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Family Law Archives

Common Law Marriage in Texas

A common law marriage is when a couple lives together for a period of time and holds themselves out to friends, family, and the community as "being married," but never goes through a formal ceremony or get a marriage license.

Governor Greg Abbott signs bills for "community-based foster care" and other major CPS changes

Governor Greg Abbott has recently signed a number of bills aimed at improving child protection in Texas. After much controversy over the broken system, lawmakers have been working to target major issues, providing the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services the options and resources to do what needs to be done for these children.

Parental Alienation - What to Avoid & How to Recognize Symptoms

Divorce brings out the worst in people, but that should never extend to children of the relationship. While parents sort out their dispute, they should do their best to shield their children from the nitty gritty details. Unfortunately, however, some take the divorce as opportunity to poison their children against the other parent-essentially demanding that a child choose "sides." This, in a very general sense, is Parental Alienation.

Don't Let Emotions Guide Decision-making in Divorces

Divorce can be a painful and difficult process to go through. Unfortunately, some people use their divorce as a tool for revenge and vengeance towards their spouse without realizing the price they will personally pay in the long run. It is not uncommon for spouses in the middle of a divorce proceeding to deliberately do things to provoke an emotional reaction from each other. Frequently, this causes unnecessary funds to be depleted and needless emotional heartache.

Co-Parenting in Separation and/or Divorce

"Co-parenting" is used to describe parents that are separated or divorced that work together to raise their children. In co-parenting circumstances, parents usually share responsibility for raising their children even though the parents no longer live in the same home together. When parents have a cooperative and supportive relationship in regards to their children, it benefits the children and the family altogether.

Tortious interference with inheritance rights in Texas--Yes or No?

Pending before the Texas Supreme Court is this very question: Does Texas law recognize a claim for tortious interference with inheritance rights? At this time, there is a split between Texas appellate courts. Courts in San Antonio, Houston, and El Paso have recognized a cause of action for tortious interference with inheritance rights. Austin has held that the cause of action does not exist and therefore cannot be enforced. The Fort Worth Court of Appeals, however, has not made an affirmative finding.

Child Protective Services (CPS): The Light at the End of the CPS Tunnel

An absolute fear of any parent is having your child removed by Child Protective Services (CPS). Suddenly, complete strangers need to know every little detail about your life and your child's life, and your every move is being monitored. While it may seem stressful, there is a light at the end of the CPS tunnel: your child will end up in the best situation possible under the facts.

How Does Texas Treat Gestational Agreements?

Over the past four decades there has been a steady rise of the average age of first time mothers. In 1970 the average age of a first-time mother was 21.4; this number grew to 24.9 in 2000, which increased again to 25.2 in 2009, and again to 26.3 in 2014. The National Center of Health Statistic released these statistics in a January 2016 Data Brief showing this trend. With couples deciding to start families later in life, actually becoming pregnant can often be a common complication. This, coupled with the long standing shortage of adoptable children in this country has led many couples to enlist a gestational mother (previously known as a surrogate) in order to have a child with their own genetic material. This form of assisted reproduction involves at least three people that enter into what is called a gestational agreement (previously known as a surrogacy contract). The terms that the Family Code uses for the parties of these gestational agreements include: "gestational mother" as the woman who gives birth to the child; "donor" as the person(s) who contribute the genetic material for the child; and "intended parents" as the couple intended to raise the child. As with any form of contracting, this has led to disputes and these disputes have led to new law.