Texas Modification of Custody Orders and Other Orders

 

It is important to know that if your current court order does not work in best interests of your children, it can be changed.

In Texas, you can modify (change) a court order for many reasons.  Here are some examples:

  • More than one year has passed since the judge signed the existing order and there has been a major change that you can prove is detrimental to the children.
  • Less than one year has passed since the judge signed the existing order and there has been a major change that you can prove is detrimental to the children, and you can show (and swear to in an affidavit) there is a danger to their physical and emotional needs.
  • You were laid off of work and you now have a different job or make less money, and have a different work schedule.
  • You can prove the other parent or their spouse is violating the law and the children are at risk of harm.
  • Your child is over 12 years old and has explicitly stated their desire to live with you, without any pressure or persuasion, and you can demonstrate that you will be more active and capable in raising them than the other parent.
  • You are seeking a court order to restrain the other parent from moving out of the county or state.

There are many other scenarios.

Whether it is a divorce decree or a child support order, any order affecting the best interests of the children can be changed, but it must be done right. If it’s done wrongly, you may lose attorney fees and, even worse, your case could be dismissed.

Feel free to call The Barrera Law Firm, P.C. at (956) 428-2822 for a free consultation today.

Criminal Law and Your Constitutional Rights

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Our attorneys know your rights. Call The Barrera Law Firm.
One of the areas of law The Barrera Law Firm participates in is criminal law, more appropriately called constitutional law. When one is accused of a crime, when one is called before a court to answer up on a crime, people need to know they have rights, and those rights come from the Constitution and those rights come from under the law themselves. Individuals will often feel the full force and burden of the state or federal government when they are accused of a federal crime. Often, people aren’t even aware they are committing a crime. Sometimes people are inaccurately or inappropriately accused of crimes. Either way, they should immediately seek the assistance of an attorney to fight for their rights, to ensure that all avenues are explored and that the government meets its burden to provide evidence on every allegation they bring forth.

When you hire an attorney you should ensure that attorney cares about your case. You should ensure that attorney will sit down with you and listen to all your needs and concerns, and that the attorney is there for you. An important aspect of choosing an attorney is being able to feel comfortable with communicating to that attorney and feeling like that attorney is comfortable in communicating to you. Through communication you can achieve quite a bit and it is important that an attorney especially cares about you and he cares about your case.

Wrongful Death: What is it and Why Seeking an Attorney is Vital

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If someone you know has died wrongfully, call The Barrera Law Firm for a free consultation

An area that our law firm services is the area of wrongful death. Wrongful death is the unfortunate occasion where someone dies because of the negligence of another. Whether it happened at work, whether it happened on their way to work or whether it happened in some other unfortunate circumstance, anytime somebody dies because of the negligence of another that is wrongful in Texas, our firm will advise whether there is a wrongful death case that we can assist you with. People, families, individuals who have any relation to the deceased person may be included in the recovery. The estate of that person can make a claim on the insurance company, on the individual themselves, for their actions. They will have to take responsibility for their actions and if possible, answer in the court of law.

The type of damages that are available in wrongful death can be anywhere from punitive damages to economic damages to compensatory damages. Anything that the person should have been entitled to or could have been entitled to may be entered upon this, and if there is gross negligence or acts that are highly reckless the court can also consider additional damages to compensate for as well.

If wrongful death occurs when a person is at work, the area where the person is at work may be liable for damages. It is important to see an attorney regarding what kinds of damages are available to the estate of that deceased person. It is in fact necessary for that person to move immediately in order to preserve any evidence that is associated with wrongful death. Often and occasionally, unfortunately, some evidence can be spoiled or can be not preserved and not available for later action. If you get an attorney involved quickly, that attorney can put that organization on notice and if the court decides that the entity was put on notice then that organization cannot just use the excuse conveniently in court that the evidence isn’t available. The jury may have to assume the worst possible scenario in the absence of that evidence.

