Child Custody

single parent
Divorces can affect more than just your relationship with your ex-spouse. They can also affect your relationship with your kids. And as much as you don’t want it to affect things with your kids, sometimes it’s inevitable. But just because it can affect your children doesn’t mean you can’t help make things better for them. Yes, despite being divorced, you can still be a good parent to your kids. There are just a few things that you’ll have to work out. If you want some help figuring things out, read on and maybe you might be able to pick up a thing or two. Don’t Bring Your Problems to Them One very important thing you can do to still be a good parent despite a divorce would be to keep all your problems with your spouse between you and your spouse. Your kids shouldn’t be on the receiving end of any of your divorce problems. The minute you bring your problems with your spouse to your kids, that’s when you start to damage your relationship with your kids unnecessarily. You might make them think that the divorce was their fault, which they don’t deserve. Strengthen Your Relationship with Your Kids You shouldn’t let the divorce allow you to neglect your relationship with your kids. In fact, you’ll need to work double on your relationship with your kids because of it. Make sure you still keep on investing in your relationship with your kids. Let them know you still love them even if you and your spouse couldn’t work it out. Show them that you don’t love them any less. Show them you’ll still be able to love them in the best way you can, even if you’re a single parent. The earlier and the stronger the relationship you have with […]

Parenting: Protecting Your Child After a Divorce   Recently updated !

samesexdivorce 1024x688
Since same sex marriages have been made legal by the Supreme Court, same sex divorces are now possible as well. People are still confused because not all states had acknowledged that same sex marriages were legal prior to 2015 and many are still wondering if it’s possible to have a same-sex marriage in Texas and how the state deals with same sex divorces. Texas was one of the states in the US that did not legalize same sex marriages prior to 2015. Because of this, if you have lived in Texas prior to 2015 and you’ve tried to get a same sex divorce, the courts couldn’t have done anything to help you. Since same sex marriages were not recognized in the entire state until 2015, it goes without saying that same sex divorces were also impossible within the state during that period. Of course, after that Supreme court decision legalizing same sex marriages in 50 states, a lot of things have changed. Same Sex Divorces VS Traditional divorces After the Supreme Court has announced its decision, the laws that apply to traditional marriages now apply to same sex marriages. With this said, laws on traditional divorces can now be applied to same sex divorces in Texas. If you already know about the community property laws in Texas and how it’s divided during a divorce, you can now apply that to same sex divorces too. Division of property, assets, and debts will be divided in same sex divorces the same way it is divided in traditional divorces. If you are not familiar how community property is dealt with during a divorce, it’s basically this: Any type of income or property incurred during the course of the marriage will be subject to division once the divorce commences. This includes wages and income […]

Everything You Need to Know About Same Sex Divorces in Texas   Recently updated !

custody arrangement
Co-parents and their children will adjust to their new arrangements after divorce. Perhaps the biggest adjustment is custody of the children. Especially if the couple has not been living separately prior to the divorce.  Even if some couples are already on “trial separation,” custody arrangements are still a game-changer. It prohibits a parent from just dropping by and visiting their child unannounced. What if there has been confusion in the arrangements, which could happen even if there was a trial? Or if there are changes that should affect the custody arrangements, whether in a positive or negative manner? While custody arrangements are final and executory, Texas law has provisions to revise them. How to Revise Custody Arrangements The court can make adjustments to the divorce orders even if there are no changes in the parents’ circumstances. This will be initiated if one or both parents file a petition.  If both parents agree, it will only take a swift review for the judge, who would most likely approve it. Once approved, these changes will be enforced.  However, if there is a contention between the parents, the process becomes more complicated. Both parents will be required to appear before the judges and present their respective cases.  If one parent wants to take the primary caregiver status from the other, there are certain conditions. The child in question must be over 12 years of age. He or she must clearly express that he/she wants to change the primary caregiver. There should still be material and substantial reasons for this.  For children below 12 years old, the modifications will be considered only if there is a significant change. The court has to be convinced that these changes are for the best interests of the child.  Reasons for Modification Some examples of the reasons mentioned: […]

Resolving Confusion in Your Custody Arrangements   Recently updated !

emotional blackmail
After divorce, your relationship with your ex-spouse will still continue if you have children to co-parent. It should always be a shared responsibility. Divorce only cuts the ties between you and your spouse, not between you and your children. It may seem simple enough, but there could be complications arising from the behavior or condition of your co-parent. What are your options if your co-parent has abusive tendencies? Abuse towards the Child If your ex-spouse committed abuse towards your children, he/she should not only be prevented from seeing your children but actually be arrested and jailed. Texas Law is very strict with child abuse. However, there are strict measures that can be taken to ensure this.  If the parent has abusive tendencies, the judge may consider this a factor to restrict custody and limit visitation rights.  Also, the restriction does not only apply to the co-parent. It also applies to other members of the co-parent’s household (example: the new partner). They can also be restricted if seen as a threat to the child’s welfare.  Domestic Violence When your ex-spouse has a history, there is a strong tendency that he/she could also abuse the child. If the spouse is abused, there is a possibility that the child is also abused.  Any suspicion of abuse or manifestation of violent tendencies should be reported as soon as possible. The court takes accusations seriously.  The Texas courts will uphold the relationship of the child to its parent. They would not restrict possession or visitation of the child unless it is proven harmful to the child. If your ex-spouse has tendencies, you can petition the court. Protection for the Co-Parent The law will not only protect the child but also you as the ex-spouse. It is highly possible that your co-parent will resist any order. […]

Coping with an Abusive Co-Parent   Recently updated !

