The Houston Family Law Blog

September 2010 Archives

Most Wanted Deadbeat Dad Sentenced for Failing to Pay Child Support

ABC News calls Howard Veal the "biggest deadbeat dad in America." The Michigan man has fathered 23 children with 14 different woman and has accumulated $533,000 in debt over child support payments.

Howard Veal was recently sentenced to up to four years in jail for failing to pay child support. While the guidelines in Michigan call for no more than six months in jail for failure to pay child support, the judge said that he deviated from such guidelines for substantial and compelling reasons.

Heart Gallery Encourages Adoption Through Art

Foster children in Texas will find themselves on the wall of an art exhibit this Thursday with an art-exhibit style gallery at the Renaissance Austin Hotel. TWEAN News Channel of Austin reports that the gallery project was launched by the Central Texas organizations Adoption Coalition of Texas and CASA and that the goal of the project is to ultimately find foster children a permanent home.

The Heart Gallery of Central Texas will essentially feature professional portraits of children in foster care who are waiting to be adopted. The exhibit was put together by 60 renowned Central Texas photographers that volunteered their time. More than 140 children are featured in the works of art and in a video presentation titled "Beyond the Lens."

What If the Father Does Not Acknowledge Paternity?

When a father does not want to acknowledge paternity in Texas, the mother can contact the Office of the Attorney General or Houston family law attorney to get a child support case opened up in the courts. Through the Office of the Attorney General, the mother can provide information about the alleged father (place of employment, social security number, etc.) so that authorities can track him down.

Are Children of Divorce More Likely To Go Through a Divorce of Their Own?

There have been many psychological studies done on how divorce impacts children. Because of the increasing rate of divorce, it's not uncommon these days for one or both partners in a marriage to come from a family of divorced parents. But does a child of divorced parents have more difficulties in romantic relationships or even in a marriage?

CNN reports that Nicholas Wolfinger, a professor of family and consumer studies at the University of Utah, says that divorce is more likely when there has already been a divorce within the family. The professor states that the risk of divorce is 50 percent higher when one spouse comes from a divorced home, and a 200 percent higher risk when both spouses have divorced parents. He also told CNN that children of divorce are 50 percent more likely to marry another child of divorce.

New York Governor Signs Gay Adoption Bill

Gay couples across the country are slowly starting to gain more rights. This week, New York Governor David Paterson signed an adoption bill that allows gay and lesbian couples to jointly adopt a child in the state of New York. The new law also changes the language in the state's adoption statute from "husband and wife" to the gender-neutral term "married couple," according to On Top Magazine.

Gay marriage is still not legal in the state of New York, but legal marriages between same-sex couples are still recognized in the state. Granting adoption rights to same-sex couples in the state may encourage other U.S. states to pass similar measures. Some states currently limit or even outright ban gay couples from adopting.

Father Turns Himself In After 17 Years In Child Abduction Case

A boy who had been missing from his mother for 17 years, could now have the opportunity to reunite with the mom. CBS News reports that Stephen Michael Palacios will be turning 21 years of age tomorrow and that he has not seen his mom since 1993 when he was allegedly abducted by his father during a divorce battle.

The Texan mother, who is now re-married, was reportedly awarded primary custody of the child in the divorce case. She was living with her son in Waco before her son's disappearance in 1993. The boy had not known about his reported disappearance until recently when he read about his own abduction case in a local Waco newspaper. He then persuaded his father to surrender to federal authorities. After turning himself in, the father was jailed on charges of interference with child custody.

Texas Shows Biggest Increase In Children Adopted From Foster Care

Everything's always bigger in Texas. This includes the number of children that are adopted out of foster care.

The Lone Star State deserves the award for the greatest increase in children adopted out of foster care for the fiscal year of 2009. The federal government is awarding the state of Texas for this increase with more than $7.4 million. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced earlier this week that the government awarded a total of $39 million to 38 states and Puerto Rico for increasing the number of children adopted from foster care. This is all part of an incentive to improve child welfare programs.

