The Houston Family Law Blog

Texas Gay Marriage Ban Struck Down, No Marriages Yet

Same-sex couples and their supporters rejoice: A federal judge has struck down Texas's ban on same-sex marriage because it violated the U.S. Constitution, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Although the ban was struck down, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia stayed his decision, which means that the ban will remain in effect until the decision is appealed.

So until the ban is appealed, same-sex couples in Texas won't be able to get married.

How to Adopt a Child Abroad

In 2012, Texas had the most adoptions finalized abroad, according to the U.S. Department of State's Office of Children's Issues.

But how does international adoption, called "intercountry adoption," work exactly?

Intercountry adoptions involve two major steps: adoption and immigration.

Can Family Members Be Your Will Witnesses?

When drafting a will, it's important to know if family members can be witnesses to your will.

In most states, witnesses to a will aren't allowed to also be named as beneficiaries. Since most wills leave gifts to family members or heirs, having them witness your will could leave it open to challenges or force your family members to lose what you've left them.

So what are the requirements to form a will in Texas? And what happens if your family member is a witness?

Avoid Illegal Snooping During Divorce: 3 Tips

When you're in the middle of a divorce -- or even married, for that matter -- snooping is a no-no. Take it from a well-known cancer surgeon from Houston who is facing serious criminal charges for hacking into his wife's computer during the couple's divorce proceedings, reports Houston's CultureMap.

Here are three ways to avoid illegal snooping during a divorce:

Is Gay Divorce Legal in Texas?

Is gay divorce legal in Texas? The Texas Supreme Court is currently deciding this question, the Associated Press reports.

On Tuesday, the state's High Court heard arguments regarding the issue of gay divorce and whether or not the state could grant divorces to gay couples who were legally married in other states. The plaintiffs, a gay couple from Austin and Dallas, married in Massachusetts a few years ago and later attempted to file for divorce in Texas, but Attorney General Greg Abbott won on appeal blocking a divorce ruling.

What were some issues regarding marriage and divorce raised in this case?

Same-Sex Couples: How to Protect Your Assets

How can same-sex couples protect their assets?

While the Supreme Court did recently rule on two important gay marriage issues, same-sex marriage still isn't legal in Texas. Thus, unmarried couples' assets may not be subject to the same treatment that a legal married couple's might.

How can a same-sex couple protect their assets in Texas? Here's an overview of what one's options may look like after a break-up, or even after a death.

7 Pros and Cons of Divorce Mediation

Divorce mediation is a popular alternative to litigation for couples to resolve their disputes and negotiate the terms of their divorce. When it comes to something as painful and personal as eviscerating familial ties, mediation can be a saving grace. A neutral third party can help keep the discussion focused on problem-solving rather than finger-pointing. But it may not be for everyone.

Here are seven pros and cons of divorce mediation:

Does the 'Family Car Doctrine' Apply in Texas?

Does the "family car doctrine" apply in Texas?

First off, what does this doctrine mean? The family car doctrine, otherwise known as the family purpose doctrine, is applied in certain negligence cases where liability is pinned on the owner of a car for the damage caused by a family member while operating that car. It's based on the idea that a car is provided for use by the family as a unit.

So, if a teenage son crashed the family car under his dad's name, his dad could be held responsible under the family car doctrine.

What does Texas have to say about the family car doctrine? Here's an overview:

Should You Legally Separate or Get a Divorce?

To legally separate or get a divorce? That is the question.

Legal separation occurs when a married couple live separately but are not yet formally divorced. During tough economic times, couples often opt to legally separate rather than pursue a full-blown divorce.

When contemplating a serious step like legal separation or divorce, a couple should consider a number of factors.

Minors Who Want Out: 3 Legal Options

Often 16- and 17-year-olds have a bit of trouble not wanting to throttle their parents or burst into tears from living under the same roof. (They wouldn't even let you go to Numbers the other night, gawd!)

If waiting for the hormones to simmer down is off the table, Houston-area minors may want to consider these three options to gain some autonomy: