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Dallas Family Law Blog

Am I allowed to move out of state with my child?

If you are a divorced Texas parent who is contemplating moving to another state due to a job transfer or some other reason, you need to be aware that Section 153 of the Texas Family Code restricts your ability to relocate. Actually, it may be your divorce decree and/or your parenting plan that restricts you.

Many Texas decrees and plans contain a geographical restriction setting forth how far away you and your child(ren) can move from your present residence. Therefore, the first thing you should do is reread your paperwork to see if it contains such a restriction. If so, you will need to go to court and get a judge’s permission in order to move.

Tracking technology and divorce: Will it affect you?

Texas readers know that divorce is a complex process, one that is fraught with challenges and complex decisions. These complications can increase dramatically when there is contention between the two parties, and this can lead to the temptation to turn to certain technologies to track the other party.

Thanks to GPS systems and applications that a person can subscribe to, it is possible to track the movements and locations of another person. This feels invasive and illegal, but it some cases, it is actually legal. If you suspect your spouse is following you or spying on you in some way, you would be wise to take quick action to protect yourself and your interests.

How can you protect yourself if your spouse cyberstalks you?

If you are a Texas resident who has been the victim of domestic abuse, you may have gotten an order of protection against your spouse. You may even have moved to a new home, gotten a new job and filed for divorce. Nevertheless, you may have the feeling that your soon-to-be former spouse has not accepted this new situation and in fact is stalking you, particularly cyberstalking you.

Attn.com reports that the advent of technology has made it far too easy for someone to stalk you via the internet, often without your even knowing it. In the United States, approximately 7.5 million people are stalked every year according to the Stalking Resource Center. The Bureau of Justice Statistics adds that nearly 25 percent of these stalking victims say that cyberstalking is the method of choice for their abusers.

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.