The Houston Family Law Blog

November 2011 Archives

Get Financially Organized For Marriage

Most Americans will spend on a wedding, on average, between $21,000 and $24,000, reports Smart Money. Consider that in some parts of the world that is more than what a household makes in a year. What that kind of budget, it is no surprise that many Americans micro-manage the wedding -- everything from the decorations to the photographer.

But there is another facet of wedding planning that is often left ignored, and this one is nearly as important as the wedding day itself, largely because it will have ramifications all the way through marriage.

Ashley Billasano Tweeted 144 Times Before Suicide

A student at Rosenberg BF Terry High School committed suicide after a mass of Twitter posts, reports My Fox Houston.

The 18-year-old, Ashley Billasano, tweeted 144 times before her suicide. In those 144 tweets she revealed that she had been molested and forced into prostitution.

As her Tweets accumulated, there were about 500 people following her account. She even asked them for a reply: "I'd love to hear what you have to say but I wont be around." Her last Tweet was tragic and to the point: "Take two. I hope I get this right." She killed herself by suffocation through a technique learned on the Internet.

Text-Message Bullying On the Rise

With all the dangers and difficulties that parents face monitoring their children’s online life, now there’s another dimension to it. It appears that text-message bullying is on the rise, reports Reuters.

The study by the journal Pediatrics found that of more than a thousand middle school and high school students that were surveyed in 2008, nearly 25 percent claimed they had been “harassed” by texting. Harassment was defined by “rude or mean comments” or actual threats.

Texas Child Psychiatrist Dr. Charles Fischer's License Suspended

The state's Medical Board suspended Texas child psychiatrist Dr. Charles Fischer's license after credible evidence was revealed that he sexually abused a child patient, reports the Austin American-Statesman.

Investigators are also looking into additional allegations that the child psychiatrist may have abused eight other children over the course of a decade. Coming at around the same time as the national scandal involving Jerry Sandusky, who allegedly abused countless young boys in Pennsylvania, the allegations against Dr. Charles Fischer are particularly troublesome.

Texas Dating Violence: Knife Fight in North Houston

A woman allegedly killed her boyfriend in a knife fight in north Houston, reports the Houston Chronicle.

The 30-year-old male that died in the stabbing, Yohance McClane, was rushed to Northwest Houston Hospital after the attack, but did not survive. The incident happened at 15165 Vicery near the N. Sam Houston Parkway, around 1:15 in the morning, according to the Houston Police Department.

The woman — whose name has not been released — is said to be McClane’s girlfriend. She too was injured, but was released after treatment.

CDC Study: Teens Having Less Sex

A Center for Disease Control (CDC) study finds that the teen sex rate is down because teens are having less sex, reports the Houston Chronicle.

The report about the teen sex rate found that 43 percent of teen girls and 42 percent of boys have had sex at least once by the age of 19. Those numbers are down from 51.1 percent of girls and 60.4 percent of boys in 2002.

Not surprisingly, the teen birth rate is the lowest in recorded history. The teen birth rate is currently at 39 per 1,000.

Troy Aikman Divorce from Rhonda Aikman Final

Troy Aikman's divorce from Rhonda Aikman is complete and has been since April, reports TMZ.

Troy Aikman's divorce was first revealed back in January; but the decree of divorce was not finalized until a few months later.

A few months before the separation, Troy and Rhonda had divided their assets, reports TMZ. Rhonda apparently gave up her stake in a mansion in Dallas, to later purchase another home in the city for around $1.5 million.

Dad Seeks Custody of Diann Ford Baby

An infant delivered by emergency surgery after her mother, Diann Ford, was killed in a hit-and-run, is the subject of a custody battle, reports the Houston Chronicle.

Diann Ford was a pregnant single mom when she was struck by a car walking near her work. She didn’t survive, but her child — who doesn’t have a name yet — did. And now that child is likely to be caught up in a custody battle.

89-Year-Old Vet's Guardian Seeks To Have His Marriage Annulled

Jewell Hall, an 89-year-old WWII veteran with dementia, may have his marriage to his former caretaker Marjorie Messer annulled, reports the Houston Chronicle.

Jewell Hall’s marriage to 58-year-old Marjorie Messer came about when he was looking for a caretaker after the death of his wife of six decades. A waitress named Patty recommended her cousin Marjorie. Shortly thereafter, Hall and Messer tied the knot.

