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Texas high asset divorce lawyer, Texas complex litigation attorney, Texas complex child custody lawyer, In a development that placed the spotlight back on parental alienation syndrome in complex child custody cases, two missing teenage siblings were recently reunited with their divorced father whom they claimed was physically abusive.

The saga began when a Minnesota court granted the girls' father sole custody in a divorce proceeding. Shortly thereafter, the 16- and 17-year-old girls ran away from home and were sheltered by a woman who is a vocal supporter of the "Protective Parent" movement. Members of this group shelter children who claim to be fleeing from abusive parents when a court has ordered them to remain in the home. The girls' mother, who accused her husband of physical abuse and whom authorities suspect of aiding in her daughters' disappearance, was arrested and charged with two counts of felony interference with child custody and one count of involvement in a kidnapping.

A court-appointed psychologist concluded that the mother had brainwashed her daughters; the father has consistently denied any abuse.


Texas family law, Texas complex custody attorney, Texas paternity lawyer,Paternity is one of the most important concepts in the Texas Family Code. For mothers, it helps guarantee financial support for their children. For fathers, paternity is the only way to legally share in their children's lives; moreover, in most cases, only legal fathers can petition for child custody. Finally, for children, a paternity action gives the feeling that they belong to a family, regardless of who lives where.

Chapter 160 of the Texas Family Code, which is also known as the Uniform Parentage Act, sets out the procedure for establishing paternity. Unlike some other states that have administrative shortcuts that only settle a few issues, paternity in Texas is a once-and-for-all proposition.



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.


Texas Divorce Code, grounds for divorce, Texas divorce lawyer, Austin divorce lawyerAlthough Texas does allow for no-fault divorces, the Texas Family Code also allows for fault ground divorces. One of those grounds is adultery. In TFC  6.003, adultery in a divorce proceeding is defined as "voluntary sexual intercourse of a married person with one not the husband or wife of the offender". It's important to note even after the parties have separated and divorce has been filed, any acts would still legally be considered adultery.

Accusations of adultery are not enough to bring to court. You must provide solid evidence of the adultery. Text messages, emails, receipts, photos and any other evidence should be gathered and presented to the court. Adultery is also grounds for a judge to award a disproportionate award of the marital estate. TFC 7.001  states, "In a decree of divorce or annulment, the court shall order a division of the estate of the parties in a manner that the court deems just and right, having due regard for the rights of each party and any children of the marriage." In a recent case that occurred in The Woodlands, an appeals court awarded the wife 81 percent of the marital estate after she proved that her husband had committed adultery. The couple decided to separate in March and the wife moved out of the marital home. The wife had hoped to reconcile and suggested counseling, which the husband refused. In June, she suspected he was having an affair, but really had no evidence at this point. The wife filed for divorce in August. In September, after finding another woman's underthings in the master bedroom of the marital home, the woman hired an investigator to gather proof of the husband's infidelity. Although the wife had already moved out and filed for divorce before she was able to obtain evidence that her husband was cheating, the court ruled that the husband was at fault for the breakup of the marriage.  The marital estate was worth $1.6 million. The wife received over $1.3 million and the husband received a little over $300,000. If you have discovered your spouse has been cheating and you are considering a divorce, contact an experience Austin family law attorney to make sure you receive the divorce settlement that you deserve.

protective order, domestic abuse, restraining order, Texas, San Antonio, family law, lawyer, attorneyFor victims of domestic abuse and violence, it may appear that there is no hope for escape. However, that is not the case. The most effective way to escape domestic abuse is through a protective order. According to the Texas Council on Family Violence, a protective order is a "civil court order issued to prevent continuing acts of family violence."

There are three types of protective orders in Texas: temporary ex parte, final, and magistrate's order of emergency protection. A temporary ex parte protective order will provide a victim of domestic abuse with immediate protection. These may be obtained without the presence of the abuser in court, so long as the judge believes the abuser presents a clear danger of violence to the victim. However, an abuser cannot be arrested for violating this type of order. Temporary ex parte orders generally last for 20 days and can sometimes be renewed for an additional 20-day period. Next, we have the magistrate's order of emergency protection, sometimes referred to as simply an emergency protective order. These are issued by the criminal court after an abuser has been arrested for committing family violence, sexual assault, or stalking. This type of order is generally good for 31-61 days, but will last from 61-91 days if the abuser was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon. The third and final type of protective order is called a final protective order. These orders are effective for the time period specified in the order itself-which is typically up to two years. There are a few different circumstances, however, that will allow a final order to be effective for more than two years. The abuser may petition the court to ask for the discontinuation of the order after it has been in effect for one year. Victims of domestic violence may feel that they have no place to turn, but there is hope for safety. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, do not go through it alone. Contact a dedicated Texas family law attorney to assist you in obtaining a protective order.

Posted on in Divorce

The holidays can be stressful for everyone. The season is spent buying expensive presents, travelling in cold weather and spending time with family members. These stresses can further divide married couples who may have relationship problems throughout the whole year. But couples often stick together through the holidays even if their relationship has run its course.  That phenomenon has lead attorneys to call January "divorce month".

Divorce SeasonResearch has also shown that January is the month to consider filing for divorce. An analysis by FindLaw.com has shown that between 2008 and 2011 there was an increase in divorce filings in the month of January. This increase sees an apex in the month of March and then tends back down through the rest of the year until September when it increases again.

The website also looked at search activity for their website and found a similar increase in the month of January. Phrases like "divorce", "family law" and "child custody" increased 50 percent from the month of December to the month of January. This increase peaked in the month of March. If people are not filing for divorce, they are at least considering the possibility.


ReflectionDeciding to file for divorce can be arduous and stressful.  Occasionally that is because the filer is not aware of how the process works.  First, when the decision is made to initiate a divorce, there are certain requirements that need to be met.  For example, there are residency requirements in Texas.  Either spouse must live in the state for at least six months before filing.  Also, either spouse must have lived in the county where the suit is filed for the past 90 days.

After meeting with an attorney and discussing the divorce, that attorney will file an Original Petition for Divorce with the District Clerk of your county.  The spouse who initiates the divorce proceedings is called the petitioner and the other spouse is called the respondent.  The petition will list the grounds for divorce, children from the marriage, any protective orders existing against either spouse as well as a list of separate property not to be considered in the division of marital property.

The petition initiates the divorce proceedings in court, but does not notify the other spouse.  That is accomplished by a citation that is issued at the time the petition is filed.  A citation includes the case number, information about the court, addresses and names of the petitioner and respondent and the date when the citation was issued.   It also sets a deadline for the respondent to answer the lawsuit without a judgment being made by the court.


regretsThroughout life, people make mistakes. Occasionally, these mistakes are small and forgotten as soon as they are committed. Other mistakes have long lasting effects and are difficult to move past. Divorce can occasionally cause regrets but it is important to learn from mistakes and try not to make them again.

According to data compiled by Dr. Terri Orbuch, most divorced people cite common regrets from their relationships. The longitudinal study followed over 350 couples who were between 25 and 37 years old. Over 25 years, 46 percent of the couples divorced, and of those Orbuch asked them about the errors they made in their relationships. Mistakes that they realized were contributing factors to their divorce. Dr. Orbuch hoped to use her research as a teaching tool to help others in their marriages.

Fifteen percent of the divorcees responded that they should have given their spouses more positive attention. A kiss, a compliment and other kinds of affection can increase a spouse's mood and strengthen a marriage. Not letting your spouse know that you support them emotionally can have far reaching consequences. Once the feeling of love is gone, then the relationship might be next.

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