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college tuition in child custody agreement, Texas high-asset divorce attorney, Texas complex litigation lawyer,With tassels turning on mortarboards throughout Central Texas, this question is a popular one in divorced families throughout the area. While the short answer is "no, unless the child is still in high school or is disabled" there are some nuances in child support law that both parents should be aware of.

The Law

There is some basis for a post-majority support claim to pay for college expenses. Section 154.123(9) allows the judge to consider "the expenses for a son or daughter for education beyond secondary school" when setting the amount. Forward-thinking parents can use this provision to increase the amount of regular support for minor children by a few dollars a month, and require the obligee parent to set those funds aside exclusively for post-secondary expenses.

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Texac complex custody lawyer, parental rights, PAS,Twenty years after psychiatrist Dr. Richard Gardner first identified the disorder, Parental Alienation Syndrome is a widely, although not universally, condition that affects many complex custody disputes in Travis County and nearby jurisdictions.

What is Parental Alienation Syndrome?

PAS is generally defined as the systematic poisoning of the relationship between a Non-Custodial Parent and that parent's children. In most cases, the alleged perpetrator is the Custodial Parent mother. The Jason Patric/Baby Gus saga is an extreme example of PAS. The actor served as a sperm donor to his girlfriend, and after the child was born, Danielle Schreiber did not allow Mr. Patric to have contact with the boy. A trial court ultimately ruled in favor of Ms. Schreiber, but an appeals court partially overturned that decision.

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Texas divorce attorney, Texas complex litigation attorney, high-asset divorce, One of the most difficult decisions, and the most important, that needs to be made during a complex divorce is how will child custody be divided. There are several different options to that question – including sole or shared custody - but the final outcome is decided and approved by the court.

At one time, it was pretty much the standard in child custody cases that the mother would receive sole physical custody and the father would have a set visitation schedule. Typically, that visitation schedule was every other weekend and one night during the week. However, as the norms of society have changed, with fathers taking a more active role in parenting responsibilities, it has become more common for courts to award joint - or shared - custody to both parents.

Multiple studies have concluded that in most circumstances, it is better for children both emotionally and physically to have both parents taking an active role in raising them. According to research documented by the American Psychological Association (APA), children whose parents have joint custody have higher self-esteem, do better in school and socially, have less emotional issues, less behavior issues and get along better with siblings and other family members than children who come from sole custody families.

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child custody battle, Austin family lawyer, child abuse, Austin Texas, divorce attorneyA Fulton County, Georgia judge has ordered the mother involved in a bitter custody dispute to pay $195,000 in legal fees to her ex-husband's attorney. According to an article in the Daily Report, the judge issued the ruling after announcing that the child-abuse accusations that the mother alleged against the father were not credible and has determined that the father will retain primary custody of the child.

The parents were divorced in 2009, when a child psychologist filed a suspicion of child abuse report based on the child talking about "secret stuff" at the father's house. The father was arrested and charged with child molestation in Georgia. The father also maintained a home in Colorado and was arrested and charged there too, after the mother filed a complaint in that state. The Fulton County district attorney's office conducted a two-year investigation, but dismissed the charges in 2011. Colorado authorities also dismissed their charges. A year later, in 2012, after only seeing his daughter once in three years, the father filed a motion for custody petition. In 2013, based upon recommendations from a therapist chosen by the mother, a custody evaluator and the child's guardian ad litem, reunification therapy between the child and her father was begun. A month later, in May 2013, the mother stopped the therapy and fired her attorney. In June, the judge granted temporary custody of the child to the father. This decision ignited protests at the courthouse. A final hearing was held in October, with the protesters returning to picket outside the courthouse during the six day trial. During the trial, the mother's attorney claimed there were over 20 images of child pornography found on the father's computer. However, in his decision, the judge pointed out the mother's computer expert witness testified there was only one image he thought was child pornography, but also admitted during testimony that he could not say what the ages of the people in the image were. The judge also signaled out the mother's child therapist expert witness, writing that she "inappropriately gave opinions about the child without ever having interacted with the child." Regarding ordering the mother to pay the father's attorney fees, the judge wrote, "While this Court notes that efforts to level the playing field are generally viewed favorably in the context of domestic cases, there never should have been a playing field to begin with in this case." If you are involved in a child custody dispute, contact an experienced Austin family law attorney today to ensure that you and your children's rights are protected in the courtroom.

Illinois Divorce AttorneyThe first holidays following a divorce can be a very difficult time for everyone. Families are forced to deal with visitation schedules, vacation, gift-giving and other issues that they have never had to deal with before. If this is your first holiday season following a divorce, there are several things you should consider doing to make your holidays flow more smoothly.

Create a Holiday Schedule

If you did not create a holiday schedule in your divorce settlement or custody agreement, make one ahead of time. Discuss plans with your ex-spouse calmly and reasonably, and be willing to give a bit. Remember, it should be about making your children happy, and try to resolve things as easily as possible.

Once you've worked out the holiday visitation schedule with your co-parent, create an easily readable version and post it for your children to see. This will help them be prepared for anything out of the ordinary.

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Going through a divorce is a hard enough thing to do on its own, throw children into the mix and it can become an extremely stressful situation.  Many people give advice on what to say to your kids when telling them about your divorce, "I will always love you", etc.  However, not many people know what you should not say when breaking the news to your children.

LaraDon't share too many details

Remember that your children are in fact children.  They do not need to be let in on the dramatic details and reasons for your divorce.  In many cases, kids will ask questions about what caused it.  If the questions become too much, you can always tell them that some of the reasons are "adult in nature."  Try to answer their questions without divulging too much information.

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A divorce court appoints Gardians at Litem, or GALs, to represent the best interest of a child during their parents' divorce. If a divorce goes smoothly, the parties, usually through their attorneys, are able to reach a mutually acceptable custody arrangement. However, it is not uncommon for divorces to turn even the most amicable parties into ferocious adversaries with children caught in the middle. RigersIf the divorce is hotly contested and there are children involved, there is a fear that there is an inherent risk that the parties do not have the child's best in mind. For example, in a fight over split custody, one parent may accuse the other of having an unsanitary or dangerous house that is unfit for children. Obviously, this is an allegation and it may or may not be true, but most judges will not disregard a potential source of harm to a child. This often results in divorce judges being faced with competing stories, each told with the emotion and ardor that usually accompanies divorce cases. What is a judge to do? Enter the GAL. The judge will appoint a GAL to act as an advocate for the child and ensure that the ultimate resolution is in the best interest of the child. In the example above, the GAL would probably inspect the residence to substantiate the allegation and report the findings to the judge. Again, the goal is not to prove which parent is telling the truth or lying, but to ensure that the child is in a safe place. The Texas Guardian at Litem statutes, Texas Family Code §107.001 at seq., set forth the powers and duties of a GALs. If a judge orders a GAL to represent a child, it is very important that you have an experienced Texas family law attorney on your side to ensure that your interests are represented adequately.

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