March 2010 News: The Houston Family Law Blog

The Houston Family Law Blog

March 2010 Archives

How Much Child Support Will I Pay?...There's an App For That

Are you having trouble calculating the amount of child support that you should be paying each month? Now, there's an app for that. Apple announced that the Texas Child Support Calculator 2010 app is now available for $6.99 through iTunes.

This application could be a great tool for a Houston family law attorney who needs to quickly calculate the amount of money in child support payments at a trial or in mediation. Non-attorneys can also find this app useful if they're looking for an estimate on how much money in child support that they'll pay or receive.

More Families Looking Into Adopting Special-Needs Children

Associated Press reports that there's now a new trend when it comes to adopting children from China. Many parents in the United States are choosing to adopt special-needs children from China's orphanages rather than children who are healthy.

In the 1990s, the large majority of Chinese children adopted by foreigners were healthy baby girls that had been abandoned by their parents; usually because of the country's one-child policy and because of the preference for a son. But in recent years, China has eased its one-child policy and domestic adoptions have even increased. As a result, U.S. adoptions from China dropped by more than 60 percent last year. And Associated Press reports that roughly three out of every five children that are now adopted have special needs. The waiting time to adopt a healthy child from China is about four years, where the adoption of a special needs child can be completed in less than one year.

How Homosexuality Can Impact a Child Custody Case

If you're in a same-sex relationship, but have a child from a previous marriage, and you're trying to keep custody of that child, then there's some things you should be aware of with child custody court cases. FindLaw states that some courts see that homosexuality in a household as having a negative effect on the child, but other courts treat homosexual and heterosexual relationships equally and will not consider the relationship to be a significant factor. In Texas, various views on homosexuality exist because Houston is seen as a liberal city in a conservative state. Texas family law attorneys can usually provide information about the specific views of the various state courts when it comes to homosexual relationships.

Should Jon Ask Kate For Alimony?

Now that Jon and Kate Gosselin have their divorce finalized, family law attorneys all over the country are wondering if Jon will go back to court and ask for spousal support,

The Gosselins became famous for their reality show John and Kate Plus 8, which featured the lives of their eight child family. However, The Huffington Post reports that Kate Gosselin is now bringing in a lot of money from appearances on Dancing With the Stars, while Jon remains unemployed since his show’s cancellation.

Are You Ready for Marriage? Here are the Legal Requirements

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The state of Texas has some basic legal requirements, but fortunately they're pretty simple compared to other states. Legal Aid of Northwest Texas states that a the marital relationship can be established between only a man and a woman by a formal ceremony or by common law. If you have any questions about the legal implications of marriage such as prenuptial agreements or Texas' marriage requirements, it may be best to contact a Houston family law attorney.

The ceremonial marriage is the more common type. A county clerk issues a marriage license for a couple to be wed. Yet, their are some legal requirements before a marriage license can be issued. Couples must show that they are at least 18 years old, unless they have parental consent, or an order from the court. The people getting married also cannot be currently married or have a blood relationship of first cousin or closer. A person also might not be eligible for marriage if he or she is delinquent on a child support obligation.

El Paso Conducts Operation to Arrest Child Support Evaders

El Paso County Sheriff's officials say that they arrested at least 17 people last week who allegedly owe outstanding child support payments, as reported in the El Paso Times. This of course leaves Texas family law attorneys wondering what type of charges, if any, these individuals will face.

El Paso sheriff's deputies partnered with the Texas Attorney General's Office in "Operation Deadbeat 3," an operation that was targeted at people who have outstanding warrants for not paying child support. This is the third time the El Paso Sheriff's Office has conducted a round-up of those who have allegedly not paid child support to their children. Other crackdowns occurred on Aug. 12-15 and Nov. 2-6 of last year. 13 people were arrested in the first crackdown and 21 people were arrested during the second crackdown in November.

Sandra Bullock Facing Marriage Trouble in Texas

Rumors have been circulating through various sources that television personality Jesse James cheated on his wife Sandra Bullock. Sandra Bullock is an Oscar-winning actress for her film The Blind Side this year. With such allegations, Texas family law attorneys predict that there could be complicated legal matters if the couples decides to divorce.

