Child Custody


family team meetings
Child Protective Services Program The Child Protective Services Program is one of the programs of the government which aims to look after children who are victims of abuse and neglect. The personnel of this program handles the investigation of reports pertaining to any alleged abuse or negligence to a child. They are the ones responsible for knowing the validity of these allegations. And if needed, this branch of your social services department can intervene in some family matters of the child. They may get rid of the abuser or take the child away from home. These procedures, however, must follow the laws of the state where the child resides.  Temporary Custody of Child This social program, although aiming for the safety and security of the child, might still get stressful for family members and, sometimes, for the child. As a last resort, the CPS personnel may take temporary custody of your child. During this period, problems may arise among family members. It will be difficult for the child, the parents, or the other siblings. This could lead to a bigger family crisis. Experts say it is best to involve the family in Family Team Meetings or in Family Group Conferences. Family Team Meetings These meetings are usually held at the time before the CPS takes your child for temporary custody. Take note that this happens before the filing of the petition of the CPS in court to take custody. All throughout this meeting, the members of your family, who serves as your social support, meet the CPS caseworker. This caseworker is responsible for the custody of your child. The reason for this meeting is to hear out both sides and share helpful insights. It can also address the concerns of the child at a much earlier stage. Family Group Conferences […]

Family Team Meetings and Group Conferences during a CPS Case   Recently updated !


illegitimate child
There are children all over the world that were born in less than ideal situations. These children do not have control over their circumstances, but are often subject to a level of discrimination or difficulty. Fortunately, the law in Texas offers degrees of protection. History The state of Texas did not provide inheritance rights for illegitimate children until 1991. That was the time when the Texas Supreme Court stated that the statutes that excluded illegitimate children from this right was unconstitutional, taking its cue from the United Supreme Court’s ruling. The ruling stated that depriving the rights of illegitimate children were a violation of the Constitution, specifically the equal protection clause.  The ruling stated that illegitimacy, like race or country of origin is beyond a citizen’s control. It is also not an indicator of his/her capacity to participate and contribute to society. Thus, using it as a basis for exclusion is a violation of the equal protection clause. Texas Probate Code  In accordance with that principle, the Texas Probate Code now states that illegitimate children can have the same inheritance from their parents as those of the legitimate children, under certain conditions. The key here is establishing paternity. There are many methods wherein a father can voluntarily declare that he is the father of a child. The most obvious way is through DNA testing, but he can also execute a voluntary statement of paternity in accordance with the Family Code or he can also legally adopt the child. The Probate Court also acknowledges consent forms signed by the father in cases of assisted reproduction, like in-vitro fertilization. It is also applicable to legitimate gestational agreements, provided the father is adjudicated to be the father. Once paternity is established, the child will gain inheritance rights as those with legitimate children.  In […]

Inheritance Rights of Illegitimate Children in Texas   Recently updated !



Divorce Prevention Premarital Education Course 1
Divorce can be a very painful and expensive process for everyone involved, and often the best solutions come before the time that people are looking for divorce lawyers, and in fact, often before the marriage itself. Everyone knows the statistics in regards to divorce, but always seem to think that it is something that only happens to other people, not themselves. The reality is that divorce is much more pervasive than people expect, and it is important to lay the proper foundation in your relationship to make sure that divorce is never on the table. Before you and your partner say “I do,” the State of Texas encourages couples to attend a free premarital education course. One of the benefits of attending a premarital education course is that the 72-hour waiting period that is typically mandatory between the marriage ceremony and the actually issuing of the marriage license is waived.  Additionally, couples who take the premarital counseling course receive the additional benefit of having a portion of their the marriage license fee waived.  Communication skills, conflict management, and the key components of a successful marriage are all common topics facing new couples, and not so coincidentally are also common topics for couples facing a looming divorce. Such key topics are covered in detail through the course and can be vital tools in preventing a marriage from going down the path of divorce. Part of my job description as an attorney also includes the role of “counselor”, and that is one that I take seriously. Unfortunately, by the time I am involved in someone’s life, they are usually past the point of no return in regards to divorce, and there are limited options at that point. However, I encourage everyone who is considering marriage to not make that decision rashly, and […]

Divorce Prevention: Premarital Education Course   Recently updated !


foster care
It is unfortunate that many children are born in less than ideal situations. Some have been results of abuse or teenage pregnancy. In any case, the parents may not be ready or capable to take care of the child. The State of Texas is always concerned with the welfare of all children regardless of circumstance. Thus, they have facilities and implemented guidelines for foster care. Child Protective Services (CPS) Rights in Foster Care Every child that is placed in foster care in Texas has defined rights. They have been placed into different categories: Safety and Care Every child has the right to: An explanation on why he/she is in foster care A briefing on what will happen to him/her while they are in the foster care facility Be informed on what will happen to the rest of his family (brothers and sisters) Be told what the CPS is planning for his/her future The foster care facility also needs to provide a family-like setting. The child should receive proper care and treatment and be placed in a safe, healthy and comfortable place. It is also a basic right for a child to be treated with respect and be given personal privacy when the situation calls for it. For the foster home, the employees must have no record of abuse, exploitation or harassment. They must also state the rules clearly and implement them in a fair manner. Family and Contacts If the child sent to foster care has brothers and sisters who are also under foster care, they must live together in the facility. If this is not the case, the caseworker has an obligation to offer a compelling reason for this.   If the child has existing family (parents, siblings) outside of foster care, they should maintain regular contact with them […]

