Diana Larson and Erik Larson Receive 2018 AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell

The Firm congratulates Diana Larson and Erik Larson on each receiving a 2018 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 and Erik Larson among the elite of fellow legal professionals.

This is also Mr. Larson’s 15th consecutive year to receive an AV® Preeminent™ rating from Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings, since 2003.

Martindale-Hubbell has been conducting peer-review ratings for over 100 years 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.

For experienced and high quality legal representation in divorce and family law cases, contact The Larson Law Office today.

Is Divorce Bad For Children?

A recent Scientific American article found that divorce may be painful initially for children, but that most kids adjust well over time. Researchers have found that only a relatively small percentage of children experience serious problems in the wake of divorce or, later, as adults. The article concludes that divorce affects most children in the short run, but research suggests that kids recover rapidly. Taken together, the findings suggest that only a small percentage of young people experience divorce-related problems.

Kids Recover Rapidly

On average, the studies found only very small differences in academic achievement, emotional and behavior problems, delinquency, self-concept and social relationships between children of divorced parents and those from intact families, suggesting that the vast majority of children endure divorce well.

Researchers have consistently found that high levels of parental conflict during and after a divorce are associated with poorer adjustment in children.

Bouncing Back

Even though children of divorce generally do well, a number of factors can reduce the problems they might experience. Children fare better if parents can limit conflict associated with the divorce process or minimize the child’s exposure to it.

Further, children who live in the custody of at least one well-functioning parent do better than those whose primary parent is doing poorly.

The article further found that although divorce is hard and often extremely painful for children, long-term harm is not inevitable. Most children bounce back and get through this difficult situation with few if any battle scars.

H Texas Magazine Selects Larsons for 2017 Houston Top Family Lawyers List

Congratulations to Firm partners Diana Larson and Erik Larson for each having been named to H Texas Magazine’s annual list of Houston Top Family Lawyers for 2017.

In its July 2017 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 divorce or child custody case, contact them at (713) 221-9088.

8 Signs A Marriage Will Not Last

A recent Huffington Post article asked family law attorneys from across the country to share some of the most obvious signs that a couple is likely to divorce. The following were the top 8 indicators that a marriage will not last.

1. They give each other the silent treatment.

“It’s a bad sign if a couple bickers and it results in the silent treatment. Sure, fighting is healthy in a relationship but when it turns from playful to serious on a regular basis — and it ends in stonewalling — that doesn’t bode well for long-term success.

2. Their sex life is lackluster.

“This seems obvious and it is. People can go without sex, but the bottom line is that we are living creatures and sex is a natural desire.

3. They have very little in common.

“While it’s true that opposites attract, don’t assume that the qualities you fell in love with are going to keep a marriage together. For example, if someone is an extrovert and loves going out until the wee morning hours and the other spouse likes a warm bath at 7 p.m. followed by a glass of milk and a good book, there is no way the couple can sustain this lifestyle distance.”

4. Their careers always come before the family.

“It can be a problem when a partner always puts his or her career above everything else, including the relationship. This tends to be true, regardless of the agreement the couple has come to during the marriage. Even the strongest relationships decay over time when one person puts their career aspirations ahead of the relationship.”

5. They have contempt for one another.

“Eye-rolling, belittling and treating each other with disdain are key indicators that a relationship will eventually disintegrate. While spouses don’t have to always see eye-to-eye to have a happy marriage, they do have to respect each other and appreciate their differences, rather than viewing those differences as being signs that the other spouse is stupid or wrong.

6. They don’t respect each other’s love language.

“Knowing your partner’s love language — being aware of how he or she feels appreciated — is crucial for long-term success in marriage. Although spouses may love each other, they may not feel loved if they have different love languages. For instance, if one spouse shows love by doing helpful things or by buying gifts, but the other receives love through verbal affirmations, loving touch or quality time together, the love may not really be received.”

7. They’re not honest about their spending.

“A marriage is a partnership and each person should be accountable to the other for their family’s finances. When the finances are split, it’s easy for both partners to overspend. A couple can keep separate or joint bank accounts, but when there is no transparency on how money is being spent and saved, it’s nearly impossible to set and reach financial goals like buying a home or planning for retirement. It becomes a growing frustration.”

8. They never fight.

“Many spouses tend to avoid awkward situations and problems by either ‘shading the truth’ or ignoring something that has been on their mind. This leads to resentment. This person is your best friend, confidante and lover. You should be able to say anything to them. You should be able to accept one another’s comments without destroying the bonds of matrimony.

To discuss retaining Erik Larson and Diana Larson to represent you in your Texas divorce or other family law matter, contact us at The Larson Law Office at 713-221-9088.

Diana Larson and Erik Larson Receive 2017 AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell

The Firm congratulates Diana Larson and Erik Larson on receiving an AV® Preeminent™ rating from Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings for 2017.