NowPublic reports that the couple married in Santa Barbara, CA in 2005, but that the couple resides in Austin, Texas. Ms. Bullock owns two houses and two businesses in Texas, so she could easily file for a divorce in Texas even though the couple was married outside the Lone Star state. According to U.S. law, a married couple does not need to get divorced in the state in which they got married.

The Paternity Test Results For Mathew Knowles Are In

It's now official that Beyonce Knowles has a half-brother, as the result of her father's paternity test has been made public. The Houston Chronicle reports that the result of the DNA test shows that Mathew Knowles is the father of Alexsandra Wright's newborn baby, Nixon.

Ms. Wright Alleges that Nixon was conceived during an 18-month fling she had with Mr. Knowles, who is still married to his wife Tina Knowles. As reported in an earlier blog post, Ms. Wright filed a paternity lawsuit against Mr. Knowles last October. At a hearing last month in Los Angeles, Mr. Knowles was ordered to pay $8,200 a month in temporary child support until a paternity test came through. And now that the paternity test shows that Mr. Knowles is the father, it's possible that he'll be ordered to pay even more money through regular child support payments.

Houston Women Face Child Endangerment Charge

ABC News reports that two Houston women are facing disturbing charges of child endangerment and abandonment after they allegedly used children to steal donations from charity boxes.

Miriam Judith Miranda and Lisset Valencia were accused by police of placing 11-year-old girls into a donation box in Lake Jackson in order to get the items inside. At least one of the kids was Ms. Miranda's daughter. A witness called authorities to report the incident.

Police then pulled over the van with the children inside and found the items that were believed to be stolen. When the police officers talked to the children, Lt. Rick Park said that the kids seemed embarrassed and felt bad for being involved in the theft incident. Ms. Miranda and Ms. Valencia were arrested and both remain in jail, with their bond set at $20,000 each.

Texas Has High Teen Birth and Teen Pregnancy Rate

The state of Texas currently ranks number 3 when it comes to the rate of teenage births and ranks number 4 when it comes to the teen pregnancy rate, according to The Dallas Morning News.

In 2005, studies showed that the Texas birth rate is approximately 88 pregnancies per 1,000 females ages 15 through 19, compared with the national average of 69.5 pregnancies per 1000 teenage females. Nevada, Arizona, Mississippi and New Mexico join the state with a history of high teen pregnancy rates and teen birth rates.

So what help is there if you are a teen parent?

Victims of Child Abuse Find a New Home in Denton

When a child in Texas is a victim of abuse or neglect by his or her own parents, then the child is often taken away from the parents and placed into the care of Child Protective Services. But what exactly happens to the children once they are with Child Protective Services in the state of Texas?

The Denton Record Chronicle reports that Denton's Cumberland Presbyterian Children's Home is just one organization that opens itself up to the children. This residential care program provides housing, 24-hour supervision, counseling services, and medical/dental care for the children.

Child Support and Taxes

Contrary to popular belief, child support payments are not tax deductible. FindLaw states that the child support payer is not actually allowed to deduct based on the child support payments and that the child support payee does not need to treat child support payments as taxable income. This is different from alimony; which is spousal support that is tax-deductible for the person who makes the payments and taxable to the recipient.

Child support could however affect a tax return in other ways. For example, a parent may be able to declare that a child is a dependent, which can either be a very simple or very complicated procedure depending on your situation. In general, a parent must provide at least 50 percent of the child's support during the tax year in order to claim a child as a dependent.

San Antonio Couple Adopts Haitian Children

David and Laura Birdy from San Antonio love their newly adopted children very much, but San Antonio Express News reports that their process of adoption wasn't all that easy. The couple had planned to adopt Haitian children last May, but the tragic earthquake that happened in Haiti last January drew unexpected dilemmas.

