The Houston Family Law Blog

August 2012 Archives

Houston Parents Charged After Baby Drowns in Bathtub

Two Houston parents are facing homicide charges after their infant son drowned in an accident at their home.

Roderick Cole had placed his two children, a 2-year-old and an 8-month-old, in a bathtub and started filling it with water. Roderick then helped his wife Gabrielle take some clothes to her car in the driveway where the two began to argue, according to the Houston Chronicle. When Roderick returned to the bathroom seven to 10 minutes later, he found the 8-month-old face-down in the tub. The infant was not breathing.

The baby was given CPR and rushed to a hospital, but died two days later, according to the Chronicle. Would the baby have been taken away from his parents had he survived?

Kelly Rutherford's Kids to Split Time with Their Father in France

Joint custody generally is not such a big deal when a couple splits. It just means that the parents will have to see one another when the kids go from one parent to the other. But what if the other parent is in another state, or even another country?

This is what's happened to "Gossip Girl" star Kelly Rutherford. A court has ruled that her ex-husband Daniel Gersch can have joint custody of their 3- and 5-year-old children, keeping them 50% of the time in France where he lives, according to TMZ. The judge said that Rutherford's schedule was flexible enough that she could find the time to go visit her kids while they are in France.

What goes into a court's decision to allow joint custody when one parent is out of state?

Mark Sanford to Live in Appalachians, er, Marry Argentine Mistress

Good old Mark Sanford. Even after lying to his family and his entire state about hiking the Appalachians (when he instead flew to Argentina to visit his mistress), the ex-South Caorlina governor is making his sinful choice right (or, as right as possible) by marrying her.

Over the weekend, Mark Sanford confirmed he was engaged to Maria Belen Chapur, according to The Associated Press. Sanford had been a rising Republican star until his illicit hiking trip took him to his soul mate in 2009. After the affair went public, Sanford divorced his wife.

If Mark Sanford's marriage to his mistress involves a prenuptial agreement, are there any special considerations that need to be made?

Mother Shakes, Squeezes Baby After 'Losing Her Cool'

Having a newborn is quite a change in the lives of many a parent. Without adequate support from friends and family it can be immensely overwhelming.

This seems to be what led Marleen Rincones to "lose her cool" and hurt her 5-week-old baby by shaking and squeezing the infant and fracturing the baby's bones, according to the Houston Chronicle. The baby had bruises on her forearm, wrists, palm, several fingers, inner thighs, and her left foot, according to the police.

Will the baby be taken away from Rincones?

Texans' WR Andre Johnson Sued for Child Support

The problem with children is that you have to support them. You may wish that they'd come into the world ready to take a swing at all of life's challenges, but no, they are incredibly fragile and in need of support for many, many years. Hence child support laws.

For Andre Johnson of the Houston Texans, the state's child support laws are coming at him fast. His former live-in girlfriend Dionne Reese has sued him for an increase in child support payments, as well as full custody and damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress, according to ABC13 Eyewitness News.

What determines child support payments?

Rep. Akin Gaffe Raises Issue of Parental Visitation for Rapists

If you haven't heard about the remark made by Representative Todd Akin of Missouri, you've probably been out on a camping trip or something. This inflammatory statement has made a large splash in this election season and has all parties making statements to distance themselves from Akin.

Akin's statement was that "legitimate rape" doesn't end up causing pregnancies, according to the report by the Houston Chronicle. This statement has inspired writer and lawyer Shauna Prewitt to write an open letter on the website XO Jane to Representative Akin relating her experience of being raped and the child that resulted from the violent act. In concluding her letter, Prewitt mentions that many state laws allow for a rapist father to sue for visitation or custody.

Does Texas allow for a rapist to gain custody or visitation of a child born from this crime?

Jennifer Aniston Engaged: Prenup for that Friends Cash?

It’s always been about Jennifer Jennifer Jennifer. Everyone’s been talking about whether she’ll get married or whether she’ll have a kid after her marriage to Brad Pitt ended. (It really is surprising that there is so much of this chatter. Isn’t it 2012? Are women still valued only for their ability to have children?)