Children Placed in Foster Care in Texas



babysitting
The State of Texas has the full intention of looking out for the welfare of its children. It provides laws and guidelines to ensure that the adults act responsibly in their treatment of children. Aside from custody, child support and other aspects, the state also has rules for babysitting.  Legal Babysitting Age Texas law does not have a specified legal age for babysitting. What it does require is a certificate to work for anyone under the age of 18. In this case, the federal law states that the minimum age for anyone to work is 14.  Texas allows the parents to choose the private babysitters for their children provided it does not violate federal law.  In-Home Babysitting Texas state law is definitive about in-home babysitting, though. If you want to start an in-home babysitting business, the state will conduct a criminal background check. This is a thorough investigation on the owner and the employees to ensure that they do not have any criminal convictions whether they be sexual in nature or that of violence and abuse. The law allows you to operate even without a license under certain parameters. The law is very specific on how many children you can take care of. They set the limit at four children. If you take care of more than four children at a time, you are required to register or get a license.  Registered Childcare Home A registered childcare home takes care of four to six school-age children at a time. They can also take care of up to six middle-aged children aside from these, with the maximum set at twelve. The provider has to clear all background checks and attend an orientation. They also need to comply with on-site inspections to see if they would meet the minimum standards set by […]

Guidelines for Babysitting in Texas


summary proceedings
A summary judgment is when a court disposes a case either because the party who filed the lawsuit or the petitioner does not have enough evidence to win the case or because a responding party or the respondent does not have a clear and proper defense to the allegations brought against him or her by the former.  One of the parties can basically file for a motion for summary judgment to dispose of the case if the opposing party does not have any strong evidence to support their arguments in the case.  This is applicable in family law cases.  If the case deals with more than one issue, the parties can decide to have some of them decided via a motion for summary judgment before trial.  Chances of settling also increases with the help of filing a motion for summary judgment. This is because summary judgment removes certain issues which the opposing party may argue about. This basically limits what a party has to present during trial. Traditional Summary Judgment vs. No Evidence Summary Judgment There are two different types of motions for summary judgment. These are the traditional summary judgment and the no evidence summary judgment.  A traditional summary judgment is when a party with the burden of proof may file for a motion of summary judgment by proving that he or she is entitled to judgment as a matter of law by establishing affirmative defense or presenting each of the element of his or her own claim.  Most, if not all, traditional summary judgments have to be backed by summary judgment evidence that is competent.  On the other hand, a no evidence summary judgement, the party without the burden of proof is stating to the court that the opposing party has no affirmative defense or no evidence to […]

What is a Summary Judgment in Texas?



addict parent
Divorce is often a tragedy that a family has to cope with. It presents a challenge for all the parties involved. However, there are situations where the degree of difficulty is drastically increased. One such situation is if your ex-spouse is an addict. When the ex-spouse is addicted to something, the divorce may be seen as a relief. However, if there are kids involved, one has no choice but to share parenting responsibilities with the ex-spouse. This situation can present some complications, some of which are enumerated below. The Addicted Parent has Trouble with Committing to Schedules By its definition, an addict has become dependent and is unable to function normally without the fixation. As a co-parent, addicts often fail to keep a commitment even if it were mutually agreed upon by both parties. In a divorce setting, this could result in conflict or even legal implications. Custody is a legal matter and the judges impose that the schedules be followed to the letter. The Child may be Exposed to Harmful Substances As with addicts, they are likely to use harmful or toxic substances. Without the contentions of the other parent the addict co-parent may leave their drugs or even the paraphernalia in the household premises, within reach of the child. Regardless of the child’s age, this is never a good thing. Addicts are more Prone to Negligence If the child is dependent on a parent who is, in turn, dependent on something else, his needs may not be the first priority of the addicted co-parent. Thus, there would be times when the addicted parent would neglect the child’s meals or, in some cases, prescribed medication. How to Cope with an Addict Co-Parent There are necessary steps that a parent needs to undertake in order to cope with this challenging […]

Co-Parenting with an Addict Ex-Spouse


sex offender
A mediated settlement agreement, especially in divorce cases, can help both parties in so many aspects. Choosing to work out an agreement outside the courtroom rather than having a judge decide on the case will enable the parties to save money and time. Having an agreement also lets the parties plot the course of the future of their family. This is also favored by judges since it entails the reduction of trials and hearings on temporary orders that they must oversee. The only exception is when there is the involvement of children in the case because a judge must still ensure that the settlement agreements are in the child’s best interests. In Re: Stephanie Lee Most settlement agreements are not changed by judges who are to sign them. However, a recent case that happened in Houston, where two judges who were assigned to the case refused to sign and honor an agreement due to the fact that they believed it was not for the best interest of the children. The name of this case was In Re: Stephanie Lee. The Texas Supreme Court had to decide whether to uphold the validity of the settlement agreement or not. The father and mother were dealing with a post-divorce child custody case. They both had agreed to a Mediated Settlement Agreement, which included the pre-scheduled visitation of both parents with the child. Shortly after coming up with the binding agreement, the father told the judge during a hearing with the Court that he no longer assents to the agreement, specifically with regard to his ex-wife’s visitation because of her marriage to a registered sex offender. The judges refused to sign off on the agreement made between the parties because they believe letting a child be around a registered sex offender did not satisfy […]

Enforcing a Mediated Settlement Agreement in Texas When a Registered Sex Offender is Involved