David, who works as a San Antonio real estate agent, has spent the past month in a Haitian orphanage. Laura, who works as a nurse, had to deal with a battle involving Haitian immigration so that the children were allowed to come to the U.S. Yet the couple's long haul is coming to a close. Earlier this month, 44 Haitian children that were about to be adopted by U.S parents were put on a charter flight that flew from Port-au-Prince to Miami. Most of the children came from the Haiti Children's Rescue Mission, a Christian orphanage in a mountainous suburb of Port-au-Prince.

Houston Getting Ready to Celebrate Black Marriage Day

African American couples from all around the country are getting ready for Black Marriage Day on March 28. The Houston Chronicle reports that this celebratory day started in 2003, in response to the statistically low rates of black marriages. The holiday, which was created by journalist Nisa Muhammad, is meant to commemorate the benefits of marriage and the successful unions of matrimony.

42 percent of African American adults have never been married, compared with the 26 percent of all American adults that have not been married. In 2005, African American Texans also had a divorce rate of 21.9 percent, which is nearly double the rate for Hispanics of 11.4 percent. 16 percent of Caucasians were also reported to be divorced.

Sexual Abuse in Competitive Swimming

Deena Deardurff Schmidt, of San Jose, California, is known for being a 1972 Olympic champion swimmer. However, the Washington Post reports that Ms. Schmidt now admits that she was repeatedly molested over a four year period by her coach when she was training in the 1960s.

After reporting her coach's behavior to officials at USA Swimming years later, the coach still went on to train more young swimmers. She claims that inadequate background check policies for coaches have fostered sexual molestation in youth swimming around the country.

Battling Over Pet Custody

In the case of a divorce or legal separation, Texas animal lovers often have one big question on their mind: "who gets custody of the pets?"

The answer is often debated about between Texas family law attorneys, because unfortunately a judge doesn't usually consider the pet's best interest when deciding who gets the pet. Unlike child custody, animals in Texas are simply treated as property under the law, according to CNN. Like books, electronics or family heirlooms, the pet will be awarded to the person who officially has property rights to the animal. Who paid for the pet? If the animal was adopted, who paid the adoption fees? CNN states that the answers to these questions usually define the ownership.

Adam Dell Wants Joint Custody of Padma Lakshmi's Baby

Padma Lakshmi, the host of the reality television program Top Chef, gave birth to a baby girl last month and initially wanted to keep the identity of her baby's father a secret. However, her secret is now out of the bag, as Daily Mail reports that Ms. Lakshmi revealed that her daughter's father is Adam Dell.

Mr. Dell, a venture capitalist and younger brother of the founder of the Dell computer empire, says that he wants to now play a bigger role in his newborn daughter's life. The man lives in Austin, Texas and will likely need the help of of some Texas family law attorneys if he wants joint custody of their daughter Krishna Thea. According to Daily Mail, Mr. Dell and Ms. Lakshmi are discussing visitation rights for the girl.

The Most Wanted Child Support Evaders in Texas

Every year, the Texas attorney general is obligated to release an annual list of the state's most wanted child support evaders who are wanted by authorities for violating court orders. KTRE reports that Attorney General Greg Abbott's Child Support Division released the Top Ten List of Texas' Most Wanted Child Support Evaders yesterday in hopes that community members would be able to identify some of the evaders.

The list of most wanted child support evaders consists of nine men and one woman. Combined, the parents owe $1.1 million in overdue, court-ordered child support. Tomas Roman, who owes $160,928 for two children in Katy, is the only one of the evaders to have a last known address in the city of Houston. A full list of evaders can be found at the Attorney General's website, along with the evaders' photograph and informational profile.

Surrogacy Contracts in Texas

Texas family law attorneys say that the legal issues around surrogacy agreements can be complex, but at the same time surrogacy can also be a good option for couples who are looking to adopt. FindLaw states that surrogacy most often occurs when a married couple is looking to have a child, but the wife is not able to carry a pregnancy. A fertile husband is able artificially inseminate into a fertile woman through a privately arranged contract. In certain instances, a surrogate mother can also be impregnated with an embryo produced by the wife's ovum.

