The primary reason we charge for attorney consultations is customer service.  Our goal is to provide the highest level of service possible while keeping attorney fees under control.

Years after opening our doors, we found that free consultations were negatively affecting the level of service we were able to provide to our clients.   During this time we unable to timely respond to client inquiries and in some cases had to start setting trial dates further out to allow the firm to better prepare for each case.  While a short delay is the better than going to trial unprepared, we felt that to provide better service we needed to expedite all cases whenever possible.

With the above reasons in mind, we set out improve our service by implementing the following changes:

  1. We discontinued free consultations;
  2. We added a hosted Client Relation Management System;
  3. We added an additional attorney to our staff; and
  4. We added an additional paralegal to our staff to assist with clients’ needs.

Out of all the improvements, the elimination of free consultations gave us the best results.   It allowed our attorneys an additional 10 hours per week to dedicate to our existing case load.   Initially, many members of our potential client pool were upset with the change but we believe that by charging for consultations we are able to optimize our time devoted to both potential new clients as well as existing clients and provide the best service possible.

At the Ramos Law Group, PLLC, we are always looking for ways to innovate and provide a better level of service to our clients.  We realize that clients not only want an attorney that can get results but they also want an attorney that is willing to explain the law and be available when they require it.

If you need to schedule a consultation with a Houston Divorce Attorney, please give us a call at (713) 225-6200 or visit us on the web at RamosFamilyLaw.com.

Under Texas Law and the Texas Family Code, a child born during a marriage is presumed to be the child of the husband and wife.  This means that the husband of the marriage is presumed to legally be the father, not the biological father. So if a woman gives birth to a child whose father is not her husband, her husband is still presumed to be the father unless additional steps are taken to adjudicate the paternity of the biological father.  These steps include:

  1. Denial of Paternity – The husband must sign a denial of paternity form which states that he knows that he is not the biological father of a child.
  2. Acknowledgement of Paternity – AOP – Form 1608– The biological father of the child can sign an acknowledgment of paternity, which is filed with the Bureau of Vital Statistics. This form is where a biological father states that he knows himself to be the father of a child.
  3. Paternity Test – A paternity test of the child and biological child may be necessary to prove the actual paternity if an acknowledgment of paternity is not signed or is invalid.
  4. Petition to Adjudicate Parentage – Next you will need to file an original suit alleging that your husband is not the presumed father and request that the Court adjudicate the biological father as the legal father. This is where you will use the above documents to help establish paternity.
  5. Divorce – If the paternity of a child is an issue during a divorce, the paternity can be adjudicated within the final decree of divorce using the above steps.

The resulting Order Adjudicating Parentage or Final Decree of Divorce, along with establishing paternity, will include provisions regarding conservatorship, access and visitation, and child support. Once a man has been adjudicated as the father of a child he is that child’s father for all legal purposes and now has a legal obligation to that child.

As a husband is the presumed father until he is determined to not be the father of a child of the marriage, he will be legally responsible for child support, medical support and taking care of a child that is not biologically his until the above legal steps are taken. As such, it is very important that a father protect his rights to either claim his biological child or prevent being responsible for a child that does not belong to him.

If you are currently married and want to establish paternity of a child that is not your husband’s, or if you are the husband and you do not believe a child is yours, please contact the Ramos Law Group, PLLC so that we can begin the steps to properly adjudicate the paternity of the child.  You can also visit us on the web at ramos.coalition.reviews.

Disclaimer: The material obtained from this site is not intended to be legal advice. Please consult an attorney for advice regarding your own legal situation.

In response to the technological advances we have seen in the past decade, many divorce attorneys are becoming more computer and internet savvy.  A request for a download of your Facebook profile is a fairly standard requirement. Facebook has updated its programming to enable you to download a complete history of your Facebook profile in a few simple steps. Keep in mind that the download may include deleted messages and information that you may not want to be publicly available, so please make every effort to secure the download.

