyers and paralegals are equipped to work securely from home.

Will my lawyer be available to answer questions and work on my case?

Yes, your legal matters will continue to receive our attention. You can email, call, or videoconference with your lawyer during this time.

We also have multiple videoconferencing options; please contact your attorney for the platform that works best for you

How are court hearings and appointments affected?

Court in Bexar County are now conducted by Zoom Please see our blog article Court via Zoom: It’s Actually, Really Court (and Here’s How It Works)

Can I consult with a lawyer about a new family law or divorce matter?

Yes, we have office staff working in house and remotely to ensure continuity in our business. For information about a family law or divorce matter, please call our office or complete the Request a Consultation Form.

Your family law matters remain our top concern and we are not going to permit this pandemic to take priority over your needs. We will remain confident, alert and prepared.

We wish you and your family well as we work through this difficult situation together.

With warm regards,
Lisa A Vance

 

 

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For many, when they hear the term guardianship, they think of the legal status pertaining to those who want to function as parents to a child. While that may be the case in some instances, when referring to guardianships in the legal sense, we are referring to the area of law that covers those who are taking care of others who are unable to care for themselves. A guardian is someone who, through a court decision, is legally responsible for caring for an incapacitated person (called a Ward in legal proceedings).

When an adult is determined to be incapacitated, whether that is through a brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or some other means, and is assigned to the care of a guardian, that adult is giving up many of his or her freedoms. Because the Ward is often deemed to be unable to make any decisions or choices, the Court takes great care in naming someone as a guardian. Being deemed incapacitated and named as a Ward is not a simple and quick process.

Before the question of who the guardian is can be answered, the court has to determine to its satisfaction that the adult in question really is incapacitated. The guardianship case will involve a medical assessment of the proposed Ward’s level of incapacity. This can be determined by a licensed medical physician or psychiatrist, but the exam must have occurred within the last four months. If the Ward’s incapacity is questioned in a case, a court-appointed medical physician  may be brought into the case to make a separate assessment to corroborate or challenge the initial assessment.  Additionally, the Applicant will also have to show that they have looked into supports and services for the proposed Ward and that those available are not enough without the guardianship.

There are two types of guardianships: temporary and permanent. A temporary guardianship is used to protect a proposed ward from exploitation, abuse, or some other situation needing immediate attention. A permanent guardianship is initiated when there are ongoing concerns about the ability for the proposed ward to care for himself or herself. Often, the temporary guardianship will serve as a sort of legal stepping stone on the way to a permanent guardianship.

In a guardianship hearing, the proposed ward will be assigned an attorney ad litem (certified by the State Bar of Texas), who will represent his or her legal concerns. A case may also involved a guardian ad litem, appointed by the court to advocate for the best interests of the proposed Ward.

It is recommended that the prospective guardian, called the Applicant at this stage, should have a lawyer to help through the process–especially if there is more than one applicant seeking to become the guardian. While the appointed guardian will typically oversee both the person and the estate, the court may choose to have those dual functions split between two people, with one in charge of the estate and the other looking after the person.

Guardianship cases are civil litigation, just like other types of cases with which you may be familiar (i.e. divorce, conservatorship, possession and access, probate) They are similar in that some can be fairly easy to resolve, with all parties involved recognizing what’s best for the proposed ward and moving to a resolution quickly. But, some can be contentious and drag on, particularly if opposing parties have very different ideas for what is best for the proposed Ward.

This is why having a lawyer who is mindful of those realities, and who knows how to effectively move through the obstacles that might arise, is essential for a guardianship case. While not every guardianship case is easy, a lawyer with experience in guardianship cases can make a difficult case move navigable.

 

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