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Author: Tessmer Law Firm

Recognize the potential for domestic violence BEFORE it happens. Abusers display certain behavior traits that can serve as warning signs of their potential to become violent.  It is rare for an abuser to show these traits in the beginning stages of a relationship, but they are incapable of maintaining that control long-term.  Once the abuser becomes comfortable in a relationship, the unhealthy behaviors increasingly show themselves.  It is important to acknowledge your fears and/or concerns over your partner’s unhealthy behavior.  Trust your instincts!  Learn the following traits of an abuser to protect yourself.  Teach them to your teens as they...

If you are concerned that your own behaviors may be unhealthy or abusive towards your partner, you too can get help. The National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799- 7233) can refer you to programs and services to help prevent violence. The operators are always impartial, empathetic, willing to listen and withhold judgment. They can help you identify unhealthy behaviors in your relationship and brainstorm healthy alternatives for those behaviors.   Victims of domestic violence need a plan for safety, beginning with knowing what to do when a violent incident occurs. Try to keep away from rooms containing dangerous objects (kitchens, bathrooms) and know...

Nearly three-quarters of Americans say they know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence. If you see something, say something. Incidents of battery are rarely isolated and usually increase in frequency and intensity over time. Between 30% and 60% of abusers who target their spouse or partners also abuse their children. If you are a neighbor of a household that you believe may be experiencing domestic violence, please do not turn a blind eye. Being ready to witness and call the authorities when appropriate could save a life.   If you suspect that a friend or co-worker may...

Domestic abuse isn't always physical. Men, women and children can be abused verbally or emotionally and the consequences of these types of abuse can be just as devastating as physical violence. Emotional or psychological abuse is meant to control the victim. The abuser will belittle, degrade and humiliate the victim in order to exercise more complete control. This often includes withholding access to a car or to money, for example.   An abuser will often attempt to isolate their victim, restricting access to friends and family, or denying them the ability to go out in public without the abuser. This increases the...

Domestic violence is an issue that touches millions of lives every year. In the coming days, Tessmer Law Firm will provide tips and information on this important subject, beginning with some facts:   1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States - more than car accidents, rape and muggings combined. About 4,000 women die each year as a result of domestic violence. 1 in 3 abused children will become abusers themselves. On average, a woman will leave an...

Heather Tessmer, owner of Tessmer Law Firm, P.L.L.C., was a recent finalist in the NAWBO San Antonio Entrepreneurial Spirit Awards (ESA) Inspirational category. Honoring women business owners in the San Antonio area, the coveted ESA is the only award presented exclusively to women entrepreneurs by their peers. The Inspirational category recognizes women who have achieved business and personal success in the face of adversity or overwhelming obstacles, while exhibiting courage, perseverance and determination in reaching their goals. The 2016 ESA Gala was held April 2nd at the Eilan Hotel. Pictured here are Ms. Tessmer and her daughter, Abigail.   ...

Picking up and starting over after the loss of decades worth of plans is the most crushing aspect of divorce after age 50.  Change that touches every aspect of your life can be emotionally devastating.  It is natural to grieve. You have, after all, spent half a lifetime together, if not more.  But put conscious effort into moving forward and make the second half of your life worth living. You can now make choices and be open to opportunities that you may not have considered before divorce. Surround yourself with supportive family and friends.  Stay active and involved in your...

Consult with a qualified attorney, even if you feel your situation is simple. Don’t make any agreements before you are fully informed. Even though you may agree to something and you know you can change your mind about it, don't set up that expectation. By negotiating too early, you may create barriers and expectations that make later negotiations more difficult. Spouses need to be on an even playing field with both knowing what they have and what their range of options are. That will save money and heartache down the road....

In all cases, “gray” divorce or otherwise, make sure that any tax issues are reviewed prior to finalizing.  This ensures that neither spouse ends up owing a tax bill that could have been reduced, or avoided entirely. To split some assets, a divorcing couple will need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), which is designed to protect the couple from owing taxes when retirement funds are transferred from one to another.  This is not a “do-it-yourself” document.  A QDRO must be properly written, or you can incur tax penalties.  This is another good reason to consult a qualified family law...

Retirement savings become especially important in a “gray” divorce. It is best to try to avoid accessing retirement savings before retirement, if possible. Spouses in a “gray” divorce have fewer working years left to contribute to separate retirement savings accounts, and less time to recover from any depletion of retirement accounts. Early withdrawals from retirement funds can result in penalties and fees for withdrawals before age 59 ½ as well as potential increased taxes and delays in retirement. Both spouses may have to delay their retirement or adjust their standard of living to either contribute more to their savings now...