General Information

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

divorce money
The family is the basic social institution in every State, that is why many laws are implemented to preserve its sanctity and to protect it at all costs. However, unavoidably, there are factors which call for the dissolution of marriage which, if not completely destroying it, causes a slit in the marital bond. The family, just like many others, is not immune to flaws and imperfections.  The process of getting through familial issues is both psychologically and financially burdensome, especially when there are debts to pay or there are children involved. While this is not a smooth ride for you and your family, we have laid down the things you should take note of and consider financially when you are faced with a family law case, just to help lift a little weight on your shoulders. Getting a Divorce Divorce is the most common kind of a family law case, frequently involving matters concerning property division, spousal supports and if a child or children is in the picture, then child custody, visitation and support. The Cheaper Option If you are considering to get a decree of divorce, there are two options available for you: to settle the case alone with your spouse, or to hire a lawyer. The former is cheaper compared to the latter, since there are no legal fees to bear in mind. However, this process requires both you and your spouse to be in a quality relationship so that you would be able to work on your ideal outcomes during and after the divorce, this includes property division and other familial affairs between you and your spouse.  There is lesser work if you do not have common children, but if you do, visitation, child support, and custody are matters added to your plates.  If You have Extra […]

How Much is Too Much? Financial Considerations in Family Law Cases

bigamous marriage
The usual notion of marriage consists of two major attributes. Firstly, that the marriage will last a lifetime. This is why we have the vow that only death will part the married couple. The second attribute of marriage is that it is only meant for one person. The legal definitions of marriage are also based on those two attributes.  As we all know, there are many instances when the spouse could not deliver on this promise. Most of the time, they end up in divorce, but there are instances when they also result in bigamy. Texas Law on Bigamy The legal definition of bigamy is when you marry someone while you are still married to another person. In Texas, the Family Code states that adults can only enter into one marriage. Thus, any other marriages will not be recognized. The spouse from the existing marriage is considered as the legal one until the first marriage is legally dissolved.  This means that the second spouse is not recognized by law. The existence of the first marriage voids the second. There is no way around it until they are divorced or annulled.  It is very important for you, as the second spouse, to understand that you do not have any rights or privileges as a married individual. All of these rights belong to the spouse from the original marriage. You will not have any tax benefits, you cannot be the beneficiary of insurance or 401k plans, nor will you be considered for any life-or-death decisions. Those still belong to the first—and technically, the legal spouse. Another detail that you must take note is that any property that your spouse will accumulate during the time of your marriage will be considered as community property for the first spouse. That means you do not […]

I am in a Bigamous Marriage, What are My Rights as the Second Spouse?

Ways how Social Media Impacts Law
In the age of information and technology, majority of the people in the world know or have access to social media. It is mainly used for entertainment and information-sharing. While this is true, social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. also raises some ethical problems. In gathering evidence, a lot has given their opinions on the recent practice of evidence collection through the use of social media sites. The courts are acknowledging the implications of a lawyer who uses information from a social media profile of an unrepresented witness. In Family Law and Divorce specifically, the following are some examples of the use of social media in evidence collection: Facebook, Dating Services sites can help in collecting evidence of affairs of husband and wife; On-line commentary by spouses and children indicate state of mind, both positive and negative, and fitness to have custody; Availability of evidence regarding assets, resources and job prospects; Photos and other vacation information online that show custody orders violations as well as travel restrictions; Protective orders violations and stalking done through tweets, sending friend requests, etc.; Potential bias and connections by professionals, experts and others who may be called to testify as indicated by a number of different Internet or Facebook friendship and association. While there is no established rule, using deception in order to access the social media page of an unrepresented party for use in litigation should not be done. Lawyers must keep in mind that although social media is a new medium, this does not mean that it is an unregulated one. The professional conduct rules that apply to conventional means of communication also apply to social media. Another major issue is the possibility of destruction of evidence from social media when litigation is inevitable or is currently happening. Changing privacy settings […]

How Social Media Impacts Family Law

Marriage is a union between two people who want to share their life together “for richer, for poorer.” It is common knowledge that they are to share their assets, and that is usually a pleasant discussion. However, when liabilities are the topic, specifically debt, how much accountability does a spouse have? The laws in Texas have specific guidelines with regards to the extent of responsibility you have for your spouse’s debt. Here are some factors that need to be considered: Community Property Laws One key factor to consider is that the state of Texas recognizes Community Property Laws. Thus, every property that the couple acquires or purchases is deemed community property. The exceptions are the property acquired prior to the marriage or property inherited or received as a gift to him/her alone. How does this apply to liabilities? Under typical circumstances, both spouses are equally liable for the debts incurred, regardless of whose account it was charged to. However, there are different situations which often result in different extents of liability. Divorce It is a misconception that Community property also translates into community debt. While it is true that spouses are responsible for each other, that concept is limited to “necessities.” That extends to the purpose of the debt incurred. If the debt was used to acquire necessary items like food, shelter or clothing, it is considered community debt. A credit card charge for a luxury bag, for example, may be disputed as an exception to community debt. It may not seem equitable for the spouse to be liable for that after divorce. However, there are also exceptions to this. Debts Incurred as a Couple There are instances when debt is incurred as a couple, and this agreement is recognized by the divorce court. Thus, if both spouses agree to […]

