Adoptions in Texas

Under Texas law there are strict procedures as to adoption and termination of parental rights. Very often a step-parent has been raising a child for years while the biological parent has chosen to make little to no effort to support the child or manage the child for whatever reason.

Texas law supports the best interest of the child and recognizes that’s what’s best for the child isn’t always a biological parent. Steps may be taken to begin the process for either a voluntary relinquishment of parental rights and consent to adoption, or to fight it out in court and leave it to a judge’s discretion as to grounds for termination, such as not paying child support for a year, or conviction of certain criminal offenses, and others.

Texas adoptions are relatively complicated, and many factors come into play. Some such factors have to do with the criminal history of the adoptive parent, the length of marriage, the presence of family support by the biological parent and more.

For more information on Texas adoptions, call The Barrera Law Firm at (956) 428-2822 or complete our form for a free consultation.

Do I Need A Geographic Restriction in my Child Custody Order?

Texas law provides that a non-custodial parent may ask for a geographical restriction to an identifiable area as large as the United States or a small as a school district or street address. A Geographic restriction protects the non-custodial parent from a situation where the custodial parent up and leaves with the children, making access and visitation more difficult and more expensive.

Although most orders have “notice” provisions built into them as regards to providing notice of a relocation, it does not prohibit the other party from moving. A geographical restriction does. Sometimes, a court will allow an emergency hearing, once it is known that a person is moving, and a geographic restriction may be asked for then. However, it is always best to get one immediately.

Call The Barrera Law Firm, PC, at 956 428 2822 to get a free consultation, in order to inform of you of what your rights are and how to get started with taking action so that you are definitely an undeniable part of your child’s life.

Can I Change a Court Order for Custody, Visitation, or Child Support?

Under Texas law, a divorce decree, child support order, or custody order can be changed if there has been a material or substantial change affecting the best interest of the children. 

Additionally, orders specifically for child support only can be reviewed every three years. Any part of any court order can be changed. Sometimes people only want to change the place for pick up or drop off of the child, or they want a provision added relating to international travel, or relating to property of the child.

Sometimes a parent who wants custody of a child is not prepared for the fact that the court may not grant custody to them because they are deficient in managing the child’s health, education and welfare.

In that case, an attorney can create a modification of prior court order to grant the parent more time or more rights to the child in order to put that parent on the path of custody. Each case is different and requires a case-by-case analysis.

Call us for a free consultation to learn more at (956) 428-2822. 

Holiday Enforcement of Family Law Court Orders

Most court orders relating to child custody have provisions for Christmas possession and access to minor children.

These orders can be in the form of a Divorce Decree or a child support order. Sometimes, these orders are only found in protective orders, temporary orders, or they don’t exist at all. One should be sure to check to be sure they have a valid court order with an actual Judge’s signature.

If you have a court order that was never explained to you, see a lawyer and get every single paragraph of every page explained. If you don’t have any court order relating to your children and you don’t live with the other parent who has possession of the children, you must establish the order as soon as possible.

Holiday orders tend to be standard or custom, depending on the circumstances surrounding the children. These orders can be clarified, modified, and even enforced, if necessary.

Don’t wait for the holiday season to pass before you miss your chance to exercise your rights.

 

For more information, call The Barrera Law Firm, P.C. at 956-428-2822.

Geographic Restrictions Relating to the Primary Residence of Children in Texas

Can you stop the other parent of your children from moving?

Geographic restrictions in Texas is a subject of intense legal debate. It’s a case-by-case issue that depends on many factors.

Here are some factors the court may consider:

1) Is there a consistent and dependable record of visitation and support for the children?

2) Does the other parent take initiative to participate in the child’s education, extracurricular activities and doctor’s appointments?

3) Is the purpose of the move mostly or solely in the interest of the parent and not the children?

4) How far is the move and how would it affect the children?

These are only some of the factors a court would consider. One must always do their due diligence to confer with the other parent about the move.

For more information, call The Barrera Law Firm, P.C. for a free consultation at 956-428-2822

Texas Modification of Custody Orders and Other Orders

It is important to know that if your current court order does not work in best interests of your children, it can be changed.

In Texas, you can modify (change) a court order for many reasons.  Here are some examples:

  • More than one year has passed since the judge signed the existing order and there has been a major change that you can prove is detrimental to the children.
  • Less than one year has passed since the judge signed the existing order and there has been a major change that you can prove is detrimental to the children, and you can show (and swear to in an affidavit) there is a danger to their physical and emotional needs.
  • You were laid off of work and you now have a different job or make less money, and have a different work schedule.
  • You can prove the other parent or their spouse is violating the law and the children are at risk of harm.
  • Your child is over 12 years old and has explicitly stated their desire to live with you, without any pressure or persuasion, and you can demonstrate that you will be more active and capable in raising them than the other parent.
  • You are seeking a court order to restrain the other parent from moving out of the county or state.

There are many other scenarios.

