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Recent Blog Posts

How can a parent's substance abuse issue affect custody?

 Posted on April 28, 2022 in Child Custody

Texas courts prioritize keeping both parents positively involved in children's lives when they divorce or separate. Under a custody order, a child usually lives primarily with one parent, but both typically receive joint custody and work together to make important decisions for their child.

However, when your former partner's drug or alcohol abuse or addiction puts your child's safety at risk, there are steps you can take to protect them by changing a child custody order. Texas law allows modifications when a material or substantial change occurs in the parent-child relationship.

How courts respond to substance abuse claims

Texas family courts generally take quick action when a co-parent's substance abuse problems affect their ability to care for their children. This applies to those who abuse illicit drugs or misuse prescription medications. How courts react typically depends upon when the issue is raised:

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How does parental relocation work in Texas?

 Posted on April 01, 2022 in Child Custody

Life is ever-changing. As such, child custody orders aren’t always permanent. In Texas, modifications to possession orders are possible when one parent needs to make a substantial change, such as moving to another part of the state or out of state for a new job.

Child custody disputes are often the most hotly contested divorce issues. Parental relocation requests are challenging regardless of whether you are the parent who wants to move, or you oppose your co-parent's request for a modification. These requests can be difficult to resolve because of the strong preference that children maintain frequent and consistent contact with both parents. In most cases, a relocation request disrupts that relationship.

Courts consider the child's best interests

Texas family courts typically place geographic restrictions over a child's residency to ensure continuing contact with both parents after a divorce. When one parent needs to relocate, courts consider the child's age and other factors, including:

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What should I know if I’m considering a divorce?

 Posted on April 01, 2022 in Divorce

Spring is here, and for many Texans, it's a time of hope and renewal after a long and stressful two years. It's also a time for many couples to reassess their marriages, especially those who put divorce plans on hold during the pandemic.

If you and your spouse have already separated or attempts to strengthen your marital bond haven’t gone as planned, you may be thinking of taking the next step to ending your marriage. But you likely have a lot of questions.

Focus on the three main divorce issues

The first impact of divorce is always emotional, whether intense sadness or anger. There's nothing wrong with that. In fact, it's the normal way to respond. But once the divorce process begins, it's crucial to focus on the three primary legal aspects:

  1. Child custody: In Texas, custody is called conservatorship. Courts generally award joint managing conservatorship, meaning parents share in decision-making for their kids, even if they primarily live with one parent. The parent without primary custody is called the possessory conservator. If you and your spouse disagree on a parenting plan, a court will decide for you.

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Why should I consider a collaborative divorce?

 Posted on April 01, 2022 in Collaborative Divorce

If you model your strategy after popular films or TV dramas portraying divorce, you’d likely pursue a high-conflict court battle to air your grievances against your soon-to-be ex-spouse. If your partner cheated or neglected you during the marriage, you have every right to feel that way.

But, in real life, only a small percentage of divorces go to trial. In fact, less than 10% result in litigation. The majority of divorcing couples want the experience to be quick and painless, especially if they have children. A peaceful resolution is usually best for everyone.

The benefits of collaboration

Collaborative law seeks to preserve the interests of both spouses in a divorce. It's an approach that stresses the areas where you agree and tries to find creative solutions for the issues where you don’t see eye to eye. Here are some of the main benefits:

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Why should my fiancé and I consider a prenuptial agreement?

 Posted on April 01, 2022 in Prenuptial Agreements

Preparing for a wedding is an exciting and joyous time. Let's face it. Most people believe talking about a prenuptial agreement can be a real buzzkill for people in love. No one wants to think about how their relationship will end.

But adopting a different mindset over prenups can bring many benefits. Texas couples who have gone through the process realize it's one of the best ways to have meaningful discussions early on that can provide peace of mind for circumstances that are impossible to predict.

How a prenup works

Prenuptial agreements are legal contracts showing how assets will be treated during a marriage as well as if divorce happens. Also called premarital agreements, prenups help couples:

  • Identify assets and estates for each party
  • Outline marital vs. separate property
  • Define property and alimony rights

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How do I avoid parenting time issues during spring break?

