Areas of Focus
Our goal is to be the go-to law firm in the Tomball, Magnolia and surrounding areas with the ability to assist with your family’s legal needs. Mundy Legal Services strives to help our clients with many of the legal issues that frequently impact family life. From divorce and custody issues to adoptions and child support, to wills and probate, Mundy Legal Services is here to serve.
If you need other legal advice outside of our areas of practice, we are happy to refer you to other attorneys that Allison trusts, to ensure you are taken care of.
At Mundy Legal Services, we aim to connect with each client. We will be available when you need us and work hard to develop a real relationship with you. Allison is extremely compassionate and tries to be flexible on payment arrangements and times to meet with you. We know that the legal process can be stressful and strive to make this time in your life as easy as possible.
As always, contact Mundy Legal Services if you have questions. We look forward to serving you.
Everyone knows that a divorce can be a stressful and complicated process, but with proper planning and legal representation, divorce can be a manageable life event. Mundy Legal Services’ goal is to make it as pain-free and straightforward as possible.
Texas has a unique set of laws and requirements that must be followed in order to finalize a divorce. There is no legal separation in Texas. You’re either married or divorced. For the divorce to be completed successfully, a Final Decree of Divorce must include:
- The reason for divorce. This can be either fault or no-fault grounds;
- Division of all community property;
- Confirmation of any separate property;
- If there are children of the marriage:
- Child Custody provisions; and
- Child support including medical and dental insurance for the children.
Divorce can be very expensive. It takes a minimum of 60-days to finalize a divorce. If the parties can agree on the terms of their divorce, it is called an uncontested divorce. In this situation, Mundy Legal Services offers a flat fee payment structure, designed to save you money. Our flat fee structure includes the court cost to file the divorce, the papers necessary (petition, waiver, and decree) and the court appearance. In most courts, at least one party must appear in front of the judge to finalize the divorce.
For matters that are contested, Mundy Legal Services will require a retainer to cover the costs of litigation. These costs may include court costs, costs of service, court appearances, mediation, discovery and in some rare instances, a trial. Every divorce is different. The more steps required and the bigger the disputes, the more the divorce process will cost.
My goal, as your attorney, is to get the divorce done ethically, timely and with compassion. Here are some helpful Do's and Don'ts when you are thinking about filing for a divorce.
Additionally, here are some helpful links that may be useful during your divorce in Texas.
As always, contact Mundy Legal Services if you have questions about your divorce. We look forward to serving you.
Child support is a very important piece of the divorce proceedings. The non-custodial parent must pay child support to their spouse. Keep in mind, this is a payment for your child, not your ex-wife or husband. It is money to insure children of divorce have the care they need and is an obligation not to be taken lightly. For information and access to forms needed, please visit the Attorney General's Child Support web page. To learn what your monthly child support payment will be, you can use the Attorney General's Child Support Calculator page. Remember, failure to pay your child support in Texas has severe consequences; your driver's license can be suspended or you could face jail time.
For questions about claiming your child as a dependent on your taxes
Fighting with your Ex over who gets to claim your kids as dependents on this year’s tax forms?
What you need to know about federal tiebreaker rules for claiming dependents
Normally, the parent who has custody for the majority of the year gets to claim your child as a dependent for tax purposes. But it can be confusing if you share custody with your ex. For example, your children spend equal amounts with both of you - a real "50/50" split. In these instances, the IRS uses what are known as "tiebreaker rules" to determine which parent can claim the children as dependents.
Now, according to the IRS, sometimes a child meets the rules to be a qualifying child of more than one person. A qualifying child must be related to you. If the child is the qualifying child of more than one person, only one person can claim the child as a qualifying child for all of the following tax benefits. This is where the tie-breaker rule comes in.
Under the tie-breaker rule, the child is treated as a qualifying child only by:
- The parents if they file a joint return;
- The parent, if only one of the persons is the child's parent;
- The parent with whom the child lived the longest during the tax year, if two of the persons are the child's parent and they do not file a joint return together.
- The parent with the highest average gross income (AGI) if the child lived with each parent for the same amount of time during the tax year, and they do not file a joint return together;
- The person with the highest AGI if no parent can claim the child as a qualifying child; or
- A person with the higher AGI than any parent who can also claim the child as a qualifying child but does not.
FAQs About Claiming Dependents
What if the parents share physical custody, but the split is not 50/50?
In cases where two parents share physical custody, but the child clearly resides with one parent for more than 50% of the time, then the parent with the greater percentage of parenting time is eligible to claim the child as a dependent for tax purposes.
What should I do if I think that I have the right to claim my child as a dependent, but my ex has already told me that he intends to claim my child anyway?
In this situation, it is best to seek the advice of a professional tax advisory to be sure that you are eligible to claim your child as a dependent. In the event that you've confirmed your eligibility, go ahead and file your taxes, but be prepared to defend yourself in the case of an audit. Generally speaking, when the IRS receives multiple tax returns claiming the same dependent child, they will audit the taxpayer they believe is ineligible to claim the child as a dependent.
What if the parent who is eligible to claim the child as a dependent chooses not to?
Parents who are eligible for claiming dependents can opt to allow the other parent to claim the child or children by completing form 8332, Release/Revocation of Release of Claim to Exemption for Child by Custodial Parent. Click here for form.
