The Houston Family Law Blog

November 2010 Archives

Children Adopted In Houston During National Adoption Month

More than 60 children that were once wards of the state now have permanent families after prospective parents went through the process of adoption. ABC News reported that on Friday November 19, a ceremony honored new families as 61 children that were in the custody of Child Protective Services were adopted on this day.

Child Custody: Virtual Visitation in Texas

Many non-custodial parents are taking advantage of the Web cam technology offered through Google, AOL, Yahoo, and Skype. Parents are now able to "visit" their children without actually being in the same room as the kids through the use of video communication devices.

FindLaw KnowledgeBase states that Texas has a virtual visitation law in place through Family Code ยง153.015, which permits courts to order electronic communication with the child. Parents in Texas can also agree independently to an electronic communication schedule as part of their visitation plan through out of court proceedings. Texas became the third U.S. state to pass a virtual visitation law in 2007 after Utah and Wisconsin passed similar laws. Virtual visitation laws were later passed in Florida and North Carolina.

Where Will Tony Parker and Eva Longoria Divorce?

San Antonio point guard Tony Parker filed for a dissolution of marriage last week in Texas just after his estranged wife Eva Longoria filed for the divorce in Los Angeles, CA. There seems to be some disagreement as to where their case should be heard.

The Los Angeles Times reports that there are probably a few reasons why Tony Parker wants the divorce case to be heard in the Lone Star state. First of all, there's a shorter waiting period for divorce cases in Texas, where an uncontested divorce can be completed in as little as 60 days from the date of the divorce filing. California, on the other hand, has a six month waiting period for a divorce.

Will Tony Parker and Eva Longoria Divorce in Texas or California?

San Antonio point guard Tony Parker filed for a dissolution of marriage last week in Texas just after his estranged wife Eva Longoria filed for the divorce in Los Angeles, CA. There seems to be some disagreement as to where their case should be heard.

The Los Angeles Times reports that there's probably a few reasons why Tony Parker wants the divorce case to be heard in the Lone Star state. First of all, there's a shorter waiting period for divorce cases in Texas, where an uncontested divorce can be completed in as little as 60 days from the date of the divorce filing. California, on the other hand, has a six month waiting period for a divorce.

Greg Abbott's Child Support Division Receives Award

Did you know that for the past three years the state of Texas has ranked number one in the nation for the total amount of child support that it collects? Perhaps this is why Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Child Support Division was given the “Outstanding Program” award from the Western Interstate Child Support Enforcement Council (WICSEC) last week.

The Cherokeean Herald reports that each year WICSEC recognizes a state, regional, county or tribal child support program with the Outstanding Program award. The award is supposed to honor a particular program that carries oust effective child support enforcement.

More Non-Traditional Families Emerging in U.S

Studies by the Pew Research Center and U.S Census Bureau indicate that marriage is becoming obsolete. According to Associated Press, data shows that marriage rates are at an all-time low, where only 52 percent of adults over the age of 18 are married.

Perhaps the definition of family is changing. About 29 percent of children under the age of 18 now live with a parent or parents that are unwed or no longer married. When asked what constitutes a family, AP reported that 80 percent of people surveyed thought unmarried couples with children or a single parent with children were a family. About 60 percent of people surveyed said that a same-sex couple with children should be considered a family. Non-traditional families seem to become more accepted in society as well.

Harris County Judge Dismisses the Divorce Case for Beyonce's Parents

Beyonce Knowles’ parents filed for divorce almost a year ago in Harris County after 29 years of marriage, but MTV News reports that Tina and Mathew Knowles didn’t show up for their scheduled divorce hearing on Monday. Hence, a judge dismissed the Texas dissolution of marriage case.

This could be a lesson to spouses that are seeking divorce. If you don’t show up to the hearing, the divorce can’t be finalized. Rumors have emerged through the media that Tina and Mathew Knowles have reconciled their relationship and might not be wanting a divorce after all. However, there has been no official news from Mathew or Tina’s reps about a possible reconciliation.

Texas Family Law Attorneys Recommend Prenup For Business Owners

If you have a family business and you’re about to get married, it would be a good idea to consider signing a prenuptial agreement with your spouse-to-be. This is because a divorce can be especially complicated when there’s a family business or great deal of money involved.

Delmarva Daily Times states that anybody who owns a business or who is in a position of potential ownership of a business shares that status with a spouse. A prenuptial agreement can ensure that a family business doesn’t end up in the hands of the wrong person in the case of a divorce.

Mel Gibson Ordered to Pay $50,000 in Back Child Support

We reported last month that a Los Angeles judge ordered Hollywood actor Mel Gibson to pay $20,000 per month in child support so that his ex-girlfriend can care for their daughter, Lucia. However,The New York Post recently reported that the Lethal Weapon star refused to pay the $20,000 per month because he said that $6,000 in rent money should be deducted for the total monthly amount, as the child and ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva are currently living in his Sherman Oaks home.

Lil Wayne Accused of Fathering Another Child

Lil Wayne just got out of prison last week, but the rapper is already involved in another legal dispute. This time, the legal drama involves a Missouri woman claiming that the hip-hop artist is the father of her 8-year-old child.

The Toronto Sun reports that the woman filed court papers over the summer, demanding Lil Wayne to submit to a DNA test. The rapper was initially supposed to take a paternity test before September 10 of this year. But because Lil Wayne was in prison, the deadline was pushed back until December 9.

Texas Teen Pregnancies And Family Law

The Texas Department of State Health Services reports that every 10 minutes, a teenager in Texas gets pregnant. This leads to a Texas teen giving birth every 10 minutes and a Texas teenager getting an abortion every 48 minutes.

Numerous consequences are often associated with teen pregnancies, including teen moms becoming less likely to finish high school after having a child. Teenagers with children are also more likely to live in poverty and abuse alcohol or other drugs. This is perhaps one reason why the students at St. Edward's University recently called for the elimination of abstinence-only education in schools in an opinion piece. Instead, Hilltop Views encourages education to students that focuses on the dangers and consequences of unprotected sex, STDs and unplanned pregnancies.

Grandmother Hands Children Over to Harris County Authorities

We reported in an earlier blog post that 23-year-old Abraham Fernandez of Houston was arrested after allegedly kidnapping his own two children from their mother's home in Anaheim, CA. The whereabouts of the father's two children were unknown at the time of his arrest in Texas, however the Orange County Register recently reported that the children were recently handed over to authorities after the grandmother of the children took the kids to a court facility earlier this week.

November Is National Adoption Month In Texas

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services reports that November is National Adoption Month, which has the goal of raising awareness about the adoption of children and youth from foster care. According to the Department, there are currently 115,000 children in the United States that are in foster care waiting for adoptive families.

National Adoption Month is also sponsored by the organizations AdoptUsKids and Child Welfare Information Gateway. These organizations not only provide resources on adoption-related services but also do work to prevent child abuse and neglect within a home.

Can Children Prevent Divorce?

The United States has a divorce rate of almost 50 percent. As stated through Marriage101.org, couples with children have a slightly lower rate of divorce than childless couples. Does this mean children in a marriage can keep parents from growing apart?

At least 66 percent of divorced couples do not have children. Sociologists believe that the absence of children in a relationship can lead to loneliness, which can lead to a depressing marriage. Not being able to have children can also be a common cause for a divorce.