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Effective on September 1, 2021, the Texas Family Code has a new statute that requires the department (aka, "CPS") to give a preference to certain persons when making a placement decision for a child. Here it is:

Now, this isn't exactly "new". The fact that it is now in the Texas Family Code is new; however, this prioritization list is the method that CPS has been operating off of for years. CPS has their own policies that they must follow in addition the statutes in the Texas Family Code. CPS has always prioritized placements in this regard. Still, there is a bit of ambiguity here (just like ...

One of the new changes to the Texas Family Code in 2021 is that now there is a new "low-income child support guidelines" in Section 154.125. This new section only applies to lawsuits filed after September 1, 2021. The person paying child support must be earning less than $1,000 in order for the court to "presumptively apply" the new figures.

So what are the new figures? Here is a comparison of normal vs. the new low-income numbers:

As you can see, all of the numbers reduce by 5% when a wage earner is "low income". Keep in mind that the low-income threshold of $1,000 is for "net resources", which is ...

A common law marriage, also known as a marriage without formalities, is a legally recognized marriage that occurs without a formal ceremony or a marriage license. For a common law marriage to exists, three elements must exist: (1) there must be an "agreement" to be married; (2) the couple must "cohabitate" in Texas; and (3) the couple must "hold out" to others that they are married. If these three elements exist, then the Courts will recognize the marriage for all intents and purposes -- the same as if the marriage had been formalized with a ceremony and a marriage license.

If a person needs ...

Texas courts can order a spouse to make support payments to the other spouse while the divorce is pending, and thereafter, in very limited circumstances when the case is over. The Texas word for "Alimony" is "Spousal Maintenance". The Family Code provides very a series of very limited rules concerning post-divorce spousal support that require elements of proof which substantially limit eligibility for post-divorce payments of support. The law regarding these payments is complex, and the outcome will be extremely fact-dependent.

The spouse who is seeking spousal maintenance will ...

If a Premarital Agreement is not executed correctly, it may not be enforceable at the time that it is needed most. Texas property laws are complicated, and so are the laws regarding the execution and enforceability of premarital agreements.

In 1993, the Texas Legislature changed the law to say that there are now only two ways in which a party can invalidate a premarital agreement:

  1. prove it ways signed "involuntarily" ; or
  2. prove it was "unconscionable" when it was signed and, before signing the agreement, prove:
    • you were not provided a fair and reasonable disclosure of the property or ...

Initial Disclosures were recently enacted by the Texas Legislature and are now required with almost all lawsuits filed after January 1, 2021. For family law matters, they require certain things to be disclosed, and certain documents to be produced, within 30 days after the opposing party filed an answer or makes a general appearance. Here's the essence of what these new rules are:

Required initial disclosures in all family law matters:

(1)       The correct names of the parties to the lawsuit;

(2)       The name, address, and telephone number of any potential parties;

(3)        The legal theories and, in ...

Many spouses that are facing a divorce want to keep things as amicable as possible, and they often try to do this through using the same attorney. But having the same attorney is not an option. The Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct prevent one attorney from representing opposing parties to the same lawsuit. At the most basic level, a divorce is a lawsuit between the two spouses.

But, there are other options. It is possible to get a divorce without any lawyers--both spouses represent themselves, commonly called a "pro se divorce". Another option is to use what is called ...

Collaborative Family Law is a process by which the decision making process in a divorce is taken away from the Court and put into the hands of a neutral third-party, the collaborative lawyer. This is a relatively new process--The Texas Legislature enacted laws that authorize this practice in 2011.

Collaborative Family Law requires many things. To start, both spouses must sign a collaborative family law participation agreement, and the agreement must have certain provisions in it. Once the agreement is filed on record with the clerk of the Court, the legal proceedings are essentially ...

Ultimately, the judge has greater authority to control a CPS lawsuit involving an allegation of abuse or neglect to a child. However, the judge's authority is limited to only address requests and evidence that are present to the Court, so many decisions get made by CPS without the judge even knowing about it.

In the context of a CPS lawsuit, the judge must ultimately determine what is in the "best interest" of the child. Those two words--best interest--are packed with a ton of meaning, which is further explained here. All of the parties to a lawsuit will try to convince the judge about what is ...

The right to a jury trial is not without limitations. The Texas Family Code provides limited circumstances in which a child custody battle can be decided by a jury. In suits involving children, a jury can determine the issues of: (1) appointing someone as sole managing conservator, joint managing conservator, possessory conservator; (2) determining which conservator has the right to determine the primary residence of the child; and (3) establishing a geographic restriction on a child.

In suits involving children, a jury MAY NOT: (1) determine whether or not to grant an adoption, (2 ...

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Family law can be complicated.

This blog contains some of the most common questions that our family law attorneys receive. Search or click below to learn more about common family law issues regarding divorce, child custody, adoption, and CPS.

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