Year: 2016

How much does a QDRO cost in Texas?

QDROs are qualified domestic relations orders–a special court order used to divide retirement plans in a divorce or child support action. Often in a Texas divorce they divide 401k plans and pensions. Benefit laws and the Texas Family Code require QDROs to divide these plans. A major concern for people who divided retirement plans in …

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Interview with Fort Worth Divorce Attorney Adam Kielich

Adam Kielich is a Fort Worth divorce attorney and managing attorney at The Kielich Law Firm in Bedford, Texas. This is an adaptation of an interview provided for a local journalism program researching the Tarrant County legal system. This research includes the affordability of legal counsel, the efficiency of the courts and overall fairness in the …

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Seven Ways Legal TV Shows Are Not Like Real Life Trials (and three they are)

Courtroom and legal television is nearly as old as television itself, dating back to classic shows like Perry Mason–but how real are they? Not very real at all. The range of courtroom comedies, drama and “reality” shows over seventy years of television cover the entire range from editorializing real events to completely ridiculous fictionalized worlds. Some …

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The 323rd District Court in Fort Worth, Texas

The 323rd district court in Fort Worth handles family law cases and juvenile criminal cases. Although it is a family law court it does not hear divorces or other private family disputes. Instead it handles CPS and other child welfare disputes in Tarrant County. The 323rd district court might be most well known for the affluenza case. If …

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Can my Texas employer fire me for doing what my manager told me to do?

Here’s a tricky situation: you follow a specific instruction from your manager or a company policy. Then your employer fires you. Can this happen for following orders? Unfortunately, in most cases the answer: yes. Seems bizarre–and it is–but this is the nature of the at-will employment relationship. In an at-will employment relationship the employer can discipline an employee, …

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Just been fired? Apply for unemployment benefits in Texas

If you are fired (aka discharged, terminated) from your job then one of your first acts in almost all cases should be to apply for unemployment benefits. Applying for unemployment benefits through the Texas Workforce Commission is free so even if denied benefits you have only lost the time applying. This is true even if …

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College Retirement Plans under Fire for Excessive Investment Fees

The past ten to fifteen years has given rise to a set of lawsuits against 401k plan administrators over excessive plan fees and revenue sharing agreements between plan administrators and recordkeepers. We are probably approaching the end of this wave of excessive fee litigation against for-profit employers for 401k plans. A new wave of excessive retirement …

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What is full custody under the Texas Family Code and how do you fight for it?

“Full custody” gets thrown around in the midst of a divorce with children or child custody case. Under the Texas Family Code the phrase “full custody” doesn’t exist. It’s not a legal term in Texas although it is a term people commonly use in a divorce or child custody case. Most people think of it …

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EEOC hits Dunkin Donuts franchise for $330k in sexual harassment suit

Last week the EEOC settled  a Title VII sexual harassment and retaliation suit against multiple Dunkin Donuts franchises. The $330,000 settlement, which covers multiple employees, includes a multi-year training and oversight provision to avoid similar events in the future. The EEOC press release describes the events alleged in the lawsuit as follows: Hillcrest Marshall violated federal law by …

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Texas Employment Attorney’s 10 Signs You Should Not Take That Job

In a tough job market it’s always difficult to turn down a job but sometimes the company culture is so toxic or the boss is so insufferable that it’s more harmful to your health and career than the benefit of the paycheck. Of course, that’s an easy thing to say when you have a paycheck. …

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Employees must engage interactive process in good faith for ADA failure to accommodate claims in Texas

ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and the Texas Labor Code require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with qualified disabilities. A reasonable accommodation allows a disabled employees equal access to the workplace and allow them to perform the essential functions of their jobs. Many employers refuse to provide any reasonable accommodation. This results in a failure …

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Why is there a 10% early withdrawal penalty to cash out a 401k?

Before becoming an employment attorney I worked for one of the largest (maybe the largest) provider of 401k services. We provided various investment, customer service and recordkeeping services for 401k plans. Most people who call for information about their 401k plans will end up talking to my former employer or one of their competitors. Most …

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Can you get a beer on intermittent FMLA? Court says yes.

Intermittent FMLA has always been and probably always will be a contentious issue between employer and employee. Employers often have negative attitudes about intermittent FMLA leave centered largely around self-serving beliefs that employees abuse the legally protected leave rights and do not really need the time off from work. Certainly some employees do abuse FMLA but …

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Can you sue your financial adviser under the DTPA in Texas?

Disputes with financial advisers are common, particularly in periods of economic decline and volatility. When things are good most people do not carefully watch what their financial adviser or broker is doing. When things turn south people look to their financial advisers to help them out and problems are uncovered. Sometimes the complaints about financial …

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What is a volunteer under Texas employment law?

Most people understand volunteering means giving away free labor, often to a charity or other non-profit organization. However, sometimes Texas for-profit businesses seek “volunteers” as a way of receiving unpaid labor or an employer requires its employees to volunteer time for a charitable or civic cause. What about these situations? The Department of Labor has …

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Supreme Court of Texas Smacks Down Tarrant County District Clerk on Indigent Fees

After six months of contemplation, the Supreme Court of Texas issued its opinion in Campbell v. Wilder in which it helped out our local District Clerk understand that zero equals zero. The Supreme Court of Texas instructed the Tarrant County District Clerk in Fort Worth, Texas to stop its policy of abusing poor people in …

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Does Texas have an employee protected medical leave law like FMLA?

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law protecting the right to medical leave for employees and family members. Some states enacted their own state leave laws that create state level protections. These state laws duplicate FMLA protections or even provide protections greater than FMLA. Some states, like Colorado, have their own state FMLA …

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