Geographic Restrictions Regarding Child Custody in Texas

Geographic Restrictions Regarding Child Custody in Texas

Can you just move to another city, county, or state with the kids if you are subject to a Texas custody order or Divorce Decree?

The answer is no. First, you must check if there is a geographic restriction in place.  If there is, it must be lifted prior to a move.

If there is no geographic restriction, you must give the other parent details about the move through written instrument, you must put the court/clerk on notice, and you must let the Office of the Attorney General know if you receive child support.

These cases can be complex and highly contested. It is important that an attorney be retained to assist you through this process well before any hard deadlines.

Often times, a jury trial is necessary, but one must not lose hope that both parties may agree in the best interest of the children, and that smart and meaningful negotiations may produce a fair outcome that’s best for the children.

If you need help call The Barrera Law Firm at (956) 428-2822 or complete our on-line form for a free consultation.

It’s Never Too Late

It's Never Too LateHappy New Year to all of you. The holidays can often be a true opportunity to really see how children are progressing in life and what changes should be made. Some of us get a little down when we see how fast our children are growing up, the last of the cuddles and hand-holding and the start of the pre-adult changes occurring in its cycle.

Did you check the attendance and the grades? Did you meet with the teachers? How many extracurricular activities did you attend? These are only some of the indicators one could use to measure participation in your child’s development.

It’s never too late to make a bad situation better. Each passing minute is just another opportunity to turn it all around.

It only takes a minute to call. Call us if you want to make some changes to your child custody, to your possession and access schedule, and to enforce your rights to co-parent.

For more information please call The Barrera Law Firm at (956) 428-2822 or contact us on line for a no-charge consultation.

My Teenaged Child Has Moved in With Me — What Do I Do Since I Don’t Have Custody?

teenager and his dad sitting on a couchIt often happens that a teenager will move in with the other parent, the one that is not the custodial parent, because of convenience to school or activities, or because one parent makes much less money which may allow for higher grants in college, or for some other personal reason.

Teenagers are expensive. You must make certain that you modify custody to ensure that the court updates you as the custodial parent for authority necessary for school registration, college visit and prep, and enforcing house rules. 

Child support will not cease once your child is put in your custody. The Texas Attorney General can’t stop it with a phone call. You have to retain an attorney to modify the court order and ensure this is done in a timely manner or you may lose your money.

The bottom line is that unless you modify your court orders to reflect that teenager is under your custodial care, your control over the child, your finances, and your tax benefits may be negatively affected and will stay with the teenager’s other parent.

For more information please call The Barrera Law Firm at (956) 428-2822 or contact us on line for a no-charge consultation.

Can a Step-Parent Use Corporal Punishment on Their Spouse’s Child?

Texas law provides that only the conservator or parent of a child may have a right to use corporal punishment on a child and that it must be reasonable. 

One should check their court orders under rights and duties to ensure it’s specifically mentioned.

Corporal punishment should never be used while a parent is angry — never. If punishment is necessary, avoid using any force that will physically injure a child. Spankings for children 12 and under is traditional in our culture, but choking, punching, or pulling hair may land you in CPS court.

A step-parent may deny privileges to the child such as electronics, free time, and rewards. A step-parent should not deny meals or nutritious foods as punishment for any reason.

If you need help  call The Barrera Law Firm at (956) 428-2822 or complete our on-line form for a free consultation.

Child Custody — Who Controls the Extracurricular Activities?

Texas law provides the parent in possession with certain rights. The law also encourages healthy co-parenting that is in the best interest of the child.

So does that simply mean if your child has a dance recital during your visitation period, you’re in the right to keep her from going? No, not exactly. It means that if that dance recital is something you knew about in advance, and it is important to the child, that you take her and support her instead of blasting the child’s expectation to show her development and progress in that activity.

Judges like problem-solving parents, not problem-creating parents. If a judge sees an abuse of discretion in either overloading the child with activities that interfere with the visitation period of the other parent, or sees abuse of discretion in non-support of the child in a reasonable extracurricular event or practice, they may modify the court order in the best interest of the child to cure any abuse of discretion.

