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Showing posts from March, 2010

Travis County Judge enters final decree in same-sex divorce

Today my client and I appeared before the Honorable Scott Jenkins of the 53rd District Court in Travis County along with the Attorney General's office, my client's ex-spouse and her attorney.  At the hearing in February we set the hearing today to enter our final decree.  Since then, the Attorney General and both parties have been firing motions back and forth.  The AG hoped to intervene in the case to "defend the Texas Constitution and laws of Texas" by filing a petition in intervention one day after Judge Jenkins rendered his judgment in open court and granted the parties a divorce.  At today's hearing, Judge Jenkins ruled that the AG's office failed to file a timely intervention and was not entitled to intervene and then ENTERED the final decree that both parties and attorneys signed.

It was readily apparent from Judge Jenkins' line of questioning directed at the Deputy AG that he was very concerned about the effect of prolonged litigation and appeals…

Courtroom Attire for Ladies

Austin is a very casual town so many of my clients often ask for advice on what to wear to family court.

Dress to impress especially if you are in a hotly contested custody battle. The judge will be observing your dress, appearance, demeanor, and conduct in the courtroom. When in doubt, think super ultra conservative. That means no fashion statements, no bare arms, no strapless tops, no cleavage showing, no open-toed shoes/sandals/flip flops, no jeans, no short short skirts/dresses, no sneakers, etc. That sure is alot of "Don'ts"!  

So what are the Do's?  Conservative pieces, conservative colors. Opt for a nice pair of dark slacks (or knee-length skirt) and a very conservative blouse (not tight/not sheer). A jacket with simple earrings and watch is perfect.  No big dangly earrings.  You don't want the judge or the jury to be distracted by such items when listening to your testimony.  

If you have perused your closet and you do not have anything that would be appropr…

Why you need a Medical Power of Attorney

Everyone should appoint someone they trust to become their designated agent, especially if you are in a committed relationship (not married) and/or if you have a strained relationship with your closest living relative.  Should you become incapacitated due to illness, aging, or injury, your designated agent will have the authority to make decisions regarding your medical care.  Some family members have been burdened in tough situations where they didn't have the power to give their loved one the care they needed because that same loved one was in a coma and the next of kin was nowhere to be found or refused to act.  Don't let this happen to you or your partner in life.  Also, this medical power of attorney will also help in those situations where hospital policy will not allow your partner to visit you while you are incapacitated. If your partner is your designated agent, they will be a part of the decision-making process.  The decision belongs to you so seize the day and talk …

Estate Planning for Unmarried Couples

Committed couples who are in marriages not recognized by the State of Texas or who prefer not to enter such marriages face unique obstacles in estate planning and also in life decisions.  Over the next few weeks and posts, I will discuss the following documents that couples should consider and must have in their relationships to ensure that their wishes are respected and that their loved ones are protected.  These documents are:

WillAppointment of Guardian for ChildrenGeneral Durable Power of AttorneyMedical Power of AttorneyLiving WillHIPAA ReleaseAppointment of Agent for Disposition of Remains Co-Ownership Property Agreement with Right of SurvivorshipCohabitation AgreementI know this seems like a lot of planning and documents but all are necessary to truly protect you and your family in the event that you or your partner passes away or the relationship ends.  These documents are also very affordable especially if you have them drafted at the same time.

Last week's news this week!

Maryland to Immediately Recognize Gay Marriages Performed Elsewhere (

Attorney General Says Law is Clear: Maryland Law Permits Recognition of Legal Marriages of Same-Gender Couples (
Gay-marriage ban fails in WV House ( 
Minn. Considers Gay Marriage (
Kansas House OKs covenant marriage legislation (

Mass: Coakley asks judge to rule DOMA unconstitutional (

LA Gay Couple Wins Ruling on Son's Birth Certificate via Full Faith & Credit (