To download your Facebook profile:

  1. Login to your Facebook account.
  2. Click on the Account dropdown menu and select the Account Settings option.
  3. From the “General Account Settings” page, select the Download a Copy link to initiate the download.
  4. Click on the Start My Archive button.

At this point, you’ll be presented with a message box explaining that it will take a little while for Facebook to gather all your photos, wall posts, messages and other information and to expect an email with a download link once it has been completed.

If you’re looking for a divorce attorney that can quickly adjust to new technology and make use of all new options to your benefit, contact the Ramos Law Group, PLLC or visit us on the web at ramos.coalition.reviews.

Disclaimer: The material obtained from this site is not intended to be legal advice. Please consult an attorney for advice regarding your own legal situation.

With the news that 6.5 million LinkedIn passwords were recently leaked and the fact that internet security breaches are commonplace, the simple answer is YES.   However, simply changing your password doesn’t solve the underlying problem without an increase in the password complexity and frequency of password changes.  Yes, this means we all have to remember more complex passwords and change them more frequently but in the long run more secure passwords will keep your confidential information secure.

Keep in mind that a more complex password can be the difference between passwords being hacked in a few minutes to several years.  Recently, there were several thousand LinkedIn passwords that were decrypted within minutes of being leaked while other more complex passwords are still being decrypted by the hacking community.  Consequently, if you’re going through a divorce it is critical that all passwords are changed to assure that your communication and private information is not disclosed to the opposing party.

With this in mind, here are a few tips and some simple password policies that can reduce the likelihood of a hacker or your spouse from guessing your password.

What to do:

  • Increase Password complexity:  The most critical part of a password policy is the level of complexity required for each password.   I would recommend increasing the passwords to 10 characters which dramatically increases the amount of time it takes a hacker to programmatically guess your password.  Also, include at least one special character (e.g. $, @, etc), one capital letter and numbers.
  • Set a Maximum Password Age:  Passwords should be changed every 1 to 3 months depending on the complexity of your password.  As a rule of thumb, I would recommend changing passwords monthly.
  • Enable Password History:  Never reuse old passwords as they can be easily hacked by a savvy programmer as you’ll be giving them more time to decrypt with the same password.

What NOT to do (“How safe is your password,” 2012):

  • Don’t use a password that is listed as an example of how to pick a good password.
  • Don’t use a password that contains personal information.
  • Don’t use words or acronyms that can be found in a dictionary.
  • Don’t use keyboard patterns (asdf) or sequential numbers (1234).
  • Don’t make your password all numbers, uppercase letters or lowercase letters.
  • Don’t use repeating characters.
  • Don’t write down your password
  • Don’t send your password via email, messenger or any other form of electronic communication

Sample passwords (DO NOT USE SAMPLES):

  • Good:
    • $@mplE*909>1
    • Ch@t*101<19.1
    • B0c*1<19<.14#
  • Bad:
    • Sample*909
    • Marriage*101
    • HoustonDivorce*1

As you can see there is more to passwords and securing your information than you probably had previously considered. However, if you apply these tips in an effort to secure your accounts in regards to everyday life and when filing for divorce, your private information is less likely to be hacked.

Source:

How safe is your password?(2012).Retrieved May 13, 2012, from https://accounts.google.com/PasswordHelp

Disclaimer: The material obtained from this site is not intended to be legal advice. Please consult an attorney for advice regarding your own legal situation.

The termination of parental rights is referred to as the “civil death penalty” because there is nothing worse a Court can do to a person than to legally and permanently remove that person’s parental rights. Because of the severity of termination, it can be difficult to have one’s rights terminated. There must be good cause for a Court to legally remove a child’s parent from its life and there is a process to completing a termination suit.

There are two types of termination of parental rights: involuntary and voluntary. Involuntary termination occurs when the parent is not in agreement with the termination however their parental rights are still terminated because a Judge felt it was in the best interest of the child. Grounds for termination include neglect, abuse, or abandonment. Often involuntary termination is achieved due to the involvement of Child Protective Services and documented abuse or neglect. Texas Family Code §161.001 sets forth the grounds a Court may consider when deciding to terminate the rights of a parent.

