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Odessa Family Law Blog

Contested adoption leads to child custody fight

Two families are currently at odds over which will have the right to raise a little girl. The case centers on a contested adoption, and the struggle over which family can best provide for the needs of a child who has only known one set of parents. Many people in Texas and across the nation are watching to see how the courts resolve this matter. What is certain is that the outcome will leave a family devastated.

The child in the middle of these legal struggles is now 3 years old. As an infant, she was placed in the care of a foster family when her mother was unable to provide for her needs. Her biological mother approved of the placement, and when the foster family eventually sought to adopt the little girl, she gave them her full support. The biological father was incarcerated at the time of the adoption, and part of the process involved a court hearing in which his parental rights were terminated.

Use divorce as a springboard to new achievements

Far too many Texas residents view the end of a marriage in an overwhelmingly negative manner. In reality, divorce does represent the closing of one door, but it also offers a multitude of new doors to explore. By changing the way that spouses perceive divorce, there are a number of benefits that can be gained. One is the ability to pursue entrepreneurship in the months and years following the end of a marriage.

For most people, time seems to move more rapidly once one is past his or her early adulthood years. That sense of a quickening pace can be excellent motivation to begin a new path right now, today. Moving past a broken marriage can provide a great sense of renewal and freedom, and a desire to choose a new path. Making that path one that can provide financial benefits is a great way to turn lemons into lemonade.

One state could lose "no-fault" divorce option

When a Texas couple has tried and failed to save their marriage, they are able to end the union with relative ease. That's because Texas offers couples the ability to end a marriage using a "no-fault" divorce option. One state, however, is considering legislation that would put an end to no-fault divorce.

The state in question currently allows couples to end their marriage for any one of several reasons. Adultery, impotence, abandonment, cruelty and fraud are all grounds for divorce, as is "incompatibility," meaning simply that the couple can no longer bear to be together. One lawmaker is trying to remove incompatibility as a basis for divorce.

One state will consider pet "custody" during divorce

Many Texas residents are aware that family courts are unlikely to weigh in on the "custody" of pets. Now, however, one state has enacted legislation that will compel family court judges to change the way that pet custody issues are handled during divorce. That comes as a relief to pet owners who feel strongly that their animals deserve to live with the party who is best able to provide for their care.

The new law was signed into effect on Jan. 17. It states that judges must consider the well-being of pets when faced with a case in which the parties are unable to come to an agreement on pet ownership. The law also allows for joint custody of a pet, if the court determines that to be the best available course of action.

Subpoenas issued in Jesse Jackson Jr. divorce

Readers in Texas may be aware of the breakdown of the marriage between former United States Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife, former Alderman Sandi Jackson. The couple are preparing to divorce after having served prison sentences for the misappropriation of funds that were intended for Jesse Jackson Jr.'s election campaign. Their split is making recent headlines over several subpoenas that have been issued.

The couple are at odds over where their divorce case should be heard. Jesse Jackson Jr. claims that the divorce should be heard in Chicago, where they both worked as public servants. Sandi Jackson wants the case to be heard in Washington, D.C. where they have worked and own a home. Jurisdiction can make a significant difference in the outcome of a divorce, and is an issue with many couples.

Meeting with a pediatrician during a Texas divorce

When Texas parents are divorcing, kids take on a certain degree of stress. Even in situations in which it is clear that divorce is the best course of action, children are still placed in a challenging position when faced with the reality that their lives are about to change. Many will assure their parents that they are doing fine with the divorce, and they will put up a good front for a considerable length of time. In reality, however, they may be struggling and might need the help of a counselor.

One way to be sure that kids are adjusting properly to the news of a divorce is to work with their pediatrician to get a full screening. Let the physician know that the family is going through a transition and that the child has been placed under a greater level of stress than normal. That information allows the pediatrician to broach the subject with the child in order to assess his or her emotional stability.

Addressing an inherited business during property division

Dividing marital wealth is one of the most central parts of any Texas divorce. When a spouse has inherited a business, understanding how those assets will be handled during property division is a concern for both parties. Businesses that are inherited fall under different rules than those that are built from the ground up, and understanding those differences is critical to reaching a fair division of wealth.

One of the most important places to begin is by examining any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements that are in place. In many cases, marital contracts will clearly outline how business assets would be addressed in the event of a divorce. Issues related to inheritance are also commonly included in a prenup or postnup. If there is no marital contract at play, then a portion of the value of the business will usually be subject to division.

More drama in settled Johnny Depp divorce case

Few Texas readers will have escaped media coverage of the end of the marriage of Johnny Depp and his former wife, Amber Heard. The couple, married for less than two years, parted ways after an alleged domestic violence incident this year. They settled their divorce quickly, but have continued to struggle over the details of that settlement.

Shortly after the divorce was made public, Heard released a statement claiming that she intends to donate the money received from the divorce to various charities that support women and children. The total settlement amount was $7 million. That said, it is unclear what portion of that total will be in cash, and what might be held in items of property or legal fees paid by Depp.

The importance of insuring child support payments

When two parents go through a divorce, issues related to their shared children can be among the most emotionally-charged matters at play. Child custody and visitation are often in contention, as is the manner in which the child or children will be cared for financially. Child support is an important topic for many Texas parents, but quite a few divorcing parents fail to give insurance proper consideration. 

If the custodial parent relies upon child support to provide for a child's needs, then it is very important that those payments are made as planned. For some, fears about missed payments are minimal, as both parents feel confident that each will do what is right for the children. However, what happens if one parent passes away before the children are adults?

How to limit visitation with an abusive parent

A custody fight is never a simple or easy matter, but some Texas parents face a legal battle that includes an additional layer of stress. When a parent is trying to protect his or her child from harm at the hands of the other parent, things can quickly become complicated. Limiting visitation with an abusive parent can be an uphill legal battle, and one in which there are few guarantees of success.

When approaching this type of child custody case, the parent who is seeking to protect his or her children from harm must have a very well-organized legal strategy. Unfortunately, courts often hear false allegations of child abuse that are made in an attempt to unfairly limit the rights of the falsely accused party. That has led courts to take a very critical approach to all claims of abuse, an outcome that can bring a great deal of harm to children.