Questions And Answers About Common Family Law Topics
From child custody to adoption to child support, the topics covered in family law involve close relationships. It is, therefore, one of the most emotionally charged areas of law. The outcome of a family law case can permanently change an entire family dynamic and can have serious repercussions – especially in the lives of children. Financially and emotionally, there is much at stake in a divorce, child custody dispute or any family law matter.
Considering that family law involves the distribution of shared finances, assets and child custody, it is crucial to secure experienced legal counsel. At The Law Firm of Joseph Lassen, we understand that it is imperative to have legal representation you can trust when you are handling these sensitive issues. Our legal counsel typically begins with questions and answers on topics such as the following.
How is paternity determined when the father’s name is not listed on the birth certificate?
A paternity case is filed when a child is born and the father’s name is not listed on the birth certificate. If the father of the child agrees that he is in fact the father, an acknowledgment of paternity is usually signed. In cases where the paternity is in question or the alleged father is unsure, the alleged father can demand a paternity test from the mother. Once paternity is established, a custody order covering visitation and child support naturally follows. A suit affecting the parent-child relationship, or SAPCR, may be necessary when no child custody or support has been determined yet. One party will petition the court to issue a decision on these matters.
How are child custody and visitation decided in Texas?
In laymen’s terms, “child custody” refers to conservatorship of a child. Two categories of parenting responsibility include joint managing conservators or sole managing conservators and possessory conservators. The “primary conservator” is the parent who is awarded the exclusive right to designate where the child will primarily live. Decisions about health and educational decisions are also part of conservatorship or custody. Child visitation or parenting time determines how parents will alternate spending time with the child all the time and at special breaks such as Christmas and spring break.
I need a modification of a court order. What will I need to prove?
A modification, or petition to modify, is simply a request to the court that something in a prior court order change. This could be a request to change a divorce decree, SAPCR, child support order or something else. Modifications normally happen because something from the prior order is not working in the current situation. Life happens, and frequently people are uncertain and can drastically change. Sometimes, a parent will request a modification when they want to move out of state or to a different city within the state and cannot do so because of a geographical restriction in the prior order. Another reason a modification could be requested is the parent paying child support is making significantly more than what they were making when the prior order was rendered, or, in contrast, the parent paying child support is making less because they were laid off from a corporate job and are now working for a lot less. No matter the circumstances behind the request, turn to an experienced family law attorney to get the process started.
How is child support determined?
Whether you are entitled to child support or trying to get a fair shake at paying child support, don’t do it alone. While child support is statutory in Texas, many factors can also play a role in determining proper amounts. If you have a case with the Office of the Attorney General, you must understand that, even if you are the custodial parent, that office does not represent you. Further, if you are defending against a case for child support against you, you need a family law attorney on your side to ensure that proper credit is given for certain items such as health insurance. No matter what your child support circumstances are, The Law Firm of Joseph Lassen stands ready to meet your needs. For more information, please visit the Child Support FAQ page to get answers to frequently asked questions.
What about when enforcement of court orders becomes a problem?
Court orders must be followed when rendered. When one party fails to follow the order, they subject themselves to the vulnerability of an enforcement action being filed by the opposing party. This could be for anything from not paying child support or spousal maintenance to not making the children go to the other parent’s house during their time of possession. If your spouse is not cooperating with certain issues previously ordered by a judge, you need an experienced family law attorney to help you navigate the system to make them comply with the order. If you find yourself defending an enforcement action, you need immediate representation to avoid serious penalties that could be imposed on you.
Do grandparents have legal rights in Texas?
It is becoming more common for grandparents to intervene in family law cases for the benefit of the children. As one parent dies or is incapacitated, or both parents are unable or incapable of taking care of the children for whatever reason, grandparents all over the country are stepping up for their grandchildren and filling in the gap. However, grandparents do not have many rights and need an experienced family law attorney to help deserving grandmothers and grandfathers find legal pathways to nurture their grandchildren as they want and need to do.
When is a protective order appropriate, and how does it work?
A protective order is sought against a person who is alleged to have committed some type of physical violence against the applicant. When a person seeks a protective order, they are requesting that the court issue orders preventing the alleged offending party from coming anywhere near them and, sometimes, near any children the applicant is a parent of. If the alleged perpetrator is still living with the applicant, a protective order can force the alleged offending party to move out of the home. Whether you have been involved in a domestic violence situation as a victim or you have been falsely accused, The Law Firm of Joseph Lassen is here to help.
When is guardianship the right solution for a family?
A guardian is a person who is appointed to make legal and medical decisions for another person, often a child or another individual who is disabled or otherwise incapacitated. A disabled adult child may need constant care and attention. Or another good example is when both parents die and a relative has to take care of a child. No matter what the circumstance is, The Law Firm of Joseph Lassen is here to help.
How does [nap_names id="FIRM-NAME-1"] address CPS cases?
When Child Protective Services, or CPS, gets involved in your family life, you need immediate legal representation. Besides the risk of your children being removed, there may also be a criminal investigation. If you have been contacted by CPS or your child or children have been confronted at school by a CPS caseworker, you should contact a family law attorney as soon as possible. CPS will normally want you to sign a family safety plan. I can help protect you from potential criminal charges that could come with the creation of such a plan.
What are some typical steps toward a stepparent adoption?
Adoptions are nearly always happy family events, but they may require background checks, a home study and other details. You may be a stepparent trying to adopt a child and need help getting the biological parents’ approval. Whether you are pursuing a stepparent adoption or another type of private adoption, let us at The Law Firm of Joseph Lassen help you navigate the multistep process with ease.
When are prenuptial and postnuptial agreements appropriate?
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements usually cover issues such as the division of property, spousal support and confirmation of separate property during a marriage and in case of a divorce. These types of agreements can clarify intentions about ownership and may potentially save thousands of dollars in case of marital troubles down the road.