General Information

illegitimate child
Single parenthood, in recent years, has been increasing dramatically. Every year, there are more than a million children who were born to unmarried parents. This is becoming an issue when talking about a child’s mental and emotional development. Especially in cases involving the child’s legal rights and legitimacy, proving the paternity has been very crucial. If the child’s parents cannot establish paternity, their child will grow up not having a legitimate father. This will, later on, raise concerns of discrimination between non-marital children and those children who were born to married parents particularly in the issue of inheritance. The Texas Family Code enumerated the instances where paternity is already presumed. When the child was born during the marriage, paternity has already been established between the father and child. All the conditions stated provide that the parents should be or has been married. One should go through a legal proceeding in order to establish the paternity of the alleged father of a child born out of wedlock. How to Prove Paternity The most common way to test paternity is through DNA testing. This is done by obtaining a tissue or blood sample from the child and from the alleged biological father. Physical characteristics say a lot in identifying that a man could be the father of a child. However, DNA testing is the most plausible method in establishing paternity. Although it may be costly, the results would be reliable. The court acknowledges this as solid evidence. Producing legal documents can also help to prove paternity. An example is a birth certificate which provides the name of the man who is allegedly the father. Another possibility that could be used as proof is to show that the alleged father claims the child as his dependent. This is usually proven in payment of […]

Establishing the Paternity of a Deceased Father

adopting in texas
I. What is Adoption Adoption is when a person legally takes on the rights and obligations of being a parent to a child that is not his or her biological child. This means that those rights that originally belonged to the biological parents will be legally transferred to another person who is unrelated to the child. The natural parents of the child cannot just take back their already adopted child. Adoption is permanent in nature. Once the parental rights and authority of the natural parents are terminated through adoption, it is deemed as if the adoptive parents become the natural parents of the adopted child. Parental authority will be exercised solely and exclusively by the adoptive parents. For married couples, if one spouse pursues an adoption, the rights and duties of raising the adopted child will also be transferred to the other spouse. As for the rights of the adopted child, he or she has equal rights to that of the legitimate child of the adopters, should they have any. Once you become a parent, you will have the responsibility to care for the child and make decisions for his or her best interests, just like any other biological parent. You will also have rights over the person of the child such as the custody of the child. II. Adoption Law in Texas Texas allows for adoption. There are a couple of legal formalities to go through. The reason for this is because an adoptive relationship is permanent in nature. There are certain laws and regulations which set apart the adoption process in Texas from that of other states. A few steps may slightly vary among agencies but the overall process still remains the same. If you want to adopt, it is important to consult with a lawyer and be […]

Adoption in Texas

representing yourself
The legal decision on child support has great significance to either of the child’s parents. Child support cases are also imbued with emotions. It goes beyond matters regarding access, possession or visitation of the children. In child support cases, it is possible to represent one’s self instead of hiring someone from the legal profession. However, there are risks in choosing to forego a lawyer’s services. This article will discuss the risks associated with this decision. Losing the case  Losing in child support means that the judgment will not be a favorable one to you. Child support cases are based on the surrounding circumstances, facts, and the evidence presented. One must prove his case before a judge to win a family law case. Regardless of what kind of parent you are, custodial or noncustodial, you must prove the elements of your case and present supporting pieces of evidence for the judge to evaluate. There are many technical requirements in a case involving family law that can be tricky. Lawyers have extensive knowledge about the law. We are equipped and trained to know the law. Getting past the technical aspects of the case is one thing, filing the documents is another. It’s not unlikely that non-lawyers make a mistake in a pleading. This could weaken your arguments. Worse case is that the mistakes could possibly be a ground that the opposing party can use to have the case dismissed. These mistakes are easy to make, especially without the legal knowledge needed. Paying a lot more If you lose the child support case, it is common for a judge to award the court costs and attorney’s fees to the winning party. You will end up shouldering both the costs of your own case and that of the opposing party. Assess the type of […]