Child Abuse and Neglect Deaths on the Rise

Many Texans, including Texas family law attorneys, are surprised to hear that deaths related to child abuse and neglect have risen by 31 percent in the last fiscal year. The Dallas Morning News reports that the statistics from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services show that the largest increase in child abuse deaths comes from Houston and Harris County.

The county saw 67 child abuse deaths last year, which account for nearly one quarter of the state’s 280 deaths. Houston residents are surprised to hear that Harris County saw a 90 percent increase from 2008 among child deaths from abuse or neglect.

Leaving Foster Care as an Adult

There are some children in foster care that never become adopted and spend their entire childhood living in a foster care facility with foster parents. FindLaw states that children usually age out of foster care at the age of 18, or when they graduate from high school -- whichever happens first.

State and federal funding for the child stops when the child ages out of the foster care system, along with an end to housing, food, and medical care. So it's probably no surprise that young adults often have difficulties when they're first emancipated.  Fortunately, the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP) provides funding for states like Texas, so that young adults under the age of 21 who leave the foster care system can make a smooth transition into adulthood. CFCIP is part of the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, where the federal budget for CFCIP was $149 million in 2009, according to the Administration for Children and Families.

Shaquille O'Neal Reaches Divorce Settlement

Shaquille O'Neal stands as an Olympic gold medalist, a four-time NBA champion, and 15-time NBA All-Star who currently plays with the Cleveland Cavaliers. But success in basketball does not always lead to success in love. Shaq has faced some family law drama, which he can put behind him ever since the finalization of his divorce settlement.

Mr. O'Neal's soon-to-be ex-wife, Shaunie O'Neal filed for a legal separation in November 2010, citing irreconcilable differences, according to Trans World News. Soon after, she dismissed the separation action and the O'Neals instead filed for a divorce in a Florida court.

Changing Your Last Name

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After a divorce, a person may want to change his or her last name back to their maiden name or birth name. This isn't usually a huge legal problem, but it can become complicated if you want to change the last names of your children as well.

FindLaw states that with divorce cases, you can ask your Houston family law attorney to request that the judge handling your divorce make a formal order restoring your former or birth name. If the divorce decree contains the name change order, then there's no other necessary paperwork. With the official documentation, you can officially have your name changed on identification and personal records.

Child Custody Battle in Anchorage Gets Violent

A couple from Anchorage, Texas have taken their fight over child custody to a whole new level. A 31-year-old man is now in the hospital because he was shot twice by his ex-girlfriend during a child custody dispute over their child on Monday. The Anchorage Daily News reports that the injured victim, Tommy Robert Thomas, is expected to survive.

This story reflects how a Texas family attorney can be more effective in solving a child custody dispute, as opposed to physical violence. Mr. Thomas had gone over to his ex-girlfriend's home because he was angry about a child custody battle, but police say that the man was acted aggressively and that the women had tried to get her ex-boyfriend to leave the house.

So You've Just Broken Off Your Engagement...Who Gets The Ring?

Breaking up is hard to do, especially when there's an engagement ring involved. People whose cold feet never thaw enough for them to reach the alter often wonder who gets to keep the ring. The answer is quite complicated, and of course varies depending on the state of residence.

Some couples can come to a harmonious decision on their own about who gets to keep the ring, but others will turn the subject into a legal issue. Many women who want to keep their engagement rings argue that the ring should simply be seen as a gift, and that a person has a right to keep that gift. On the contrary, men will argue that the ring is a conditional gift that should only be accepted if the marriage actually takes place.

What Happens If a Person Doesn't Pay Child Support?

Unpaid child support is a huge problem in the state of Texas and all over the United States. FindLaw states that only about half of the parents entitled to receive child support actually receive the full amount that is due, as reported by The Census Bureau. One quarter of the parents end up not receiving child support money at all, where the other quarter of parents not receiving the full amount of ordered child support receive only partial payments.

But what exactly happens when a person defies a court order and doesn't pay the child support? A number of things could occur, the worst being that the person who owes child support ends up in jail; as not paying child support is a criminal matter. However, jail time is usually a last resort. A Texas judge would usually prefer to keep the child support payer out of jail, so that he or she could earn income and pay the support.