This route to termination takes longer as it requires a hearing and a finding by the Judge or jury that termination is in the best interest of the child. Once an involuntary termination has been granted, that person is forever stripped of their rights to the child or children the subject of the termination suit.

Voluntary termination occurs when a parent voluntarily signs an Affidavit for Voluntary Relinquishment of Parental Rights and agrees to the termination of his or her rights. This document must be notarized and filed with the court. Voluntary termination often coincides with a step-parent adoption because courts are not apt to grant a termination of parental rights unless there is another parent willing to step in and adopt the child.

Some people are under the impression that a parent can elect to terminate his or her rights and avoid having to pay child support. The Texas Family Code sets forth specific criteria for granting a termination and avoiding the obligation to pay support is not one of listed criteria. If a Court grants a termination of a biological parent’s rights, the former parent no longer has a future obligation to support the child. However, the termination does not absolve the former parent’s liability for any child support arrearage that accrued before the termination was granted and that person is still responsible for that debt.

It is very difficult to have the rights of your child’s other parent terminated simply because they aren’t around or aren’t paying child support. While your child’s mother may be an absentee mother or your child’s father may be $20,000 behind in child support, the Court is looking at what is in the best interest of the child and legally ending the relationship between a parent may not be in the best interest.

Termination of parental rights is a very serious matter. Whether you are a parent looking to have the other parent’s rights terminated or you are a parent fighting against the termination of your own rights, please contact the Ramos Law Group, PLLC so that our experienced Houston attorneys can help you!

Disclaimer: The material obtained from this site is not intended to be legal advice. Please consult an attorney for advice regarding your own legal situation.

Texas is a “no fault state” which means that a person can plead for divorce without alleging that either spouse is somehow responsible for demise of the marriage. One may allege adultery as a ground for filing divorce; however adultery is not a crime in the state of Texas. If you’re hoping your cheating spouse will face criminal repercussions for their actions, it’s not going to happen in Texas. So why would a person plead adultery as a ground for a Houston divorce? There are two main reasons: (1) in order to receive a disproportionate share of the community estate or (2) for reasons related to child custody and conservatorship issues.

The Texas Family Code mandates that a court must divide a marital estate in a “just and right” manner. Fault in the breakup of the marriage and the financial benefits a spouse would have received from the continuation of the marriage are factors a court may consider in dividing an estate in a just and right manner. The existence of adultery alone will not result in a disproportionate award of the marital estate to the innocent spouse. The innocent spouse must prove to the Court that the adultery was the cause of the breakup and either that because of the breakup the innocent spouse was deprived of future financial benefits or that the adulterous affair resulted in a waste of community assets through gifts made to the cheating spouse’s significant other.

If custody of the children is at issue during a divorce, a Court may consider allegations of adultery when making a decision regarding the children. Courts do not take kindly to parents who bring extramarital affair partners into the lives of the children or who engage in adultery in front of the children. Children are vulnerable during a divorce and the commission of adultery in front of the children speaks volumes as to a parent’s character. When a Court is scrutinizing a person’s capability to be a good parent; proof of adultery can be detrimental to a parent in regards to child custody and conservatorship.

The Houston divorce lawyers at the Ramos Law Group, PLLC are knowledgeable in all areas of family law including divorce.  Please contact us with any concerns or questions you might have.

Disclaimer: The material obtained from this site is not intended to be legal advice. Please consult an attorney for advice regarding your own legal situation.

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Social networking is a popular past time in today’s society. Facebook currently has more than 901 million active users and Twitter currently has 500 million active users.  There are countless other sites such as YouTube, LinkedIn or MySpace that serve as outlets for people to share their lives.

The chances are good that you or your spouse have a social networking account, so it is very important realize that what you post on your social networking site can have consequences on your divorce. According to a survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, in the past five years 81 percent of its members had used or faced evidence collected from social media websites during divorce proceedings. Below are some tips to help you keep your social networking from having a negative impact on your divorce.

