Navigating Texas Family Law: A Comprehensive Guide
Being part of a family can be a source of wonder and joy. But dealing with divorce, child custody, child support, and other difficult situations can be stressful and confusing. Texas family law is designed to support and protect children first, which means a ruling won’t always work out in your favor. Navigating family law is tricky, but working together with a Texas family law attorney can help you determine the best course of action to take in any situation.
Texas Family Law and Adoption
Adoption is one of the few family law case types that has more happy and peaceful resolutions than most other instances. But adoption laws can also be difficult to understand or work with when building your family. There are two main types of adoption available to Texas families, as well as specific regulations and laws for stepparent adoption.
Open adoption cases are becoming increasingly popular among families these days. In open adoption, the birth family and the adopting family communicate and meet both before and after the adoption. There are many levels of open adoption, and some cases even allow the birth family to maintain contact with the child or receive updates on their life from the adopting family.
Private adoption, on the other hand, conceals the identity of both the birth family and the adopting family from one another until the child is of age. While many families agree that open adoption leads to better resolutions for the child, Texas family law requires all foster-to-adopt cases to be treated as private adoptions to maintain the safety of the children involved.
Becoming a step-parent isn’t always easy, but it can be incredibly rewarding. Even more rewarding is the opportunity to legally adopt a stepchild. The process for stepparent adoption, however, can be a bit confusing, and it gets even more complicated if the child’s other parent still holds any custody rights. Working with a Texas family lawyer can help step-parents take the steps necessary to adopt.
Texas Family Law and Divorce
Divorce is, unfortunately, a possibility in many marriages. And if there are children involved, the entire process becomes more complex. With the right attitude and a focus on communication, many families can avoid having to go to trial and can instead work out an agreeable deal with their attorneys. But there are many laws and regulations to be aware of when starting the process of dissolving a marriage.
Getting an Annulment
A divorce is the process by which a couple ends a marriage. But an annulment is the process of proving that the marriage was never legal to begin with. There are a few different situations that you and your lawyer can work with to prove an illegal marriage and have it stricken from the record.
- Consanguinity – A marriage between close relations
- Bigamy – Marriage to multiple partners
- Underage Marriage – Marriage in which one partner was under the age of 18 (and not legally emancipated)
- Under the Influence – A marriage in which one or both spouses were under the influence of drugs or alcohol and did not willingly live together after the effects wore off
- Impotence – Marriage where a partner failed to disclose that they were impotent and did not willingly live with each other after learning of the impotency
- Fraud and Force – A marriage in which one partner was coerced into marrying another through the use of fraud or force
- The 72-Hour Law – A marriage that took place less than 72 hours before the petition for annulment
In a divorce, few things are more difficult to decide on than child custody. Texas family law divides child custody into two categories: conservatorship and possession and access. During the divorce proceedings, parents can make arrangements dealing with a mixture of both types of custody.
A conservatorship allows the parent the legal right to make decisions about their child’s health, education, religion, etc. Possession and access, however, strictly deals with a parent’s legal right to visit or live with their child. Most families agree that joint custody is often best for the children, but this isn’t always the case. In many instances, one parent may receive sole conservatorship over the child while the other parent still maintains their visitation rights.
Regardless of rights, parents often must provide financial support through child support payments. Child custody cases and rulings can be reevaluated and updated as the living or financial situation of the parents changes.
Help with Texas Family Law
Navigating an adoption or divorce can take all of your time and energy and is often a very emotional process. At the Hager Law Firm, we deal with Texas family law so you can focus on your family’s health and well-being. For help with any case revolving around your family, give us a call at (903) 466-0001.