Archive for July, 2018

Filing a Divorce on a Spouse Who Lives in Another County or State

Filing a Divorce on a Spouse Who Lives in Another County or State

Before a party can be bound to follow a divorce court’s orders the court must have jurisdiction over that party. Jurisdiction is usually based on a party’s connections with or appearance in the state where the court sits, but what if one of the spouses in a divorce does not live in Texas?

There are still several methods parties can use to gain jurisdiction over a non-resident spouse. Texas law provides for jurisdiction over a non-resident spouse if the couple lived in Texas as their last marital residence within two years of filing for divorce. Even if the parties have not lived in Texas within the last two years there may still be good reasons for a Texas court to exercise jurisdiction based on the non-resident’s contacts and connections with the state. These types of “long-arm jurisdiction” can even extend to parties living in foreign countries, if allowed by international law.

What if your spouse has no connections with Texas whatsoever, and does not intend to return? In these cases it becomes very difficult to establish jurisdiction in a Texas court without consent or appearance by the non-resident spouse. The non-resident spouse may agree to appear in a Texas court but if not he or she may be able to simply ignore the divorce petition. Even if the Texas court does not have jurisdiction over the non-resident spouse, the parties may still be divorced. Texas law provides for “status adjustment” whereby the court can grant a divorce without addressing child custody or division of property.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Can I Request Retroactive Child Support?

Can I Request Retroactive Child Support?

Retroactive child support payments may be something you are considering if a Family Court in Texas just ordered child support from another parent when it’s been long overdue. You may be wondering if it’s possible to receive payments that you would have received if the order has been made by the court earlier.

There are steps you ought to follow if you want to receive retroactive child support payments. There are also steps that the court will go through before it can release an order for retroactive child support payments to be made. First, the court must figure out whether it is appropriate to order such payments to be made. If the court finds that such payments are appropriate for your case, they also need to determine the time period covered by the retroactive child support payments that are to be collected. After that, the court will also have to find out how much the paying parent earns monthly for the years covered by the retroactive child support period.

There are also guideline levels of child support that can be found in the Texas Family Code that is bound to be useful. These will be applied to the income of the paying parent in order to determine the actual child support payments owed. There might also be certain circumstances involved in the case that might cause the court to deviate from the amount of support prescribed by the guidelines. The court will have to consider these circumstances if there are any.

Leave a comment

What is a Protective Order?

What is a Protective Order?

A protective order in Texas is an order that is issued by a judge to prevent continuing acts of family violence, sexual assault, human trafficking or stalking. In Texas a protective order can be civil or criminal.

There are different types of protective orders but we will focus on those most commonly seen in family courts.

Family Violence

In instances of family violence, an Applicant can file a Temporary Ex-Parte Protective Order and an Application for Protective Order. The Temporary Ex-Parte order is granted almost immediately with a pending court date and is effective for 14 days. If granted, a protective lasts for 2 years and in some instances can last up to 4 years.

Who can File?

  1. A prosecuting attorney
  2. An adult household or family member
  3. A person in a dating relationship
  4. The Department of Human and Regulatory Services
  5. An adult seeking to protect child against violent acts

What Evidence Do I Need to Show?

The applicant who is being abused or is protecting a child may not be able to show physical acts of past violence. To get a final protective order it is important to show supporting evidence that your claim of violence has happened and is likely to happen in the future.  Example:

  1. Pictures of damage to property
  2. Police Reports or medical reports
  3. Videos or text messages documenting abuse
  4. Witnesses who have witnessed past incidents of abuse
  5. Showing a pattern of past/prior abusive history

Leave a comment

What are the rights of joint managing conservators in Texas?

What are the rights of joint managing conservators in Texas?

 

Under Texas law, there is the presumption that each of the child’s parents should share joint managing conservatorship. This gives each parent certain rights and duties when it comes to raising the child.

A parent who has conservatorship over the child is entitled to be given information from the child’s other parent regarding the child’s health, schooling and well-being. In addition, they have the right to work together with the child’s other parent to reach an agreement on issues regarding the child’s health, schooling and well-being.

Conservators have the right to attend programs and other types of activities that the child is a part of at school. Conservators also have the right to be designated as an emergency contact for the child. Conservators also have the right to give their consent to emergency health care procedures if the child’s health or safety is being threatened.

When the child is in the conservator’s care (physically), the conservator also has certain rights. They have the right to take care of, protect and discipline the child in a manner that is reasonable. They are obligated to support the physical needs of the child. The have the right to consent to non-invasive health care treatments on behalf of the child. Finally, they are able to decide what religious upbringing the child will have.

Parents who share joint managing conservatorship need to work together when it comes to raising their child. In the end, it is important to ensure that the child’s best interests are being honored.

Leave a comment

WHO SHOULD PAY FOR “BACK-TO-SCHOOL” COSTS?

WHO SHOULD PAY FOR “BACK-TO-SCHOOL” COSTS?

When parents in Texas are going through divorces, they may overlook some potential issues concerning who will be responsible for paying for their children’s back-to-school supplies, clothing and other related expenses. The financial responsibility of paying for these items may depend on the parenting and custody arrangements that the parents have.

Buying all of the items for going back to school can be expensive, and the costs may lead to disputes between the parents. Generally, if one parent has primary custody and the other pays child support, the custodial parent should be responsible for paying for these costs. Child support should include enough money to pay for the ordinary costs of raising the children, including the back-to-school items.

Shared parenting, in which the children spend equal amounts of time with both parents, has become more common. In this type of custody arrangement, both parents should be responsible for paying a portion of the back-to-school expenses rather than one shouldering all of the burdens. Parents might meet and discuss the expenses in order to work out an agreement. In order to prevent disputes in the future, writing detailed parenting plans may prevent small disputes from turning into major arguments.

When parents are divorcing, crafting detailed parenting plans is vital. Parents who divorce should remember that they will need to work together for the benefit of their children.

Leave a comment

Mediation is Crucial in a Texas Divorce

Mediation is Crucial in a Texas Divorce

When couples in Texas divorce, in most counties they have to go through the mediation process first. This can actually be a good thing. It gives couples a chance to resolve their divorce legal issues privately and in a quicker manner than litigation would take. It also lets them keep control over the outcome of their case because mediation may resolve their divorce legal issues in a way that is agreeable to both of them.

Divorce can be an emotionally trying time, and mediation can be one way for couples to part ways in a less traumatic manner. This may especially be true if there are children involved, as any child custody decisions should meet the child’s best interests.

Litigation, however, is sometimes necessary. That being said, judges are neutral decision makers. They can issue decisions on many divorce legal issues, such as child custody, child support, alimony and property division. However, when it comes to litigation, the parties must live with the judge’s decisions, whether they agree with them or not. Therefore, if mediation fails, it is important that each party’s interests are represented in court.

Leave a comment