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Patrick Allen Wright
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Patrick Wright’s Answers

7 total

  • Is there a court document I can get to force my ex-husband to reimburse me money?

    According to the divorce decree, my ex was supposed to reimburse me for $1200 in federal taxes I paid. It has been over a year and he has not paid me. An attorney would charge me $1500 to get the $1200. Can I file a document myself to garnish his ...

    Patrick’s Answer

    I agree with other attorneys to consult with a family law attorney before you call it quits. Any family law attorney will want to look at the language of the Decree. However, for the amount of money we are speaking about, I don't know any attorney that would take this on contingency. More importantly, even if you get a judgment for the amount, you may just be getting another piece of paper. Many times we say that people are judgment proof in that they have no property that we can seize of money that we can collect. You may already have judgement language in the Decree so that you can abstract that judgement in the county records. If the individual has a home and he goes to sell it, you could collect your money. Many times when drafting Decrees we suggest that our clients get something in return for the $1200 at the time of Divorce instead of taking the money judgments that they will likely never see.

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  • Not sure what to do I needed a divorce lawyer

    I needed a divorce lawyer and was assign one by a very large firm, now I can't seem to get to talk to him. I called more then 3 time in the month of Nov. 2010 and I tried since then, I recieved a letter in Dec. from his office but has yet to set u...

    Patrick’s Answer

    I am sorry that you have been unable to speak to the lawyer that you were assigned to. I would contact his office and ask to speak to the lawyer. If the lawyer is not available, ask to speak to one of his staff as has been suggested. Ask that his staff put you on his calendar as a telephone appointment and allow at least fifteen to thirty minutes for the call. If you are on the calendar you need to know if you will call in or if he or she will contact you. Many times lawyers are out of the office in trials, depositions, or mediations and if you keep trying to call you will just end up playing phone tag...ask to get on the calendar...we do this all the time in my office and it prevents the frustration of calling and not being able to reach someone.

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  • Texas civil procedure, I had to leave a hearing due to illness, can I file an appeal or a new hearing date

    I have had custody of my daughter since she was born, and since the divorce 4 years ago. In the final hearing a couple of weeks ago, I had to leave due to illness (kidney failure). Her lawyer told the court I left and flipped everything and took m...

    Patrick’s Answer

    I would file a motion for new trial. In a motion for new trial, a party asks the trial court to reconsider and rectify trial error in the courts ruling. The motion for new trial asks the trial court to set aside the existing judgment. A motion for new trial must be filed within 30 days after date the judgment was signed. If it has only been two weeks you should be able to get this on file. The court should sign the motion for new trial order granting or denying the motion within 75 days after the date the judgment was signed;if not, the motion is overruled by operation of law on the 76th day after the date the judgment was signed. The court has broad discretion in granting a new trial. A new trial may be granted "for good cause, on motion or on the court's own motion". I would make sure that you have sufficient evidence to document your medical condition. Explain to the judge your medical condition. I would also consult with a local lawyer about your time deadlines.

    Patrick Wright
    The Wright Firm, L.L.P.

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  • What is the procedure for beginning child custody and support procedures under TX family law

    I am ending my relationship with my girlfriend of 4 years. We have a child and need help with getting some type of custody of my child. I have a limited funds and need assistance with this process. Please advise on what I need to do, what it will ...

    Patrick’s Answer

    I am sorry to hear that your relationship is ending. The document to file would be a Petition in Suit Affecting the Parent Child Relationship. This assumes that there is presently no order in place. Your girlfriend would need to receive notice of the suit by serving her the papers or she could sign a document waiving notice. The filing fees normally run around $200. There is a presumption in Texas that the judge will give you joint custody. Remember this involves your right to make decisions and not your time of possession. The final order would also need to define the terms of possession. You may want to check in your library to see what the Texas Standard Possession Schedule is and see what yout thoughts are on this time. If when you separate your child lives with your girlfriend and you only have one child that is before the court and no other children you can expect to pay 20% of your net pay as child support. If you do not work ,the court will figure this at a minimum wage amount and assume that you can work a 40 hour week. The court will also want to make sure that there is some form of health insurance coverage in place for the child. I am not sure if this is provided through someones job or government assistance. Just remember that she could ask for retroactive support so make sure that you keep records of the things that you have done to support your child. I would also need to know the age of the child because the standard possession schedule in Texas kicks in at the age of 3.

    Patrick Wright

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  • Under TX child custody laws, can a 13 year old decide which parent they want to live with

    say im am a 13 year old girl and my dad left me when i was 6 months and ive lived with my mom but for a year now ive been visiting him and i want to liv with him because me and my mom arent getting along and i NEED TO MOVE SOOON! like ASAP. so wha...

