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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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What’s happening with House Bill 803?

| Apr 16, 2021 | Parental Rights, Parenting Plans, Texas Law |

You may have heard about recent efforts to change the standard possession orders in the Texas Family Code. The bill before the Texas Legislature, House Bill 803, would shift how many divorced parents in Texas have their parenting time apportioned.

There’s a Fox 7 article out of Austin that gave an update as to what’s going on, with some quite pointed quotes from individuals who feel that the current default set-up in the Texas Family Code isn’t as fair as it could be to each parent. As that story characterized it, the bill aims to “change the default to equally shared parenting as long as both parents are deemed capable.”

As you’re probably aware, the current standard parenting orders give one parent the majority of time during the school year, with the other parent getting Thursday nights and the first, third, and fifth weekend, with provisions for summer and holiday parenting time also built into the equation.

Some people, including SarahJae Johnston with the Father’s Rights Movement, see that as unfair — not just for dads who want to be more involved with their kids, but also for women who want to be more independent but, as custodial parents who have the majority of the parenting time during the school year, may not have the time to do so.

The article notes that according to the Office of the Attorney General, about 92% of custodial parents are women.

“We’re telling young girls you can do all these amazing things, you can be more than a homemaker, but if they walk into the family court we’re taking away their ability,” Johnston said. “We say, no, you’re going to be 100% responsible, you’re always going to be the one that has to do this, and it would be nice if Dad participates, but under the law, we’re just going to say he doesn’t need to.”

The article noted that “HB 803 has stalled,” specifying that “it has yet to receive a hearing in the Juvenile Justice and Family Issues Committee, chaired by state Rep. Victoria Neave (D-Dallas).” As the Lege only meets once every two years, that means that if nothing progresses there, it could be 2023 before we see another attempt.

There’s certainly a debate to be had about the law and the merits of changing it, but one important thing to note here is that parents aren’t bound by the standard orders in the Texas Family Code. It’s there as a default that often finds its way into a decree, but it isn’t required for parents to use. If parents can agree that a 50/50 split is best for them, and more importantly, best for the children, that can go into the decree, even if the case is being litigated and the couple disagrees on other matters.

Also, as we’ve emphasized before, the parenting time laid out in the decree is a fallback if parents can’t come to a consensus on their own. If parents can agree on a parenting schedule that works for them, and it’s clearly communicated in writing, they can absolutely vary from what the decree says. Of course, if one parent’s not on board with varying from what’s in the decree, that’s where the default parenting plan comes in and gives both parents the structure they’re looking for.

At the Law Office of Lisa A. Vance, we’ve helped couples arrive at parenting plans in a variety of ways. Whether it’s through litigation, through alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation and collaborative divorce, or modification, we’ve worked with a great number of divorcing couples looking to create parenting plans. While it’s important to focus on the children when you’re crafting your parenting plan, you also want something that you can reasonably manage, allowing you to be the best parent you can be.

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