Lisa E. McKnight, P.C. Lisa E. McKnight, P.C.
contact today for a confidential consultation
Phone: 214-528-4191 Toll Free: 866-586-5149
speak with an experienced attorney

Dallas Family Law Blog

What you need to know about Texas community property laws

At Lisa E. McKnight, PC, in Texas, we know that splitting up the property you and your spouse have acquired during your marriage can be very difficult and very complex, especially if you are a high net worth couple. In addition, since Texas is a community property state, you may be unclear as to what constitutes separate property as opposed to marital property.

FindLaw explains that in Texas, all property acquired during your marriage is considered to be community property, assuming you and your spouse did not sign a prenuptial agreement stating otherwise. But just because it is community property does not mean that it will be split 50-50 when you divorce. It is the value of each asset, not the asset itself, that counts.

When can Texas grandparents seek custody or visitation rights?

Grandparents have a special relationship with their grandchildren, yet there are certain circumstances that could compromise this important relationship. When a divorce, a dispute with a biological parent or other issues arise, Texas grandparents may be wondering if they have any legal claim to access or custody of their grandchildren.

If you are a grandparent who has been denied access to your grandchildren or you wish to know if you have grounds to seek custody or visitation rights, you would be wise to seek a full understanding of your legal options. The issue of grandparents' rights is a complex matter, and it is beneficial to have experienced guidance as you seek a reasonable outcome. It is also important to note that there are a variety of limitations here in Texas regarding what circumstances grandparents can seek to assert custody or visitation rights regarding their grandchildren under. 

What is the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction?

If you are a Texas parent who is worried that your children’s other parent may take them to another country for a visit and then refuse to return them, you should be aware of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. This is a treaty between and among 98 countries that have joined together to provide an expeditious method for returning internationally abducted children to the country from which they were taken and in which they habitually reside.

As stated in the Convention document, which was drafted by the Hague Conference on Private International Law in 1980, the objectives of the Convention were and are twofold. Not only does it work to get internationally abducted children returned to their “home” country as quickly as possible, it also works to ensure that the custody laws and rights of each member country are recognized and adhered to by all other member countries.

How can I establish paternity in Texas?

If your child was born in Texas but you were not married to his or her mother at the time of the birth, you have no legal rights to your child nor he or she to you. The Texas Attorney General’s office advises that even when you and the child’s mother are in agreement about your biological fatherhood, Texas does not consider you to be the legal father. In other words, your child has no legal father until such time as you establish your paternity.

Establishing paternity in Texas is a relatively simple procedure, and you have the following three choices about how to do it:

  1. You and your child’s mother can sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity.
  2. You and your child’s mother can sign an agreed paternity order and ask a judge to approve it.
  3. You can ask a judge to declare you the child’s legal father if you and the mother do not agree that the child is yours.

Is your child a sufferer of Parental Alienation Syndrome?

When Texan parents like you feel like you're having to battle your ex-spouse to protect your bonds with your child, the situation can get sticky fast. Lisa E McKnight PC is here to help you identify the potential signs of Parental Alienation Syndrome, or PAS, and guide you through the different ways of handling it.

PAS is a syndrome which comes about usually due to the insistent badmouthing of one parent from the other. This can be done in many ways. Badmouthing can include revealing personal information that children do not need to know, or even making up allegations of abuse that are unfounded. The parent attempting to alienate your child from you may also go out of their way to interrupt your visitation time. They could find ways to otherwise block your access to the child.

When is it possible to adopt my stepchild?

For many Texas families, adoption is a beautiful and appropriate way to expand and grow a family. For you, the adoption of a stepchild may be the best way to legally establish the strong relationship you already have with the biological child of your spouse. If you wish to adopt your stepchild, you would be wise to first understand how this process works and what to expect.

While stepparent adoption may make sense for your family, it can still be a complex process. There are certain legal requirements that you must complete in order to meet your goal of adopting your stepchild. If you wish to move forward with this step, it is prudent to have an experienced legal professional on your side.

Understanding Texas domestic violence laws

Domestic violence is a serious continuing problem in Texas and throughout the nation. As FindLaw explains, Texas defines domestic violence as the use of force that results in unwanted offensive or provocative contact with the victim and/or causes bodily injury. Domestic violence also includes the threat of such conduct and is not limited to violence against a spouse or domestic partner. Victims also can include a family member, household member, past or current dating partner and foster children.

To prove a domestic violence case in Texas, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the alleged perpetrator intentionally or knowing committed the act(s) with which he or she is charged. When the act(s) resulted in bodily injury to the victim, the prosecutor also can present evidence to the court that the alleged perpetrator’s actions were reckless.

When your spouse is hiding assets, where should you go to look?

Divorce is difficult, and for many Texas couples, it brings out conflicts and strife over various issues. One of the most commonly contested issues in a divorce is over property division and money. In some cases, property division is especially complex, and you may think that your spouse has gone so far as to hide certain assets from you. The attempt to hide assets is a maneuver to hold onto marital property that is supposed to be subject to division in the divorce.

Hiding assets is something that occasionally happens when there are significant assets or wealth at stake. Despite the fact that you believe your spouse is attempting to be unfair and prevent you from leaving the marriage with your fair share, there are things that you can do to fight for your interests.

How are visitation rights determined?

When Texan parents get a divorce, you're still left with other big decisions to make. Figuring out visitation rights, for example, is often considered just as stressful if not more so than the divorce process itself. This is where help from legal professionals like Lisa E. McKnight, PC, can come in handy. We work to provide you with an understanding of your child custody options so that the process can go as smoothly as possible.

You can have legal custody of a child without having physical custody, which is where visitation rights come into play. Legal custody means that you have a say over the important decisions in your child's life. This can include educational or health decisions, and religious or other big home life choices. Physical custody, on the other hand, determines who the child will live with. It's possible for one parent to have physical custody while the two of you split legal custody.

Is divorce mediation a good tool for you?

Divorced Texan parents will have a lot on their plate when it comes to determining child custody. This is where Lisa E McKnight PC can step in and help you out. She can offer you guidance through the sometimes complex legalities of child custody and help you reach an arrangement that benefits everybody.

Though this hasn't always been the case, it's becoming frequently common for divorced couples to devote as much equal time to raising their child as possible. Perfectly equal divisions of time and attention aren't always possible. However, parents and family court judges alike now understand the benefits of allowing a child to grow up with equal influences and presences from both of their parents.