Blog on Divorce and Family Law
Learning some basic information about divorce and family law can help prepare you for the legal issues you face. Our attorneys believe that honest advice, straight talk and some basic legal knowledge can make a big difference. A legal issue is a two-sided coin ─ your side versus the other side. Our job is to apply our knowledge, skills and experience to help you get the results you want. However, that doesn’t mean there is no participation on your part. You have important decisions to make that affect your future. The better you understand, the better you are at making smart decisions.
We hope you find our blog useful. Of course, forming a client-attorney relationship is the only way to receive legal advice, and these posts are not intended as legal advice nor the establishment of a client-attorney relationship.
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Parents often must work together to raise their children for several years after divorce. As the years go by, many parents realize that changes in circumstances may require a modification to their child custody arrangement. Generally, a parent who wishes to modify an existing child custody order must petition the court.
Child Custody Modification in Texas
Under Texas law, either parent may file a petition seeking child custody modification anytime. The petition must be filed in the court that granted the divorce, unless the child has moved. If this has happened, the case may be transferred to the court in the child’s new county. However, there are certain factors that must exist before a court will grant a change in present custody arrangements. Texas family law states that a court may modify a child custody order if the change is in the best interest of the child and one of the following applies:
- The circumstances of the child or parent have materially or substantially changed since the date of the original child custody order or order to be modified.
- The child is at least 12 years of age and will tell the court in private chambers with the judge that he/she would like a change.
- The custodial parent has voluntarily given the child’s care and custody to another person for at least 6 months.
After finding one of the three prerequisites, the court must still consider whether the change will be in the child’s best interest. Texas law states that the best interest of the child “shall always be the primary consideration” during child-custody disputes.
List of Relevant Factors
When examining the best interest of the child, Texas courts typically review a non-comprehensive list of relevant factors, otherwise known as the “Holley” factors. These factors include:
- The desires of the child
- The parental abilities of those seeking custody
- The emotional and physical needs of the child, now and in the future
- The emotional and physical danger to the child, now and in the future
- The programs available to those seeking custody that may assist in promoting the best interest of the child
- The stability of the child’s home
- The plans for the child by those seeking custody
- Any actions, or omissions, by a parent that may show the existing parent-child relationship is not appropriate
- Any excuses for such acts or omissions
There are many other issues that may come to light when a modification of child custody is requested. Requesting a modification of a child custody arrangement is complex and includes several different procedural steps.
A concerned parent should always seek the counsel of an experienced child custody attorney if they find themselves in such a dispute. A knowledgeable attorney can help explain all your options and assist in ensuring your rights are protected.
Ask For Help
If you are facing a change in your circumstances and need to modify your child custody orders, a Texas child custody attorney can help you protect your access to your child. Call C.E. Borman & Associates at 979-846-4090 to discuss your case.
A common issue in divorce and custody matters is the residency restriction that Courts in Texas impose. The state legislature has said that they want to support and promote the relationship between the non-custodial parents and their children. They do this by assuring that there is frequent and accessible contact between the non-custodial parent and their child. In Texas, a residency restriction is applied in almost all divorce and custody cases.
The Courts have determined that in Texas a residency restriction can be as big as Texas or as small as a school district. The size of the geographical area is up to the court’s discretion subject to the facts of the case that they hear at trial. The residency restriction is a court-imposed limitation on where the child can live – not the parents. If you’re the custodial parent of the child, and the court limits the residence of the child, then your residence is also limited. When one parent wants to move away with the child, the court hearing the custody case must determine whether the move is in the child’s best interest as well as the public policies set forth in the Texas Family Code.
Factors For and Against
In addition to using the Texas Family Code, the court may consider other factors for and against the move. These considerations include the child’s age, opportunities the move will provide, accommodation of the child’s needs and talents, the non-custodial parent’s ability to relocate, visitation and communication with the non-custodial parent, and relationships with extended family.
If you want a residency restriction in Texas, you need to show that you are active in your child’s life. This means simply exercising the visitation that you have been awarded and attending extracurricular activities. You may want to attend some parent-teacher conferences and take the child to the doctor occasionally. If you are active in your child’s life, then the court will protect your interests because that is the “policy” of the State of Texas.
The same applies to parents who want to remove the residency restriction in Texas. If the parent without custody is active in the child’s life, chances are good that the court will not lift the restriction. However, if there is not a lot of involvement with the child by the non-custodial parent, and the custodial parent who wants to move has a good reason, chances are good that the court will lift the residency restriction.
Ask For Help
If you are facing a custody issue involving a potential move, a Texas child custody attorney can help you protect your access to your child. Call C.E. Borman & Associates at 979-846-4090 to discuss your case.
The holidays are over and now we’re entering what some call the divorce season because divorce filings begin to spike in January, peaking in February and March.
Why do more people take the leap to dissolve their marriages during this time of year?
Perhaps this is because seeing other couples express their Valentines’ affection serves as a wake-up call that our hearts are no longer in it. Or perhaps the withdraw of holiday warmth from December leaves us feeling lonely and despondent in January, and we finally decide to take action in February.
What do you think is the cause?
Experts speculate that unhappily married couples schedule their divorce filings around Valentine’s Day, as well as summer vacations, for a variety of reasons. There are a few explanations why people might time their marital dissolution this way. It might just be too difficult to announce a divorce around family-oriented Christmas time, especially if there are kids involved. Plus, January is a time for making resolutions, and some people resolve to make a fresh start in the new year when they are unhappy in their relationship.
During the summer, couples may look at their vacation as an opportunity to give it one last shot, and what they were hoping would happen didn’t occur. For others, it could be that people don’t want to ruin a family getaway, or that vacations are so stressful they drive the already-dissatisfied to divorce. The more likely reason could be that people decide their differences are irreconcilable right after a big trip.
If you have made up your mind, or if you think it is likely, there are some things you can do to prepare yourself financially.
- Always maintain a level of financial independence.
- Start saving money because divorce is expensive.
- Document your financial history and track everything including your income, your spouse’s income, your expenses, debts and assets.
All of us at C.E. Borman & Associates know how tough wading through the divorce process can be. Feel free to contact our firm at any time if you have questions or need advice. We also invite you to share this blog post with anyone who might find the information useful.
Our Team Is Growing!
To provide clients with the best support and representation possible, C.E. Borman & Associates is growing. We would like to take this opportunity to introduce John Williams, the newest member of our legal team. John is an associate at the firm and brings with him outstanding professional and educational experience.
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We offer legal services to clients in Brazos, Robertson, Madison, Burleson, Grimes, Washington, Austin, Lee and Leon counties.
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