Child Custody


A Quick Guide to Divorce

Divorce, Custody, and Visitation in Texas

Divorce, Custody, and Visitation in Texas: What You Need To Know Going through a divorce is hard business.  People from all around Texas and the rest of the country would agree with you on this.  It is easier though if you know what to expect.  Hopefully this can provide some information so that you can better know what to expect from a divorce, and what you need to know about custody and visitation in Texas. Divorce in Texas Divorce is the legal separation of a marriage.  In Texas divorce is also commonly referred to as the dissolution of marriage.  There are two different types of divorce: fault divorce and no-fault divorce.  Both of these types of divorce are fairly explanatory.  A fault divorce implies that one or both parties did something that would cause them to no longer want to be together.  A no-fault divorce is when both parties mutually decide that they no longer want to be together. The process of a divorce is one that is done through the court system.  In Texas, one of the parties seeking divorce will file a petition for divorce.  Typically, both parties hire lawyers and negotiated either in a courtroom or through arbitration.  […]


Texas Paternity FAQ

Texas Paternity FAQ

Frequently Asked Legal Questions About Paternity in Texas There are a lot of questions about paternity in Texas that get asked regularly.  We wanted to save people a little bit of googling and try answer as few of the most common ones in one place.  This guide to the frequently asked legal questions about paternity in Texas is meant to aid you but not to replace the role of an attorney. Define Paternity For Me? When a baby is born and there are questions about the father, you seek to establish paternity.  Paternity is, therefore, the legal identification of who the father of a child is.  This process is typically done through genetic matching of the child’s DNA to the father’s DNA. Is Paternity Testing Only Performed On Babies? While paternity testing is typically performed on babies it has been used to test kids of any age.  This helps to establish who the father is no matter what the situation is. Can You Force A Paternity Test? The short answer is yes, you can force a paternity test.  To do this you need to petition the court for a court ordered paternity test.  This order can also include conditions for what […]


Texas Primary Custody

Deciphering Texas Primary Custody

Does Primary Custody Exist? Usually a misnomer due to its frequency in popular culture, “primary custody” is not an actual legal term recognized in Texas. Texas courts will typically appoint both parents as “joint managing conservators” or “JMCs” for their children, and what people commonly refer to as “primary custody” tracks most closely with the party who is granted an exlusive right to determine “primary residency” of the child. To better understand this concept, I find it helpful to think about all the different rights and duties of a parent as strands of a rope. Prior to court involvement, all those rights and duties are “together” unified with both parents. Both parents have the full complement of rights and duties at all times, and neither parent has any authority to stop the other from exercising those rights, or conversely the obligation to take any particular action in regards to the child. There are pros and cons to this situation, but the main downside, and the one that the court most specifically tries to address, is that in the event of a disagreement there is no clear way to make a decision or to break a tie. If parents are on […]


A Quick Guide to Divorce

Texas Divorce Overview

  Texas Divorce Overview   Everyone іѕ fаmіlіаr wіth the wоrd dіvоrсе but dоеѕ not know thе technicalities about it. It is іmроrtаnt thаt wе should bе able tо knоw things about dіvоrсе аnd whаt are thе thіngѕ thаt wе ѕhоuld соnѕіdеr about when people аrоund us or ѕресіfісаllу uѕ іnѕtеаd are planning tо еngаgе into thіѕ kіnd оf situation. Yоu ѕhоuld fіrѕt know whаt rеаllу dіvоrсе іѕ tо have a dеереr perception about this dіѕеаѕе іn thе community that іѕ not only ruіnіng thе lives оf the husband and wіfе but аlѕо thе реорlе thаt аrе іnvоlvеd in thе marriage, tоо. Aссоrdіng tо Wikipedia, “Dіvоrсе (оr the dіѕѕоlutіоn оf mаrrіаgе) іѕ the fіnаl termination of a mаrіtаl union, саnсеllіng the lеgаl dutіеѕ аnd responsibilities оf mаrrіаgе аnd dissolving the bonds оf mаtrіmоnу bеtwееn thе раrtіеѕ.” It is іmроrtаnt that we ѕhоuld bе able tо know thаt dіvоrсе іѕ not just mеrе breaking up but also hаvіng a permanent separation with the person thаt уоu have married. A divorce fоllоwѕ a ѕеt of court hеаrіng іn which they would dіѕсuѕѕ all thе thіngѕ thаt a mаrrіаgе controls, from thе kids to the fіnаnсеѕ would bе a ѕubjесt mаttеr in a […]


Divorce Prevention: Premarital Education Course

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 […]


