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Significant Legislative Changes – 2010 Legislative Session

Posted December 14th, 2011 | by The Red Headed Lawyer

Not intended to be a comprehensive list

Real Estate Law:

Flags
Flying your flag in your subdivision? Your HOA can’t prohibit you from displaying your U.S., Texas or armed forces flags, except as allowed by law (e.g., “reasonable” provisions relating to flags, flagpoles, lights, and noise).

Probate, Guardianship and Trust Law:

Probating a Will
Worried about privacy and the necessity to reveal the entire estate of the deceased person? The executor may now file an affidavit in lieu of an inventory, if no debts remain by the inventory due date. A sworn inventory and appraisement must, however, be provided to all beneficiaries (as opposed to filing with the Court, which is public record) other than those receiving specific gifts.

Insurance

Had an automobile accident or possible homeowner’s claim? Want to ask your insurance agent if you might be liable before you file a claim? The agent cannot now report the information from your call to a claims database unless or until you file a claim under the policy.

Family Law

Spousal maintenance (aka “alimony”)
Limit increased from $2,500 to $5,000 per month.

Mistaken paternity
Previously, a man could be adjudicated the father of a child by operation of law (he was married to the mother of the child) or by signing a document acknowledging he was the child’s father without DNA testing. It was very difficult and sometimes impossible to change this designation if the man later learned he was not the child’s father. This sometimes left a man paying child support for a child who was not biologically his. The new law allows a man in these circumstances to file the proper documents to establish that he is not in fact the father of the child.

Criminal Law

First time DWI
Instead of a Class B Misdemeanor, the charge could be increased to a Class A if the person’s blood alcohol content is 0.15 or more. Significantly stiffer penalties.