Child Support Enforcement
Child support is a legal obligation and Texas has severe consequences if child support is not paid timely. Child support is not conditional on possession or access. This means child support is owed regardless of how much you see your child. Either the parent entitled to receive child support or the Attorney General directly, may sue you for unpaid child support through an enforcement action. If found in violation of your court order, the judge may order penalties including:
- Interest and fines
- Suspension of a license including hunting, fishing and professional
- Garnishment of wages
- Seizure of bank account funds
- Garnishment of tax returns
- Repayment of attorney fees and court costs
- Jail Time
If you find yourself behind on child support, or if your situation has changed and you can’t afford to make your child support payments, don’t ignore the problem! Mundy Legal Services understands that things can happen. It is important to have someone who knows the law and sympathizes with your situation. Please give us a call to schedule your consultation so we can answer your questions. We look forward to serving you
Adoption is one of the most exciting times in your family’s life – and Mundy Legal Services can help you navigate Texas adoption laws and reduce the stress adoption can create. Whether you’re adopting a newborn, or a child from the foster care system, a kinship adoption or step-parent adoption, we truly enjoy being a part of this process with you.
Each adoption is unique and has certain legal requirements that must be met. The process to finalize an adoption takes time and patience. Steps to finalizing an adoption may include criminal background checks for all adoptive parents, a social services home study, an amicus home visit, and a court appearance in front of a judge. Through it all, Mundy Legal Services will help your family each step of the way with compassion and professionalism.
For questions Contact Us. We look forward to serving you.
At Mundy Legal Services, we want to help create your Will to ensure your affairs are managed how you desire and your assets are distributed the way you want upon your death. If you have children who are minors, a Will is how you choose who will raise them (their guardian) and how your assets are used to benefit them.
What A Will Can Do:
A Will is a legal instrument which states how your estate is to be distributed at death. A valid Will avoids the problems which may arise from dying without a Will and allows a person to leave property to whom they desire. A Will can also designate the individual who will manage the estate (the “Executor”), name a guardian for minor or incapacitated heirs, and plan for payment of debts, estate taxes and death expenses. The Will lets your heirs know how you want your estate handled.
Selection of Executor
An executor is someone who is appointed by you to carry out the terms of your Will. The Independent Executor is the person who pays debts and taxes, and collects and disposes of estate assets according to the terms of the Will. The Executor will have complete control of your assets, therefore, must be someone you trust and who is capable of settling your estate. Any person who has a felony conviction is not eligible to be the executor of your estate.
Selection of Guardian, if needed
If you have minor children, you should name at least one guardian for them in your Will. This person(s) will be charged with the rearing of your children. Before automatically designating your parents, consider whether they would want to serve, the age gap between the grandparents and the minors, whether the grandparents live in an area with other children in the neighborhood, whether the grandparents have friends with children, and whether it is likely that the grandparents will die before the children reach eighteen years of age, causing the children to have been twice uprooted out of their homes. Try to select someone with similar lifestyle, values, goals and who you would trust to raise your children.
Selection of Trustee, if needed
When choosing someone to manage your trust, consider:
- Do you have complete faith in the person?
- Is the person willing to accept the job? Just because you name someone, doesn't mean he or she will accept. Talk it over first.
- Where does the person live? It is not a major problem if your trustee is out of state; but for convenience's sake, the closer to home the better.
- If the management of the trust is complicated and an appropriate family member isn't available, consider naming a professional trustee, such as a financial institution. On the downside, banks are impersonal and charge annual management fees. The fees vary and are based on the value of the trust's assets. They may also be unwilling to handle any trust that does not meet their minimum requirements. These requirements vary with each professional trustee.
In addition to a Will, Mundy Legal Services advises that you also have a Statutory Durable Power of Attorney. This can include what’s known as a Living Will. For more information on Power of Attorney and Living Wills, click here.
Power of Attorney
What is a power of attorney? Generally, a power of attorney (POA) is a document that you sign giving someone you trust, often a spouse, the legal authority to manage your finances, healthcare and other important matters on your behalf. Prior to becoming physically or mentally incapacitated, you need to put durable powers of attorney in place, so your agent can take care of important matters should the need arise. If you should lose the capacity to make decisions without these documents in place, often the only path is a formal guardianship through the courts, which is an expensive and time-consuming process.
Types of Power of Attorneys:
1. Statutory Durable Power of Attorney
This instrument appoints someone to act as your representative with full authority to conduct all business transactions involving your real property, bank accounts, retirement, intellectual property and so forth.
The decisions made by your agent are binding, as if you had made the decision yourself. With this much responsibility over your financial affairs, it is important to select someone that you trust to act with integrity and honesty.
2. Medical Power of Attorney
A medical POA allows your trusted person to make healthcare or medical decisions on your behalf, if you are too sick or hurt to do so yourself. This could be because you were in a car accident or have dementia – life can make having a POA very important even if you’re at the peak of health.
A medical POA also contains a HIPPA release, which allows the designated person to obtain your medical information from your physicians. Without a HIPPA release, it can be difficult for your loved ones to obtain your medical records if your condition prevents you from gathering the information yourself.
3. Directive to Physicians
A directive to physicians is what most people call a Living Will. It is a document that instructs your doctor on whether you want to disconnect life support systems if you are suffering from an incurable or irreversible condition caused by injury, disease, or illness.
While often a difficult topic, preparing for the unexpected is a gift you can give your loved ones that can reduce stress and financial burden in the most difficult times. Let Mundy Legal Services help you create these vital legal documents so you and your family are prepared.