Does the birth father have rights?
A father that is not married to the birth mother generally does not have any rights without establishing his rights through a legal process, generally through a Statement of Paternity. The court may then determine whether the birth father is a legal father. 

What is the adoption agency's role?
The adoption agency usually acts as a intermediary between the birth parents and the prospective parents, and they helps facilitate the adoption. 

Can your firm advertise for me?
No, Texas Penal Code § 25.09 restricts any person, including an attorney, from advertising that a child is up for adoption or providing for or obtain a child who is for adoption. However, the code does allow licensed child-placement agency to engage in advertising. Our office recommends hiring a child-placement agency for this service. The agency will engage in the advertising and pair birth parents and prospective parents together. 

What expenses are the birth parents responsible for?
Generally the birth parents will not incur any cost directly related to the adoption. Rather the prospective parents will be responsible for medical, including mental health counseling, legal, and pregnancy cost associated with the adoption. 

What happens if the birth mother cannot afford cost indirectly related to the adoption?
Although the prospective parents cannot directly provide the birth mother with funds to pay for indirectly related expenses, the prospective parents can contact an agency who can provided the birth mother services. 

What is an open adoption?
In an open adoption, the birth parents and the adopting parents can choose the type and the level of contact they wish to establish. For example; first names only, pictures, regular visits, etc. 

How much is the Adoption Tax Credit?
As of 2015, the federal tax credit was up to $13,400 for qualified expenses, which include court cost, attorney fees, agency fees, travel expenses (including lodging and meals), and other expenses directly related to the adoption. 

The federal tax credit of $13,400 applies for qualified and non-qualified expenses for special needs adoptions. 


Who appoints an amicus attorney or ad litem attorney?
A court usually appoints an amicus attorney or ad litem attorney, but some courts will allow the parties to decided on who they would like to be appointed. 

Who pays an Amicus Attorney?
An amicus attorney is only used in private cases, so the parties in the case usually equally split the cost unless the parties reach a different agreement. The Texas Family Code does not allow the county to pay for amicus attorney fees in a private case. 

How much are amicus attorney or ad litem attorney fees?
The court will determine the fees to be paid to the amicus or ad litem attorney in the court order. Fees can range from $800 to $8000 depending on the issues involved in the case. 

How long will the amicus or ad litem attorney's investigation take?
It depends on the complexity of the case and whether the case is contested. There is not a hard or fast rule on when an amicus or ad litem attorney's investigation should be completed by. 


What should I do before going to court?
You should send a formal letter to the other parent demanding  visitation with your child, and also maintain a journal log entry for each time that you are denied visitation with your child before going to court. 

What if the other parent ignores the letter?
You can file a motion asking the judge to enforce the visitation agreement. The other parent would have to have proper notice of the hearing on the motion. 

What would I have to prove at the enforcement hearing?
You would have to show evidence that the other parent has denied you possession and access, and they are not following the agreement. 

What if the other parent did appear at the enforcement hearing?
You can file a capias and setting bond, which would allow the other parent to be arrested for failing to appear at the hearing. 

Are custody determinations automatically made based on the sex of the child and the parent?

No, custody determinations are not automatically made based on the sex of the child and the parent, i.e. just because the child is a female does not mean that the mother will automatically be awarded custody. The court will look at what is in the child's best interest in determining the custody arrangement.

Can I keep my child longer than the order allows?
No, you should not keep a child longer than the time period specified in the order without the other parent's approval or an emergency situation that would warrant the action based on the safety and welfare of the child.

Can the other parent refuse to inform me of the address where my child is staying during the other parent's possession and access period? 
No, each parent has a right to know the address of where the child is staying at during the parent's possession and access period. 

Can the other parent have their boyfriend or girlfriend around my child overnight?
No, the other parent cannot have your child around their dating or intimate partner if there is an injunction in place. The injunction would not apply if the other parent is actually married to their significant other. 

What are some of the things that the court can order if the other parent will not pay child support?

  • Order that the other parent be put in jail for contempt of court, and in some cases, require that the other parent pay a portion of the child support before they can be released. 
  • ​File liens on the other parent's property, including homes, cars, and land. 
  • Suspend the other parent's driving license, professional license, fishing and gaming license. 
  • Obtain access to the other's parent's federal income taxes, lottery money, and other state and federal money.
  • Enter a judgment against the other parent, and order that they be put in jail. 
  • Garnish the other parent's wages from their employer. 

What happens if the parent who is order to pay child support is not working?
The Court will still require that the non-working parent still pay a minimum amount of child support each month. 

Will the court waive the child support if both parents agree to waive it?
Likely not. Courts do not usually waive child support even if both parents agree because child support is the right of the child, not the parent. 


What are the requirements that I need to meet in order to be divorced in Texas?
You or your spouse must be a resident of Texas for 6 months prior to filing the divorce and a resident of the county where the divorce is filed 60 days before filing the divorce. 

How can I get a quick divorce in Texas?
There is not such thing as a quick divorce. A divorce must be on the court's docket for 60 days before a judge will sign a divorce decree. However, a divorce can typically be completed faster if the parties agree on all of the issues in the divorce. 

What will happen to my children and/or property during the pendency of the divorce?
There can be temporary orders in place that would designate temporary custody arrangements, who would remain in the home with the children, who would pay child support, and who would be responsible pay the bills while the divorce is pending. There can also be temporary injunctions put in place that can prevent either party from transferring or disposing of property. 