Auto Accidents and Legal Representation

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Call The Barrera Law Firm for a free consultation following a car accident.
If you’re in an auto collision and the other person involved in that car wreck does not have insurance your options are not completely exhausted. You have other options available to you. Your own policy may have provisions included in it which will allow you to recover. An insurance contract is an agreement between you and an insurance company. You pay into it every month, or every six months or every year and you are expected to get something in exchange or in return for what you gave them. They, on the other hand, will be responsible for providing you what has been promised. In this case, you will have various things in your policy that may be included such as Personal Injury Protection, Under-insured Motorist or Uninsured Motorist. These aspects protect you when you are in an auto accident. They will provide you money that can be advanced toward hospital expenses or towards other expenses that are associated with the collision.

One thing to keep in mind is that an insurance adjuster is an individual who works for the insurance company. They do not work for you. They represent an insurance company which is a business, and that business is set up to be as profitable as possible. When you are involved in a collision, that insurance adjuster is not looking at your best interests alone. They are looking at the interests of the insurance company. Seeing an attorney is absolutely imperative when you’re in a collision because an attorney will be looking at your best interests and insuring that every possible form of recovery is granted on your end. The best thing to do before making any kind of recorded statement or communicating with an insurance adjuster is call an attorney. Call an attorney to get signed up to represent you so that insurance adjuster will have to go through that attorney who is equally or better matched against that insurance adjuster and their attorneys to represent your best interests.

Very often an insurance adjuster will try and take advantage of an individual’s uninformed position in an auto collision and offer a sum of money, which seems very tempting at the time. They’ll bring you a check, you’ll sign for it, you’ll have money in the bank. However, what happens when you accept that check, well the insurance company has essentially washed their hands of any future medical expenses you may have, or complications associated with your claim or new and relevant information about your claim that may come up about your auto collision that will be more expensive for you. And in doing so, your business is concluded with that insurance company. However, if you inform your attorney and ask them to represent you in your best interest they will ensure that all possibilities are explored and that you get the best possible situation for you, not the insurance company.

Expunctions in Cameron County and Hidalgo County

Texas law provides a second chance for people who wish to expunge a criminal record. In order to be eligible, it is important to have an experienced attorney to help them understand if they qualify.

Whether it was an arrest at South Padre Island for public intoxication, a DWI in Los Fresnos, or a theft case in Weslaco, each circumstance must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

The most important factor to consider for an expunction in Texas is whether the person was ultimately convicted of the offense. A person with a conviction will not be able to expunge their record.

Pretrial diversions that result in dismissals will usually qualify for an expunction. The District Attorney for Cameron and Hidalgo Counties will retain a record but that retained record is not for public databases. It remains as the District Attorney’s own privileged record in case another arrest occurs in that county and may be considered if the person gets into trouble again.

Persons charged with Class C misdemeanors who pleaded guilty or no contest, but received a deferred disposition, might qualify for expunction as long as they committed no offense during that deferred period and the statute of limitations has passed.

If you or a loved one would like more information on whether you qualify to expunge your record, call The Barrera Law Firm at (956) 428-2822 for a free consultation.

Making a Strong Criminal Defense Strategy

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Help justice fall in your favor. Call The Barrera Law Firm for a free consultation.
Ending up on the wrong end of the law, whether you are guilty of an actual crime or not, is no laughing matter. It is a serious situation that deserves a your utmost attention. Building a strong criminal defense strategy is important as it is all that stands between you and your freedom and heavy fines. Don’t wait until the last minute to plan your defense strategy as you want to give yourself plenty of time to prepare so your defense will go smoothly when you finally have your day in court.

  1. Choose your criminal defense team wisely. Always research at least three criminal defense lawyers before you decide on one. Choose one that has had experience with your specific type of situation. You may want to ask friends and family if they have had any experience with criminal defense lawyers. If you know of anyone who has had a case like yours and won, make sure you give their lawyer a try. A criminal defense team that is familiar with your type of case will better your chances of getting a verdict that falls in your favor.
  2. Discuss your defense options. Talk to your lawyer about your defense options. There are generally three versions of events that defendants of criminal defense cases have. The three options are a confession, in which you admit your guilt, a complete denial, in which you deny your part in the crime, and an admit and explain story, in which you admit to part of the story but not all of it.
  3. Disclose any and all details of your case to your criminal defense team. It is important to give your criminal defense team all of the details concerning your story. They need to know if there is any chance of surprise evidence or witnesses coming forward for the prosecutor. When your lawyer knows the whole story, they can prepare your defense around it.
  4. Decide on a strategy and then stick with your story. Once you and your criminal defense team have decided on a defense strategy, you will need to come up with a solid story. Practice your story day and night. Go over every detail until you know it by heart. Its easy to get scared and confused once you get up on the witness stand to be interrogated by the prosecutor. Having your side of the story completely planned and ready to go will help take the edge off so you wont’ appear so nervous to the jury when you are in the hot seat.
  5. Look professional when you show up in court. When you show up in court, make sure you look your best. For men, you should wear either a suit or at least a button down shirt and slacks. Try to cover, or minimize, tattoos and jewelry. Women should look professional as well, in either a pants suit or dress. Looking your best for court shows that you are serious. Since this will be the first impression the jury has of you, make sure it is a good one as they will be deciding your fate.

