12.22.2011         Litigate or Collaborate? Either way, as long as you Negotiate.


    It is a mistake to think having your day in Court will get you what you want. Your best bet is to negotiate a settlement, because the Court cannot and will not take the time necessary to really understand the details of your family or property. Most likely, a Court's ruling will be a cookie-cutter solution that you will not be happy with. Custom sophisticated settlements can be aggressive and bold, and Court should be a last resort.


Read the article in The Huffington Post: Why Soon-To-Be Exes Should Stay Out of Court

12.21.2011         A Smart Lawyer Who Is NICE to YOU


    No doubt everyone has an opinion on who you should hire as your divorce lawyer. There are names everyone knows and fears. There are the ones who pop up first on a google search. The divorce lawyer/client relationship needs to be the right fit, and you deserve someone who is on your side and treats you with respect.


Click to see the Huffington Post article: Nasty or Nice. What Kind of Attorney Do You Need?

12.19.2011


    This is the last week of the year at Lazar Law, and with the statistic that 40% of all new divorces are filed in January and February, we are getting ready for 2012! This week I will share some interesting articles I have saved from The Huffington Post to help prepare those of you facing divorce in the new year. We are here for you!


Click to see the first article: 10 Tips for a Sane Divorce: Five for You, Five for Me

12.15.2011         'Tis the Season...


    ...Divorce Season, that is. Just about anyone who filed for divorce this year is wrapping it up and finalizing divorce before the end of the year. And 40% of all new divorces are filed in January and February, so people are getting ready to split after the Holidays. I know my Twitter Feed is chock full of holiday gift guides, but here is one geared toward the newly divorced or separated. Make their day!


Click here to see the guide: Holiday Gifts for the Newly Divorced or Separated

12.13.2011


      Check out the blog post regarding Children of Divorce & the Holidays; great helpful   advice on how to deal with the realities of this challenging time when you are divorced with   children. Also, Syd is a great resource for all you divorced parents in Austin who need   someone to help facilitate issues that come up around your parenting plan. Syd will work   with both parents to find solutions, so you don't have to go back to the lawyers.


Click here to read her blog: Syd Sharples, MBA, LCSW - Collaborative Facilitation & Therapy

12.06.2011         Good Divorce, Part 2: A Guy's Perspective


    So many of my male clients come to me saying they married more because it was the right time in their life, rather than true, enduring love. They respect their wife as a person and a mother, but have come to a place where they know the marriage isn't good for either spouse or their kids and isn't going to get better. They don't want a scorched-earth divorce. They want a fair divorce. If handled properly, those men CAN be invited to their ex's next wedding!


Click here to read the article on Salon.com: My Favorite Divorce

11.29.2011


    Many people evaluate their relationships in terms of costs and benefits. Having a Plan B, a way to be financially self-sufficient, allows women to make decisions about their marriages or to be prepared when that decision is made for them.


Click here to read the full article in the Huffington Post: Prince Charming

11.15.2011         How do you maintain a Good Divorce?


    There is no question that the impact of divorce on children is monumental. Most clients I represent want to protect their children in every way possible from divorce's negative long term effects. A Good Divorce requires a commitment to love your children more than you hate your spouse. Acknowledge your spouse as a Parent and talk openly together about your children on a regular basis. Set consistent goals between households. Present a unified message to your kids and support each other as parents. A Good Divorce requires ALOT of maturity and patience. It is the ultimate test of parenting. But isn't this what "best interest of the children" means?


Click here to read the full New York Times article. The Good Divorce: Cultural Studies

11.08.2011


    Check out the Business & Professional Women in Austin Supplement to this month's Jewish Outlook. I'm on page 35!


Business & Professional Women in Austin

11.03.2011


    There is an idea out there that divorcing couples who believe they can work through their divorce but just need help from a divorce professional can find a divorce mediator to guide them through the process. Lawyers cannot represent both sides, so a "divorce mediator" will either be a neutral lawyer or non- lawyer, neither of whom can draft the final decree and closing documents. While the divorce mediator may help the couple understand the issues and reach agreement, a lawyer then needs to be hired to prepare the final documents. At that point, the lawyer may find problems or advise against the agreement and the couple starts all over again, with no cost savings. Not the intended outcome.