Family Law Attorneys Look at Allen Iverson's Divorce

The Philidelphia 76ers announced earlier this month that Allen Iverson would no longer be playing for their team; shocking many basketball fans around the country. And while the former All-star may never play in the NBA again, his name is still in the media spotlight and all over newspaper headlines.

Divorce -- the issue that is overshadowing his basketball career, still has Texas heads talking. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Mr. Iverson's wife, Tawanna Iverson, is filing for a divorce; saying that their marriage is "irretrievably broken." After 8 and a half years of marriage, her family law attorney officially filed a petition for divorce in Fulton County, Georgia last week.

Requirement for Divorce: Family Stabilization Classes

James Roark, a Houston family law attorney, wrote an Examiner article that parenting classes can be a valuable tool when it comes to understanding how separation and divorce impacts a child. Family courts in Houston actually require parents involved in divorce cases to attend a "family stabilization" course when there are children involved in the marriage. The law is outlined in Texas Family Code - Section 105.009

After 10 Years, Woman Caught With Child Abduction

It seems as though some mothers will do anything possible to be with their children, even if it means violating a court order. Rocktown Weekly reports that 43-year-old Tammy Renee Lucas was arrested last Friday by officers with the Texas Rangers on charges related to the abduction of her own son.

She is now being held at the Liberty County Jail, but authorities in Rockingham County, Virginia say that she has been wanted in Virginia for almost 10 years. A Rockingham County judge ordered that Ms. Lucas turn custody of her then-7-year-old son over to the boy's father on Aug. 1, 2000, but she ended up taking her child and escaping to Cleveland, Texas, which is just outside the city of Houston.

Deputy Jose Amstutz Encourages Familes to Adopt

A Montgomery County sheriff's deputy shared his adoption story with Fox News earlier this week and has encouraged many Texans to consider adopting a child from local foster care agencies. Deputy Jose Amstutz from Kingwood says that he recalls a childhood of abuse and neglect after his birth mother had abandoned him and his siblings several times. Texas family courts eventually terminated the parental rights of Mr. Amstuz's biological mother.

While in a Texas foster home, he saw several potential parents come and go, but eventually a Houston couple took the boy under their wing and signed the official adoption papers.

More Houston Couples Signing Prenup

Houston family law attorney Jacque Taylor told KIAH News that she used to pull out prenuptial agreement forms for clients about twice a year. But now that number has dramatically increased to about once or twice a month.

A prenuptial agreement is a legal document that is supposed to state who gets what assets in the case of a divorce. FindLaw states that a prenuptial agreement can sometimes be seen as unromantic and that young couples often have difficulties discussing the responsibilities of property rights, debts, and estate planning.

Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston Fight Over Child Support

Levi Johnston is perhaps the most famous accidental father in America. The New York Post reports that the 19-year-old stands out as the father of Bristol Palin's son, Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston, who was born in December 2008 when Bristol was just 17 years old. The couple announced that they were planning to get married when Bristol's mother, Sarah Palin, was in the running for vice president, however that plan ended in March 2009 when the couple split apart.

Yet the feud betweeen Ms. Palin and Mr. Johnston still continues, and this time it's over child support. New York Daily News reports that courts have forced Mr. Johnston to pay more than $21,000 in back child support payments, and $1,750 monthly support payments.

Travis County Offers Domestic Partnership Benefits

The state of Texas currently has a ban on same-sex marriage, making the Lone Star state not the most friendly place to live for same-sex couples. As of 2010, only five U.S. states and the District of Columbia perform same-sex marriages. Many states have domestic partnership laws as an alternative to marriage.

Texas, does not have a statewide domestic partnership law. However, Travis County is taking the lead in the state and now recognizes a form of domestic partnership. As opposed to recognizing a marriage or civil union, the county will record a domestic partnership agreement.

