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Abilene TX Divorce Law Blog

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.

Life insurance can present problems after military divorce

Once the end is in sight, many Texas servicemembers are excited to move on with their lives and gain a fresh start. It is important to understand, however, that there are certain military divorce issues that can present problems long after the papers have been signed and filed. Life insurance is one example and is something that should be addressed directly within the divorce agreement.

One common issue lies in the requirement that one party maintain a life insurance policy that names either the former spouse or shared children as the beneficiaries. Both spouses might agree to such provisions during the course of the divorce, only to see things differently a few years down the line. Insurance can be expensive, and the spouse who is tasked with paying might decide to let the policy drop. That can require a return to court, which is another expensive proposition.

YouTube family facing serious child custody issues

Love it or hate it, most Texas residents have had some exposure to YouTube, the online platform that allows users to upload and share video content. Users can create "channels" for uploaded video, and can even monetize those channels by allowing ads to be placed alongside uploaded content. As one family recently discovered, however, there is a limit to the type of content that can and should be shared with others. The couple behind the YouTube channel DaddyOFive is now facing a serious child custody battle based on videos of their family.

Members of the YouTube community became concerned after watching videos in which the couple's five children were repeatedly "pranked" in various ways. One of the younger children was regularly brought to tears on camera as one or both of his parents convinced him that he was in trouble over fabricated infractions. At one point, the child was convinced that he was going to be placed for adoption and would no longer be allowed to live with his family.

Could timing lead to a child custody dispute?

One of the hardest things for Texas parents to consider during a divorce is how to divide parenting time. There are a limited number of days that parents get to spend with their kids before they are all grown up and out of the house, which is why making the most of those days is a priority. Parents may want to consider how the timing of their divorce could create an unexpected child custody dispute.

Several states are looking at legislative changes that would create or alter mandatory waiting periods before couples could obtain a divorce. One southern state recently voted on the matter, and a proposal to change the waiting period from one year to six months was rejected by the state's House of Representatives. Even with a proposed change that would require couples to get counseling before their divorce could be made final, the bill could not pass.

Did the judge mishandle child custody issues in this case?

When a family court judge in Texas or any other state is faced with a custody case, he or she is tasked with making a determination that is in the best interests of the child or children at the heart of the matter. Often, that means determining which parent is best suited to provide the bulk of care for a child. In some child custody cases, however, a judge is asked to determine if a child should be removed from his or her home and placed into the care of the state. That can be a devastating set of circumstances for parents, especially when they fear that their child might be in danger while in foster care.

A distressing example is found in the case of a mother and father who lost custody of their 5-year-old twins, as well as an older child who has the same mother as the twins. The children were removed from their home after a judge ruled that they were being neglected, and were witness to domestic violence between their parents. Once in foster care, the older child (the man's stepdaughter) spoke out about sexual abuse she had been subjected to.

Jesse Jackson Jr. agrees to pay increased child support

Many Texas residents have followed the divorce between Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife, Sandi Jackson. There have been numerous areas of contention between the parties, including debates over how much child support should be paid. In a recent shift, Jackson has agreed to increase his child support payments considerably.

In early March, a judge ruled that Jesse Jackson's child support obligations should be reduced to just $329 per month. Taking matters a step further, the judge also suspended payments for April through July, which would mean that Jackson would pay nothing until August. An attorney for Sandi Jackson quickly spoke about on the matter, accusing Jesse Jackson of placing the financial support of his children at the bottom of his priority list.

Handling the family home in a military divorce

Deciding what to do with the family home is an important consideration in many Texas divorce cases. For many couples, their home is their most valuable asset. Making wise choices is critical to both parties involved in a military divorce, and it makes sense to look at all available options during property division negotiations.

There are two basic choices when it comes to dealing with the family home. The spouses can agree to sell the property and divide the proceeds. Alternatively, one party can retain the house, and buy out the other's share of equity in the property.

How domestic abuse can impact child custody cases

For women who have gone through an abusive relationship, few things are more stressful than having to share a child with their abuser. Unfortunately, however, that is the case for many Texas mothers. Understanding how domestic abuse can impact a child custody case is critical to avoiding some of the more common pitfalls that abuse victims encounter.

Abuse, whether physical or emotional, takes a terrible toll on victims. When faced with a custody challenge, these mothers often respond in a highly emotional manner. While that is understandable, it is certainly not conducive to the highly structured nature of the child custody courtroom. Mothers who have been subjected to abuse must make every effort to approach the matter as though it were a business deal, and to actively control their emotions throughout the procedure.

Child custody dispute likely to focus on religious rights

A difficult custody case may be on the horizon for a couple that is charged in the death of their 2-year-old daughter. The couple are parents to six other children and recently relinquished child custody to state child protective services. Many readers in Texas and across the nation expect that the couple will fight to be reunited with their children and will claim that they were well within their rights to avoid seeking medical treatment for the child who lost her life. The matter is sure to spark debate on how to balance parental rights and the best interests of the child.

The couple is part of a religious sect known as the Faith Tabernacle Church. Part of their religious practice involves avoiding medical care. Because of those beliefs, they did not seek treatment when their toddler fell ill late last year. The 2-year-old developed pneumonia and would have likely survived had she received a commonly available course of antibiotic treatment.

Child custody dispute focuses on adoption agency tactics

Few Texas custody battles are more distressing than those between biological and adoptive parents. In such child custody cases, there are often no winners, and the matters focus on children who are caught in the middle of stressful and often lengthy court procedures. An example is found in the case of a man from a southern state whose daughter was placed for adoption while he was incarcerated.

The child was removed from her mother's care shortly after birth, due to the fact that the infant tested positive for benzoylecgonine and cocaine. The father was incarcerated in another state on charges related to fraud, bank note/coin charges, probation violation and contempt of court. A court hearing was held in which the father's rights were terminated, largely based on the fact that the father had played no role in the child's life since the time of her birth.

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