Many issues regarding parenting are because of poor communication among family members, especially between spouses. Poor communication is due to various reasons. Relationships with your spouse and your children are very emotional. More often than not, we let our feelings take charge whenever there is a conflict within the family. When we let our emotions speak for ourselves, we tend to become unreasonable. It is okay to accept that sometimes, our pride, anger, and resentment gets the best of us. We are but human. However, if you feel that you are in a situation where you just can’t communicate properly with each other anymore, you might want to consider Parenting Coordination and Facilitation.   Parenting Coordination and Facilitation According to the Texas Family Code, it assists parents who have parenting and family problems to resolve their issues with the help of an impartial third party appointed by court or by mutual agreement. Usually, the court appoints an independent therapist or counselor. In Texas, we call them “Parenting Coordinators” or “Parenting Facilitators.” Having an outsider step in is great because both parties will be given the chance to speak to each other and hear each other out. A Parenting Coordinator will make sure that there is an amicable settlement. He would note the concerns of each party and bring it to each other’s attention. Compromise will be sought in an attempt to resolve the issues. While the mediator might recommend solutions to the problem, his job is primarily to let you and your partner communicate when you couldn’t. The counselor-mediator will also help in ensuring that the objectives sought are met. Say, in concerns regarding children, the well-being of the children is a primary consideration in decision making. During the Parenting Coordination and Facilitation, you will be empowered to take responsibility. […]

Parenting Plans and Coordination   Recently updated !

guardian ad litem
There are a number of things that one has to take care of during a divorce. When you have a child, that just adds to the things that you’ll have to sort out during your divorce. Custody and support can be a little troublesome to sort out, especially if your child is a minor. Thankfully, family courts have what is called a “guardian ad litem” that can help out in matters such as these. A Guardian Ad Litem A “guardian ad litem” is usually appointed during divorce proceedings. Especially during the time that the custody of a child is being decided. Appointed by the family court, the guardian ad litem acts as the representative of the child during the divorce. If the child is a minor, a guardian ad litem will help represent the child’s best interests throughout the proceedings. Guardians ad litem should be impartial to both parents and give more focus on what they believe is best for the child. They also help decide the parent gets custody. What They Do As mentioned earlier, the guardians ad litem keep in mind the best interests of the child. Since they help in deciding what is best for the child, they may carry out investigations. They will look at all aspects of the child’s life. Part of the investigation that they make include interviewing the child, parents, relatives, and even their teachers. They will look into the child’s life and see which of the parents will be able to provide the best care for the child after the divorce. When all information needed is gathered, the guardian at litem can then present to the family court a recommendation as to whom the custody of the child can be awarded.  Since minors may not be able to represent themselves during family […]

The Guardian Ad Litem and Your Child

abandoned spouse
Two Types of Divorce in Texas The majority of divorce cases are “no-fault” divorces. In a no-fault divorce, the two parties simply have “irreconcilable differences” or could not get along. The other type of divorce is “fault-based” divorce, which means there is a shortcoming on one party or has aggrieved the other party, based on legal grounds. One example of those legal grounds is abandonment.  Definition of Abandonment in Texas Law Abandonment is being left alone to take care of the home and fulfill all parental duties of the child. Texas law has two conditions to constitute abandonment. First, the spouse must have been absent for a continuous period of one year. Second, the spouse made a willing and intentional decision to leave. This leaves off missing persons, or victims of abduction or kidnapping.  This ground of abandonment can be proven in court by presenting testimonies, documents, or letters. Abandonment Affects Child Custody The abandoned parent ends up having added responsibilities. He/she has to deal with the children’s needs: emotional, physical, mental and financial- alone. The main issue is the conservatorship of the children in a divorce on the grounds of abandonment. Conservatorship deals with the fulfillment of the duties and responsibilities of the children as opposed to possession. The parent charged with abandonment will usually lose custody. Abandonment Affects a Spouse’s Share in the Community Property The State of Texas upholds the concept of community property. Both spouses have an equal share of all property acquired during the marriage in a community property regime. However, in cases of abandonment, the court may deviate from the 50/50 arrangement. The innocent parent will naturally have a bigger share because of having custody of the child.

Divorce Due to Abandonment

Knowing What’s In Your Child’s Best Interests
Your child’s best interests will always be a key point in your divorce and child custody cases. As you are well aware, your child feels the impact of the divorce even more than you do. It’s really a sad reality that you have to accept and deal with properly. You and your spouse can have some control over the circumstances that affect your divorce, but your child is completely helpless. It is quite common for children to feel confused and misplaced when their parents are undergoing a divorce. As a parent, you obviously would want to protect your children. The divorce probably happened because you want to protect your children from your spouse’s wrongdoings or abusive behavior. Knowing what’s in your child’s best interests would definitely help in ensuring that they can have a normal life during and after the divorce. The conflicts and the many issues that you will have to deal with throughout the duration of your divorce could take its toll on you. You might lose sight of the fact that your children are your priority. You could be blinded by things that you will fail to recognize what’s in your child’s best interests. How can you play your divorce according to your child’s best interests? 1. Avoid the Courthouse It might come as a surprise to many that a lot of divorce cases don’t get into the courtroom. Contrary to what movies and television depict, most divorces actually end in settlement, hence, there’s no need to pay a visit to the judge. The only problem with this option is that you might find it difficult to deal with your spouse when you are still at the peak of your anger. If your spouse has terribly wronged you, it can be quite uncomfortable to work together to […]

Focusing on Your Child’s Best Interests