Deadbeat Dads and Moms – What to do about a Child Support Evader

Texas law allows private attorneys to seek out individuals that are intentionally not paying child support and who owe a back-child support amount.

We’ve all seen it — she or he drives a beautiful vehicle, is always on time to pay the bar tab, and travels to destinations that would make you jealous, yet they pay little or no child support. Maybe they take their boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s kids to a fancy resort while your own kids are on free lunch and haven’t even been as far north as San Antonio because money is tight.

The Texas Family Code provides that are person who may be found to be intentionally under-employed, or that the support they get from their significant other or family members may be included as income for calculating higher child support, or that the job they have from their parents may be calculated at market value instead of a sham pay check.

The first thing to do is to serve them with a petition to enforce and confirm arrears, then take them to court and ask they be jailed until the arrears are paid and that child support be properly calculated. Show the judge what they drive, where they live, where they go, and take it from there. 

Do you need help with a deadbeat ex?  Call The Barrera Law Firm at (956) 428-2822 or fill out this 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.

My Child Does Not Want to Visit Me — What Do I Do?

Unfortunately, parental alienation can get to a point to where the child will object to seeing the other parent to the degree that only physical force will bring the child to the vehicle of the parent picking up that child.

It is very often found that one parent is either encouraging the child to not visit the other parent or “making it okay” not to visit, which causes parental alienation. 

Some examples would be the other parent planning events for that weekend that the child believes they will miss out on, such as pizza, going the beach, a barbeque, cousins visiting, or some other tactic. Another example would be that one parent is stricter than the other, such as a boyfriend or girlfriend can come over to mom’s but is not allowed at dad’s. 

Regardless of the reason, there are ways to handle this. One would be to change pick up and drop off to the time school is dismissed. Another would be to provide a court appointed advocate to interview the child to straighten out any foul play.

At the end of the day, the worst thing you can do is nothing as that would be setting a pattern of conduct in allowing the child to act in their own best interest instead of taking charge.

For information about visitation and other child custody issues, please call The Barrera Law Firm at (956) 428-2822 or complete our on-line form for a free 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.

What to Watch Out For When Your Child Tells You They Want You to Have Custody

In Texas, it is true that a child that is 12 or older may tell the judge who he or she wants to live with. However, the judge has to examine all the factors and decide if it’s in the best interest of the child.

Here are some factors the judge may examine:

1) The grades of the child;

2) The attendance records of the child;

3) The family support for the child, including half-siblings or other factors that may worsen the child emotionally if separated from;

4) Whether the parent will be able to adequately supervise the child due to work obligations;

5) Whether the child was enticed through a vehicle or other “gifts” as conditional to them telling the judge they want to live with them;

6) A professional’s or court appointed attorney’s opinion following a full investigation.

It is important that one properly deals with a child who suddenly wants you to have custody, so the court understands that any other factor is addressed prior to filing with the court, and to make very certain it has nothing to do with healthy discipline and teenage rebellion.

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

How Do I Change my Custody Order in Texas

How Do I Change my Custody Order in Texas

Under Texas Law, a previous decree for divorce, child support order, visitation order or temporary custody order may be modified if there has been a substantial change in the circumstances of the children that affects the best interest of the child.

An attorney may file a petition to the court that outlines what needs to be changed and why. Changes in grades, medical conditions, school attendance and behavior are just some examples of what the court might base a modification on. 

It might be that one starts off with the intention to change custody and then realizes it may be best to change other aspects of the court order instead such as visitation, restrictions on the residence, or clarifying a part of the order that the other parent uses in an abusive way.

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

Allegations of Child Neglect

Battling parents in a heated divorce have been known to make allegations against the other parent of neglecting the child or children of the marriage.  Child neglect is a very serious allegation and what constitutes child neglect is quite specific in Texas law.

Things such as not helping with the child’s homework because you’re busy with something else or failing to take the child to a sporting event is regrettable, but it is not neglect.  Neglect includes such things as:

  • leaving a child in a situation where the child would be exposed to a substantial risk of physical or mental harm, without arranging for the necessary care for the child
  • placing a child or failing to remove a child from a situation requiring actions or judgment beyond the child’s capabilities
  • failing to get medical care for the child resulting in or presenting a substantial risk of death, disfigurement, or bodily injury or that results in observable and material impairment to the growth, development, or functioning of the child
  • failing to provide the child with food, clothing, or shelter necessary to sustain the life or health of the child
  • placing the child in or failing to remove the child from a situation in which the child would be exposed to a substantial risk of sexual conduct harmful to the child

Neglect of a child by a parent will weigh heavily in any custody decisions a court makes.  Before raising the matter before a court, be sure to consult with your lawyer to make sure the conduct of the party you are accusing of neglect falls within the statutes.

The Barrera Law Firm can help you with divorce and child custody issues.  Call us at (956) 428-2822 for a free consultation or complete our online form.

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. 

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