To contact Diana or Erik about representing you in your case, contact us at (713) 221-9088.
Texas child support orders often provide that the parent with visitation rights is ordered to provide a health insurance policy for the child.
However, what happens when the parent with visitation rights (NPC – non-possessory conservator) fails to obtain the health insurance policy when ordered to do so? If the possessory conservator (PC) then puts the child on the PC’s health insurance policy so that the child has health insurance, can the PC seek reimbursement of the child’s health insurance premium from the NCP? If the PC has a claim, how is this calculated?
In this example, the PC has a potential claim for reimbursement for premiums under Section 154.182 of the Texas Family Code. So, the Texas Family Code does allow the PC to seek reimbursement for the costs of insuring the child NPC failed to cover, if the NPC was ordered to obtain coverage and failed to do so.
Many times the parent stepping in to cover the child has an insurance plan that covers the entire family, regardless of how many children are covered by the policy. Does this have an effect on the PC’s potential claim? In this circumstance the PC may not have incurred any additional out of pocket expense to obtain the child’s health insurance coverage. Does the PC still have a claim for reimbursement in this situation?
In Bird v. O’Donnell, 03-04-00603, Austin 2006, the court of appeals ruled that the PC must show an increase in actual incurred cost due to adding the child to that insurance policy. The court held that there could be no reimbursement of the premiums in that case, because the premiums did not increase when the child was added to the policy. Because the premiums did not increase, there was no additional out of pocket expenses incurred by PC by adding the child to the policy.
Therefore, in these kinds of reimbursement cases under Bird v. O’Donnell, the PC has the additional burden to show that adding the child to the policy caused a specific increased out of pocket expense to the PC that was not present previously.
To speak with Diana Larson or Erik Larson about your case, call us at (713) 221-9088.
In this issue, H Texas Magazine states that it compiled the list of 2015 Top Lawyers in Houston based on “nominations from clients and peers as well as rigorous background checks.”
To contact Diana or Erik about representing you in your case, contact us at (713) 221-9088.
In almost every divorce or custody case, parents worry about the children’s emotional health during visitation with the other parent. Parents also wonder about what child custody arrangement benefits kids most in a divorce. However, a new study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health and discussed here should help to lessen parents’ concerns.
The study found that children of divorce are at their healthiest point emotionally and mentally when they share time with both parents after the divorce or split, rather than living with only one parent.
One of the study’s researches stated that “It was surprising that children who have two homes and move frequently report less stress symptoms than those who live in one stable home after their parent’s separation.”
In the study, the kids who lived with both of their divorced parents reported significantly fewer emotional problems and other issues than children who lived with only one parent. The study’s authors conclude that their findings “indicate that stability in the child’s parents’ relations is more important than stability in housing.”
This finding is consistent with past research which has shown that children suffer the most emotional issues when there is a high level of conflict between the parents in a divorce, rather than the fact that the parents physically separate in the divorce. The literature has shown that a high level of conflict between parents is significantly more harmful to children than the parents’ physical separation in a divorce.
When parents work to keep the level of conflict low in a divorce, this will benefit the children emotionally.
A divorce trial can be much like a duel – the parties give up a significant amount of control of the outcome, and there is usually some risk of an unfavorable outcome which may have been avoidable. There are certainly times when a trial is the only option. However, in many more cases, mediating a divorce case is also a realistic option that should be given serious consideration.
Mediation can be a very effective tool to help bring divorce cases to a successful resolution early in the case. Mediation is a formal settlement conference with a third-party neutral, a mediator, basically conducting shuttle diplomacy between the parties’ rooms at the settlement conference.
However, whether any particular divorce mediation is successful or results in an impasse depends very much on the quality of the mediator. A mediator of moderate to low quality significantly reduces the likelihood of a successful mediation. High quality mediators are truly few and far between, but they do exist and are worth their weight in gold for their abilities to help the parties move toward resolving their case.
The Firm is pleased to announce that founder and partner Diana Larson has earned an AV® Preeminent™ rating from Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings.
An AV® Preeminent™ Rating “is a testament to the fact a lawyer’s peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence.” This distinct achievement of professional excellence is earned through a strenuous Peer Review Rating process, which places Diana Larson among the elite of fellow legal professionals.
