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Dallas Family Law Blog

Take your co-parenting game to the next level this holiday season

With the end of the year rapidly approaching, most Texas parents are eagerly making their holiday plans. Whether booking flights or buying the perfect ingredients for a family favorite, it is an exciting time of year. But what are you supposed to do now that you are divorced? Co-parenting through the holidays can be difficult, but not impossible.

Worried about missing out on precious holiday moments? You are not alone in this. Many other divorced parents struggle with this time of year. Here are some tips to implement on top of your established child custody agreement.

What is an MOEP?

Imagine the following scenario: you are sitting alone after having been assaulted by your spouse, who was arrested a result. What should you do know? If that describes the situation you currently find yourself in, then that question deserves serious contemplation. Whether this is the first time your spouse has been abusive to you, or this is simple the latest incident in a repeated pattern of domestic violence in Dallas, you need to consider how you can protect yourself and those you love. As difficult and as daunting as it may sound, seeking a protective order is likely your best option. 

Fortunately, Texas law allows you to seek one right now (while your spouse is still in custody). A Magistrate's Order for Emergency Protection can be requested at your spouse's initial criminal hearing. The magistrate hearing the case can immediately issue the order, which provides the same protections as any other type of protective order, including barring your ex-spouse from approaching you at home or at work, going near your children's schools or possessing a firearm. An MOEP will remain in effect for up to 61 days (that period can be extended to 91 of the domestic assault your spouse was arrested for involved a weapon). 

Nations that have signed the Hague Convention

Texas parents may wonder if there is any international law that they can turn to if their children are abducted and taken overseas. The Hague Convention does establish a formal law to handle international custody disputes between the nations that have signed it. However, not every nation is a signatory to this treaty, and even some that have signed on to it do not always fully comply with its requirements.

The current list of countries that have signed the Hague Convention is available on the U.S. Department of State’s website. As of November of 2018, ninety-eight countries are actively participating as signatories to the agreement. The scope of the treaty as it currently stands covers the American continents, Europe, and Australia. However, participation by Asian countries is mixed, and only several nations in Africa have signed onto the convention.

What is common law marriage?

If you currently live with someone in Texas, it may surprise you to discover that the two of you could be legally married even though you never had a wedding ceremony or got a marriage license. The reason for this is that Texas is one of the 16 states that recognizes common law marriage.

Per marriage.org, the doctrine of common law marriage dates back to the common law of England. Under this doctrine, a consenting couple can, under certain circumstances, establish their own legal marriage without benefit of the state or any religion.

Building a strong post-divorce support system for your children

Chances are, your children have friends whose parents are divorced or are currently navigating the process. While this fact may not resolve all your problems related to your current divorce circumstances, it shows that you are definitely not alone in your struggle and may even provide the first building blocks of a strong support network as well.  

Talking to other Texas parents who can relate to your situation may point you toward helpful ideas regarding ways to help your children cope and adapt to their new lifestyle in as healthy a manner as possible. It's true that your divorce will have a strong impact on your kids' lives; however, that doesn't necessarily have to mean they will never come to terms with the situation. While you're helping your children, it's also a good idea to secure your own line of support.  

Why should you get a paternity test?

As a father who lives in Dallas, you may be considering getting a paternity test done. There are a number of questions to ask yourself, such as how a paternity test's results can personally impact you and what the potential benefits may be. Here are just a few of the different reasons that other fathers just like you have gone through paternity testing.

BRT Laboratories takes a look at some of the top reasons people get a paternity test done. Dealing with child support and custody is one of them, since you can only seek custody as a biological parent and are required to make child support payments only as a biological parent. Children who are adopted may also wish to find their biological parents through DNA testing.

New trends in marriage and divorce

Many people in Texas who are dating or even who are already married may often be concerned about the possibility of getting divorced. This is understandable yet some new research sheds a different view on the trends in marriage and divorce, at least for spouses in some generations.

Big Think reports that the divorce rate among people who are at least 50 years old has been on the rise for some time now. In 1990, one out of every 10 divorced persons was over 50. Today, 25 percent of divorced people are 50 years of age or older. Many of these people are even getting divorced for the second or subsequent time and the fact that they have been divorced previously may well be a contributing factor to their recent divorces as remarriages are known to have a higher failure rate.

Using a prenuptial agreement to strengthen your marriage

You already said yes to the engagement, picked your wedding party and sent out the invitations. Other than a few last-minute details, there is not much left to do before the wedding, right? If you are like other couples in Texas, you probably overlooked a fairly important topic -- the prenuptial agreement. 

Prenups may not seem like the most romantic thing in the world, but they can provide a number of legal and emotional benefits. If like many other people you still believe that prenups are un-romantic documents reserved for the super wealthy, you will probably be surprised to learn about how they can help virtually everyone. 

Hurdles that are unique to older divorcees

Older couples in Texas have been getting divorces at higher rates than ever before in recent years. This is a nation-wide trend. However, while nothing outwardly differentiates a gray divorce from an average divorce, these older divorcees will be facing some unique hurdles that younger couples will likely be able to avoid.

According to CNBC, a gray divorce can be a game-changer in terms of a person's financial future. Older couples simply don't have as much time to bounce back as a younger couple might. They could be cutting deeply into their retirement funds if the divorce is costly. A person could also be risking a monetary cushion that may have been viewed as entirely reliable, the pension plan or retirement savings of the spouse.

How do you recognize an abusive relationship?

When you are in a relationship in Texas, you may find it difficult to believe that your partner is abusive. However, people from any background can find themselves affected by domestic violence and it is important to be able to recognize the signs.

There are many signs that your partner might be abusive. HelpGuide.org says that an abusive partner might be controlling. He or she may try to keep you from visiting with your family and friends and try to control the things you do and the places you go. This person may also call or text you during the day to find out what you are doing and where you are. Another sign of domestic violence is the way your partner speaks to you. An abusive partner may blame you for his or her behavior or criticize you frequently.