Do you need help with a child custody issue?  Call The Barrera Law Firm at (956) 428-2822 or complete our on-line form for a free consultation.

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.

A Nightmare Before Christmas Holiday
Court Ordered Possession

Christmas nightmare- court ordered possessionYou may live in a different town than your kid’s primary residence. And every year, it may be a gamble as to whether or not they will be there for pick up, or whether the other parent will go into radio silence.

Here are some helpful tips to avoid the nightmare:

  1. Make arrangements to pick up the children from school the day they are released. 
  2. Have a copy on hand of your court order on hand when you pick them up.
  3. Call the school in advance for any updates on early release, school performances, and pick up and drop off locations.
  4. Leave an email or text for the other parent with a general idea of the holiday plans, back-up emergency phone numbers, and where you are staying.
  5. Ensure the children wish the other parent happy holidays for as long as they wish on those days.
  6. Advise of date and time of return, even if they should already know from the court order.

For more information please call The Barrera Law Firm at (956) 428-2822 or contact us on line for a no-charge consultation.

Termination of Parental Rights in Texas

In Texas, the law provides that parental rights may be terminated as long as grounds for termination exist and the judge finds that termination is in the best interest of the child. 

Texas courts are more likely to terminate parental rights when an adoption may also occur. In that case, grounds could simply be that the biological parents failed to support the child for one year.

Sometimes the court will grant a termination of parental rights without an adoption. A very tragic and obvious example would be that one parent murdered the other parent.  The offender parent is a felon and is actively dangerous. Another example is that the parent molested one or more of the children.

At the end of the day, the court will decide if termination and/or adoption is in the best interest of the child. Some defenses a person may assert who is having his parental rights terminated is parental alienation, hostility toward the parent, and failure to co-parent.

For more information please call The Barrera Law Firm at (956) 428-2822 or contact us on line for a no-charge consultation.

Texas Holiday Season Child Visitation Order Enforcement

happy young father and his cute son spending fun time together at pumpkin patch; family of two at fall

You’ve been looking forward to the holiday season all year. Maybe you have family coming in for your favorite food, favorite games, annual football games, or annual hunting trip. You took days off and everyone is looking forward to it. Then, the worst happens. Whether it is an excuse, a misunderstanding of the court order, or an outright denial of the children — there you are, heading for an embarrassing and depressing holiday. 

The Texas Standard Possession Order, and most custom visitation orders, provide visitation for the children during the Thanksgiving holiday, the Christmas holiday, and the New Year’s holiday. They distinguish each parent’s rights to that particular holiday as to odd or even years. The dates and times for pick up and drop off are set out in the court order. 

One should put the other parent on notice, call in advance to the school with a copy of your court order and do whatever you can in advance to make sure you don’t get denied your holiday season visitation.

If you do get denied, or anticipate you will, call The Barrera Firm for a free consultation to enforce your rights, get your attorney fees paid and get your make up time, while the person violating the court order may get fined or be otherwise punished.

Call us at (956) 428-2822 or fill out our online form for prompt service.

Custody Modifications for Children 12 and Older

Under Texas law, a parent that does not have the authority to designate the primary residence of a child 12 years of age or older may file a modification of conservatorship for the purpose of reviewing whether that designation should be changed.

An attorney may prepare an application for the court to interview a child 12 years of age or older regarding child’s preference of which parent should have the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child. However, despite the child’s preference, it is ultimately up to the court to decide. That means that although the child may have a totally valid preference as to who they would like to live with, it is ultimately up to judge to consider a number of factors that shed light on the best interests of the child.

Below are a few tips to observe:

  1. Ensure you are up to date on child support. While this is not a mandatory requirement, it can be considered by the court.
  2. Ensure that you have a good record of following the court’s order on visitation as well as the rest of the provisions.
  3. Do not bribe or try to persuade your child to prefer to live with you primarily over the other parent.
  4. Be active in investigating how your child is doing in school and how your child is doing physically or emotionally with the intention of setting up an environment for the child that is an improvement.

A child needs two parents in their life. Parental alienation will not be tolerated by Texas courts. In fact, South Texas courts are getting tougher and tougher on this. The right thing to do is to consult an attorney well before legal action is taken to increase the probability of success.