Whether it is a divorce decree or a child support order, any order affecting the best interests of the children can be changed, but it must be done right. If it’s done wrongly, you may lose attorney fees and, even worse, your case could be dismissed.

Feel free to call The Barrera Law Firm, P.C. at (956) 428-2822 for a free consultation today.

Grandparents’ Rights to Custody or Visitation in Texas

Under Texas Law, there are exceptions to the rule that a parent has a superior right to children and that a grandparent has no legal right to custody or visitation of their grandchildren.

The law is grounded in both common sense and fairness. The first thing the court looks at is whether or not a grandparent has the legal standing to bring a suit for custody or for access to and possession of the child.

Some grandparents do not qualify and a competent attorney may be hired to ask the court to deny a request for a legal order for custody or a visitation schedule.

Some grandparents have always had care of and control over a grandchild, yet do not receive the necessary rights in the form of a court order to be able to fully, legally and independently care for the grandchild.

Temporary custody or temporary possession and access are also available for grandparents who qualify with conditions put in place while a parent is away or otherwise unavailable, unfit or incompetent.

Some grandparents have lost touch with a grandchild because the parent they had access through died.

To find out if you qualify to request a legal order for custody or access to grandchildren, call The Barrera Law Firm at (956) 428-2822 for a free consultation.

Enforcement of Summer Possession in Texas Family Law

The Texas Family Code Standard Possession Order is one of the most misunderstood and controversial areas of visitation in Texas. It is broken down into two very different versions that are based on whether the parents live more than 100 miles from each other, or less than 100 miles from each other.

The Standard Possession Order summer visitation also may change up, depending on whether the parent entitled to summer possession designates dates for visitation prior to April 1st, that are different than the standard dates that begin on June 15 (if you are over 100 miles from where your children reside) and July 1 (if you are less than 100 miles from where your children reside). Also, the custodial parent can designates one weekend in between the 30 days visitation (if less than 100 miles) or the custodial parent may designate two weekends in between the 42 days (if more than 100 miles).

Here are some simple tips in dealing with summer possession:

1) Make sure and notify the other party three different ways, such as email, text, and certified letter of the pick up of the children (even if the court order clearly states it).

2) Keep an agenda over the summer of activities for the children that focus on bonding, developing the children’s education, and having fun.

3) Provide generous electronic access to the other parent, so the children feel comfortable, so long as it at a time that does not interfere with activities.

4) Order education apps or computer programs with lessons and tracking ability to work on the weakest subjects that child has problems with, according to their most recent report cards, You can always ask the teachers for recommendations.

For further information on how one can make sure their visitation rights are enforced, made up, or the other party is penalized for not providing court ordered visitation without a legitimate excuse, call Ricardo A. Barrera with the The Barrera Law Firm, PC at (956)428-2822 for help.

Two Main Changes to Texas Family Law for 2018

If your lawyer does not know this, keep looking. Laws change and a good lawyer has to stay on top of those changes or bad things can happen.

On September 1st, Texas Courts will obligate the non custodial parent to cover dental insurance at a reasonable cost in addition to health insurance. The cost will also be deducted from the non custodial parent’s monthly net resources for child support calculations.

Another very big change has to do with the modification of child support when the parents reach an agreement on a payment amount that does the guidelines in the Texas Family Code. If the parties agree to an order under which the amount of child support differs from what would have been awarded in accordance with the Texas Family CodeTWO guidelines, then the court may modify the order only if the circumstances of the child or person affected by the order have materially and substantially changed since the date the order was rendered.

There are more changes that occurred.

It is important that you get a lawyer who knows the law. If a lawyer does not know the law, you may be damaged and embarrassed as a result.

For more information on divorce and Texas child custody cases, call the The Barrera Law Firm, PC, for a free consultation at (956) 428-2822.

Temporary Restraining Orders in Divorce and Custody Cases

In the Texas Family Code, Temporary Restraining Orders may be issued by the court to protect the parties, to protect the children, to protect the property, and to provide for child support and fees to one or both parties for support of the children and property. These orders are signed based on limited information provided to the court when they are petitioned for. They become effective on the party once they are served upon that party. They only remain active for 14 days unless extended, unless the parties agree to an arrangement, or unless the judge makes temporary orders after an evidentiary hearing.

It is important that once you are served with a Temporary Restraining Order, you read it completely. Violation of such an order can result in negative consequences and can even ruin a case. There should always be a hearing date somewhere on the Temporary Restraining Order or attached to it. If you are served and you do not show for the hearing, the court may proceed without you and orders will be issued that may result in negative consequences for you.

The evidentiary hearing provides an attorney with little time to prepare and discover evidence against the other party. A court will usually try to do its best to keep in place whatever arrangements have been there for children, they will do their best to preserve the property and evidence, and they will ultimately do their best to protect the children and provide for their temporary support.

If you have been served with or need a temporary restraining order in a divorce or child custody dispute, call Attorney Ricardo A. Barrera with The Barrera Law Firm, PC at (956) 428-2822.

 

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