Houston Custody & Visitation Law Blog

Tips for grandparents following their child's divorce

When a couple decides to divorce, it is wise for the grandparents to consider how to continue their role in their grandchildren's life going forward. The divorcing spouse is not the only person that will need love and encouragement - grandchildren will appreciate the ability to lean on their grandparents when possible.

Surprise child support payment comes with lottery jackpot

If your ex-spouse or former partner isn't making the required child support payments, what do you do? Those payments are extremely important to you and your child, and in Texas, when a parent fails to pay child support, he or she could face jail time. But the petition to the court to enforce a child support order has to be done right the first time. A dismissed petition can't be re-filed, so many parents need the help of a family law attorney to ensure the proper course of action.

Houston parents with child support concerns might be interested in an unlikely but nonetheless real example of a large amount of back child support suddenly being paid. Most people have to go through the court to enforce a child support order, but the family of the recent Powerball lottery winner was able receive their back support from the million-dollar jackpot.

What factors affect child custody decisions in Texas?

In all Texas child custody cases, the best interests of the children must be the top priority. That can call for some very difficult decision-making for the parents. In particular, sometimes mothers and fathers have to ask themselves, "Would my child be best served by spending more time with my ex than with me?" That is an extremely tough question to say yes to, but sometimes yes is the right answer.

Generally, when a family court in The Woodlands decides who will have custody or, as we say in Texas, conservatorship of a child, the question of who was the most involved parent comes up. This is the case for divorcing parents and parents who were never married.

Jury decides in Deion and Pilar Sanders child custody dispute

Stories of celebrity divorce and child custody disputes are never in short supply. One helpful aspect of these very public conflicts is that they illustrate many of the issues that everyday Americans have to confront outside of the limelight. The child custody dispute between former NFL star Deion Sanders and his wife Pilar is one such case that we've discussed recently.

A couple of weeks ago in Collin County, Texas, a jury ruled in favor of Deion, giving him primary custody of his 11-year-old and 13-year-old sons. Deion and Pilar have been given shared custody of their daughter, who is 9 years old.

Dating online a bad idea in divorce and child custody disputes

We've written before about the way child custody disputes can involve questions about each parent's character and general ability to care for their children. A lot is at stake in these cases, so it's important that Texas parents do what is legally in their power to show their fitness to the court.

Social media such as dating websites are playing a larger role these days in divorce and child custody proceedings. In fact, a survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers points to the rise in divorce cases involving dating websites as evidence. Over 60 percent of the attorneys who responded said that evidence from Match.com had shown up in their divorce cases.

Deion and Pilar Sanders facing the music in child custody trial

Not every child custody case is contentious, and when disputes do arise, not every one of them goes to court. But when a child custody dispute does require litigation, parents need to be prepared to prove their abilities as parents and to show that the best interests of the children are the top priority.

The much-publicized child custody trial between Deion Sanders and his estranged wife Pilar is currently underway in a Texas court. When we consider the number of custody cases decided each day throughout the country, the jury trial option is certainly uncommon.

Keys to petitioning for child support enforcement in Texas

When you petition a Texas court to enforce a child custody or child support order, it is extremely important to get the petition right the first time. If you don't, the petition will be dismissed, and you won't be able to go back and try it again. You need those child support funds, so the key is to come to court fully prepared.

Child custody and child support enforcement cases are complex, so to clarify matters, it is a good idea to provide certain documents and information about the other parent, yourself and your child.

High court: Military father's child custody case is not moot

Late last year, we covered the unfolding story of an international child custody dispute involving an American military father, whose ex-wife and daughter currently live in Scotland. In general, the case raised the question of whether the father has the right to pursue custody of his child if the child's habitual residence is in another country.

Our readers in Houston may recall that the dispute made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court after a lower court ruled that the father's request for custody was moot because of the child's foreign residence. Now, in a unanimous decision, the high court has ruled that the father's case is not moot, and that the court system in the U.S. still has jurisdiction in child custody cases that cross national borders.

Will Texas pass the proposed civil union bill?

Families face a wide range of challenges in matters of child custody. Anyone who has done it knows that co-parenting isn't always easy, but there are legal ways of establishing visitation and child custody plans that work for everyone involved. People who keep up with the news know that family law is changing throughout much of the nation, and Texas is no exception.

Our state has already passed the Texas Marriage Amendment. That law limits marriage to a union between a woman and a man and doesn't legally recognize civil unions.

Raise your hand if you're a perfect parent

Perfection: is it possible in parenting? The short answer (and any parent, married or unmarried, will agree) is no. But sometimes it seems that parents are expected to be perfect. We all know, however, that parenting is often like fending off the unpredictable aspects of life rather than following a predictable course. Children need a sense of security and routine, and it can be a struggle for parents to create those things in life, but it's a necessary struggle.

Hardly anyone expects to get divorced, and hardly anyone knows at first how to go about co-parenting or single-parenting. But in these situations, a solid first step toward protecting the best interests of your child is to establish a workable child custody arrangement. Once that setup is established and accepted, parents can be free to confront the often unpredictable problems of parenting.