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Tessmer Tips / 27.10.2015

Texas law restricts the expenses adoptive parents can pay on behalf of biological parents. These restrictions apply even if the birth mother lives in a state that is more permissive in terms of payments of expenses. Adoptive parents can legally pay for medical and legal expenses relating to the adoption. You can pay a social worker or mental health professional to provide adoption counseling. It is also legal for you to pay a fee to a licensed child-placing agency. You cannot directly pay for any living expenses on behalf of the mother.  If you are working with a birth mother who...

Tessmer Tips / 26.10.2015

People adopt for a wide variety of reasons, infertility being among the most common. About half of adoptions in the United States are between related individuals, such as in a "step-parent adoption" where the new spouse of a parent adopts a child from their husband or wife's previous relationship.   When can the adoption process begin?  The mother of a baby may consent no sooner than 48 hours after the child’s birth.  A man may sign an affidavit disclaiming any interest in the child at any time after the first trimester.  But if a man is the biological father and married to...

Tessmer Tips / 25.10.2015

Adoption is defined as "a process whereby a person assumes the parenting for another and in so doing permanently transfers all rights and responsibilities from the biological parent or parents." In the State of Texas, adoption is regulated under Family Code Section 162. This week, Tessmer Law Firm will offer tips and advice regarding the adoption process.   Adoptions typically take one of two forms: "Open" or "Closed." In an open adoption, the identities of the biological parents are known to the adopting parents and communication between the adopted child and his/her biological family may be possible. In a closed adoption, all...

Tessmer Tips / 23.10.2015

Another obstacle that can prevent you from filing litigation is known as locus standi, or "Standing." In order to bring a lawsuit before a court you must be able to prove that you are sufficiently affected by the matter at hand, and that you have been harmed or imminently will be harmed. You cannot file suit just because something bad happened to you, or for something that happened to someone else. For example, if you sue your neighbor because the gazebo in his backyard is ugly and offensive to your tastes, that lawsuit would most likely be frivolous. If it blocks...

Tessmer Tips / 21.10.2015

Some laws try to prevent frivolous litigation from ever reaching the courtroom.  The Good Samaritan law protects those who try to help others who are in danger from being victim of a successful lawsuit. This law not only keeps frivolous lawsuits from happening, but also provides incentive to help others in need.   You may be thinking “If the court has so little patience for frivolous proceedings, why have I heard of so many ridiculous cases?”  What comes to mind for most is the McDonalds hot coffee lawsuit.  The truth is the Plaintiff in that case suffered third degree burns which required skin grafts.  Instead of being awarded millions like...

Tessmer Tips / 20.10.2015

There are usually underlying motivations for frivolous lawsuits. Ever heard of the “pants lawsuit” (Pearson v. Chung)? In 2007, a D.C. judge, Roy L. Pearson, sued a dry cleaning business for over $67 million dollars for the loss of his pants because they refused to give him a refund of over one thousand dollars while having a “satisfaction guaranteed” sign in their window.  Why $67 million?   Among his requests, $500,000 for attorney’s fees (he represented himself), $2 million for “discomfort, inconvenience, and mental distress”, a whopping $15,000 to cover the cost of a rental car so he could drive to another dry cleaning business...