 Posted on March 01, 2022 in Child Custody

Winter is winding down, and many families – especially the kids – anxiously await spring break. For divorced or separated parents, this can be a stressful time as it affects the regular possession schedule. But making this an enjoyable experience for your kids should be the goal for both you and your ex.

If you and your co-parent follow a Texas Standard Possession Order (SPO), you likely already know that the Lone Star State has an odd-even schedule over spring break possession. The rules differ depending on whether parents live within 100 miles of each other.

Spring break parenting time rules

Under an unmodified SPO, co-parents who live within 100 miles alternate possession during spring break each year. For 2022, that means possessory conservators – noncustodial parents – have the children. The rules state:

  • Possession begins at 6 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for spring vacation.
  • Possession ends at 6 p.m. on the day before school resumes.

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How can I help my child's relationship with their other parent?

 Posted on March 01, 2022 in Co-Parenting

Some psychologists believe divorce is 95% emotional and 5% legal. After all, we’re only human and intense feelings naturally consume our thoughts. That can be especially true if your marriage and divorce were fraught with significant conflict and hard feelings.

But focusing on the other 5% is vitally essential for you and your children's well-being. Determining custody and parenting time is at the top of the list. It's well documented that any conflict between parents harms children. But how should you deal with any lingering anger or resentment?

Five steps to strengthen your child's relationship

Many co-parents have a healthy rapport with their former partner, which is the best scenario for children. Others may justifiably hold onto anger. Try to let go of those feelings and focus on what's best for your kids. They also feel those intense emotions, which can cause more harm. Even if you can’t fully let go of the negativity, here are five steps that can immeasurably help:

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Helping adult children cope with your divorce

 Posted on March 01, 2022 in Divorce

When parents decide to end their marriage, most of our thoughts automatically go to the impact on a divorcing couple's young children. But many Texas parents split up later in life, some after several years or even decades of being together.

If you are age 50 or older and have gone through or are considering a so-called “gray divorce,” you should be aware of its impact on your adult kids. Many older children report feeling intense pain and a host of distressing emotions when their parents decide to call it quits.

Don’t overlook the signs

As a parent, you only want what's best for your children. But if they’re over 21 and out of the house, you might think they are old enough to roll with the punches. After all, they may have already graduated from college and started their own family. Or they might be pursuing a college degree or have started their career.

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How could my job affect my divorce outcome?

 Posted on March 01, 2022 in Child Support

Texas spouses undergoing a divorce have three main legal issues to work out in their divorce decree. These include establishing conservatorship (custody) for their children, dividing assets and debts, and sharing future income.

If you are the family's breadwinner, there's a strong chance you may end up paying child support and spousal maintenance. If that's the case, it's crucial to understand how any career-related changes affecting compensation could impact your support requirements.

Three situations that can affect support obligations

Texas uses a formula to calculate child support based on the noncustodial parent's net income and resources. The lower-earning spouse must request spousal maintenance. In either situation, it's essential to know how any changes to your income can affect these payments. Here are three scenarios:

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Special Issues Involved in Military Divorces

 Posted on February 01, 2022 in Divorce

In family law parlance, a “military divorce” is a marital dissolution in which at least one of the parties involved is active military, or part of the National Guard, or part of the military reserves. Military divorces are basically a separate type of dissolution because these divorces have their own requirements and considerations. If you or your spouse are military personnel, and you’re planning (or desiring) a divorce, you should be aware of these requirements and considerations.

The Right to Postpone While on Active Duty

One of the key things to know about military divorces is that the divorce proceedings may be postponed while someone is on active duty. This is true even when the petitioner files the initial documentation correctly. If a spouse is away on active duty, and the petitioner initiates a divorce, proceedings may be postponed as long as both the respondent spouse (on active duty) and local court agree to do so. Furthermore, the court may also delay the proceedings for 60 days after the service member returns. Active duty personnel may elect to waive this right if they wish to speed the divorce process along without any postponements.

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