Deciding Whether to Represent Yourself in a Texas Child Support Case

name change texas
Change is the only constant in life. In some cases, the extent of these changes requires a person to change his or her name. If you want to change your name, the State of Texas has guidelines governing this procedure. There are procedures to follow and documents required. Reasons for Changing Your Name There are many different reasons for changing your name. Some of the most common reasons involve marriage and conversely, divorce. The old tradition was for the bride to assume her husband’s surname, but that is already optional now. In some cases, it’s the groom who assumes his wife’s surname. Alternatively, the couple could use both surnames with a hyphen. Religion is also a recognized reason to change your name. A name change may be desired once converted. Another reason is that their given name hinders them from carrying out their daily activities, like their work. Other reasons may be presented to the judge and if reasonable, it will be granted. Restrictions Regarding Name Change While the law is lenient about the reason for the name change, they have restrictions on the name that you will take. The Court will need you to comply with their requirements of notice and allegations in the Petition. They will not allow you to change your name to commit fraud or to elude debts and responsibilities.  The law also restricts using the name of a celebrity or politician, or any name that would infringe on the rights of other people. Also, your new name cannot contain racial slurs, curse words and obscene language, or words that would offend a particular group based on their age, gender, race or religion. Names that may be considered absurd—those with punctuations or symbols would likely be disapproved as they may sow confusion.  The Court must also […]

Guidelines on Changing Your Name in Texas

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

A lot of spouses who are going through divorce are concerned about who should file the divorce case first. This is because they think that the course of the case might not be favorable to them if the other spouse beats them in filing first. Generally, this does not apply when divorce lawyers are representing both of the spouses. The party who is able to file first the divorce petition is Texas is called the Petitioner. The other spouse is called the Respondent. The significance of filing first are discussed below. Location Some of the benefits of filing first with regard to location are the following: Petitioner gets to choose where to file the case; The petitioner may file the case in the county of residence of either spouse provided that all residence requirements are met; Whoever files first can file the case in the county of his residence if both parties live in different ones to ensure that the location of courthouse will convenient for him/her. Initial Filing Fee Payment Paying the Initial Filing Fee may be considered a downside for the petitioner. This is an advantage for the respondent because they can file their an answer which will cost them about nothing to a couple of dollars. The initial filing fee is approximately $300 to $400; The respondent can countersue for divorce by filing a counterpetition which will cost only about  $50 to $100.  The one who files first generally pays more. Timing and Relief Requested When a person files for divorce first, it gives them the advantage with regard to the issues covered at the Temporary Orders hearing. The petitioner can request a hearing for Temporary Orders in the Original Petition for Divorce. The orders will set the following: How the parties will and should behave during […]

The Importance of Filing a Texas Divorce First

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

snooping around
While most think that being married means being one with your spouse, it doesn’t mean that you shed your individuality. Yes, you will share many things with your spouse, but no, you do not become one. Each of you has rights and you can even invoke this against the other. Setting boundaries is not meant to put a wall between you and your spouse, it is a healthy mechanism to preserve your individual rights – and sanity! Trust and respect are the foundations of a good and lasting marital relationship. If you trust your spouse, you should respect his or her rights. And even if you don’t want to, you still have to. After all, it’s what the law mandates. The Texas Constitution recognizes and protects personal privacy from intrusion that is unreasonable. Texas protects individuals against numerous forms of invasion of privacy. This includes public disclosure of private facts, among others. You cannot invade the privacy of your spouse A person cannot intentionally intrude upon another’s seclusion, solitude, or private affairs through physically invading their property or by eavesdropping on a private conversation via microphones, wiretaps, or spying – even when married to each other. Also, snooping around is a big no-no. Snooping around between spouses has been increasing as the technology for modern surveillance becomes more accessible and affordable. Marriage does not remove an individual’s right to privacy A case in Texas ruled by the state’s Court of Appeals stated that there is nothing in Texas law that suggests that the right of privacy is only applicable to people who are unmarried. The actions of a spouse in recording the other spouse who the former believes is in complete privacy, could be considered as an invasion of privacy. This violation is considered a tort that could entitle the […]

Right to Privacy Between Spouses