Well, the new chatter can begin as Aniston said yes to boyfriend Justin Theroux’s proposal of marriage, according to the Associated Press. Now we can all debate whether she is too old to have children or whether she is going to adopt.

Before the wedding bells ring, the two lovebirds probably need to talk about a prenuptial agreement.

Kenny G's Smooth Jazz Can't Smooth Out Irreconcilable Differences

Kenny G is known for his smooth saxophone sounds and long curly locks. He's a seeming maven of cool and could probably freeze over hell and become friends with the devil by playing that soprano sax so smooth.

Sometimes though, Kenny G is just Kenneth Bruce Gorelick, the regular guy that must go through a divorce the same way anyone else does. Last year, his wife Balynda Helene Benson-Gorelick filed separation papers citing irreconcilable differences and requesting full custody of their 14-year-old son, according to People.

Is a Divorce Lawyer Worth It? Consult Our Mini-Guide

Going through a divorce is usually an unhappy time in one’s life. Unless of course you were in an unloving marriage that both spouses didn’t want to be in (it happens). Once you’re going down the path of divorce, you have to make one decision that can affect the entire process: do you get a lawyer.

There are reasons to hire a lawyer and reasons to go it alone. If you have no real assets and no children, then going it alone is probably the smart move because you can save money on attorney fees. However, if you have assets or children or the other spouse hires a lawyer, it might just be worth it to hire a lawyer. Here is a guide on how to choose that attorney.

Former WWE Talent Jackson Andrews Engaged to Two Women at Once

In a story that sounds like it could have come from the series “Big Love” or “Sister Wives” we have two women who were engaged to the same man. The surprise comes when neither woman knew about the other even though the man in the picture was Steven Andrew Slocum, better known in the WWE world as Jackson Andrews.

This was indeed a shock to Amber Stovall of Houston. Stovall had been dating Slocum for four and a half years and thought that they were exclusively engaged to be married, according to TMZ. Stovall did not learn about the other woman, who claims to have been physically assaulted by Slocum, until TMZ released the story about Slocum assaulting his fiancé.

It’s against the law to be married to two women in Texas, but is it illegal to be engaged to two?

Life is a Trip: Levi Johnston Seeks Full Custody of Tripp

If you know anything about family law and the work of Child Protective Services, you know that there is only so much you can do to find out the living conditions of a child. This is especially true if the parents are in different states. However, if the one of the parents is the star of a reality television show, there is all kinds of access.

This is exactly what Levi Johnston has been able to do while watching "Life's a Tripp," which stars his ex-girlfriend Bristol Palin and his baby, Tripp. Based on what Johnston has seen, he thinks that his son is not getting proper parental guidance and support, according to TMZ. Johnston is now planning to file for full custody of his son, apparently in Alaska.

Will he succeed?

Even Stevie Wonder Gets the Blues ... and Another Divorce

We all want relationships to work out. We need that person next to us to let us know that everything’s alright. But, as everybody knows, nobody has it easy.

So maybe he’s trying to reach higher ground, or maybe he’s just superstitious, but Stevie Wonder has filed for divorce from his second wife, Kai Millard Morris. The filing comes after years of separation that started in 2009 and cites irreconcilable differences as the reason for the split, reports TMZ. Wonder also agreed to pay child support, but wants to have joint custody of their two boys, according to the New York Daily News.

Now that the paperwork is filed, what’s next?

Game of Thrones' Queen Cersei Star Lena Headly Files for Divorce

Didn't we all want to be royalty as children? Wasn't that the dream, to be a prince or princess? Maybe it's more of a princess thing that Disney has pushed on millions of little girls, or a desire to have the riches that the British royals have. In any case, when we get older we may have a different outlook on royalty after reading or watching "Game of Thrones."

The game of thrones is played by lords and ladies in search of power. In the series, Queen Cersei's husband King Robert Baratheon dies of a wound inflicted by a wild boar and she becomes a single mother. Now, Lena Headly, who plays the Queen, will become a single mother through a far less violent and and far more common manner — divorce — according to TMZ.

Headly filed for divorce from her husband Peter Loughran in Los Angeles. So, you may ask, how do you file in Houston?