The 4 Myths About Premarital Agreements You Shouldn’t Believe

Many times the idea of a premarital agreement gets dragged through the mud, as people typically hear about them in conjunction with celebrity divorces. The fact of the matter is that premarital agreements benefit everyone, not just those with a lot of money. They are used to protect your assets and make sure your plans for the future are clear. Of...

A Step-by-Step Guide to Stepparent Adoptions in Texas

As blended families become more and more common and socially accepted these days, it stands to reason that sometimes a stepparent might have the desire to adopt one of their stepchildren. This beautiful and loving request is honored in the state of Texas provided that a few stipulations are met. Let’s explore what the process looks like as w...

Lawful Fatherhood: Understanding Texas Paternity

Becoming a parent is a huge honor as well as a huge responsibility, and in the state of Texas, establishing who a child’s father is can look like a number of different ways. When a couple is married and has a child, the husband is automatically named the child’s father and his name is put on the birth certificate. But what about when a...

4 Key Benefits of Mediating Your Divorce

Divorce always seems to have a negative spin on it, when in fact it can be the right choice for a lot of people. Rather than duking it out in a courtroom and making everyone suffer, a divorce can be handled in an amicable and cooperative way. This method is called mediation, and it holds many benefits over traditional litigation. Let’s explo...

Texas Divorce 101: Contested vs. Uncontested Dissolutions

When a divorce is on the table, there are one of two ways to go. In the state of Texas, you and your spouse can choose to proceed with an uncontested divorce, or take the path of a contested divorce. Both of these options come with their own sets of benefits, so let’s explore each one a little further to determine which one might be right fo...

There’s No Such Thing as Full Custody—Texas Law on Parental Responsibility

Often in custody suits, tempers are flaring and one parent may want to protect children from the other, believing that his or her erstwhile partner is an unfit parent for one reason or another, and want “full custody” over the children. But in Texas, that’s not how divorce works. It is Texas’s public policy to “encoura...

4 Important Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Consider Adoption

Adopting a child is exciting and needs to be thoroughly considered before making a lifelong commitment. When it comes to adoption, what do you imagine it being like? The situation could look very different if you’re adopting an unknown child versus adopting your niece or nephew. Depending on the circumstances, you should be mentally and emoti...

Grandma & Grandpa Have Rights Too

Grandparents and grandchildren can have a tight emotional bond. Texas does not grant intervention rights to grandparents when a family unit is intact and healthy and the children are well-adjusted because a presumption exists that parents will always act in the best interests of their children. Grandparents may, however, petition for court-ordered ...

What is a reconstituted estate and why do I need one?

What is a reconstituted estate and why do I need one? Briefly, what happens in a divorce is that the court will split the assets owned by you and your spouse (the community estate) in a just and right manner. Tex. Fam. Code § 7.001 (2015). Sometimes, however, a spouse has wasted community assets by spending it on a paramour, for example, or a...

What happens to a 529 account during a divorce?

A “qualified tuition plan,” sometimes called a 529 account, is a savings plan to help a family save money for future college expenses. See generally An Introduction to 529 Plans, U.S. Security and Exchange Commission, Jan. 4, 2014, available at http://www.sec.gov/investor/pubs/intro529.htm. These accounts are frequently used by parents...

Understanding the Enforceability of Mediated Settlement Agreements - In re Lee

A mediated settlement agreement is a binding agreement made by the parties pursuant to § 6.602 or, if the suit concerns children, § 153.0071 of the Texas Family Code. The Code states that mediated settlement agreements are binding on the parties if they state in bold, underlined, or capital letters that the agreement is irrevocable, are ...

My ex has threatened me with contempt of court. What does this mean?

If you are not fulfilling certain terms of a divorce decree or an order in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship, the other party may take you back to court to enforce the order. Depending on the underlying order, a party who disobeys a court order could find himself jailed or placed on community supervision for contempt of court. But not...

Separation from a Caregiver and a Child’s Emotional Development

In a family law suit, the law provides that a child’s parents will be named the child’s managing conservators unless such an appointment will “significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional development.” Tex. Fam. Code § 153.131(a). Separating a child from “the only person who has consistently...

The Consequences of a DWI Arrest

Most people don’t know about the potential consequences that come from a Driving While Intoxicated arrest. For example, they don’t know that each arrest really represents two different actions, the criminal case itself, and an Administrative License Revocation or “ALR”. The police aren’t very helpful in explaining it e...

Think you're going to avoid child support by quitting your job? Think again.

Determinations of a child support obligation are determined in part by the child support guidelines of § 154.125(b) of the Texas Family Code. Simply put, the guidelines recommend child support payments be 20% of the obligor parent’s monthly net resources for one child, 25% for two children, and in increasing increments of 5% for up to 5 ...

If you want to make that family law settlement irrevocable, follow the Family Code!

Public policy “encourages the peaceful resolution of disputes” by allowing parties to come to agreements through settlements. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 154.002 (2011). In family law cases such as divorce or child custody disputes, this policy is furthered by sections of the Texas Family Code, e.g., § 6.602—allowi...

Is a parent’s subsequent marriage a material and substantial change?

Section 156.101(a)(1) of the Texas Family Code states that before an order in a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship may be modified, there must be shown that “the circumstances of the child, a conservator, or other party affected by the order have materially and substantially changed” from the time the order sought to be modifi...

Buying property: Put it in writing!

So everyone is familiar with the phrase “my word is my bond.” It is a phrase that is meant to indicate that you can take someone’s words at face value, and that he means what he says. In terms of the law, such a phrase can be best epitomized in the idea of oral contracts. Oral contracts are essentially the same as written contract...

Self-Representation: The Perils and Possibilities

In Galveston County, a person charged with a Class A or B Misdemeanor has a lot of options when it comes to legal representation. For those that show up at their first court appearance without an attorney, the judge of the county court will advise you that you have three options. First, you can waive your right to an attorney and speak to the prose...

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