Saturday, July 24, 2010

Social Study Evaluations

I've read some Social Studies by caseworkers that are very scary. Some workers put in all sorts of "gossip" and heresay. Some of the workers are good and some are bad.

For example, if a person is nervous, they might put in that the person is "hiding things" "frightened" or other negatives adjectives that might alarm the judge.

The judges read these social study evaluations carefully.

In one case, maternal grandmother was the primary caregiver of the minor children.  The father's family all reported that the maternal grandmother gambled a lot and was not present to care for the children.  The maternal grandmother's family claimed that grandmother never gambled and that they were all lying.  (It is difficult to prove the negative.)  But since grandmother did not drive it was difficult for her to travel to Louisiaina for her to gramble. 
What should you do to prepare for a social study evaluation?

Make sure that your home is spotless.

Be sure there is food in the refrigerator and pantry

Look good when the worker visits.

Make sure the kid(s) look good.

Offer the worker something to eat and drink

Give the worker a list of friends and family to contact - be sure that these people know that they will be contacted and/or visited and be sure they have a "script" of what they are going to say
You need to include each persons name, address and phone number along with a brief descripton of what they can tell the worker about you and the other party

Have a photo album available to show the worker of you and the child(ren) of happy times (birthdays, holidays, vacations)
It's nice to include photos of the other parent when the family was still together

Be sure you interact with the child(ren) appropriately

Be sure you appropriately discipline the child(ren) in his/her presence if the child(ren) misbehave


Be sure to act lovingly to the child(ren) & touch them -- but don't hold the child(ren) the entire visit

Don't bad mouth the other person (and family) totally -- remember that at one time you chose to be in a relationship with this person and to have child(ren) with this person!

If you have written evidence (recordings, emails, etc.) give a copy to the worker for their records

Everything you say to them can go into their report

Don't make casual remarks ("I could just kill myself" or "sometimes I cry myself to sleep I'm so depressed") because it will be in their report!

The worker is going to ask you a lot about you and your past - be prepared to answer it & be prepared to have a list of references to give to worker to verify what you are telling the worker
Your age
Your family
Your education
Your employment
Your health
Your religious background
Places you have lived
You need to be prepared to discuss your entire life in a few short minutes

Friday, July 16, 2010

Do It Yourself Divorce Kits from Radio orTelevision Ads

I have seen many of them.

Most of them are "trash". Sorry! You get what you pay for.

If they are from California, Washington, Florida, New York, or Colorado they do not contain the right information that the Texas judges want.

They don't look right and they don't have the "Texas wording" the Judges are used to seeing.

You need to listen to the spokesman in the ad carefully.  The ad is carefully written.  These companies are making millions of dollars on people trying to save money!  They are laughing all the way to the bank.  They are counting on your fear of attorneys and your desire to save money.

The first thing I would want to know is - how long is their guarantee?  If it is less than 90 days - FORGET IT.  Their gurantee is worthless for a Texas divorce. 

A divorce in less must be on file for more than 60 days.  So you won't know if their kit works if their gurantee is less than 75 days! 

Do they use the word "matrimonial"? If so, that shows that it was not prepared by a Texas lawyer. We just don't use that word in Texas.
Do you have a BVS form? It is required in Texas for your divorce to be finalized in Harris County. The kits sold on the internet, radio and t.v. don't include it. Why? Because those guys have never set foot in Texas
Have I scared you yet!

Do check off the "right" answers? 
Do you have any idea how much the judges hate these forms?
Do you have any idea how many people can't even fill these forms out correctly?
Do you realize that if you fill these forms out wrong - you are struck with the answers?

If you own any real estate, you are really doing setting yourself up for disaster in the future that require thousands of dollars in legal fees to "fix" the mess you are creating in this "quicky" divorce.

Many people think they are saving money by using an on-line divorce form.  However, in reality, they are actually going to be spending a lot more money by having to hire an attorney later to fix their legal mess later!

It's easier to hire an attorney early than to hire an attorney later to fix a legal disaster!

If you can't figure it out, then I charge $150 an hour, to sit down with you and try to figure what what you are trying to do.

Or you can go to my website WWW.FAMILYLAW4U.COM and look at my DO IT YOURSELF will kits.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

ADR Conflict Resolution & Mediation Exchange Comments on

I am a member of the group on ADR, Conflict Resolution & Mediation Exchange.

This week an interesting question was posted that generated a lot of interesting answers.

The question that was posted was: “What single phrase or mantra do you use to support yourself when the going gets tough in supporting others to resolve conflicts or when you are in conflict with others?"

Here are samples of some of my favorite answers – some serious and some not so serious:

• “Trust the process” is one I have found useful

• “Stay curious” – especially when I am in conflict with others. I will also sometimes adopt the Alice in Wonderland phrase “curiouser and curiouser” to do “deepening work” in a mediation

• Anger is a vehicle of communication that always carries a message. The person who expresses anger is trying to present information. Often it is information that, without the anger, he wouldn’t have the courage to express…

• I try to focus on the underlying message, not necessarily the expressed emotion or the surface message. I guess my mantra would be “I wonder what is underneath this”

• If this were easy, anyone could do it

• Expect emotion, not logic and respect emotions of others

• I have found that emotions are 80% and logic is 20%, and when we negate the emotions of the other we are insulting and irritating the persons more. Respect their feelings, feelings are never right or wrong, so don’t use logic to analyze the feelings. Show empathy and compassion for them, and slowly the logic will surface.

• Anger is like quicksand; the more you fight or try to control it, the deeper you sink…Bottom line, personal perspective of the situation is paramount. What am I feeling? What am I thinking? My mantra is “It’s all good”

• Think outside the box

• Conflict is usually emotionally driven and not logic driven

• I take my ego out of the process and let the “magic” happen

• I am visualizing my hands slowly closing around your neck

• Lets take a step back and evaluate how you would advise someone if they were in the same situation – evaluative role playing at its best

• My primary role is to actively listen. Most people just want someone to HEAR them and acknowledge their pain in a safe environment.

• It will unfold

• I am the guardian of the process; I am not in charge of the outcome

• Breathe

• Goddess, let me be a channel for your peace, your love and your clarity

• Stay present and pay attention

• KISS – keep it simple & short

• Patience is a virtue

• I think to myself after I just heard something alarming…take a couple of deep breathes, remain calm, do not let my face show any strong reaction, don’t say anything to inflame the situation, be thankful that this is one mistake that I chose not to make in this life & remember there are 2 sides to every story

• I’ve observed that for some people I am exposing them to a completely new way of conflict resolution that they have never tried before

• The alternative to resolving this dispute is playing the mutual game of death by a thousand bleeding wounds inflicting on each other – day after day – month after month – year after year. One of you wins a bloody victory not worth winning – the other a loss – marked by pain, suffering, financial loss and the empty feeling of frustration. This war needs to be ended now.

• When I have finished listening to someone in a conflict, I say that I understand the complainant’s point of view and then look for common threads in all arguments to reach a mutually acceptable resolution. You know you have been successful in mediation when both sides are a little bit on happy. One of my clients stated that after a successful mediation.

• Take light things seriously, and seriously things lightly

• As self talk, “stay calm, be courageous, and watch for the signs”

• My favorite is “trust the process”

• Do I have a dog in this hunt?

• The 2 most liberating phrases for me are “I don’t know” and “you may be right”

• I like one my mother used to say – “this too shall pass