Criss Law Group Blog

TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING MIGHT SPOIL THE LOT:

Protecting Texas Contractors from Unenforceable Contingent-Payment

Clauses in Subcontractor Agreements

With the construction, remodeling, demolition, and repair industries still on the recovery track from the economic downturn of 2008, Texas property owners, contractors, and subcontractors are all looking for ways to protect their assets when doing business. Texas contractors, in particular, have taken to using contracts which shift much of the risk of doing business onto subcontractors. When contractors look to incorporate a contingent-payment clause into their subcontractor agreements-that is, when contractors include a provision which conditions their obligation to pay subcontractors on the contractor having first been paid by the owner who hired them, contractors run a risk of voiding that risk allocation, and getting stuck with the subcontractor's tab in the event of an owner's non-payment.

JURY AWARDS $16.7 MILLION VERDICT AGAINST DOCTOR, COULD IT HAPPEN TO YOU?

Last month, a jury in Boston Massachusetts awarded over $16,000,000.00 to a plaintiff, after a radiologist failed to diagnose the plaintiff's mother with lung cancer from an x-ray the doctor had taken a little over 18 months before the patient died. This case begs the question: could a similarly-large verdict be assessed against a doctor here in Texas?

BEGINNING THE DIVORCE PROCESS

Almost every day I'm asked by potential clients, "How do I get divorced?" The answer isn't always simple, but there are three basic steps: 1. Petition; 2. Notice; and 3. Finalize. The first step is to file a petition for divorce. As simple as this step sounds, it can be tricky. Knowing where and how to file the petition can be complicated, especially if you and your spouse live in different counties or states. Many sources have petition forms available, but to avoid pitfalls, it's best if an attorney helps you draft your petition. In many ways the petition is as important as your final decree of divorce, so seek the advice of an attorney before filing your petition.

WHY SHOULD I HAVE A MEDICAL POWER OF ATTORNEY IN TEXAS?

This question is one that is frequently asked in estate planning. A medical power of attorney in Texas is a signed paper that allows you to assign your right to make medical decisions for yourself to another person if you are unable to make such decisions at that time. There are many such circumstances wherein you may not be able to make such important medical decisions, such as a critical illness or injury that leaves you unable to communicate or make relevant medical decisions for yourself. Without such documentation, a hospital or physician may not know which loved one or relative you would have wanted to make your important medical decisions when you could not do so yourself. That is why having a medical power of attorney is so important in your estate planning process.

WAITING TO BE DIVORCED: THE 60-DAY WAITING PERIOD

Common divorce question: how long does it take to get divorced? The time period varies widely couple to couple, but most Texas couples must wait at least 60 days after filing the petition for divorce before the Court allows them to finalize their case. There are a few exceptions to the 60-day rule, including family violence. Also, some Courts may discretionarily waive the 60-day waiting period under certain other circumstances. Speaking to an attorney who knows your Court's preferences on waving this waiting period is extremely helpful.

WHAT IS A DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY IN TEXAS?

This question is one that is frequently asked in estate planning. A durable power of attorney in Texas is a signed paper that allows you to give your right to make business and final decisions, either temporarily or permanently, for yourself, to another person if you are unable to make such decisions at that time either due to illness, disability or some sort of incapacity. Such document will include, among other things, the name of the individual whom you are appointing as your agent, an alternate for such position, as well as a listing of what powers you are wanting to give your agent. The durable power of attorney document requires your signature before a notary or someone else who is lawfully authorized to administer oaths.

SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE

When Jill wants Jack to financially support her after the divorce...

It's a common tale. Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water. After the tumble down the hillside, they moved to Texas, fell in love, and got married. Ten years and many more spills later, Jack and Jill decide to divorce. Jill wants spousal maintenance. Jack wants to understand what it is and why he should pay it. Both need education on the topic before they break their crowns in frustration.

HOW DO TEXAS COURTS DECIDE CHILD CUSTODY ISSUES?

The Best Interest of the Child, Not Moms versus Dads

One of the most common misconceptions which I encounter as a family law attorney in Texas is the idea that the law favors mothers over fathers in issues of child custody. Often, both mothers and fathers expect that Texas courts will automatically give a mother primary possession of children. This belief, however, is misplaced. In fact, Texas law forbids courts from considering the gender of the parents in deciding who will be awarded primary custody of a child. See Tex. Fam. Code Sec. 153.003.

MEDICAL DIRECTIVES IN TEXAS

A Medical Directive in Texas is a document that helps you communicate your end-of-life wishes while you are still competent and able to make such decisions. During my practice, many individuals have stated that while they were comfortable making medical decisions for their loved ones under the loved one's medical power of attorney, they were very thankful that when the time came to make decisions about whether or not to allow their loved one to live the rest of their life with artificial measures, such decision had already been made by their loved one via their Texas Medical Directive document.

HOW MUCH WILL MY DIVORCE COST?

A common question from people considering divorce is how much getting divorce costs. The answer depends on several variables. Aside from attorney's fees, there are court costs and filing fees to file an initial petition for divorce and other pleadings. Also, there's a cost for using a process server to give notice to the responding spouse. Other fees may include court-ordered services such as parenting classes, mediator fees, or social-study fees.

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