A few days after the ceremony, Messer withdrew nearly $17,000 from Hall’s bank account and placed the money into a new joint bank account at her bank. Hall later disinherited his three children in his will and named his new wife as the recipient of everything, including medical and financial powers of attorney.

Texas Cyberbullying: Patty Fabian Assault on Youtube

A 15-year-old Texas girl was beaten by a group of girls from her school outside of Dallas and the entire video of the incident was posted on Youtube, reports the Houston Chronicle.

Patty Fabian's assault occurred in a Dallas suburb called Garland. She was beaten so severely that she had two black eyes and a broken nose.

Despite the severity of the Patty Fabian assault, she did not fight back. Her attacker has been disciplined with a suspension from school and is accused of a Class A misdemeanor. Fabian, meanwhile, is afraid of going back to school.

Himmer Amilcar Beltran-Rodriguez Accused of Impregnating Babysitter

A 31-year-old Texan, Himmer Amilcar Beltran-Rodriguez, is accused of impregnating a teen baby-sitter, reports the Houston Chronicle.

The man from Houston has been charged with sexual assault of a child because he presumably impregnated a 15-year-old that was hired by his wife as a babysitter for their children. The girl came forward when she was 18-years-old, though the alleged incident occurred years earlier, in spring of 2008. The girl had been working for the Beltran-Rodriguez family at an apartment complex in the 2200 block of Galveston Road.

Terry Dale Carnes Sentenced to Four Consecutive Life Sentences

Jurors in Texas sentenced Terry Dale Carnes to four life sentences after a week-long trial, reports the Houston Chronicle. His convictions involved two different child kidnappings and a forcible child sexual assault.

Carnes was convicted of kidnapping a 14-year-old girl named Shyann Curtis from Splendora after she was heading home from church. Shyann Curtis escaped by biting Carnes on the arm and running out of a moving car. She was her own hero.

Debt Compromise to Reduce Child Support Arrears in Texas

Texas was one of the five states in a study which evaluated how debt compromises in child support arrears cases were being handled.

A study by the Health and Human Services and conducted by the federal Office of the Inspector General and the Office of Child Support Enforcement looked at how debt compromises in child support arrears cases were handled in Texas.

Texas was one of the five states evaluated by the federal study. The other states included New Mexico, California, Massachusetts, and Washington.

Extending a Texas Protective Order

A Texas protective order allows for victims of family violence in Texas to gain protection for the victim, as well as for any child in the relationship. The Texas protective order laws can be found under Chapter 82 of the Texas Family Code.

The family code recognizes that there are different stages in a relationship and this can impact the way the legal system must react to the threat of violence. Beyond marriage or co-habitation, there are five different circumstances under which a protective order may be filed:

More 25 to 34-year-old Men Are Living With Parents

It is being described as the demise of the bachelor pad. Basically, according to the U.S. Census, more and more 25 to 34-year-old men are living with their parents, reports Politico. And, surprisingly, this trend doesn't have much to do with the recession, as the phenomenon preceded the latest economic downturn.

It may be a generational thing. In 2005, only 14 percent of 25 to 34-year-old men lived with their parents. Now the number has gone up to 19%. That's nearly one-in-five.

Judge William Adams Beating Daughter Video Emerges

Officials in Aransas County and the Rockport police are looking into the Judge William Adams beating daughter video, reports the Houston Chronicle.

The quite disturbing video of William Adams using a belt to beat his daughter, Hillary Adams, for acquiring music and games on Internet sites that the parents disapproved of, appeared on YouTube. It is dated 2004.

Texas International Parental Abduction of Children Laws

There is good resource out there for for Texans dealing with an international child abduction by a parent: Texas state law. The Texas Family Code contains a number of detailed provisions related to international parental abduction of children.

For instance, Texas Family Code Section 153.501 authorizes the court to consider the risk of a parental abduction, either on its own, or through a motion by a party.

First Three Steps in an International Parental Child Abduction

With globalization, there has been an increase in the amount of international child abductions carried out by divorced parents.

Thankfully, more than 80 countries around the world have adopted the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abductions, according to FindLaw's KnowledgeBase. The Hague Convention establishes procedures that allow for the return of wrongfully removed children.