Divorce: Why You Need Good Representation

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If separation is the solution, call The Barrera Law Firm for a divorce legal consultation
When a marriage has reached a point where the only solution to problems are separation, its time to talk about divorce. When you are married, it is often the case that finances become intertwined. A divorce is the process of legally separating a couple’s finances in a way that is, hopefully, fair to both parties. While in a perfect world people would be able to do this simply between themselves, without the assistance of a lawyer and judge, most of the time the emotions that are a natural part of divorce prevent this from being a possibility. A good family lawyer, specializing in divorce, is a critical part of obtaining a fair settlement from a divorce proceeding.

  1. Calm and clear guidance. A good divorce lawyer will give you calm and clear guidance during your divorce. While your emotional state may prompt you to irrational and hasty decisions, the lawyer, who is emotionally neutral, will be able to guide you to make more productive choices.
  2. They know the way the system works. Going through a divorce is a complex task. There are many laws, statutes, and protocols that must be followed. While this may be your first divorce, it is one of many for a good divorce lawyer. This experience with divorces and having good divorce representation at your side will help you to navigate the waters of the divorce system and steer you clear to the other side with as little trouble as possible.
  3. Better chance of child custody going your way. When a divorce involves children, things can get even trickier. Choose your divorce lawyer very carefully if you will be fighting for custody of your children. Make sure that the lawyer you choose has had good success in the past with child custody suits.
  4. Will act as a mediator between you and your spouse. While you and your spouse may have trouble talking rationally about how to divide up your common estate items, a lawyer has no emotional ties to either of you and can act as a neutral mediator between you and your husband. For this reason, you want to make sure the divorce representation you choose is someone you feel comfortable with and who has a history of getting his clients fair divorce settlement.
  5. Why would you want anything less than great legal representation? A divorce can be one of the most challenging, and life changing, events in your life. Depending on how your divorce is settled, you could end up with, or without, your property, children and financial security. Why wouldn’t you want the best possible divorce representation to guide you during this difficult time? Choosing the least expensive divorce lawyer could end up costing you way more than you bargained for in the end, so do your research and make sure you choose a good one.

Having the best divorce representation possible is vital to getting a fair divorce settlement. With the right lawyer at your side, your divorce will proceed much more smoothly and result in a much quicker, and more amiable, split with your soon to be ex-spouse.

Grandparents’ Rights to Custody or Visitation in Texas

Under Texas Law, there are exceptions to the rule that a parent has a superior right to children and that a grandparent has no legal right to custody or visitation of their grandchildren.

The law is grounded in both common sense and fairness. The first thing the court looks at is whether or not a grandparent has the legal standing to bring a suit for custody or for access to and possession of the child.

Some grandparents do not qualify and a competent attorney may be hired to ask the court to deny a request for a legal order for custody or a visitation schedule.

Some grandparents have always had care of and control over a grandchild, yet do not receive the necessary rights in the form of a court order to be able to fully, legally and independently care for the grandchild.

Temporary custody or temporary possession and access are also available for grandparents who qualify with conditions put in place while a parent is away or otherwise unavailable, unfit or incompetent.

Some grandparents have lost touch with a grandchild because the parent they had access through died.

To find out if you qualify to request a legal order for custody or access to grandchildren, call The Barrera Law Firm at (956) 428-2822 for a free consultation.

