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TX custody lawyerWhen parents get divorced, they will need to address multiple concerns related to their children, including how they will share in making decisions about how their children will be raised and when children will live with each parent. While parents will often disagree about how to handle these matters, they may be able to work together to resolve their differences and reach agreements on how to meet their children’s needs. However, some contentious divorce cases can involve complex child custody disputes, requiring parents to take legal action to protect their rights and their children’s best interests. Parental alienation is one issue that may play a major role in these disputes, and a parent will need to understand how to respond in these situations.

What Is Parental Alienation?

It is common for divorcing parents to feel some negativity toward each other. However, it is also important for them to recognize that their children deserve to have positive relationships with both parents. Unfortunately, some parents try to harm their children’s relationships with the other parent. This may be done intentionally, such as by making negative comments about the other parent or blaming them for the divorce, and a parent may hope to have children take their side and ask that custody disputes be resolved in their favor. Parental alienation may also be more passive, such as when a parent reacts negatively when a child talks about enjoying their time with the other parent.

Parental alienation is not always easy to recognize. Children may already be feeling unhappy about their parents’ divorce, so negativity towards a parent or resistance to spending time with them may be attributed to emotional stress or difficulty adjusting to changes in their lives. However, a parent will want to watch out for the following signs that may indicate that the other parent is attempting to alienate their child against them:

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TX family lawyerThe COVID-19 crisis has affected everyone in the United States, and while vaccines are currently being made available, the pandemic will likely continue to affect people and families throughout 2021 and beyond. Because of this, parents will want to make sure they are following the proper measures to protect themselves, their children, and other loved ones. If you are a parent who is currently going through a divorce, you may have already had to address a variety of complex child custody issues, and COVID-19 may have complicated these matters even further. Fortunately, by working with an experienced attorney, you can take steps to protect your parental rights and ensure that your children can remain safe and healthy.

Child Custody for Those Affected by COVID-19

Many families are able to avoid COVID-19 infections by following social distancing guidelines, staying home whenever possible, wearing masks when in public, and making sure all family members wash their hands regularly. However, there are some cases where family members may need to take additional precautions due to increased risks of infection. For example, if a parent works in the healthcare field and is regularly exposed to those who have been infected, they may need to take additional measures to ensure that they do not inadvertently spread the virus to their children.

If a parent becomes infected with COVID-19, or if another person in their household is infected, they should be sure to quarantine themselves and follow all necessary restrictions to ensure that they do not spread the infection to their children. This may mean that they will not be able to have their regular visitation with children. Parents may need to make special arrangements in these cases, such as by having “virtual visitation” with children through video conferencing apps like Zoom or planning to adjust schedules in the future to make up for lost visitation time.

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Posted on in Child Custody

Texas divorce lawyerCouples with significant assets who decide to dissolve their marriage face a host of unique issues that don’t come up in standard divorces. For instance, couples with diverse assets must often obtain appraisals for antiques, jewelry, and business interests, in addition to retirement benefits, stocks and bonds, and bank accounts. While these issues are unique to high asset divorces, there are some aspects of divorce that remain the same regardless of the amount of the parties’ assets. This is especially true in cases that involve children, as those who are not able to come to an out-of-court agreement regarding custody, parenting time, and visitation will need to place their case before the court. In these cases, judges often look to the state’s standard summer visitation schedule when making custody decisions. For an explanation of these guidelines and how they could affect your own custody arrangements, please contact an experienced Leander high asset divorce attorney as soon as possible.

Managing Conservators

In Texas, courts have a large amount of discretion when it comes to making custody arrangements. However, there is a presumption that granting parents equal time with their child is in the parties’ best interests. For this reason, many divorcing parents are deemed to be joint managing conservators, which means that they share the rights and obligations to make decisions regarding the child’s education, health, and welfare. Even in these cases, it is common for one parent to be named the managing conservator, which means that he or she would have the responsibility of deciding where the child will primarily reside. When one parent is named the managing conservator, the other will be considered to be the possessory conservator, which means that they could have 50-50 possession, standard visitation, or expanded visitation.

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Posted on in Child Custody

Texas custody attorneyAlthough most people have heard of Child Protective Services (CPS), not everyone is aware of their function. CPS is a part of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, which is a state agency put in place to ensure that children in Texas are kept safe from neglect and abuse. When someone reports a parent or guardian to CPS, the agency is required by law to investigate the allegations. Unfortunately, many parents are falsely accused of neglecting their children, which can have a traumatizing effect on minors who are then forced to leave their home. If your child has been removed from your home by CPS, you should contact an experienced complex child custody lawyer who can explain your next steps.

Investigations and Court Hearings

When a person has been reported by CPS, they will be assigned a caseworker who will explain the allegations made against them and create a service plan. Eventually, the child’s parents will be required to attend a series of hearings at a Child Protection Court, where they will have the opportunity to refute the allegations made against them. In some cases, the judge will order that a case be sent to mediation or a family group conference instead of resolving the issues at trial. In either case, within two weeks of the date of the child’s removal, the court will hold an adversary hearing, after which the judge will return the child to their parents or place them with a family member.

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Texas family lawyerIn Texas, family law courts use the term conservatorship to describe the responsibilities, duties, and rights of parents towards their children. Essentially, the term is used to describe what many other states refer to as custody. There are two types of conservatorship in Texas: sole managing conservatorships and joint managing conservatorships. The type chosen by the courts depends on the specific circumstances of each case, so if you are considering divorce and have questions about your legal rights or duties as a parent and how they could be affected by the dissolution of your marriage, it is important to contact a complex child custody attorney who can address your concerns.

Sole Managing Conservatorships

Parents who are appointed as sole managing conservators are given primary responsibility for raising their child. For example, sole managing conservators can decide where their child will live, can consent to medical treatments, have the right to receive child support payments, and can make decisions regarding their child’s education and employment. Texas courts presume that joint managing conservatorships are in the best interests of a child, so sole managing conservatorships are rare. In most cases, courts will only award one parent sole conservatorship if:

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Posted on in Child Custody

Texas custody lawsSummertime is one of the best opportunities to go on vacation with the kids, as parents may have time off from work and children do not have to miss school. Unfortunately, these types of family vacations can become difficult to plan after a divorce, especially when a couple’s schedules and living arrangements have changed. Texas law helps simplify these problems by outlining procedures regarding vacations for parents who share custody of their children. However, navigating the state’s sometimes complex statutes can be frustrating, so if you have planned a vacation with your children and have questions about your legal rights and obligations, it is important to speak with an experienced complex child custody attorney who can advise you.

Summer Vacation

Under Texas law, parents have specific rights of possession during the summer months. For example, according to state law, a possessory conservator can take a child on an extended summer vacation if he or she first:

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Posted on in Child Support

 Austin divorce attorney, child support in high-asset divorces, Williamson high-asset divorce attorney, complex litigation, child custody issues, child support payments, cease paying child supportWhen married parents are going through a high-asset divorce, two issues that need to be decided are child custody and support. Depending on what the parties agree to, and/or what the court decides, the parent who typically has less physical time with the child will be responsible for paying child support.

The purpose of child support is to ensure that both parents are contributing to the financial care and cost of raising the child. Unfortunately, and all too common, the parent who is ordered to pay the child support does not see it that way, but instead sees it as money he or she is paying to their ex-spouse. For various reasons, the paying parent does not, or will not, accept that it is their duty as a parent to contribute to the child's financial needs.

Often in these situations, the paying parent will skip payments, make partial payments, or cease paying child support payments entirely. Deadbeat parents who do not make child support payments come from all financial backgrounds, including those with high assets.

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