  1. “De-activate” your profile. DO NOT DELETE. Deleting your profile once a divorce suit has begun has been viewed by some courts as removing potential evidence (spoliation of evidence). Deactivation temporarily takes your profile offline and will keep other persons from posting or tagging you in incriminating photos or posts.
  2. If you absolutely cannot live without social networking, please keep the following tips in mind:
    1. Change your password: Your soon to be ex-spouse may know your password and log into your social networking site in an attempt to get damaging information on you. Change it! This will keep your private messages and post safe from prying eyes.
    2. Privacy Settings: Use the most restrictive privacy settings as possible to make sure that only your friends and people your trust are able to view your posts. Limit your profile so that you must approve posts and tagged pictures or check-ins before it is published on your wall for all to see.  But remember that privacy settings aren’t foolproof and social networking sites change their policies frequently; post as if that the last person you would want to be viewing your information is still able to do so.
    3. Beware of your “friends”: Your friends may unwittingly share a photo or post that could be damaging toward you and your pending divorce. Or a friend who is still close with your spouse may forward incriminating screenshots or photos gleaned from your page. Keep that in mind while posting on any social networking site.
    4. Think before you post: Once something has been posted on the Internet it cannot be recovered. Just because you deleted a post doesn’t mean it hasn’t already been saved as a screenshot or that it can’t be recovered through the discovery process. Don’t post angry rants about your spouse or photos of you with a beer in your hand while posing with your new significant other. Anything you post can be used against you, so think before you post!

Information from your social networking sites is discoverable under Texas law. Facebook has made it easier than ever for users to download a PDF copy of their entire profile and more divorce attorneys than ever are requesting that information during divorce proceedings. Realize that what you post on the internet could have very real consequences on the outcome of your divorce.

The Houston Divorce Attorneys at the Ramos Law Group, PLLC are knowledgeable about the impact social networking sites can have on your divorce. Please contact them with any concerns or questions you might have.

Disclaimer: The material obtained from this site is not intended to be legal advice. Please consult an attorney for advice regarding your own legal situation.

Now that you have been served with an Original Petition for Divorce, you are the “Respondent” in your divorce case. As the Respondent, it is crucial that you act as soon as possible to protect yourself and avoid having a default judgment taken against you.
Once you have been served you have roughly 20 days to file an answer and make an appearance in your divorce suit. If you fail to make an appearance within the allowed time period, your spouse can go forward with a Default hearing, where often they are granted everything they request in divorce court. This means they can be awarded property and rights related to your children that you are entitled to (Child Custody).

It is important that you get an answer on file with the Court as soon as possible. You may also take the opportunity to file a counterclaim, which is the legal document where you get to request your own relief from the Divorce Court. You may also request a temporary orders hearing if your spouse failed to do so in their original pleadings.
You may not want to divorce your spouse or you may think that your refusal to comply with the legal process will prevent them from getting a divorce. A refusal to appear in court or to sign any documents will not prevent a divorce from occurring; it will just prevent you from having your rights adequately represented. Don’t be mistaken by thinking you can prevent your spouse from getting a divorce, be proactive and protect your rights.

Don’t sign anything without first consulting with a competent Houston divorce attorney. Your spouse may ask you to sign a “Waiver of Service,” which may include language that allows a case to be considered by the Court without any further notice to you. This can also result in a default judgment being taken against you. It’s important to know what you’re signing and protect your rights, consult with a family law attorney who can advise you on how to proceed in your divorce.

For the reasons stated above it is imperative you meet with a competent Houston divorce attorney to go over your rights and options as soon as you have been served. Being served with divorce papers can be an upsetting experience and many people don’t know what step to take next. How you respond to being served will guide the rest of your divorce proceedings so it’s important you start off on the right foot.

Your first action item is to contact a highly qualified Houston Divorce Attorney Mary E. Ramos. She can help you take the correct first step after being served and protect you and your assets during the divorce process.

Disclaimer: The material obtained from this site is not intended to be legal advice. Please consult an attorney for advice regarding your own legal situation.
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