The Houston Family Law Blog

July 2010 Archives

A sweep conducted by the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office in conjunction with the Texas Attorney General's Child Support Division led to the arrest of 14 parents who allegedly violated court orders by not paying child support. According to, the sweep was part of a two day operation last week when Sheriff Kelly Rowe dispatched teams of deputies to locate parents whose failure to pay violated the law.

Study Shows Optimism in Gay Parenting

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Some critics of adoption among same-sex couples have voiced concerns that gender development will mirror that of their parents. Yet a study conducted by researchers at the University of Virginia and George Washington University shows that this is not true. According to the Washington Post, the study's findings have been published in the August issue of the journal Applied Developmental Science and are giving insight to the debate over gay parenting.

Family Tries to Annul Nikki Araguz's Marriage

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The widow of a firefighter that was killed in a large blaze might have trouble holding on to her husband's money, since the firefighter's parents are trying to annul their marriage even after his death.

The Houston Chronicle reports that the widow Nikki Araguz, from Wharton, is a transgender that born a man but got a sex change operation so that she is now a woman. Since same-sex marriage is illegal in the state of Texas, the parents of the fire victim are arguing that the marriage between Thomas and Nikki Araguz should be annulled. This is because Nikki was not born a woman.

Jesse James' ongoing child custody case with his ex-wife Janine Lindemulder (the ex-wife before Sandra Bullock) was finalized in Orange County, California after a judge ruled that Jesse James should have physical custody over their 6-year-old daughter Sunny.

This child custody decision will allow Jesse James to move to Texas so that Sunny can continue to have a relationship with his new ex-wife Sandra Bullock. According to US Weekly, Sandra Bullock has a strong bond with Jesse James' youngest daughter and the girl also is developing a close bond with Sandra Bullock's adopted baby.

Sandra Bullock Gets Restraining Order Renewed

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Academy award winning actress Sandra Bullock has requested that her restraining order be renewed in Los Angeles, claiming that a man has been stalking her for the past seven years. According to the Vancouver Sun, an attorney filed the motion earlier this week for Sandra Bullock to keep the protective order against Thomas James Weldon, which she first obtained in 2003.

A Houston man is facing some serious criminal charges for alleged interference with child custody, but what's worse is that he may have trouble ever being able to see his son again. The Huntsville Item reported that 32-year-old Todd Jackson was arrested last week after authorities suspected the man of taking his non-custodial son away from his mother in the town of Huntsville.

Family members were able to contact the child on a cell phone after he had been reported as a missing person. Detectives were then able to determine that the child was located in Houston from the phone call, so authorities in Huntsville called Houston police officers for collaboration on the case.

Tammyra Sampson Could Have Parental Rights Terminated

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A 6-year-old boy named Tekerrious died on Sunday in the Houston area after his father allegedly beat him for eight hours during an all night disciplinary session. The boy's father Alex McGowen Duncan was booked on $50,000 and charged with first degree murder, according to KIAH News.

Alex Duncan's girlfriend, Tammyra Sampson, has also reportedly been charged with injury to a child by omission. The woman allegedly witnessed the beating and only intervened to show her boyfriend how to whip the child with a belt. Tammyra Sampson has two children of her own and they have been placed in the custody of Child Protective Services since her arrest.

Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston Announce Their Engagement

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America's most famous teenage mother Bristol Palin announced through media tabloids that she's engaged to the father of her baby, Levi Johnston. CNN reports that the 19-year-old informed the media of her engagement without the approval of her mother. How's that for a happy family?

The onetime vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was no fan of her grandson's father after the dramatic child custody battle between the teens, but she stated on CNN that she will accept Bristol's decision.

Mel Gibson's Child Custody Battle

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Mel Gibson can officially be added to the list of Hollywood actors involved in a child custody dispute. Associated Press reports that family lawyers for Mel Gibson and his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva met in a closed session with a judge earlier this month to handle their child custody case.

As it turns out, neither Mel Gibson nor the ex-girlfriend Russian singer Oksana Grigorieva were present at the child custody hearing and are leaving the child custody case to be completely handled by their family lawyers. The couple split up in April and entered into a confidential agreement one month after their split.

Drowning Victim Richard Walker Was Planning To Adopt

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It's always sad to hear about a drowning case, but a recent Fort Worth drowning is particularly depressing to hear about for many families in the state of Texas.

Fox News reports that the victim was 47-year-old Richard Walker of Winnsboro. The man had jumped into the water to save a young girl that he was planning to adopt, but currents were strong and pulled him under the water. A passerby was able to pull the young girl out of the water, but unfortunately Richard Walker died in the Trinity River.

Frank McCourt Hires Divorce Attorney From Houston

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Many family law attorneys are probably familiar with ongoing divorce saga between the Los Angeles Dodgers owners Frank and Jamie McCourt. Last May, a Los Angeles judge said in a 55-page ruling that Frank McCourt must pay his wife $225,000 a month in alimony and another $412,159 a month in costs that are associated with the seven residential properties in her name.

But it seems like paying $637,159 a month is nothing for Frank McCourt. What the man really cares about is keeping full ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Los Angeles Times reports that a trial is set for August 30 to determine if the Dodgers team is owned solely by Frank McCourt or jointly by him and his ex-wife Jamie.

Houstonians that owe money in child support should be happy that they don't reside in Bexar County. The San Antonio Express reports that parents in Bexar County are far more likely to go to jail for overdue child support than parents in the Lone Star state's four other largest urban counties.

According to figures from the Texas attorney general's office, there were 1,013 parents in Bexar County Jail for not paying child support. This is significantly more than the number of jailed deadbeat parents in Dallas, Harris, Tarrant or Travis counties combined. Only 631 parents across these four counties were jailed for not paying child support.