Can a Teenage Parent Be Ordered to Pay Child Support?

If the non-custodial parent is still a minor, he or she is still responsible for supporting the child and can still be ordered to pay child support to the custodial parent. The Child Support Division in the Office of the Attorney General states that a Texas judge can look at a teenage parent's income while he or she is still in school and decide how much child support must be paid.

Woman Claims to Be Daughter of Michael Jackson

A woman from the Netherlands claims that she is the daughter of Michael Jackson and is asking Los Angeles courts to reconsider her case that requests custody of the King of Pop's children and a portion of his estate.

The Money Times reports that Mocienne Petit Jackson claims that she is the love child of Michael Jackson and Barbara Ross, the sister of Diana Ross. The 34-year-old woman claims that their fling occurred in 1975, when Michael Jackson was only 17-years-old. Yet Barbara Ross insists that she has never had an affair with the Pop legend.

Stanley Boone Kills Wife After Divorce

A Texas man who was angry about his divorce settlement went as far as to kill his ex-wife, the Houston Chronicle reports. The couple's son then got revenge and allegedly shot his 70-year-old father, once he saw his father kill his mother.

Investigators from the Brazoria County Sheriff's Office say that the couple's ongoing divorce battle was a factor in their deaths. Stanley Boone reportedly brought divorce proceedings against his wife Karla Boone in July 2009 after more than 30 years of marriage. But last month, a judge ordered that Karla Boone was to have exclusive use of their home in Manvel. The judge also issued a restraining order prohibiting the couple from contacting, or threatening to harm each other.

Weird Marriage Laws: Who Can Officiate Your Wedding?

Woman's Day recently reported on 10 obscure marriage laws that exist in the United States, including laws dealing with marriage customs, divorce, or rules that are simply outdated. For example, the state of Kentucky has a law that says you can't marry the same spouse more than three times while the city of Hartford, Connecticut states that a man cannot kiss his wife on Sundays.

Many Houstonians will cross the Texas/Louisiana border to get married in the exciting city of New Orleans. With a marriage ceremony, many couples choose to get married by a religious figure or judge. Some people in various U.S. states may even ask a friend or family member to become certified by an ordination so that he or she can perform a wedding ceremony. But not just anybody can perform a wedding ceremony in New Orleans.

Lufkin Man Arrested for Bigamy

Bigamy is not just another petty offense in the state of Texas. Having multiple spouses is actually a felony crime, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The Lufkin Daily News reports that one 21-year-old man could be learning the consequences of bigamy the hard way. Justin Wayne Mitchamore, of Lufkin, reportedly married in March 2008 in Kansas, but separated from his wife after just three weeks of marriage. The man filed for a divorce in Angelina County in September 2009, but allegedly missed his final court date. Hence, his divorce was reportedly never finalized and his marriage was never dissolved.

Texas Court of Appeals Says No to Gay Divorce

Same-sex couples are not allowed to marry in the state of Texas and as of Tuesday they're not allowed to get a divorce either.

A gay couple that legally married in Massachusetts, but resides in Texas, is now having difficulties ending their marriage. The two men known as J.B. and H.B. in court filings were granted a divorce in Texas last October by a Dallas district court judge, but Attorney General Greg Abbott appealed the judge's ruling. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that the 5th Texas Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday that the district court judge did not have the authority to make a decision on a gay divorce case and reversed the ruling.

Michael Glyn Brown Accused of Assaulting Wife

A former Houston hand surgeon has been charged with third-degree felony aggravated assault after allegedly beating his wife. Yet this isn't the first time Dr. Michael Glyn Brown has faced such legal trouble.

The Houston Chronicle reports that the alleged victim was the doctor's fourth wife. Eight years ago, the man pleaded guilty to assaulting his third wife and received 10 years of supervised probation for the attack. Because of his previous conviction, Michael Brown faces a higher penalty this time around -- 10 years in prison along with a $10,000 if he is convicted of the criminal charges.