Martindale-Hubbell has been conducting peer-review ratings for over a century to identify and recognize lawyers with the highest legal ability and ethical standards. Lawyers are rated by their peers — attorneys and judges — in the categories of legal knowledge, analytical capabilities, judgment, communication ability and legal experience as well as a high level of ethical standards.
The Firm congratulates Erik Larson on being named to Houstonia Magazine’s list of Top Lawyers for 2014. In its December 2014 edition, Houstonia Magazine selected only 40 Houston Family Lawyers to this year’s list. Kudos to Erik on being elected to this very small group of Houston divorce attorneys!
To speak to Erik or Diana Larson about your divorce, child custody, or other family law matter, call 713-221-9088.
What is Enforcement of a Child Custody Order?
What can a parent do if the other parent refuses to turn the child over at the scheduled time under a Texas child custody order? When another party to an order has committed violations of the terms of the order, a motion for enforcement of the order can be filed with the Court.
Penalties for Violating Custody Orders
Possible penalties in enforcement actions include contempt of court, jail time for the person who violated the order, assessing attorney’s fees against the violator of the order, and make up time for the parent deprived of time with the child.
Motions for Enforcement are Highly Technical
Because holding someone in contempt triggers higher due process considerations under criminal law, drafting the motion for enforcement is highly technical and must be done carefully. If a motion for enforcement is not drafted correctly, it could be dismissed by the Court as a result. Therefore, it is critically important in Houston courts that the divorce lawyer exercise great care in drafting the enforcement motion.
The Firm would like to congratulate Diana Larson and Erik Larson for being selected to H Texas Magazine’s annual list of Houston’s Top Lawyers for 2014.
In its July 2014 issue, H Texas Magazine states that it compiles the list of Top Lawyers in Houston based on “nominations from clients and peers as well as rigorous background checks.”
To contact Diana or Erik about retaining them to represent you in your case, contact them at (713) 221-9088.
There are several ways to help protect children in divorce cases from being negatively affected. A divorce will certainly affect a child in concrete ways, such as the child needing to adjust to one parent no longer living in the family home. However, much of the trauma, disruption and even guilt that children often feel during and after a Houston divorce are avoidable, or can at least be minimized, if both parents take concrete steps to truly put the children’s emotional best interest first. Unfortunately, even though most Texas parents truly want to protect children in divorce, the emotionality of the divorce for a parent often spills over into that parent’s relationship with the children in negative ways. However, there are concrete ways to lessen the impact of divorce on children to help them transition more smoothly.
Avoiding unnecessary hostility toward the other spouse in Houston divorce litigation can be helpful to reduce the stress and trauma often involved in a divorce. Once the divorce petition is filed, the property division process becomes somewhat like the wind-up of a business – there are assets to be divided and liabilities to be allocated between the parties. Regarding child custody, there is a parenting plan to decide on, a visitation schedule to put into place and child support to be implemented. These things can be done with an acrimonious, vicious, take-no-prisoners attitude or they can be accomplished in a reasonable, methodical way. It should be clear which way tends to protect children in divorce, is better for the well-being of child and helps the child transition to a new normal more quickly and smoothly.
Mediation in a Houston Divorce
Mediation early in a case can help accomplish such a positive result. Mediation is a formal settlement conference where a neutral third party helps the parties to achieve a settlement of the issues in a case, including property, conservatorship (custody) and child support. Mediation can be helpful in resolving cases quickly and less expensively than through a more complicated litigation process in a Houston divorce. For mediation to be successful, all appropriate information should be disclosed beforehand – such as the scope of marital property and marital debt for property division. Income taxes and compensation information should also be exchanged by the parties to determine child support or alimony.
By the time a Houston divorce case reaches mediation or court, the parties should realize and accept that if one spouse wants a divorce, it is going to occur and their focus should be on steps they can take to protect children in divorce. At this stage, parents are well-served if they recognize this fact, try to set their own feelings aside about their spouse when discussing divorce with the child, realize that both parents will keep co-parenting their children for many years to come, and focus their attention on getting through the divorce process with minimal negative impact on the children.
To discuss mediation, custody issues or any matters related to your Houston divorce, call The Larson Law Office at 713.221.9088 to speak with Diana Larson or Erik Larson.