W. Tyler Moore, PC

Houston Legal Blog

Why might a Texas couple want to mediate child custody issues?

A litigated divorce can be a costly process. Not only is it costly financially, but it also costs time and emotional stress. This may especially be true if the divorcing couple has children, meaning child custody decisions must be made. It is important for parents in Houston to realize that they will still share a common link -- their child. This means that they will have to work together to raise their child, even though they are no longer romantically involved. It also means that, for the sake of all involved, parents may want to try coming to an agreement on child custody issues on their own, rather than drawing things out in litigation.

One option Texas parents may want to consider is child custody mediation. Mediators are neutral third-parties. They cannot make a binding ruling on an issue. Instead they will help couples discuss their issues in a productive manner, so they can come to a solution. It is a non-adversarial process, so there is no winner or loser. Things said during mediation usually cannot be used in litigation should the mediation process fail, so participants may be more apt to seek out creative solutions and make concessions.

Courtroom etiquette important in child custody cases

For divorcing parents, courtroom etiquette is critical. It just may help you gain a better standing with the judge who is overseeing your child custody case.

The courtroom is a formal venue, and should be treated as such. Yes, it may feel intimidating, but you’re there for an important reason: You want to make sure that your child will spend court-ordered time with you.

Do not try to hide assets in divorce

Touted as one of the largest types of cryptocurrency worldwide, Bitcoin is a digital currency that is not linked to a bank or credit union and is not backed by any sort of governing authority. This means that Bitcoin accounts can be kept secret, and transactions done over the Internet using Bitcoin can be kept anonymous. This makes identifying these assets difficult because there is no paper trail.

"Why is this important," a person in Texas may ask. It is important because it can be used as a means to hide assets in a high value divorce. While hiding assets is both unethical and illegal, some spouses try to do so to have the upper hand, when it comes to financial issues in a divorce, such as property division and spousal support.

How Are Oil Rights Handled In A Divorce?

Living in the community property state of Texas, you may think that it is easy for assets to be split during a divorce, but that is not always the case. When the married couple has accumulated numerous investments, there are many considerations to be taken that can drastically change the quality of a divorce settlement for better or for worse.

Here are some important factors involved in splitting oil and mineral rights in a Texas divorce settlement.

Both parents are pivotal in raising a child post-divorce

When parents in Texas divorced, it used to be the case that whichever parent was the "primary caretaker" (often the mother) would automatically get custody of the child, and the child's other parent (often the father) would have visitation rights. However, these days many courts and experts recognize that both parents play an important role in a child's life, and to this end, co-parenting and shared custody is becoming more common. In fact, some states in our nation, Texas included, are considering legislation that would either promote shared parenting or even make it the defaultchild custody arrangement.

Many advocates for this legislation are fathers' rights groups. They have stated that fathers who are not part of a shared parenting arrangement often feel disconnected from their children as well as feeling overburdened by their obligations to pay child support. Other proponents state that such legislation will put family courts in line with what many modern families are already choosing out-of-court.

Fathers across the country are fighting back

Father's rights regarding child custody have become a hot topic across our nation. As such, many different groups and movements have popped up along the way, all with one purpose--to bring the family law court system to its knees and prevent suitable parents from being stripped of having a relationship with their child.

Groups such as The Father's Rights Movement have garnered nearly 500,000 likes on Facebook and inspired spin-off chapters across the country. Horror stories have surfaced in almost every state, alluding to everything from father's being falsely accused of abuse to custody decisions being "bought" from corrupt judges.

Fathers are entitled to be with their kids

Historically, fathers have been seen by Texas law as providers, and mothers as upbringers. For this reason, many fathers believe they have no chance at receiving full custody of their children. The best they can hope for – they think – are visitation rights.

But when fathers think that way, they are wrong. Under state law, fathers are as entitled to custody rights as mothers. Some judges may still operate under the supposition that mothers are the default recipients of custody rights – but they are wrong, too.

Tax bill could significantly affect divorced couples in Texas

People in Texas who have been following political news may be aware that the proposed Republican tax bill could negatively affect those who pay spousal support. However, do those who are contemplating ending their marriages and are anticipating having to pay spousal support need to rush to finalize their divorce before the bill becomes law, especially if their divorce will be a high value divorce?

Under the proposed Republican tax bill, those who pay spousal support would not be able to deduct their spousal support payments from their income taxes. As the law currently stands, spousal support payments are deductible, so this bill would turn that deduction on its head for paying parties. Moreover, those who receive alimony under the proposed Republican tax bill would not have to count those payments as taxable income. As the law currently stands, spousal support is counted as income for those who receive it, so again the proposed tax bill would significantly affect those who receive spousal support.

Bird's nesting: a unique take on child custody

Some people in Houston may assume that when it comes to child custody after divorce, the child will inevitably be shuttled back and forth between each parent's house. While this is the norm in Texas, and pretty much everywhere else, parents who are concerned about the upheaval this will cause their child may be interested in an alternative child custody arrangement: bird's nesting.

In a bird's nesting arrangement, the child stays in the family home, and it is the parents who alternate between living in the family home with the child and residing in a separate apartment when it is not their turn. This way, it is the parents that shuttle back and forth, not the child. Some may find that this provides the child with more stability and may make it easier for the child to adjust to the divorce.

Holiday Visitation Schedules

Holiday visitation schedules are a problem for many people.  I get phone calls from people looking for a quick answer to their problems with child custody and visitation issues.  Without looking at the actual possession order it's impossible to answer the questions. Although Texas has a "Standard Possession Order", it is often tailored to specific situations.  The Standard Possession Order is like a "rack suit", i.e. a generalized outline which may be tailored to specific circumstances if need be.  Asking a lawyer to opine on your possession of your children when the lawyer doesn't have the actual possession order before him is futile.

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