The Houston Family Law Blog

January 2011 Archives

Should Marriage Counseling Be Required Before a Divorce?

As reported in The Huffington Post, Nebraska State Senator Tony Fulton recently introduced a bill in his state that would give a family court judge the option to send married couples with minor children to counseling before granting a divorce. This brings up the question of whether counseling is effective and if it can help distressed couples solve their problems.

Other U.S. states have also proposed laws to require counseling before going through a divorce. The Texas Legislature reportedly rejected a bill proposed by Rep. Warren Chisum in 2009 that would have required every person with a minor child who files for divorce to complete 10 hours of mandatory divorce counseling before the divorce can be granted. The state of Oklahoma also rejected a similar bill.

Jesse James Engaged to Kat Von D

It's been barely six months since television personality Jesse James started dating the Los Angeles tattoo artist Kat Von D, but the two are already engaged and rumors say that they're planning their wedding for as early as next month. TV.com reported that James went through a dramatic divorce in Texas last summer with actress Sandra Bullock. They both currently reside in Austin, where Bullock continues to have a strong relationship with James' daughter Sunny.

For this reason, James is basically tied to living in Texas. Right now he and Kat Von D live separately, but there's been talk of having her relocate to the Lone Star state. It's still not clear where the couple will be having their wedding.

One of Texas' Most Wanted Child Support Evaders Arrested at JFK

A deadbeat dad that allegedly owes a total of $420,498 in back child support to two of his children in Texas was recently arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York for criminal nonsupport.

KLTV reports that the 55-year-old father, David Z. Martin, was ordered to make payments of $3,500 a month in 1991. After failing to make a single payment and accumulating a bill of $150,000 in unpaid child support, a Carson County judge reportedly reduced the father's monthly child support payments to just $1,500 a month in 1997.

Gay Families Most Common in the Southern States

Many Texas residents might say that the Lone Star state does not have the most gay-friendly communities. Yet The Seattle Times reports that same-sex couples in the Southern states -- Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas -- are the most likely to raise children. Hence, there are more gay families in the South than on the West Coast or in New England.

Census data indicates that about one third of lesbians have children and that about one fifth of gay men are parents. Children of same-sex couples in the South are considered to be among the most vulnerable children in society due to the few legal protections that same-sex couples have and because the children have less access to health insurance than the children of heterosexual parents.

Adoption Through Department of Family and Protective Services

Interested in adopting a child in Texas? One of the most rewarding types of adoption can be the adoption of a child through foster care. According to Abilene Reporter-News, many children in state custody have been taken from their biological parents for reasons of abuse or neglect. Perhaps these children are in need of a loving home more than anybody else.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services most often tries to place abused and neglected children with their own biological relatives after the parents have had their parental rights terminated. If the children for some reason cannot be placed with relatives, then they will become adoptable through DFPS.

Brent Barry Finalizes Divorce in Texas Court

Former San Antonio Spurs basketball star Brent Barry is officially divorced from his wife Erin Barry after 13 years of marriage. According to the San Antonio Express, the divorce was finalized in a Bexar County courtroom on January 5 and the couple will now be sharing joint custody of their two children.

The couple made media headlines in November 2010, when it was rumored that Erin Barry had an affair with Brent's former teammate Tony Parker. Coincidently, Parker and his wife Eva Longoria filed for a divorce in Texas just after the Barry family did.

A 14-year-old girl from Houston gave birth to twins last year, but there is still a great deal of controversy over who should have custody of the babies.

FOX News reports that Child Protective Services got involved with the case because they believe that the young mother lacked the proper resources to take care of her children. The girl's father is in prison serving time for murder and her mother was deported from the country. The girl did live with her aunt before giving birth, but she reportedly ran away from that home.

Appellate Court Upholds Gay Divorce in Texas

It looks like the controversial divorce case between Angelique Naylor and Sabina Daly has finally come to end with somewhat of a victory for the gay community. The Dallas Voice reports that the same-sex couple married in Massachusetts in 2004, but filed for a divorce in Texas last year where the couple and their adopted child resides. However, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott intervened in the case after the divorce was orally granted and argued that allowing for a gay divorce violates state law because Texas forbids any action that recognizes the validity of same-sex marriages, including divorce.

Court Reduces Child Support Payments For Eddie Cibrian

Former star of CSI: Miami Eddie Cibrian says that he has made very little money over the past several months and that he is no longer able to pay his kids as much money in child support as what was originally ordered. Hence, the actor recently negotiated the terms of his child support payments and he will no longer be paying as much money to his ex-wife Brandi Glanville.

AHN News reports that courts ordered Glanville to reimburse Cibrian with 65 percent of the child support he paid her for their two sons. From now on, the father will be making child support payments that are reportedly half the amount of what was originally agreed upon.

Texas Teen Birth Rate Declining, But Still High

Did you know that recently released government figures showed that the U.S teen birth rate in 2009 was at a 70-year low? According to the Associated Press, U.S. health officials are reporting that the 2009 teen birth rate was 29 births per 1,000 girls, ages 15 through 19.

Apparently, the state of Texas also has a teen birth rate that is declining. Yet, the Abilene Reporter-News reported that the teen birth rate in the Lone Star State is still far above the national average. Statistics from the Texas Department of State Health Services indicate that the state has a teen birth rate of 60.6 per 1,000 teenage girls. About 54,000 were reportedly born to Texas teenagers in 2007.

Houston Adoptions During the Holiday Season

The holiday season and the start of a new year can be a great time to add somebody new to your family and adopt a child. Houston's 39Online.com reported that 46 children in the Houston area were adopted into new families four days before Christmas and that a ceremony on December 21 took place to celebrate the child adoptions.

The adoptions were reportedly part of the state's Child Protective Services Home for the Holidays adoption celebration. The city of Houston is said to have more than 1,600 children in CPS that are currently waiting for an adoptive home.