What is a Waiver of Service?
A Waiver of Service is when the other spouse agrees not to be served with a summons, but instead signs the waiver and receives a copy of the complaint that would have been served. Before a party agrees to sign a Waiver of Service, they should carefully read the document because the Waiver can include language that can affect the person's rights in relation to child custody, child support, property divisions, and court proceedings during the pendency of the divorce. 

Can I get supposal support?
The spouse requesting spousal support must show that they will not be awarded sufficient property after the divorce is finalized to assist the them in maintaining their minimum reasonable needs, and  either of the following (1) the other spouse was convicted of or received deferred adjudication for an act of family violence as defined by Texas law either during the marriage or during the pendency of the divorce or (2) the spouse cannot earn sufficient income to provide for their minimum reasonable needs and their inability to do such is because of: (1) of a physical or mental disability, (2) the spouse is the custodian parent of the parties' child, and caring for the child would require substantial care and personal supervision because the child suffers from a physical or mental disability, or (3) the spouse has been married to the other spouse for 10 years or more. However, just because a spouse can show they are eligible for spousal support does not mean the court will automatically award them spousal support. The court will consider the requesting spouse's educational background, age, work history, ability to find employment, and the duration of the marriage, whether infidelity was present, and other factors

How much supposal support will I have to pay and for how long?
If family violence occurred during the marriage and you were convicted or adjudicated for such act and the marriage was under 10 years then you may have to pay spousal support for up to 5 years. If marriage was between 10-20 years then up to 5 years. If the marriage was between 20-30 years then up to 7 years. If the marriage was 30 years or more up to 10 years. These maximum time periods of spousal support will apply unless there is a case of an incapacitating physical or mental disability, in which cases the time period can last for a longer time period. Also, supposal support will be terminated once the receiving spouse cohabits with another person in a permanent place of residence on a continuing basis. Your spousal support payment will be  20% of your annual gross income. 

What does standing mean?
Standing is a legal term that is used to show that the person has a right to bring the suit before the court and they can assert the rights that they may have. Texas Family Code Section 102.003(a)(1)-(14) list those who may have standing.

If I am awarded the managing conservator of the child can I get child support for the child?
Yes, if you were awarded the managing conservator of the child then you can request child support from the parents. The child's parents have a legal obligation to provide financial and medical support for the child. 

How do you prove that the denying visitation would substantially impair the child's physical or emotional health?
You would need a licensed professional, (for example a child psychologist) to provide testimony to confirm this. 

What important decisions does the managing and possessory conservator make on behalf of the child?
​Some of the important decisions regarding the child include; schooling, medical decisions, psychiatric decisions, religion, and many others. 

​Can I request visitation with the child if the child has been adopted by someone other than the child's step-parent?
No, grandparents cannot request visitation with the child if child has been adopted by someone who is not the child's step-parent.  


What information will need to be supplied to obtain a name change?
Your current place of residence, the reason for your name change, if you are an adult, whether or not you have ever had a criminal charge and/or conviction, gender, race, date of birth, driver license numbers, your social security number, and your fingerprint card. 

Where can I go to get my fingerprint card?
You can visit your local sheriff's office, a Texas Department of Public Safety office, or a Federal Bureau. There will be a fee for this service. 

Will the child have to provide written consent to the name change?
Possibly, depending on the age of the child. The court will determine whether the name change is in the child's best interest. 

What will I use to show the Social Security Office that my name is changed?
You will show a certified court order awarding your name change as proof that your name is change. You will show the certified order to change your name on your driver license, bank account, and etc. 


Can the parents voluntarily agree to establish paternity?
Yes, paternity can be established voluntarily through an agreement between the mother and father of the child. The parents will sign and file an Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP) with the Texas Vital Statistic Unit. This method should only be used if the mother and father are sure that the father is the child's father because once the father signs the AOP he is legally the child's father, and he will be responsible for the child. The AOP can be completed at a certified entity. 

What if the father does not know for sure whether the child is his?
The father should file a suit in court to establish paternity, and ask for DNA testing.

What if the mother was married to someone else when the child was born, or within 300 days after the mother gets a divorce?
In this case, the mother's husband or recently ex-husband is the presumed father according to the law in Texas. The biological father of the child cannot sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) without the presumed father first signing a Denial of Paternity. If the presumed father does not want to sign the Denial of Paternity then the biological father can file a paternity case. The presumed father can also file a paternity case if the biological father does not sign the AOP. 


Who can help me with a:

Protective Order?
Our office or the Harris County District Attorney's Office. 

Temporary Restraining Order?
Your current attorney or if you do not have an attorney then our office can help you obtain a TRO. 

Peace Bond?
Our office can help you  obtain a Peace Bond. 

Where would I file the documents for a:
Protective Order?
District Clerk's Office in your county. 

Temporary Restraining Order?
In the court where you case is pending. 

Peace Bond?
Justice of the Peace Court in the precinct that you live in. 

What Texas statutes apply to a:

Protective Order?
Texas Family Code, Chapters 82 through 85. 

Restraining Orders?
Texas Rules of Civil Procedure,  Section 5, Rule 680.

Protective Orders?
Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Article 7. 

​​Discuss your family law case in a confidential consultation with an attorney in our office. Contact us by email or call us at 832-844-1677. ​

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