The Houston Family Law Blog

June 2011 Archives

Brown Coffee Company Boycotted for Same-Sex Marriage Tweet

Perhaps it's best for businesses to keep their opinions on same-sex marriage (and other hot-buton issues) to themselves. A San Antonio-based coffee company is learning this lesson the hard way and is now apparently facing the consequences of a Twitter post that people believe had to do with the same-sex marriage debate.

Just after the state of New York legalized same-sex marriage last week, Brown Coffee Company tweeted the following: "No human law can ever legitimize what natural law precludes. #SorryFolks #NotEqual #WhyBother #ChasingAfterTheWind #SelfEvident."

Houston Same-Sex Couples Travel to New York For Marriage

New York is now one of six U.S. states that recognizes and allows for same-sex marriages, thanks to the state's Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo signing the gay marriage bill into a law on Friday. And while gay marriages are still prohibited in Texas, it isn't stopping Houston same-sex couples from traveling to other states to be wed.

The Houston Chronicle reports that some gay couples in Texas are already making wedding plans in New York. However, Texas residents should all be aware that even a valid marriage in New York between two people of the same sex will be invalid in the Lone Star state. This is because Texas defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman, according to the state's 2005 Defense of Marriage Act.

Adoption Among Same-Sex Couples on the Rise

Even during times when many U.S. states are pushing for legislation that would prohibit same-sex couples from adopting a child, The New York Times reports that there’s still a growing number of gay couples who are adopting and starting a family of their own.

Census numbers show that 19 percent of same-sex couples raising children reported having an adopted child in the house in 2009, which is up from just 8 percent in 2000. The trend of more same- sex couples adopting most likely comes with the overall increased acceptance of gays and lesbians in American society along with the growing number of children that are waiting to be adopted.

Rosalina Gonzales Loses Child Custody After Spanking Child

What may have once been considered a traditional form of discipline is now apparently a crime in the state of Texas. According to NPR, a Texas judge sentenced a mother from Corpus Christi to five years of probation last week after the mother pleaded guilty to causing injury to a child.

Prosecutors reportedly brought the criminal charges against mother Rosalina Gonzales after she spanked her 2-year-old daughter with an open hand. Spanking the child on the buttocks did leave some red marks, which caused the grandmother of the child to report the injury to local authorities.

Divorce in Texas: Lee Block Launches Post-Divorce Website

Lee Block believes that she is an expert when it comes to divorce in Texas. The mother has been divorced twice and now does work as a divorce coach and divorce blogger in Houston.

Fox News reports that Block has become famous for her website, an online-divorce community and dating network for Texas residents. She is also getting ready to launch another post-divorce dating website in July, targeted not just toward people in Texas, but divorcees around the nation.

Pro-Choice Group Challenges Texas Sonogram Law

A new Texas sonogram law is set to take effect on September 1, that will require a woman seeking an abortion to have a sonogram and hear a detailed description of the fetus. The law will also require the mother to hear about alternatives to an abortion procedure, including information about new mother services and adoption procedures.

Proponents of the law have argued that this policy will give pregnant women more information about their child and thus be able to make a more informed decision on what it is to be done with their unborn child. Yet pro-choice advocates see problems with this new law and argue that it puts restrictions on a woman's abortion rights. The Wall Street Journal reports that the national Center for Reproductive Rights filed a class-action lawsuit this week to block this piece of legislation from taking effect.

Hugh Hefner Calls Off Marriage to Playmate Crystal Harris

It looks like 85-year-old Hugh Hefner will no longer be getting this married this weekend, as planned. While this may be a sad decision between the couple, it will might just be saving the Playboy Magazine founder from a great deal of family law drama in the future.

KTLA News reports that Hefner's planned wedding to 24-year-old Playboy playmate Crystal Harris was called off after the two got into an argument over the phone this past weekend. Apparently, their wedding was supposed to take place on Saturday and more than 300 people had been invited to the occasion.

Texas Father Involved in International Child Custody Dispute

Child custody cases can be complicated enough within the United States. Yet when there’s a child custody dispute between parents in separate countries, there are even more complex legal issues for the courts to consider, as well as additional procedures to go through.

International child abduction has become an increasing problem around the world, but the good news is that more than 80 countries have adopted the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abductions. FindLaw’s KnowledgeBase writes that this treaty is supposed to establish procedures so that wrongful removal or retention of children can be avoided across international borders.

But so far, the treaty has not helped one Plano, Texas, father get to see his daughter.

Majority of Texans Support Same-Sex Marriage or Civil Unions

Texas has a reputation for standing as one of the most conservative U.S. states in the nation, but even the residents of this solid red state seem to support the legal recognition of same-sex relationships. According to Dallas Voice, a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll released last month revealed that 61 percent of Texans support same-sex marriages or civil unions.

Specifically, 30 percent of poll respondents said that the state should allow for same-sex marriage, where 31 percent said that the state should allow for civil unions. The poll found that only 33 percent of Texans oppose any form of relationship recognition, where six percent of people polled responded that they are still unsure of where they stand on the issue. Over the past couple years, other studies and polls have found that most Texans support either same-sex marriage or civil unions.

Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries to Sign Prenuptial Agreement

Kim Kardashian may not be a legal scholar, but it looks like the reality star is no fool when it comes to using the law to take control of her finances. Kardashian and her fiancee Kris Humphries are now drafting a prenuptial agreement, according to New York Daily News, so that they can each protect their own assets.

Who cares about the image of romance and staying together forever? The couple has stated that prenup is "the smart thing to do." Kardashian has a $35 million fortune that she doesn't want to give up in the case of her divorce. Meanwhile, Humphries has assets that he would like to hold onto as well. As an NBA star for the New Jersey Nets, Humphries is making an estimated $3.2 million per season. His family also owns a number of Five Guys Burgers and Fries restaurants, which reportedly makes his net worth an estimated $8 million.

More Men Becoming Single Dads in Texas

Single fathers used to be considered somewhat of a rare occurrence in the state of Texas and in the United States, but now judges are granting sole custody of children to fathers much more often than before. According to Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 2010 Census data indicates that 4 out of 100 family households in Texas have single dads with their own children under the age of 18. This number is up from single dads being in 3 out of every 100 family households a decade ago,a significant 33 percent increase.

Child support statistics show that there's also an increase in the number of fathers in the state who receive child support as the custodial parent, rather than pay the child support. About 10 percent of fathers in Tarrant County are now classified as custodial parents collecting child support. The Tarrant County statistics reportedly mirror the statewide trends.

More Child Support Fees in Texas Coming Soon

Non-custodial parents in Texas will soon have to pay the state additional $3 monthly child support fees for processing when making support payments, thanks to the approval of a state budget that is trying to make up for the revenue shortfall of at least $15 billion.

Reuters reports that the Texas House and Senate approved a two-year budget on Saturday and that the budget will now go to Governor Rick Perry’s desk for approval. Lawmakers had the goal of balancing the budget without raising taxes. So instead of taxes, the government is charging state residents in other ways.