W. Tyler Moore, PC

Houston Legal Blog

How do you modify a child custody order in Texas?

Sometimes, especially after a divorce, a person's life can change dramatically. Parents in Texas with child custody orders might find that these orders work well for a while, but, as time marches on, the original order may no longer suit the actualities of the parent's and child's lives.

Either parent with child custody rights has the ability to seek to modify an existing child custody order. In Texas, such requests will be processed by the court where the parents obtained their divorce. The exception to this is if the child has resided for six months or more in another Texas county.

Temporary orders in Divorce

Why have temporary orders in a divorce? Between the time a divorce is filed and the final divorce decree is entered, there often must be some controls in place concerning children and property.  These controls are the temporary orders entered by the Court either by agreement of the parties or after a hearing.  

Divorce and restraining orders

Divorce and restraining orders in Texas:  If served with a restraining order in a divorce suit, you should read it carefully.  Generally speaking, the language will say the Respondent is immediately restrained from ... a specific list of things.  The list will usually be numbered.  Read each item on the list.  The list is your list of commandments.  If you don't understand the order, take it to an experienced family law attorney to decipher it for you.  You will need the lawyer to go to court with you when the applicant has a hearing to expand the restraining order into a temporary injunction during the pendency of the litigation.

What happens to a business when its owners divorce?

The people of Texas have a great entrepreneurial spirit, and many Houston residents are small business owners. Having built a business from the ground up is a satisfying endeavor that can take many years. As a person's business grows, so may their personal life. They may marry and have children all while growing their business. However, they may also experience a divorce. Any of these major life events can have a significant impact on one's business, especially if they shared the business with their spouse.

Sometimes, a young couple will start a business with only a few pennies to their name. In the beginning, their business might not have had much value. However, as time goes by, a business can become profitable, and it is not unknown for a couple's business to eventually become their largest asset. Given the nature of business ownership, should the couple divorce, it is often the case that it is financially impossible for one party to buy out the other. There are some options, however.

Side agreements in child custody cases

Side agreements don't work in custody cases in Texas.  What is a "side agreement"?  it is a letter signed by the parents and often notarized which they believe resolves any issues concerning child custody, rights and duties, child support, or possession.  These letters do not confer any judicially enforceable rights if one party decides not to go along with the terms set forth in the letter. 

Thoughts about divorce by a divorce lawyer

Thoughts about divorce by a divorce lawyer:   A divorce is nothing to enter into lightly or on a whim.  Threatening a spouse with it is like threatening thermonuclear war between nations.  Divorce should be a last resort when there is no hope for the marriage, when one spouse cannot continue in the relationship and remain mentally or physically healthy, when counseling would be a waste of time, when the relationship is toxic to the spouses and to the children, or when the other spouse refuses to try to save the marriage.

Divorce is like rubbing sand in an open wound

I'm a little different than most family lawyers. When clients come to me to plan a divorce, I feel it's my duty to discourage them. Talk to a counselor, I will say to them. Talk to one another. Try to solve whatever problem is driving you apart.

The reason I say this is because divorce is a miserable process. I would almost say it is worse than death. At least with death, you have a nice funeral, a good cry, and people say beautiful things about you.

Seek legal help with parental relocation after divorce

When parents in Harris County divorce, a child custody order will be put into place that allows the child to have a meaningful relationship with each parent. As time marches on, however, one parent or the other may find that the original child custody order is no longer feasible. This may be especially true if the custodial parent wants to relocate to a different part of the state or country. After all, sometimes a person is presented with a great job opportunity or wants to live closer to family, necessitating a move. However, often, their child custody order will have restrictions on how far away the custodial parent can live from the child's other parent. Does this mean that a custodial parent cannot relocate beyond those geographic limits?

To relocate to an area beyond the geographic locations allowed in the original child custody order, the custodial parent will need to demonstrate that doing so serves the child's best interests. In general, the burden of proving this lies with the parent who wants to relocate. Since the goal of any child custody arrangement is to provide the child with stability and allow the child to have a meaningful relationship with each parent, sometimes if a custodial parent wants to relocate more than 100 miles from the other parent, then "long distance visitation" guidelines kick in. This means that the noncustodial parent will be given additional visitation time, for example, while the child is off school for spring break or during the summertime.

Should you dodge process in litigation?

Why shouldn't you dodge process server?  After all, if they can't find you, they can't serve you.  If they can't serve you, you can postpone the suit.  Right?  Wrong. The rules of civil procedure require service of citation upon a defendant in order to give the defendant notice of the suit and an opportunity to defend it.

Why do you need a family law attorney?

Why do you need a family law attorney?  After all, there are forms available on line and all you need do is fill in the blanks.  A problem with forms is they often need to be tailored to fit the circumstances.  Another problem with forms is the forms often do not apply.  I saw an instance where a person asked which forms should she take to court in 60 days when she was going to have a hearing on child custody.  When you have a contested hearing, you should take a lawyer with you. There are appropriate forms such as a financial information sheet, a proposed parenting plan, and an exhibit list which may be necessary to help the judge.  But, you need a lawyer to present your case.  

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