Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Changing a Minor Child's Name

In order to change a minor child's name on his birth certificate you need to get a judge's permission.

You need to get a judge to sign a piece of paper ordering the birth certificate agency to issue a new birth certificate.
The birth certificate agency is not going to issue a new birth certificate without an order signed by a judge ordering them to do it.
It costs money to file a document called a "Petition for Name Change of a Minor Child". This fee to the county is usually around $300. It varies from county to county in the State of Texas.

Then you need to have a document called "Order" for the Judge to sign.

FYI: These legal documents are NOT available at any courthouse. 
You need to have these legal documents with you when you go to the courthouse. 
You can find samples of these forms in a set of books called the TEXAS FAMILY PRACTICE MANUAL.
You must fill in these forms. 
This is one of the reasons you need to hire an attorney.
An attorney knows how to fill out these forms. 
The forms advertised on t.v. and radio sold by companies outside of Texas are NOT correct Texas forms that Judges are used to seeing. 
If you puchase these forms be prepared for the Judge to reject them! 
(You are probably wasting your money - so buyer beware!)

The Judge wants all parents (and/or parties with court ordered standing regarding this child) to be notified about this pending name change AND to agree IN WRITING to it.

There is a form called WAIVER OF SERVICE that must be properly notarized so that the other parent does NOT need to come to court to tell the judge that they agree to the name change. 

I also like the other parent to sign the ORDER on the last page also confirming that they agree to the child's new name - that way the Judge knows that the other parent agrees to the child's name change. 

Many people ask me if a judge will grant the name change because the other parent is behind in child support or for some other reason. Many judges will NOT grant a name change just because the other parent is behind in child support.

If you want to do a name change of a minor child, I recommend that you hire an experienced family law attorney that practiced in your county for many years and trust his/her advice.

If everyone agrees, most name changes can be done fairly quickly.  There is no required waiting period lawsuits require in Texas. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I married a person from another country to get his/her green card. Now I want a divorce.

Ok, it sounds like you have committed a federal crime.  This is a BIG DEAL!

First, keep your mouth shut. 

Second, contact an experienced attorney (not someone right out of law school) that does immigration law and family law.

Third, plan on paying some money.  This is not going to be cheap.  You need someone sharp.  You need to listen to your attorney.  You need to keep your ears sharp and your mouth shut!

Fourth, he/she lied to me.  He/she has a lover.  He/she used me.  Well, I'm not surprised. I hear this a lot.  It happens all the time.  But you need to be careful.  You might be hurt and mad.  But you don't want to make things worst for yourself.  You need to take things slowly and carefully.

Get to an attorney's office NOW!

I live in Alaska and I owe $50,000 in TX in past due child support. What can happen to me?

Here is my answer:

You realize that this debt will never go away.
What does that mean?
If you have a bank account, it will eventually get "hit"

Any tax refund will go to her.
If you ever inherit any money, the Attorney General will intervene and get it.

If you die, the Attorney General will intervene and get anything you own.
When you retire, your Social Security will be reduced and money will be sent to your ex-wife.
You might want to go back and ask to reduce your child support if you cannot pay the $450.
Will you ever be arrested? The short answer is yes. So don't ever get stopped in case there is a arrest warrant issued for you.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Transition in my law practice

Effective September 1, 2010, my law practice is going to be focused on mediation. 

This year was my 20th reunion at South Texas College of Law, it has been a time of reflection for me. 

I decided that I need to focus on my passion - mediation. 

I'm very good at it and I find it rewarding and fulfilling. 

I am referring callers to the following 2 attorneys:

Patricia Bushman
8978 Kirby Drive
Houston, Texas 77054

She has been licensed over 15 years -- less than 20 years.
Pat recently hired a young lawyer to assist her that speaks Spanish. 
Pat has a competent office staff and is able to handle complex litigation.
Pat is in court almost everyday. 
She has handled many jury trials.
I call her my pit bull.  She is tough.
She is exceptional at analyzing complex legal issues and knowing what the judge will focus on.
She is well respected by the judges because she is in the courtroom regularly.
She is willing to go to surrounding counties - including Montgomery County. 
She is also a mediator.
I rent space in her office.
Her first meeting is free and she quotes her price at that time.
She offers payment plans and accepts credit cards.
She meets afternoons, nights and week-ends.
Please mention that I referred you - I will get a discount on my rent.

Rose Cardenas
She has been licensed over 25 years.
She is in the courtroom on a daily basis.
She is well respected by the judiciary and by her fellow lawyers.
She offices with her brother, Robert Cardenas, and he does criminal law primarily.
She is very hands on and takes a limited number of cases.
She is compassionate, but is not a push-over.
She speaks Spanish.
She returns all of her own phone calls, so you must be patient.
Leave a message and she will call you back.
Her brother's website is
You will need to talk to Rose about her fee schedule.

Both of these attorneys will be able to assist you if you are interested in uncontested matters and in "creative" solutions to your family law problems.

There are many excellent attorneys in the Houston area. 

Generally speaking, for the average family, no uncontested legal matter should cost more than $4,000 if the parties are willing to work together and not spend hours talking the attorney's ear off! 

I have had a divorce with no kids, no property cost over $6,000, but the couple fought over everything and we spent 6 hours at the courthouse fighting over a used Timex watch! 

I recommend that you check out and  However, do not trust the rating.  Many excellent attorneys have never "claimed" their avvo profile.  I just happened to click on their email and be on the first attorneys to claim my profile!

Please do not send me an email through

I cannot reply to any email sent to that website.  I can read the emails but I cannot reply to them!
It is very frustrating. 

Their website requires that I pay they over $89 a month to reply to emails!  It just is not worth it for one or two emails a month.  Additionally, most of the people on this website are from all over Texas.  I am only interested in cases in the Houston area.  I have no interest in cases in Dallas, El Paso, the Valley, etc.  I have been listed on this website for many years and it used to be free to answer questions.  The questions never generated any new business for me but I considered it a public service. 

When I receive an email from Rocket Law it does not contain any identifying information such as a phone number or email so that I can contact the person directly. 

It is frustrating to read about a person's problem and then not be able to reply to them.

Therefore, please don't get angry at me for not replying to your emails through