Tessmer Law Firm, Author at Tessmer Law Firm - Page 4 of 30
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Author: Tessmer Law Firm

Nearly everyone has an estate. Your estate is simply everything you own – your car, home, bank accounts, life insurance, personal possessions, etc. Some estates are large, some are small, but just about everybody has one. What do they all have in common? You can’t take it with you when you die.   Only two things in life are certain – death and taxes. Estate Planning has something to do with both. A good estate plan carries out your wishes and instructions and makes it happen with the least amount paid to taxes, legal fees and court costs.   That is Estate Planning in a...

      Heather Tessmer, Owner/Attorney at Tessmer Law Firm, PLLC, was named “Best Boss in Town” by Burnett Specialists of San Antonio. You have probably seen those billboards with the slogan “Ever Argue with a Woman?” around San Antonio. It was Heather’s decision to start this billboard campaign and it continues to be hugely popular. It has helped to establish Tessmer Law Firm as one of the top family law firms in the area. Heather's staff included these comments about her. “She values our opinions, but ultimately the direction we take is her decision. Her motto is ‘Never, never, never give up’ and...

The mother of a baby may consent to adoption no sooner than 48 hours after the child’s birth.  What about the father's rights?   A father can sign an affidavit giving up all rights to his child any time after the first trimester.  But, if a man is the biological father, married to the mother, he cannot consent until 48 hours after the child’s birth.   The child’s father must be notified of the birth and the mother’s plans for adoption. Notification can be made either personally by service, or by publication.  Reasonable efforts MUST be made to locate the father before the adoption can...

Adoption and legal guardianship are not the same.   There is a big difference between the two. Legal guardianship gives one the duty to act as a temporary parent to a child. Adoption permanently terminates the rights of a child’s biological parent. It is important to understand the differences if you are considering guardianship or adoption for your family.   Becoming a child’s legal guardian gives you the rights of a parent. But, it does not end the biological parents’ rights. The legal guardian has all the responsibilities of a parent. Providing for the child financially, providing basic necessities and ensuring the child is safe,...

Years ago, nearly all adoptions were closed.   A closed adoption means there is no contact between the birth parents, the adoptive parents and the child after the adoption has taken place.   Today, adoptions are open in a variety of ways. You may think that an open adoption means the birth parents keep visitation and access to the child. That is an example of an open adoption, but not the only one. There is no real definition of what an open adoption is.   In general, open adoption means that the birth and adoptive parents share some identifiable information or contact. For example, they may...

Adoption is "a process whereby a person assumes the parenting for another and in so doing transfers all rights and responsibilities from the biological parent or parents." In the State of Texas, adoption is regulated under Family Code Section 162. Adoptions are typically handled by the District Courts. But, a juvenile or other court that has jurisdiction over a suit affecting the parent-child relationship can also handle the case. People adopt for a wide variety of reasons, infertility being the most common. About half of adoptions in the U.S. are between relatives. One example is a "step-parent adoption" where the new spouse of...

Most states have laws about legal separation, but Texas does not.   Couples in Texas that want to live apart have only one legal remedy – divorce.   If you want to split up and live apart, but not divorce, you can voluntarily decide on a parenting plan for your children. A Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR) can be filed that outlines the rights and responsibilities of each parent. A SAPCR is not a Google-and-do-it-yourself document. You will want an experienced family law attorney to draft it for you.   But that only addresses legal issues with your children. What do you do to protect...

Raising kids is expensive.   School, sports and extracurricular activities, tutoring, medical insurance, braces, cell phones, computers, clothes, shoes…. The list goes on and on. It is hard enough in a two-parent household. It gets harder when parents divorce.   Child support is money paid by one parent to the other to help cover the child’s basic needs. Usually, the non-custodial parent pays the parent that the child lives with. There are “guidelines” in the state of Texas that help determine how much a parent pays (see our previous article about Child Support in Texas). Many parents find that the guideline amount is not enough...

In the state of Texas, child support and visitation do not go hand-in-hand. A parent cannot withhold visitation due to non-payment of child support. Likewise, a parent cannot withhold child support to force visitation.   Child support is normally paid to the custodial parent (the parent the child lives with) by the non-custodial parent (the parent the child does not live with). The non-custodial parent gets visitation per a court ordered schedule. The custodial parent may want to withhold visitation to try and force the other to pay child support.  Trust us, a judge will not appreciate this. In fact, it could result in...

Divorce Mediation is an important part of the divorce process in Texas. Divorce mediation involves a neutral party (the Mediator) working with a divorcing couple to help them reach an agreement on the issues in their case. The issues can be about child support, custody and visitation, dividing property and spousal support.  A Mediator is not a judge.  He or she helps the couple reach a voluntary agreement.   Many Texas counties require that a divorcing couple attempt Mediation before going to a final hearing, Bexar County included.     Mediation has its benefits. Some include:   It has a high success rate in resolving issues, especially when...