Donating Phones to Help Domestic Violence Victims

Verizon Wireless has helped millions of domestic violence victims through a phone drive. Most recently, Verizon collected no-longer used wireless phones during the Houston Area Women's Center's 22nd Annual "Race Against Violence" 5K race, according to The Cypress Times.

The Verizon company states that over one million wireless phones have been donated each year, for the past three years, through the HopeLine program. In addition to phones, Verizon collects batteries and accessories from any wireless service provider. The wireless HopeLine phones are then distributed to domestic violence victims, survivors, and the organizations that help them.

Michael Oher From "The Blind Side" Speaks About Adoption

Baltimore Ravens professional football player Michael Oher has an inspiring adoption story that was written about in a book and remade most recently into the movie The Blind Side.  Houston Press reports that Mr. Oher spoke last week at the Intercontinental Hotel in Houston about the benefits of adopting a child in Texas.

He spoke at a luncheon to raise money for the Arrow Child & Family Ministries; which handles foster care and adoptions in Houston. Other speakers at the luncheon included Neil Bush, Michael Regan and Mark Tennant, who works as Arrow's CEO. Mr. Oher was also accompanied by his adoptive mother Leigh Ann Tuohy and his sister Collins Tuohy at the benefit banquet.

Turner Bill Strikes Child Custody Debate

Army Times reports that there's a bill in congress that would protect deployed service members from losing custody of children. HR 4469, sponsored by Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, would prohibit courts from using deployment or the possibility of deployment against a service member. So Texas family law attorneys soon may not be able to argue that deployment isn't in the best interest of the child. However, the lone star state is ahead of the game and already has certain laws in place that protect military parents when it comes to child custody, according to the California Alliance For Families and Children.

HR 4469, also known as the Turner Bill, has the support of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), which is the nation's largest organization for for combat veterans. Representatives of the organization Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America say that they're also wholeheartedly endorsing the bill. In a statement, Justin Brown of VFW said that service members should not be viewed in a negative light when it comes to courts determining the custody of a child.

What Does it Mean to be "Separated?"

The term separation can be a tricky concept when it comes to Texas family law. This is because the state of Texas does not actually recognize the legal concept of separation, according to Divorcenet.com In the Lone Star state, a person is married until a court enters a final divorce decree.

Nevertheless, Texas couples may find it best to consider informally separating before getting a divorce. Some spouses may want to do everything possible to avoid a divorce; whether it be for religious, financial, or personal reasons. Spouses in Texas can enter a "separation agreement" and there are even Houston family attorneys in the area that can help specifically draft separation agreements.

Child Custody: Should Children be Split 50-50?

Child custody is sometimes one of the toughest battles that divorced parents have to go through, but Tennesee lawmakers are trying to decide on a process that is fair for all parents. News Channel 5 reports that family law attorneys around the country are questioning a bill in Tennesee, known as the 50-50 bill, that would automatically designate an equal amount of time between both parents with child custody.

Supporters of the bill say that the law would give more rights to fathers in child custody cases; who are often denied equal custody. However, some critics say that a 50-50 split between parents is not always best for all children in all cases. Some people point out that splitting a child can also lead to bad parenting.

Simon Cowell Looking to Sign Prenuptial Agreement

The San Diego Union Tribune reports that American Idol judge Simon Cowell is now engaged to the head makeup artist on American Idol, Mezhgan Hussainy. But before the famous television producer walks down the aisle and ties the knot, he demands that a prenuptial agreement is in place.

While many celebrity gossip websites like Popeater have criticized Mr. Cowell's decision to sign a prenup, family law attorneys would say that it's a smart decision for such a wealthy celebrity. After all, the man has a $200 million fortune that should be protected. FindLaw states that a prenuptial agreement, also known as a prenup, can protect separate property in a marriage and can reduce a great deal of conflict in the case of a divorce.

More Cities Recognizing Gay Marriage

Two new cities will start recognizing gay marriage this week; which could soon put pressure on the state of Texas to lift its current gay marriage ban.