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 and Erik Larson among the elite of fellow legal professionals.

Martindale-Hubbell has been conducting peer-review ratings for over 100 years 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.

10 Interesting Facts About Divorce

A recent article in Business Insider asked – What makes a divorce more likely? The following are some highlights of research on the predictors of divorce and some general takeaways.

Couples who marry in their late 20s may be less likely to divorce

Research led by Nicholas Wolfinger, a professor at the University of Utah, found that contrary to a long-held belief, waiting longer to wed doesn’t necessarily predict a stronger marriage.

Instead, the best time to marry seems to be between the early 20s and early 30s. If you wait until you’re older than 32, your chances of divorce start to creep up (though they’re still not as high as if you get married in your teens).

As Wolfinger writes on the Institute for Family Studies blog, “For almost everyone, the late twenties seems to be the best time to tie the knot.”

Couples may be most likely to divorce in March and August

2016 research presented at the American Sociological Association found that March and August bring spikes in divorce filings.

The researchers say it’s meaningful that March and August follow holiday or vacation periods. In the paper, they suggest that holidays represent something like “optimism cycles” — we see them as a chance to start anew in our relationships, only to find that the same problems exist once they’re over.

The researchers also suspect that oftentimes our holiday experiences can be stressful and disappointing, laying bare the real issues in our marriage. As soon as they’re over, we’re ready to call it quits.

Married people who watch porn may be more likely to divorce

A recent study, which was presented at the American Sociological Association, found that married people who start watching pornography are about twice as likely to get divorced as those who don’t.

The study involved about 2,000 participants over the course of nearly a decade. It found that the effect was even stronger for women, who were about three times as likely to get divorced if they started watching porn during the study period.

But, as Elizabeth Nolan Brown points out on Reason, it’s possible that taking up a porn habit may signal that something else is going wrong in your relationship. Maybe you’re dissatisfied with your sex life or maybe you and your partner aren’t communicating well.

In other words, it might not be the porn, per se, that’s causing marital problems. It might be a symptom of other underlying issues.

Husbands who don’t work full-time may be more likely to get divorced

A recent Harvard study couples suggests that it’s not a couple’s finances that affect their chances of divorce, but rather the division of labor.

When the researcher looked at heterosexual marriages that began after 1975, she learned that couples in which the husband didn’t have a full-time job had a 3.3% chance of divorcing the following year, compared to 2.5% among couples in which the husband did have a full-time job.

Wives’ employment status, however, didn’t much affect the couple’s chances of divorce.

The researcher concludes that the male breadwinner stereotype is still very much alive, and important for marital stability.

Women who have more sexual partners before getting married aren’t always more likely to get divorced

Wolfinger conducted another analysis that found, among heterosexual couples who married in the 2000s, women who had between three and nine sexual partners were in fact less likely to divorce than women who’d had two partners (a.k.a their husband and one other person).

Women who had at least 10 partners were most likely to divorce.

Meanwhile, among heterosexual couples who married in the 1980s and 1990s, women who had two or three sexual partners were more likely to get divorced than were virgins or women who had at least 10 sexual partners.
In a statement, Wolfinger distilled the lessons from this research: “If you’re going to have comparisons to your [future] husband, it’s best to have more than one.”

The closer a couple is in age, the less likely they are to get divorced

One study found that the odds of divorce among heterosexual couples increase with the age gap between the spouses.
As Megan Garber reported at The Atlantic:

“A one-year discrepancy in a couple’s ages, the study found, makes them 3 percent more likely to divorce (when compared to their same-aged counterparts); a 5-year difference, however, makes them 18 percent more likely to split up. And a 10-year difference makes them 39 percent more likely.”

More lavish weddings may predict less successful marriages

The same study mentioned above found that spending a lot on your wedding doesn’t necessarily bode well for the marriage itself.

According to the researchers:
“As compared with spending between $5,000 and $10,000 on the wedding, spending less than $1,000 is associated with half the hazard of divorce in the sample of men, and spending $20,000 or more is associated with 1.6 times the hazard of divorce in the sample of women.”

At the same time, the study found that having a lot of guests at your wedding predicts lower odds of divorce. Couples with 200 or more invitees are 92% less likely to divorce than couples who don’t invite anyone, The Atlantic reported.

Divorce may contribute to literal heartbreak in women

Recent research suggests that women who get divorced are more likely to suffer a heart attack than women who stay married.

As Time’s Alice Park reported:
“Women who divorced at least once were 24% more likely to experience a heart attack compared to women who remained married, and those divorcing two or more times saw their risk jump to 77%.”

For men, however, the chances of suffering a heart attack only went up if they divorced two or more times.

Divorce itself might not have a negative impact on kids

Instead, as Rebecca Harrington reported at Tech Insider, it seems to be conflict between parents that takes a toll on their children.

