Terry L. Hart, Attorney at Law

Houston Family Law Blog

Father's rights in Texas child custody and visitation

Many children are born to parents who are not married in Texas. Modern couples do family their own way, which often does not involve marriage. When a couple no longer wants to remain together, child custody and visitation may come into play.

In Texas, fathers must first secure their right as a father and establish paternity. A father in an unmarried relationship does not have legal rights until paternity is established. A simple cheek swab can establish a father's paternity rights.

Want to adopt your stepchild? Here is what you should know

Blended families can be a wonderful thing, and the love you have for your stepchildren may be the same as if they were your own biological kids. In fact, you may want to make your special bond official by moving forward with the adoption process. It can be a little complicated when adopting stepchildren, and it's smart to know what to expect from the process before you proceed.

There are certain legal requirements you will have to meet in order to complete the stepparent adoption process, and there are a few obstacles to overcome along the way. Preparation is key to your success in your effort to formalize the relationship you have with your stepkids. It may help to seek an evaluation of your case and learn more about the process ahead. 

How long does spousal support last in a Texas divorce settlement?

Despite a couple's best intentions, not all marriages last forever. When a person believes their marriage may be heading for dissolution, they may wonder what they will need to work out during a divorce. For many couples, spousal support may be part of the divorce equation.

There are many issues that are worked out in a divorce settlement. Besides property division, child support, child custody arrangements and spousal support may need to be decided. A person who is ordered to pay spousal support may wonder how long this arrangement will last.

Stability for the kids starts with a good parenting plan

As a parent, you want to protect the physical, emotional and mental well-being of your children over anything else in the world. If you decided to move forward with divorce, you may have concerns over how you will continue to do that during and after the process if final. One of your main goals is to provide the youngest members of your Texas family with safety and security for the foreseeable future. 

An important element of protecting your kids is providing them with a strong and sustainable custody and visitation agreement. You can do this by drafting a thoughtful parenting plan that allows your children to have continued and regular access to both parents well after the process is final. To accomplish this, you will have to work alongside the other parent to create a plan that will suit the needs and interests of your unique family.

No-fault divorce in Texas

Although Texas couples expect their marriage will last forever when they decide to finally tie the knot, divorces still occurs frequently. Going through a divorce can be an emotional time with a lot at stake. Many people who are going through a divorce may wonder if no-fault divorce is an option in Texas and what it means.

In Texas, no-fault divorce is an option for a couple going through a divorce. A no-fault divorce means that neither party involved in the divorce needs to provide evidence that someone is at fault for the divorce. Instead, the divorce petition will list "insupportability" as the reason for the divorce. Other reasons that can be given for a divorce in Texas include adultery, cruelty, abandonment, living apart, confinement in a mental hospital or conviction of a felony.

Mineral rights in a divorce

When a Houston area couple gets married, they often assume their marriage will last forever. Although this is the case for some couples, many more result in a divorce. Property division in a divorce is one of the most complicated aspects of a divorce, and when there are mineral rights involved, it can be extremely difficult.

Many Texas families have mineral rights as part of their family assets. In Texas, as part of land ownership, the minerals under the land can also be included. There are five components of mineral rights. One is the right to have access to exploit the minerals, two is the right to receive royalty payments for the minerals, three is the right to execute a mineral lease, four is the right to receive delay rentals and five is the right to receive bonus payments.

Components of child support in Texas

There are many children in Texas whose parents are no longer together. Although they are no longer a family unit, these parents still love their children and want the best for them. Typically, the parent who is not the primary caregiver will need to pay child support.

How does child support work in Texas? In Texas, the noncustodial parent will typically have child support obligations. There are two components of child support in Texas. One is regular child support and the other is medical. Child support is determined based on the child's best interest. Each situation is unique, and some children may need additional support due to medical issues or a disability.

Making your parenting plan work when school's out

You may not be ready to think about it yet, but it is only a matter of weeks before school is out and the kids are home for summer vacation. While you may have many fun things planned for the children, it is also true that your normal routine will likely go right out the window. This may be especially difficult to control if you are dealing with a shared custody arrangement.

When you and your ex were going through your divorce, custody was likely one of the sticking points. Undoubtedly, you each had your own ideas for what is best for the children, even if you agreed on the big picture. Whether you and your ex have an amicable co-parenting arrangement or you barely get through the custody exchanges, it is a good idea to begin as soon as possible making your plans for the end of the Texas school year.

Divorce mistakes that can be costly

When a Houston couple gets married, they often believe their marriage will last forever. But unfortunately, some marriages run into problems, and a divorce becomes imminent. If a couple is headed towards a divorce, there are certain things they should keep in mind in order to keep the divorce from unexpectedly costing them more than they expected.

When a couple is going through a divorce, there are certain mistakes they may make that can end up costing them. One mistake that many have made is posting too much information on social media. When a couple is negotiating a divorce settlement and one partner is posting about a vacation they just took, that could result in unexpected financial consequences.

Special needs children and child support

Many families in the Houston area have a child with special needs. Families who have special needs children understand the amount of time and money that the child requires. In these cases, it is important for families to keep the best interest of their child in mind when it comes to child support.

When there is a child support issue involving a child with special needs it can be a complicated matter. The Texas Family Code requires that a child is classified as having special needs if they are not able to care for themselves or live on their own due to a medical or mental health problem. Parents can disagree over what conditions may qualify their child as special needs. The courts decide this on a case by case basis, so the parents need to gather all of the information necessary for the court to make an informed decision. The information should include medical records, school records, occupational therapists, mental health counselors, etc. Once a child has been classified as special needs, it is important to figure out what expenses the child has, including medical expenses, travel expenses, special equipment needed, etc. Child support can continue past a special needs child's 18th birthday. In Texas, child support for special needs children does not follow the general child support guidelines so there can be a substantial impact on a family's budget.

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Terry L. Hart, Attorney at Law
4265 San Felipe Street
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Houston, TX 77027

Toll Free: 877-576-7390
Phone: 713-581-1773
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