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new Texas family lawIn May, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 1495, which prohibits courts from temporarily granting a parent the exclusive right to determine a child’s primary residence in certain cases. For instance, the law will only apply in situations where two parents have agreed that neither will have the exclusive right to decide where their child lives. This means that when no parent has been granted the exclusive right to decide where a child will primarily reside, courts cannot step in to grant this right to one of the parties temporarily while a suit for modification is pending. The law went into effect on September 1st, so if you have questions about how it could affect your pending child custody case, please contact an experienced complex child custody attorney who can explain your options.

Restrictions and Exceptions

In addition to prohibiting courts from granting a temporary order that gives one parent the right to choose a child’s primary residence, the new law also states that no temporary order can change or eliminate the geographic area within which a parent must maintain a child’s primary residence. This means that when a suit for modification of an order is pending, judges are not allowed to permit one parent to take the child outside of a certain geographic area, as this would essentially give that individual primary custody. However, these limitations only apply when a suit involves the modification of an order that provides for one of the following:

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Texas divorce lawyer, Texas family attorneyMany couples who wish to end their marriage do not have to obtain a divorce, but can instead file for an annulment. However, there are only a few specific justifications for annulling a marriage, one of which is that one of the parties was underage at the time of the marriage. Filing for an annulment is complicated, so if you have questions about annulling your marriage or the marriage of your underage child, it is important to contact an experienced divorce attorney who can explain your legal options.

Underage Marriage

Until recently, Texas law allowed parents to consent to the marriage of their child as long as the minor was at least 16 years old. This was true even if one of the child’s parents did not consent to the marriage. Furthermore, a parent could consent to the marriage of a child of any age as long as a judge approved. Governor Abbott recently signed a new bill into law which prohibits people who are under the age of 18 years old from getting married unless they are emancipated minors. In Texas, minors are only permitted to file for emancipation if they are 16 years old, so now the youngest age that a person can get married in Texas is 16 years old.

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Texas divorce lawyer, Texas family attorneyLast month, a new law was enacted that will change how child custody evaluations are undertaken in the state, while also providing protection from liability to third party evaluators. These evaluations are often necessary before courts make child custody determinations and so can have serious implications on a court’s decision. To learn more about what child custody evaluations entail, please contact an experienced complex child custody attorney who can address your concerns.

Ordering a Child Custody Evaluation

Under the new law, the court can order a child custody evaluation regarding:

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Texas divorce attorney, Texas family lawyerEven when a couple chooses not to officially get married, their relationship may qualify as a common law marriage. In these cases, separating couples are still required to go through the process of divorce, so if you have questions about whether your relationship qualifies as a common law marriage and what steps you need to take to obtain a divorce, it is critical to contact an experienced complex divorce attorney who can explain your rights and responsibilities.

Common Law Marriage Requirements

Before ending a long-term relationship, couples should make sure that their union does not qualify as a common law marriage, which requires that the couple has:

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Texas complex litigation attorney, Texas complex custody lawyerThis year, a number of family law-related bills will be introduced in Texas. For instance, one new bill will make significant changes to the guidelines regarding access to grandchildren. This area of the law can be complicated, so if you have questions or concerns about your visitation rights with a grandchild, it is crucial to speak with an experienced complex child custody attorney who can explain your legal rights and obligations.

Filing a Petition

Currently, Texas law allows grandparents to request access to a grandchild by either:

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