In fact, in one recent study, children whose parents fought a lot and then divorced were less likely to get divorced as adults than children whose parents fought a lot and didn’t get divorced. The researchers say that’s possibly because the divorce put a kind of end to the ongoing family conflict.

Couples who display ‘contempt’ for each other are more likely to split up

Business Insider’s Erin Brodwin reported on relationship expert John Gottman’s research, which suggests that contempt — a mix of anger and disgust that involves seeing your partner as beneath you — is a key predictor of divorce.

It’s not simply getting into a fight; it’s how you respond to your partner afterward: Do you try to see things from their perspective or just assume they’re an idiot? If it’s the latter, try replacing the behavior with a more positive, patient reaction.

To contact Diana Larson or Erik Larson about retaining them to represent you in your divorce case, contact them at (713) 221-9088.

Larsons Named to Houston’s Top Family Lawyers 2016 List by H Texas Magazine

Congratulations to Firm partners Diana Larson and Erik Larson for being selected to H Texas Magazine’s annual list of Houston’s Top Family Lawyers for 2016.

In its July 2016 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.

The Number One Predictor of Divorce Is…

According to a recent Harvard study, the #1 indicator of risk of divorce is whether or not the husband has a full time job.

Many issues can contribute to conflict within a marriage, including long-term sickness or disability, differences in handling money, and division of household chores.

However, according to a study recently published in the American Sociological Review, with information obtained from 6,300 married couples interviewed between 1968 and 2013, couples faced a 32% higher divorce risk when the husband was unemployed versus marriages where the husband had a full-time job and was contributing to the family’s finances.

Alexandra Killewald, the study’s author and a professor of sociology at Harvard suggested that for men a sense of identity and worth may be tied to their job, which could have a long-term impact on the health of a marriage.

“I could speculate that losing a job might bring with it depression or some other kinds of mental health issues,” Alexandra Killewald said on the Today show. This could also further explain why some marriages don’t survive this impact.

What does this mean for stay-at-home-dads? There wasn’t enough data to accurately say, but Killewald suggests that this sort of circumstance is usually pre-planned and therefore exempt from the same consequences.

Diana Larson and Erik Larson Named to 2016 Texas’ Top Rated Lawyers List by Martindale-Hubbell®

The Firm congratulates both Diana Larson and Erik Larson for being selected to Texas’ Top Rated Lawyers for 2016 by Martindale-Hubbell®, ALM, and Law.com in their yearly list.

According to Martindale-Hubbell®, “To be included in the guide, lawyers must have received an AV Preeminent® rating from Martindale-Hubbell®–a prestigious ranking demonstrating that a lawyer’s peers have ranked them at the highest level of professional excellence.”

To contact Diana or Erik about representing you in your case, contact us at (713) 221-9088.

Geographic Restrictions in Texas – Options and Considerations

Texas Child Custody and Geographic Restrictions

Whether it is a divorce case or if you were never married, if both parents can reach an agreement that no geographic restrictions are to be included in the Order, then there will likely be no problem with a move away from Texas with the kids. Of course, this assumes that the Order provides that you are the conservator with the exclusive right to determine the primary residence of the children.

Such an agreement could include a geographic restriction that restricts you, for example, to living within certain designated counties within Texas. Or the geographic restriction could be to certain other states.

If you cannot reach an agreement on this issue, the other parent will likely be able to significantly restrict where you are able to live with the children. If a geographic restriction is entered, you must either obtain the agreement of the other parent to remove it, or file a Petition to Modify the Order and ask the Court to remove or modify the restriction.

The Texas Family Code addresses issues related to geographic restrictions as follows:
Section 153.001(a) of the Texas Family Code provides that:

“The public policy of this state is to:

(1) assure that children will have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the child;
(2) provide a safe, stable, and nonviolent environment for the child; and
(3) encourage parents to share in the rights and duties of raising their child after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage.”

When the Court enters an Order that appoints parents as joint managing conservators, the court is required to designate one conservator to have the exclusive right to determine the primary residence of the child.
In conjunction with this, the Court will do one of two things: (1) designate restrictions on the geographic area(s) where the primary conservator can establish the child’s primary residence; or (2) the Court can leave the Order silent on the issue so that the primary conservator can designate the primary residence of the child without a geographic restriction.

Some factors that can influence a Court’s decision on whether to enter a geographic restriction (or lift a geographic restriction) include:

  • Job opportunities of the primary conservator;
  • Re-marriage of the primary conservator;
  • Extended family relationships / support in other jurisdictions;
  • History of the possessory conservator’s visitation and communication with the child; and
  • The age and maturity of the child.

To learn more about geographic restrictions in Texas, contact Erik Larson or Diana Larson at The Larson Law Office at 713-221-9088.