Co-Parenting for the School Year 1

As the new school year is about to begin, I’d like to offer some tips for the newly-divorced or new members of a blended family to ease the transition and try to avoid unnecessary conflict. First, get ahead of your anticipated disputes by designing, implementing, and complying with a detailed and customized Parenting Plan (easier said than done, right?) This document is your roadmap, and provides all parents (biological and step parents) the specific terms and conditions under which they are to operate, leaving no room for “innocent” confusion or misunderstanding. Second, set expectations relating to school work. Who will be responsible for making sure that classroom assignments are properly completed and handed-in? Who is available to work on research projects that span across multiple weeks? Perhaps design this by subject matter (Mom helps with Math, Dad helps with English). Or maybe Mom will work with one child, while Dad works with the other. There is no “correct” answer but a well-designed Parenting Plan identifies roles and responsibilities so that academic performances don’t suffer. Third, discuss what you are willing (or, aren’t willing) to agree to relating to after-school activities and sports. And please, DO NOT engage your child(ren) in […]


Divorce and Separation

Domestic Violence: Child Custody and Family Law 1

Domestic violence can have devastating effects on children. Batterers often use children to manipulate their partners. While the relationship continues, batterers may threaten to take custody of, kidnap or harm the children if the victim reports the abuse. After a battered woman leaves a relationship, batterers may use child custody disputes, visitation and joint custody arrangements as opportunities to threaten, intimidate, coerce and harm their former partners. From Kendall Segel-Evans, Wife Abuse and Child Custody and Visitation by the Abuser (1989). For a long time, domestic violence was not considered relevant to custody and visitation determinations. As explained in more detail in the Toolkit to End Violence Against Women, created by the National Advisory Council on Violence Against Women and the United States Department of Justice’s Violence Against Women Office, available in PDF and text formats, judges making custody determinations “routinely concluded that violence toward the other parent had nothing to do with one’s ability to adequately parent, and most court decisions revealed that judges did not believe that domestic or sexual abuse of one parent by the other fundamentally compromised the interests of the children.” As the Toolkit explains further, because of the ways in which batterers can use […]


Prevent-Child-Abuse

Tips for Recognizing Child Abuse 1

Child abuse is something that affects more children than most are aware of, and it is up to everyone to help protect children from these situations. Beyond that, it is an obligation under the law to report children who you suspect are being abused. One of the primary issues that people have, though, is being unaware of signs that children around them may be being abused. Here are some common signs that a child may be being abused: Unexplained injuries. Visible signs of physical abuse may include unexplained burns or bruises in the shape of objects. You may also hear unconvincing explanations of a child’s injuries. Changes in behavior. Abuse can lead to many changes in a child’s behavior. Abused children often appear scared, anxious, depressed, withdrawn or more aggressive. Returning to earlier behaviors. Abused children may display behaviors shown at earlier ages, such as thumb-sucking, bed-wetting, fear of the dark or strangers. For some children, even loss of acquired language or memory problems may be an issue. Fear of going home. Abused children may express apprehension or anxiety about leaving school or about going places with the person who is abusing them. Changes in eating. The stress, fear and […]


Child Abuse

A Public Child Abuse Registry? 1

A Michigan woman is on a mission to make a public registry to search for convicted of child abuse. Erica Hammel’s son Wyatt was severely injured and left disabled after his father’s then-girlfriend shook him. The girlfriend had been twice previously convicted for child abuse and did not have custody of her own children.   The Department of Human Services in Michigan already has a registry of people investigated or convicted of child abuse or neglect, however, child welfare attorney Elizabeth Warner says that the registry has issues – under-inclusion and over-inclusion being a few of them.   The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment act requires all states to have a tracking system, which can be used for screening potential foster or adoptive parents.   While a public registry seems like a good idea, registries always have issues – such as people being on the registries who don’t belong there, or vigilante neighborhood justice against people who may be on the list for an issue like the family we talked about earlier – who are involved in the CPS system for letting their children walk home unattended from the park.   Source: http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/macomb/2015/02/14/mother-crusades-statewide-child-abuse-registry/23425805/


Free-range parenting

Risks of “Free-Range” Parenting 1

The Meitiv family in Montgomery County is being investigated for neglect of their children after allowing their 6 and 10 year old children walk home about a mile from the park to their home. What the parents call free-range parenting and lessons on independence, the Montgomery County Child Protective Services call neglect – in Maryland, state law requires that a child under 8 years old be accompanied or supervised by someone of at least 13 years of age in dwellings, enclosures and vehicles. The parents say that this law does not apply to their children as the children were walking home and not indoors. Additionally, the county provides bus services to elementary children only if they live a mile away from the school, implying that the county condones children as young as kindergarten aged walking up to a mile to get to school. Drawing the line between neglectful parents who put their children in harm’s way and free-range parents is very important and unfortunately parents who practice free-range parenting are finding that they are burdened by overzealous CPS investigations. The Meitivs say that their involvement with CPS has been an invasion of their privacy, with police and caseworkers insisting on […]