Am I Responsible for My Spouse’s Debt?

starting a divorce
Should the time come and you and your spouse decide to get a divorce, it would be good to at least know what you need to do before you file for one. By doing so, you’re at least prepared for it and aware of what you’ll need to get the divorce and what processes you’ll have to undergo to get it. Residency To be able to file for a divorce in Texas, you should be able to fit into one of two requirements. At least one of you has to be a resident of the state for at least six months before you file for it or you should have at least lived in the country where you are getting the divorce for 90 days. If you fit into either of these, you can continue to file your divorce. Paperwork Of course, to file for a divorce, you’ll need to make sure you have your paperwork sorted out. Do your research and find out what documents and forms the state of Texas requires. Also, make sure you’ve filled out the forms properly. You can do the paperwork with the help of a lawyer to be sure that you don’t miss anything. You can also seek the help of knowledgeable friends or those who already went through a divorce. Cost The process of filing for your divorce will obviously cost you. Make sure you take note of the fees you need to pay for the process. Have a little extra money set aside for any other costs that might come up such as court fees. The process of getting your divorce finalized will last for at least 60 days. That’s once you get the paperwork done and paid the fees. The sooner you get all the details of your divorce ironed […]

What You Need to Know Before Starting a Divorce in Texas

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There has been a lot of discussion recently in regards the recently proposed House Bill 623. This bill essentially proposes to allow Texas to circumvent federal court decisions in regards to declaring gay marriage bans unconstitutional. However, rather than continue the discussion of whether gay marriage should or should not be legal, this bill poses some interesting questions in regards to a state’s ability to circumvent the federal courts. The Texas attorney general has already appealed the previous federal court decision from February of last year to the 5th circuit courts, and oral arguments on that issue will be taking place imminently. However, this bill appears to be proposed as a legislative mechanism to avoid the courts entirely. The strangest thing about this to me is that it is being proposed BEFORE the judicial avenues have been exhausted, which makes little sense, as it could be rendered effectively moot by a favorable outcome in the 5th circuit courts by the attorney general. As an attorney, from a procedural standpoint, this is a fairly troubling issue as the intent is clearly to strip power from the judiciary. Though the chances of success may be low, the intent is still there and still bothersome regardless. The methodology of this attack seems to hurt its own legitimacy as well, as the attack is based on protecting state sovereignty over the issue of marriage, however it is ignoring the legitimacy of the judiciary. The point of protecting state sovereignty I can completely get behind, however the better mechanism of doing this is through the courts, exactly as the attorney general is doing. Trying to protect sovereign powers by ignoring others is an inherently flawed plan, and only serves to give ammunition to those who choose to disrespect Texas as a whole. Perhaps this bill is […]

Gay Marriage and State Sovereignty

To Immunize or Not Science and medical research have come a pretty long way. Health care has vastly improved and benefited humankind since its inception. There is the development of drugs, finding safer ways to perform surgeries and new technologies for diagnosis and treatment. Despite all the science and research, it may still be hard to convince people of what is necessary and effective. A good example of this would be when it comes to immunizations. For the past few years or so, doubt regarding the safety and necessity of vaccines has been coming up. There are movements where parents choose not to vaccinate their children. It’s not much of a problem if you and your co-parent are on the same page. What if you’re not? Vaccines and Distrust Towards Them The Good Since the development of the first vaccine by Edward Jenner, it was discovered that certain diseases could be prevented. The eventual development of vaccines has helped decrease the incidence of diseases that were discovered to be preventable, even eradicating smallpox and polio. Vaccines eventually became a useful tool for public health. It proved to help keep people healthy by controlling the occurrence of diseases. Immunizations work by helping people get immunity to those certain diseases. The Bad While this seemed to be a great thing, a study in the 1990s came out claiming that vaccines caused autism. This caused people to panic and begin to avoid vaccinations. Eventually, the study was debunked. However, damage done to people’s perception of vaccines could not be undone. It left distrust as to the efficacy of vaccines. And as if that wasn’t enough, people began to even think that vaccines had been just a way for “Big Pharma” to make money out of people and also get them sick just so […]

What to Do When My Spouse and I Disagree on Our Child’s Immunization