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Abilene TX Divorce Law Blog

Child custody outcome leads to public outrage

Some Texas readers may be aware of a current case in a different state in which a rape victim was forced into a custody case with the man who assaulted her. While the parties were not involved in a traditional child custody standoff, many people are shocked that the court system allowed such a case to move forward. The judge and other officials involved in the matter are scrambling to rectify the situation.

A 21-year-old mother was required to file a paternity and child support action against her child's father after she sought financial assistance from her state Department of Health and Human Services. Such actions are common when one parent seeks financial support, as the state has an interest in securing the financial assistance of the absent parent. However, in this case, there were unsettling details that appear to have been overlooked.

Child custody case centers on vaccination issue

Many Texas parents are concerned about the safety of childhood immunizations. Some even choose to avoid vaccinations altogether, a choice that is supported by law. An unusual child custody case recently placed a mother in the unusual position of having to choose between her deeply held beliefs and compliance with a court order. 

The mother was in court to determine child custody issues. The judge in the case awarded primary custody to the mother. However, the father raised concerns over the fact that their 9-year-old son was not up-to-date on his vaccinations. The judge, without giving the mother a chance to argue her position, ordered the mother to have her son vaccinated within a very short period of time. 

One state's approach to unmarried child custody issues

Texas readers may be surprised to learn how another state approaches custody disputes between unmarried parties. The matter has made headlines across the nation, and sparked debate concerning how unmarried child custody issues should be handled. After growing community pressure and multiple legal challenges, the state in question changed the manner in which these types of cases are heard.

Until recently, unmarried parents who were unable to reach an agreement on child custody matters had their cases heard in a courtroom that was specifically designated for unwed parents. That courtroom was located in the basement of a large urban court complex. In fact, the "courtroom" was actually converted storage space.

How to select the best possible military divorce attorney

For Texas residents who have never gone through a divorce, the process may seem confusing, and at times overwhelming. That is especially true for families facing military divorce, where the division of assets is somewhat unique. The best way to move through this process is to select a family law attorney who is experienced in the area of military divorce.

That process begins by meeting with multiple attorneys to discuss one's particular set of needs, as well as any concerns surrounding the divorce. Pay attention to the demeanor, communication style and overall personality of each attorney, and choose one who seems easy to work with and is receptive to input and suggestions. This is a professional with whom a spouse will work closely for a period of several months, and it is important to feel comfortable throughout that process.

Can customized schedules help with new living arrangements?

A Texas divorce brings about a great many changes, some of which can be difficult for children to adjust to. Making this period of transition easier for kids is usually one of the few things that divorcing parents can agree upon. To that end, one company has created a customizable schedule to assist families who are adapting to new living arrangements and visitation exchanges.

The calendar uses a magnetic board that is divided into weekly, bi-weekly or even monthly configurations. Round magnets are customized with drawings of each parent, and some even have both parents displayed. Children can have their own magnets, and they can also be created to show different homes, school or sporting activities and even appointments.

Resolution looks at domestic violence and child custody cases

Living in an abusive relationship is a terrible set of circumstances. That said, when there are children involved it can be even more stressful for Texas residents. Many people stay in unhealthy relationships for years to ensure that their kids do not have to go through child custody and visitation struggles with an abusive parent. Unfortunately, there are cases in which a family experiences the greatest possible loss during a child custody struggle.

According to research by the Center for Judicial Excellence, nearly 600 children have been killed at the hands of a parent over the past decade while a child custody case was underway. That outcome is simply unacceptable to many, and has led to a new resolution introduced by United States Representative Pat Meehan and Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney. The resolution asks the courts to change the way that custody cases are handled when there are allegations of abuse. Instead of beginning with a focus on the best needs of the child, courts are asked to first consider any safety issues at play.

4 different approaches to complex property division

Texas couples who are preparing to bring their marriage to a close have multiple options on how to complete the divorce process. Each path has advantages and disadvantages, and spouses must choose the approach that is best in line with their interests. When a divorce will include complex property division, it is critical to select an approach that allows for an emphasis on dividing marital wealth.

The first option, which is not recommended for complex property division, is for the couple to sit down and work out the details of their divorce on their own, without legal counsel of any kind. This approach is ill-advised partly due to the risk that one spouse may take advantage of the other. A do-it-yourself divorce approach is not a good option for couples with complicated financial holdings because dividing those assets requires a skilled and experienced approach. Without that guidance, it is possible to lose money from fees, excessive taxes and penalties.

How to present the best child custody stance without trying

When a Texas parent is faced with a custody battle, he or she often searches for ways to improve his or her legal stance in the matter. That approach, however, fails to recognize the realities of a child custody case, which task the courts with making a determination that is in the best interests of the child. That involves looking at the family's history, and no volume of last-minute scrambling will make much of a difference. That is why the best way to look good in a child custody case is to have been a great parent from the beginning.

Parents should make every effort to remain close with their children from infancy on. That can be a challenge for households in which one parent spends a great deal of time at work, and the other handles most of the duties associated with child care. Even then, the absent parent should find ways to bond with his or her children, even if that means taking time away from other obligations. Some parents create daily routines where a parent/child bond can be strengthened, such as having the working parent drive the kids to school every morning. Other parents set aside time for parents to take occasional one-on-one weekend trips with the kids, which also gives the primary caregiver a much-needed break.

Father of tennis star daughters in child custody dispute

Few Texas tennis fans would not know the names of Venus and Serena Williams. The sisters have made headlines in the sport for many years, and have changed the face of women's tennis. Their father, Richard Williams, is credited for pushing his girls to achieve ever-higher goals as children, and helping them to hone their skills on the court. Now, Richard Williams is making headlines of his own due to a divorce and child custody case with his second wife.

Richard Williams married Lakeisha Williams in 2010, and the couple welcomed a child in 2012. In recent filings, Richard Williams is asking for custody of their child, and brings up a number of assertions against his wife. He claims that she abandoned the child when the marriage went south, and that she has exposed the child to "unreasonable and dangerous" conditions. He also alleges that his soon-to-be-ex has moved in with an individual who is facing pending felony charges and could be a danger to the child.

Parents can lessen negative effects of child custody disputes

Coming to the end of a marriage is never a simple or easy matter, even when both parties are absolutely certain that divorce is the best course of action. For those in Texas who share children, it can be hard to know how to make the process of divorce easier for the younger members of the family. What decades of research has made clear is that divorce and child custody disputes can weigh heavily on children, and can have lasting negative consequences. Fortunately, parents can help reduce the negative impact that their divorce may have on their kids.

Researchers have long known that kids who go through divorce have higher rates of anxiety, depression, problems at school and other social issues as compared with kids who live in intact families. What has recently become clear, however, is that it may not be the divorce itself that leads to issues, but rather how the parents handle their shifting relationship. Those who are able to transition gracefully from spouses to co-parents can make the process far easier on themselves and their children.

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