    We offer an "uncontested" divorce option where we represent one spouse and have meetings with the couple to work through the agreement. The other spouse does not need to be represented by counsel, but of course can be or seek advise from a lawyer at any time. In our "uncontested" model, we prepare all the final documents and take the client to Court to obtain the divorce. It is a simple, low cost approach that supports agreement and divorce within 60 days.

11.01.2011         It's not HIS or HERS in Texas; it's OURS.


    It doesn't matter how an account or property is owned or titled. Because Texas is a community property state, usually all real and personal property (houses, cars, bank accounts, brokerage accounts, retirement accounts) acquired during the marriage is owned by the marriage regardless of whose name is on the property. So, don't think that just because your 401k or your checking account or your car is in your name that it is yours; it is most likely the marriage's. Many people who want to do their own divorces without lawyers often make the mistake that only the spouse whose name is on the property is entitled to that property, and that is just not the case.

10.27.2011         What does our logo mean?


These are the 3 areas of our family practice.

 

    Collaborative: a no-court process using joint business meetings to resolve disputes; both sides are represented by counsel and often neutral allied professionals are involved.

 

    Family: all issues involving custody, visitation, modification of existing court orders, property agreements & all legal matters within the Texas Family Code.

 

    Divorce: traditional litigation process where disputes, if not settled, are resolved by the Court at contested hearings. Parties usually attend mediation before a final trial.

10.20.2011


    Hey all you shadow advisors out there. You know who you are. You are the ones who say things like, "Make sure he pays your health insurance until age 65," or "Don't agree to anything less than a 50/50 possession schedule so you don't have to pay child support," or "(Insert name here) got 10 years alimony, you shouldn't accept anything less." No two divorces are the same because no two couples are the same. Every divorce negotiation is a unique and tender process. So be supportive, offer suggestions or options to consider, but don't tell them what to do. Leave that to their divorce lawyer ;-) !!

10.18.2011         Who says there's no alimony in Texas?


    For divorces filed after September 1, 2011, Texas law increased the amount and length of time alimony can be awarded by the Court. The amount of alimony can be as much as 20% of the spouse's average gross monthly income up to $5,000/month (increased from $2,500 max). For 10-20 year marriages, alimony is available for up to 5 years; 20-30 year marriages: up to 7 years; and over 30 year marriages: up to 10 years (increased from 3 years max). Alimony is only available to allow the receiving spouse to earn sufficient income to provide for his/her own minimum reasonable needs. Of course, the parties can always negotiate an agreement to pay alimony as part of the financial settlement of their case beyond what the Court is authorized to award. This is called Contractual Alimony. Bottom line, alimony should always be considered, especially in a long-term marriage.

10.11.2011         Children's Bill of Rights, Travis County, Texas


    Many of us have friends or family members going through a divorce with children. We try to offer support but don't know what to say that will be helpful without further polarizing or inflaming the situation. Maybe you can see both sides, but the person going through the divorce cannot and does not want to hear it. A great resource is the Children's Bill of Rights, adopted by the Travis County courts. These are clear, neutral rules of behavior meant to protect children from the adult conflict of divorce. For anyone going through a divorce with children, they are an invaluable list of do's and dont's, including:

        -Neither parent shall permit the children to overhear arguments, negotiations or other substantive discussions about legal or business dealings between the parents.

        -Neither parent shall communicate moral judgments about the other parent to the child concerning the other parent's choice of values, lifestyle, choice of friends, successes or failures in life (career, financial, relational) or residential choice.

        -The parents will acknowledge to the child that the child has two homes although the child may spend more time at one home than the other.

        -Neither parent will refuse to acknowledge that the child can have or should have good experiences with the other parent.

       

    So before you spend an hour on the phone listening supportively to your friend or loved one about their divorce (and believe me, they need it), make sure the kids aren't in the car or within hearing distance, or better yet, are with the other parent!

10.07.2011


    Clients are always nervous to testify in court. Getting on the witness stand is not something anyone looks forward to; and when the case involves one's children, property and livelihood, it is even more stressful. In Texas, most family law cases are decided by the Judge, not a jury, so clients know when they take the stand, they are putting their fate in the Judge's hands. Right before my clients are to testify, I always remind them that Texas Judges are elected officials, they are the Judge's constitutent, the Judge cares about the public he/she serves and, therefor, really cares about them. It always makes the client feel more confident, relaxed and more alboe to be themselves on the stand. It's true, and it works.