    Patrick’s Answer

    Assuming that your dad filed a suit for custody if there was no prior order or a motion to modify if there was an existing order and if there are no health or safety issues with living with your dad. In Texas if you are 12 years or age or older and have filed with the court in writing the name of the parent who you want to have the exclusive right to designate your primary residence(where you live) the court will take your wish into consideration. Your choice is not mandatory on the court but the court has the discretion to make the change if the court finds that it is in your best interest. I would need to know if you have an exisitng order in place, where the parties live, what the reasons are why you are not getting along with your mom..ie..maybe she is making you go to school or do your homework...not bad things... Just remember that just because you want to make a change to go live with another parent is not reason enough to justify the change because the court will always look after your best interest.

    Patrick Wright

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  • Common law marriage

    My girlfriend has filed a law suit against me claiming common law marriage since we are separating. She and I lived together for a number of years but it was only in Octboer 2006 that we file a joint tax return for the fiscal year of 2005, prior...

    Patrick’s Answer

    I do not believe that this is a hard question if argued right. First, lets look at the two methods of establishing a common law marriage in Texas. (1) execution of a declaration under family code 2.402(Didn't occur in your case) (2) a "three-prong test" requiring evidence to show: (a) an "agreement" to be married; (b) cohabitation" in this state; (c) "holding out" to others that the parties are married.
    The 2007 tax return will go to the holding out argument and the agreement as she filed single. Even though you filed a joint tax return this still does not indicate that you agreed that you were married. I would also see if you sent out joint christmas cards, listed her as your spouse on your insurance, told friends and neighbors that you were married,etc. I would also be careful on the 2005 tax return if you were not married but listed yourself as married sounds like tax fraud. Be sure to talk to your lawyer about how to handle this in court. You could win this case and create other problems for yourself when an angry ex girlfriend calls the IRS. I really think the main point to argue is that there was no agreement. Remember an agreement takes two.

    Patrick Wright
    The Wright Firm, L.L.P.

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  • Filing for divorce in TX, spousal support and residency requirements under TX law

    I moved from CA to TX 3 years ago. Married 22 years. Divorce might be coming. I am concerned as I don't have a degree, and have worked part time through most of our marriage, allowing me to rear children. My husband is a successful insurance a...

    Patrick’s Answer

    Assuming that no family violence has occurred, in a suit for dissolution of marriage the court may order maintenance only if:

    The duration of the marriage was 10 years or longer, the spouse seeking maintanance lacks sufficient property, including property distributed to that spouse in the divorce and you are unable to support yourself because of one of the following a incapacitating physical or mental disability, is the custodian of a child that requires substantial care because of a mental or physical disability; or clearly lacks the earning ability in the labor market adequate to provide for the spouse's minimum reasonable needs. The court cannot order that this order remain in efect for more than three years and shall limit the duration to the shortest reasonable period that allows the spouse to gain employment or to develop the appropriate skills. This assumes no physical or mental disability on your part. There are also several presumptions that you have to beat such as that you have sought suitable employment or that you are in the process or tried to develp the necessary skills to become self supporting during the period of separation.
    A court cannot order maintenance that would require your spouse to pay monthly more than the lessor of: $2500 or 20% of the spouse's average monthly gross income.

    The court also will consider other factors like education, employment skills, duration of marriage, ability of you to meet your needs, comparative financial resources of the spouses, to name a few.

    It sounds like your argument is that you lack the earning ability in the market. Denton County historically has been tough to get spousal maintenance. You have a good faith argument for making it. I rarely see judges give someone the full three years. The courts in Denton County have been better at ordering the property divded in a disproportionate manner such as a 55-60% split to the spouse that makes less money and ordering little or no mantenance. You also have to remember that this is very discretionary with the court so depending on who your judge might be the answer may change. Most judges would tell you that they take this on a case by case basis. In our cases we figure potential maintenance based on a financial information statement showing what your monthly expenses are and we figure the amount of income coming in and attempt to determine how much money you need to live. Then we figure what the community estate looks like to make a determination how much support to seek and what type of division we seek from the court. Your 21 year old in Texas is an adult so that child will not figure into the mix. The 16 year old assuming that they live with you should be figured in as child support for you. I would have to see your monthly expenses to let you know the exact amount of support that you can expect to get and more importantly I would need to determine the size and nature of the community estate.

    Patrick Wright
    The Wright Firm, L.L.P.
    www.thewrightlawyers.com

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