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Dallas Family Law Blog

Tennis star cannot compete due to child custody fight

Most parents would do anything they can to do what is best for their children. Whether it meant finding them help with school, seeking medical care for their ailments or otherwise passing on social commitments to just spend time with their kids, Texas parents often prioritize their children above all of their other responsibilities.

It is hard, though, when parents fight each other over what they believe is best for the children they share. These disagreements can impact their relationships with their kids and can lay the foundations for difficult child custody disputes. Currently, a well-known international athlete is experiencing just this legal dilemma as she is forced to miss competing in a major event due to an ongoing battle with her ex.

Grandparents may have the right to visit their grandchildren

Most grandparents understand their relationships with their grandchildren as ones where they can spoil, love and unconditionally support the youths. In some families, grandparents do much more for their grandchildren, such as provide them with homes when their parents cannot and provide daily care when their parents must work. Texas grandparents often relish the time that they get to spend with their grandchildren and seek to maximize that time whenever they can.

It can be particularly difficult, then, when legal obstacles prevent them from seeing the kids that they love. For example, if a child's parent dies, that child may lose contact with their grandparents on the deceased parent's side of the family. Or, if a child's parents divorce and only one parent is granted physical custody of them the parents of the noncustodial parent may see their contact with their grandchild significantly diminished.

Can a court really invalidate my prenuptial agreement?

Just like many other contracts, a prenuptial agreement may be invalidated under certain circumstances. While prenuptial agreements can provide Texas couples with financial security during and after their marriages, if they are poorly drafted or improperly executed, they may not stand up to a court's scrutiny upon review. This post will touch on some of the key reasons prenuptial agreements are invalidated, but readers are reminded to have their own family law attorneys review their prenups to ensure that no other aspects of the documents are neglected.

Simple problems with a prenuptial agreement's formatting may result in it being invalidated. Prenuptial agreements must be written down; while some contracts may exist as oral agreements, prenups must be in writing. Additionally, prenuptial agreements must be signed by both parties to the relationship; otherwise, they may not be valid and enforceable.

3 ways to cope with divorce

The idea of divorce may seem like a welcome one. After years of being married to your spouse in Texas, you are finally ready to set yourself free to start living the life you feel you deserve. As liberating as this situation can be, it is important for you to understand how stressful and challenging the process is. 

To prevent the turmoil of divorce from wreaking havoc on your life, take some time to review the following three suggestions on how to cope with it. 

A prenuptial agreement can provide security during a divorce

Prenuptial agreements are contracts that individuals make with their soon-to-be marital partners that outline how their assets and wealth will be divided in the event that their impending marriages end in divorce. The attorneys of the Law Offices of Mary Ann Beaty take pride in working with Dallas residents who not only want to create "prenups" before they wed but who also want to ensure that their premarital contracts are carefully drafted and properly executed.

A poorly drafted prenuptial agreement can introduce headaches and legal problems in the event of a divorce. Ambiguity may prevent a party from claiming property that they believed would be theirs per the terms of the agreement or may leave questions about the parties' intent for property they may not have owned at the time they married.

Changes in circumstance may justify child support modifications

Child support orders are created after courts consider several factors that take into account the children's financial needs as well as their parents' ability to provide those kids with economic support. In Texas, a parent who does not pay their child support obligation can be sanctioned with significant legal penalties; a prior post on this Dallas family law and divorce legal blog discussed some of those possible consequences.

It therefore can become a very difficult situation when a child's financial needs become more expensive or a parent's capacity to provide support decreases. This can happen for a number of reasons, from a child requiring additional support to treat a medical need or a parent losing their job and not having sufficient income to provide their child with their court ordered payments. Parents who want to stay current on their child support obligations may not be able to if changes in circumstance make it impossible.

Special child custody considerations for members of the military

Serving in the military is a noble pursuit. Members of the Air Force, Navy, and Army put their lives on the line so that Texans and other Americans may enjoy the freedoms and privileges of living in this great country. However, living a military life has its challenges, including the requirement that military members move to keep their jobs can create strains when they are parents to children subject to court-ordered custodial arrangements.

Like non-military parents, military parents must weigh their children's best interests when creating child custody agreements. This can be hard, though, as military parents consider upcoming deployments which may force them to move with their children if they have sole or primary physical custody of them. Rarely a parent may unilaterally move with a child without the consent of the other parent; this factor in the life of a military parent can cause considerable stress with regard to child custody.

Entertainer's death reveals possible problems with his prenup

Recently, this Texas family law blog discussed the contractual terms that a prenuptial agreement should include so that it cannot later be challenged as invalid. Generally, prenups must be signed by the parties, must be put into writing, and may not be created under any conditions that may suggest that one of the parties was pressured or coerced into signing it against their will. Individuals who wish to fully understand the requirements of these important family law documents are asked to consult with their attorneys about preparing and executing them in accordance with applicable laws.

The death of a popular television personality, though, has shed some light on how poorly drafted prenups can create problems down the road. When Alan Thicke passed away last December he was married to his third wife, a woman named Tanya Callau. Thicke and Callau were married in 2005 and reportedly signed a prenuptial agreement a mere four days before they wed. Although they did not divorce, their prenup has been referenced in serious legal proceedings between Callau and Thicke's adult children from a prior marriage.

Fault may provide grounds for divorce in Texas

Often when Texas residents read entertainment news articles about their favorite celebrities' divorces, they find terms like "irreconcilable differences" and "irretrievable breakdown" mentioned as the rationales for their marital splits. In some jurisdictions throughout the United States, individuals can pursue divorces based on these and other "no fault" grounds. In fact, Texas residents also have options for no fault divorces if they have been separated from their spouses for at least three years or if they can demonstrate that their marriages are insupportable due to discord in the relationships.

In Texas, though, people can still use fault grounds to rationalize their desires to end their legal relationships with their spouses. For example, adultery can be used as a fault ground to end a Texas marriage, and so too can cruelty or violence between the partners.

What role does paternity play in family law proceedings?

Paternity is the establishment of a man as a child's father. In Texas, there are a number of ways that paternity may be established, which can include through presumption based on the relationship of the child's mother and presumptive father, through acknowledgement by a presumptive father, or by testing to prove a biological connection between a presumptive father and child. When paternity is established, it opens up a wide door of legal rights and responsibilities for a man who is determined to be a child's parent.

For example, a man who is not recognized as a parent to a child may not seek custody or visitation with the child. He may not have the right to stop the adoption of the child if the child's mother decides that she cannot care for the youth. The man may not have any standing to play an authoritative role in the child's upbringing or to participate in the child's development.