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Tessmer Tips / 08.06.2016

There is no question that divorce is painful under any circumstance. Sometimes a divorcing parent feels so hurt and angry, they want to lash out at their soon-to-be ex and they do that through their kids. This is central to the plot of our next recommended family law movie.   Mrs. Doubtfire is a 1993 comedy starring Robin Williams and Sally Field as Daniel and Miranda Hillard, a San Francisco couple with three children Daniel is a devoted and loving father, but is unreliable as a husband. After a furious argument, Miranda files for divorce and is awarded custody of the children at...

Tessmer Tips / 07.06.2016

Today, we continue our movie recommendations with a great story about the struggle to produce a happy, blended family after divorce.   Stepmom is a 1998 film starring Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon and Ed Harris. The movie tells the story of Luke and Jackie Harrison (Harris and Sarandon), a divorced couple struggling to raise their children, Ben and Anna, and create a new blended family. Luke is living with his new girlfriend Isabel (Roberts), who is several years younger. Isabel tries hard to befriend Ben and Anna. Ben seems comfortable and happy with her, but Anna completely rejects her. Anna and Jackie do...

Tessmer Tips / 06.06.2016

We all love going to the movies! This week our Tessmer Tips blog will tell you about some movies we love that are about divorce, child custody and other family law issues.     Kramer vs. Kramer is a 1979 Academy Award winner for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress. Starring Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep, the movie tells the story of the divorce of Ted Kramer (Hoffman) whose wife, Joanna (Streep), leaves him and their young son, Billy. Kramer and son have a difficult time, but eventually learn to cope without Joanna and form a tight father/son bond....

Tessmer Tips / 03.06.2016

There are laws that protect an active duty soldier from being held in “default” for failing to respond to a divorce action. Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), divorce proceedings may be postponed for the entire time an active duty servicemember is on duty and for up to 90 days thereafter.  An active duty spouse must be personally served with a summons and a copy of the divorce action in order for a Texas court to have jurisdiction.  In the case a divorce is uncontested, the active duty spouse may not have to be served if he or she...

Tessmer Tips / 02.06.2016

The medical benefits program available to active duty service members, retirees, and family members is called TRICARE. After a divorce, a service member’s children continue to qualify for TRICARE. Unfortunately for civilian spouses, unless you meet some pretty stringent requirements, you will no longer qualify once you are divorced. You get to keep your TRICARE coverage only if all of the following things are true:   You do not qualify for health insurance through your own employment. You have not remarried. You meet the requirements of the 20/20/20 rule, meaning that you were married for at least 20 years, your spouse...

Tessmer Tips / 01.06.2016

When a servicemember is involved, calculating child and spousal support requires including all income, taxable or not.   When determining the military parent’s income, it is best not to use a tax return. Because some of the income that servicemembers receive is tax-free, you will be calculating with an amount that is too low. Instead, use the Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), which is similar to a pay stub but far more comprehensive. The LES will show you the military parent’s basic pay, housing and other allowances, as well as information about how many dependents the servicemember is claiming and how much...