The Houston Family Law Blog

September 2011 Archives

Don't Hate, Mediate: Using Mediation in Texas in Family Law

The Texas Family Code provides mediation in Texas to resolve family law disputes. The statute is Section 6.602, and it allows two parties to voluntarily, or on the order of the court, to take their divorce to mediation. The statute provides an exception to mediation, in those cases where there has been proven family violence.

Mediation, also called structured negotiation, is a private and informal alternative to settling disputes in court. In mediation, a neutral third party helps the parties reach a good resolution. Unlike a judge or jury, the mediator may not force the parties to accept a settlement. Mediation allows the parties to reach an agreement that is best for their situation.

What are the Divorce Laws in Texas?

Have you ever wondered what it takes to get a divorce in Texas? Well, it doesn’t always take the fault of one spouse. A no-fault divorce is where the couple doesn’t have to prove fault or provide a specific reason to end the marriage. The no-fault divorce law in Texas is written as follows:

“On the petition of either party to a marriage, the court may grant a divorce without regard to fault if the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.”

Some people in Texas refer to the no-fault divorce as the “insupportable” divorce. However, no-fault is not the only kind of divorce in Texas. There are also various fault-based grounds for divorce in Texas also. They are:

Divorced Women Sell Things From Their Past in Divorcee Sale

Divorced women from around the country came together in New York to divorce their pain and start a new life by selling things from their past, reports CBS/CNN.

Known as the Divorcee Sale, the event allows women to clean out their closets and part with items they no longer want to keep.

At the sale, shoppers are welcome to pick through the items. Designer names like Gucci, Chanel, and Cartier, are all available at big discounts. Profits from the Divorcee Sale get divided between the organization, the women that provide the items, and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Montgomery County Mother Allegedly Stabs Sleeping Teenage Daughter

In a scene out of a creepy slasher film, a Montgomery County mother allegedly stabbed her sleeping daughter, reports the Houston Chronicle.

The Montgomery County mother, Dequita Hoefling, has been charged with aggravated assault. The "enhanced" charge makes sense given that Heofling's daughter was stabbed multiple times in the back and neck, reports the Chronicle.

Dequita Hoefling's daughter was taken by the father to Conroe Regional Hospital and then Memorial Hermann Hospital. The stabbed teenage daughter is in critical condition but expected to survive.

5 Reasons to Get a Paternity Test in Texas

With the pop culture scene cluttered with stories about unplanned pregnancies -- from the film Knocked Up to the TV show Teen Mom -- it is always worthwhile looking at the issue of pregnancy from a legal perspective.

One of the important elements of any pregnancy is the establishment of the father. Legally establishing the identity of the father is what lawyers refer to as "paternity."

Below are five reasons why it is worthwhile to get paternity legally recognized whenever there is a pregnancy:

Jeff Bagwell Romance Now Part of Dr. Brown Assault Case

One of Houston’s most storied baseball players, Jeff Bagwell, might be getting pulled into the assault case involving Dr. Michael Glyn Brown and his wife Rachel Brown, reports the Houston Chronicle.

The story of Jeff Bagwell’s romance with Rachel Brown came out as part of Dr. Brown’s defense. Dr. Brown’s team tried to show that Rachel Brown hadn’t filed divorce because of the alleged assault, but possibly because of a relationship with Jeff Bagwell.

The defense’s attempt to explore the link between Jeff Bagwell and Rachel Brown might be difficult, because apparently the former all-star has been in “hiding” since the subpoena, reports KHOU.

700 Club's Pat Robertson Allows Divorcing Spouse with Alzheimer's

The 700 Club's Pat Robertson, a former presidential candidate who ran on strong family values platform, told his viewers that it was OK to divorce a spouse with Alzheimer's, reports the Associated Press.

The discussion about divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer's came up during the Question and Answer period of the program. Pat Robertson's permission seems to challenge the view of those Christian denominations which either prohibit or discourage divorce.

Robertson's comments were challenged by Beth Kallmyer, an activist member of the Alzheimer's Association, who says that generally people don't get divorced due to Alzheimer's.

Brown Hand vs Long Arm: Hand Center Doc in Court of Law

The trial for well-known Houston area doctor, Michael Glyn Brown, for allegedly assaulting his fourth wife, got underway today, reports KHOU Houston.

The founder of the Brown Hand Center is accused of assaulting his fourth wife. Both sides are bringing big time witnesses to the stand. This includes former Astros player Jeff Bagwell. The crux of the case against Dr. Michael Glyn Brown is that he twisted his wife's arm during an argument at home in 2010.

The wife, Rachel Brown, previously testified that she thought her husband was going to break her arm.

Will Rise of Night Shift Moms Put Strain on Marriages?

Previously, the most famous Southerner to work a night-shift was William Faulkner. And his work was writing. However, as economic trends across the country start to change, more people are doing more work at night. And there is a new phenomenon afoot as a result: the rise of the so called night shift moms, reports The New York Times.

For five percent of employed women, employment occurs between nine at night and eight in the morning, reports The Times. Five percent might sound little, but it comes out to about three million mothers across the country.

Three Steps for a Texas Teen Mother in Trouble

Even though the teen pregnancy rates in the country are decreasing, Texas still has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the USA, coming in as the fourth highest.

This statistic is alarming, particularly because Texas has the highest birth rate in the country, according to the New York Times. As such, it is important for Texas teen mothers to have the facts about what they can do if they become pregnant and decide to have the child.

Money is Forever: How to Protect a Small Business During Divorce

The discovery that the South has the highest divorce rate in the USA, might be a wake-up call to many people about learning more about their marital and divorce rights in Texas.

Given that after marriage, many people bring their spouse into a small business that was established before marriage, an unexpected divorce can wreak havoc on each party's financial position. This is especially true in a state like Texas, which is considered a community property state, where each party often walks away with half of the marital property in a divorce.

Additionally, while a family business that was handed down from a previous generation is considered to belong to one spouse, it can become marital property through the duration of a marriage unless certain legal steps are taken to prevent this. The same co-mingling can also occur with a cash gift that one might receive from a family member. It makes sense to keep ownership of such assets separate.

With this in mind the Houston Chronicle offers a few points of advice about how to go about protecting a small business in a divorce. Here is a summary and commentary on those points:

Lauren Bush Plus David Lauren Equals Lauren Bush Lauren

In what can only be hailed as a defeat for those children that come up with weird possible names they might get after marriage, Lauren Bush married David Lauren and went with Lauren Bush-Lauren instead of Lauren Lauren, reports ABC News.

Lauren Bush is part of the Bush family that has produced two presidents. David Lauren is the son of fashion mogul Ralph Lauren. Ms. Bush Lauren has previously worked as a model, so it is a marriage made in fashion heaven.

Houston Mother Seeks Abortion after Son Allegedly Rapes Daughter

A Houston woman allegedly took her 12-year-old mentally handicapped daughter to Ohio for an abortion after the child was sexually assaulted by her 19-year-old brother, reports the Associated Press.

The 19-year-old son was indicted earlier this year, on counts related to aggravated sexual assault of the woman's daughter. However, now officials are suggesting that the mother took her daughter all the way to Ohio as a way to hide the son's alleged rape, reports the Huffington Post.

The names of the family members have not been released, as a way to protect the girl's identity.