Types of Wills in Texas

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The Barrera Law Firm can assist you with creating a will
No one likes to think about what will happen when death comes to them. However, legal planning is necessary so that in this event friends and family members will be able to make sure your wishes are followed. There are several types of wills that can be created, and depending on your financial portfolio and the depth to which you want to control how your estate is treated at the time of your death.

Wills

A will, as defined by Law, is a legal declaration in which a person, or a couple, names those they wish to transfer their property to at the time of their death. Wills can be written by an individual as long as they are over the age of majority and of sound mind. The age of majority is defined as over the age of 18 in America. Sound mind simply means that a person is rational when they create the will, or not clinically defined as insane or incompetent. Typically, however, an attorney is used to create a will. There are several laws that exist, different from state to state, that define rules regarding wills. For example, in community property state, a surviving spouse cannot be left out of a will. Using an attorney to create a will ensures that it is completely legal and that upon your death, your wishes will be carried out just as you dictate.

Living Wills

Living wills are those that a person creates to make known their wishes regarding life support and medical treatments in the case that they are left incapacitated and unable to make their wishes known. If you are involved in an automobile accident that leaves you in a coma and hooked up to life support, if you do not have a living will, your relatives will have to make the decision of whether to leave you hooked up to life support indefinitely or allow you to pass on without it. This can be an emotionally devastating decision for family members to make, and knowing your wishes through a living will makes the decision simpler and ensures your wishes are followed even though you cannot express them physically at the time.

Living Trusts

A living trust is actually a mechanism that is used to hold and distribute a persons assets in order to avoid probate. A probate is a function of wills that involves a third party inventorying and appraising the property, and they paying debts and taxes accrued before distributing what is left over from the estate to the surviving family members. A living trust allows the entire state to be transferred to your surviving family at the time of your death without having to use a probate.

Advanced Planning

Advanced planning is the creation of a course of action, which you set down in legal form, in the case that you become ill and unable to plan for yourself. Some of the areas covered under advanced planning include estate tax planning, asset protection planning, business succession planning, planning for disabled or problem beneficiaries and creating a family or charitable legacy.

First Step of Preparing Your Criminal Defense: Meeting With Your Lawyer

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Accused of a crime? Be sure you understand your rights, and be prepared. Call The Barrera Law Firm.
Preparing to go to trail in Harlingen, McAllen, Brownsville, or anywhere for that matter, to defend yourself in a criminal defense case is nothing short of nerve racking. You will be fighting for your freedom, and this is a battle that no one wants to lose. Without a good criminal defense lawyer, you could end up getting the book thrown at you, getting slapped with high fines and jail time. Your first meeting with your criminal defense lawyer will set the stage for your defense strategy. Being prepared for that meeting will get your case off to a great start by giving your lawyer a better chance at building a good defense strategy.

  1. Be prepared to answer some questions. Your lawyer is going to need all of the details about what happened. You may want to sit down a few days before your meeting and write down all of the details you remember about what happened to you before, during, and after your arrest. Your lawyer is going to ask you to remember the names and details of all the people involved in your case, their role, what they know and what you think they might know. You will also want to recount all the details you can remember about your arrest. If the arresting officers made mistakes and you can remember them, it may be important to your case.
  2. Have your own questions to ask. You will also want to prepare some questions of your own for your criminal defense lawyer. Ask how long they have been working in criminal defense, if they have had cases similar to your own, and what the outcome was. Ask their opinion on the outcome of your own case, including the best and worse case scenarios. Find out how much their services are going to cost and how they accept payment. Knowing up front all of the details will ensure that there are no surprises later on down the road.
  3. Bring documents and evidence with you. Bring all of the documents associated with your case to the meeting with your criminal defense lawyer. This includes items you feel could be used as evidence, such as letters, photos, emails or other documents. Bring your arrest records, and any paperwork you were given by the police. Your lawyer will be better prepared to build a winning defense strategy for your case if they have all of the evidence needed to back it up.
  4. Listen to your lawyer’s advice. Your lawyer will have some advice for you at the end of the meeting. They may tell you where to go and where to avoid, who to speak with and who to not speak with. Pay attention to their advice and even write it down. Your criminal defense lawyer is familiar with the system and knows what it will take to win your case. Going against their advice could end up costing you in the end if it causes your case to end in a guilty verdict.
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