Gay couples in the District of Columbia and Mexico City can finally get their marriage licenses, according to On Top Magazine. Yet even with the approval of gay marriage in these regions, there is still opposition. In Washington D.C, the U.S Congress has the final say on measures that are approved by the DC Council. Senator Bob Bennett and Representative Jason Chaffet, both from Utah, tried to introduce measures to overturn the gay marriage law, but their efforts have so far failed.

Texas Grounds For Annulment

Annulments of marriage can be considered rare in today's society, but FindLaw states that there could be some advantages to getting an annulment rather than a divorce.

An annulment essentialy voids a marriage, meaning that the marriage was never seen as valid in the eyes in the law. This is different from divorce in that a divorce terminates a marriage that had once been legally valid. With an annulment, you are free to marry somebody else without going through the process of filing divorce papers. However, courts cannot award alimony or spousal support with an annulment, and marital property rights are terminated.

Matthew Knowles Agrees to Take Paternity Test

There's all sorts of family court drama in Beyonce Knowles' family. For starters, Trans World News reports that Alexsandra Wright claims that she had an 18-month long affair with Beyonce's father, Matthew Knowles. Ms. Wright gave birth to her son last month and believes that Matthew Knowles is the father of her baby. She filed a paternity lawsuit against Mr. Knowles last October and Mr. Knowles has reportedly agreed to submit himself to a paternity test if it is necessary.

If the paternity test shows that Mr. Knowles is the father of the child, then family courts might rule that he is responsible for paying Ms. Wright child support. Global Grind reports that Mr. Knowles has already been ordered to pay all uninsured medical costs for the birth of the child and that a judge has ordered Mr. Knowles to pay some child support for the time being. However, long-term child support payments will be dependent on the results of the paternity test.

Wife of Los Angeles Dodger's Owner Wants Alimony

Even some Texas family law attorneys are surprised by Jamie McCourt's alimony request. The estranged wife of Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, now wants $988,845 per month in alimony; which is more than double her original request.

Associated Press reports that Ms. McCourt's lawyers are alleging that her husband manipulated financial statements to reduce his estimated net worth down to $163 million from $835 million. She feels that she is entitled to nearly $1 million per month so that she could keep up her lifestyle after her divorce makes its way through the Los Angeles family courts.

Adoption After Relinquishing Parental Rights

Baby Don is about to begin his life as a healthy infant, but his life will start in foster care. As an orphan in Fort Worth, he would probably love nothing more than to have loving parents.

KENS 5 reports that Baby Don didn't start his life as normal infant. He was born just before Christmas of last year without a chin. Every breath that Don took was a struggle. His mother relinquished her parental rights; leaving Baby Don in foster care.

Section 161.103 of the Texas Family Code allows for voluntary relinquishment of parental rights under certain circumstances. If the termination of the parent-child relationship is in the best interest of the child, a parent may sign away their rights to the child 48 hours after the child is born. The law lists certain situations in which voluntary relinquishment of parental rights is appropriate. Texas family law attorneys often help with the process of getting parental rights relinquished.

The Consequences of Unpaid Child Support

What happens when one parent isn't paying child support that has already been ordered by the family courts in the state of Texas?

A number of things could happen, but Support Collectors asserts that a judge could sentence a nonpaying parent to jail in some extreme situations. This might happen to San Angelo resident Frederick Merril Jessop, who is currently in a feud with a woman who is the mother of his eight children.

The San Angelo Standard-Times reports that Carolyn Jessop claims that Mr. Frederick Merril Jessop owes her $170,000 in child support payments. The couple had established an agreement last September, but the order was not put in writing. Now Ms. Jessop has hired a Texas family attorney to put together a written child support agreement that is enforceable.

Fathers for Equal Rights Helps Families Connect With Lawyers

Regardless of family structure, the non-profit organization Fathers For Equal Rights recognizes that every child should have the right to have a healthy relationship with both parents. There are many people in Houston that have problems with child custody, but Fathers For Equal Rights helps put parents in touch with Houston family attorneys in order to help those families who need help in family courts.

According to the organization's website, more than 35 family attorneys work with Fathers for Equal Rights. Members of the organization also have access to prerecorded online courses, where people can learn about several topics relating to family law.