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San Antonio Divorce Law Blog

How incarceration impacts child support

Whether on the giving or receiving end of child support payments, parents who become incarcerated may wonder how the imprisonment impacts their children. The Texas Office of the Attorney General addresses some of the questions they may have.

If incarcerated parents think they no longer matter to their children, the OAG is the first to argue otherwise. Believing "children need love and support from both parents," the office encourages fathers and mothers to continue demonstrating care and concern for their kids, even from a jail cell.

Requesting a child support order modification in Texas

If you currently have a Texas court order requiring that you must pay child support, a time may come when you feel as if the amount you must pay should change. Maybe you lost your job and are now making less money than you were when the order first took effect, or maybe you now have more children to support than you did when the initial amount was determined. At the Law Offices of Keith E. Holloway, we understand the steps you must take to request a child support modification in Texas, and we have helped many clients modify child support so that the amount owed became more manageable.

Per TexasAttornryGeneral.gov, the first step in determining whether you might be able to modify the amount of child support you are paying is finding out whether you are eligible for a modification at all. To be eligible, you must meet two specific requirements. First, it must have been at least three years since your original child support order took effect. Second, you must have experienced a “material or substantial change in circumstances” since the order initially took effect.

Paternity leave: what Texas fathers should know

Young Texas fathers may not be aware many can take unpaid paternity leave from their jobs when their families grow by childbirth or adoption, or when a child or spouse is sick. FindLaw seeks to make families aware of this provision the Family and Medical Leave Act offers to covered workers. 

According to FindLaw, stipulations for taking advantage of paternity leave include the need for steady employment - at least one year - by a "covered employer," such as a school system, the federal government or a participating private company. Specifications for location and the amount of hours worked also factor in. If a new father believes he has met the stated requirements and wishes to take advantage of the provision, talking to a supervisor should be his next step.

High-asset same-sex divorce issues

At the Law Offices of Keith A. Holloway, we believe that each of our clients deserves the same consideration under the law as any other Texas residents. There is no doubt that our state and municipal courts retain certain attitudes that affect the treatment of individuals during the dissolution of same-sex married couples and domestic partnerships. We see it as is our job not only to provide understanding and advocacy, but also to ensure that articles of the law are carried out, ideally to our clients' benefit, regardless of the gender or identity of their partners. 

We find that, since same-sex marriages are legally the same as any other marriages in Texas, we often encounter familiar issues during divorce cases. For example, we notice that custody battles tend to become prolonged and difficult in contested situations. We strive to clearly and effectively communicate our clients' legal claims and emotional positions to the court, therefore providing the best possible chance of a favorable custody or visitation arrangement.

Defining the "best interests" of children

If you are a Texas resident preparing to adopt the child you have been fostering, there are some things you should know about how the courts view the best interest of the child. At the Law Offices of Keith E. Holloway, we have helped numerous families navigate the process of determining what is in the best interest of a minor. 

The Child Welfare Information Gateway, a service of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, discloses openly that a strict definition of "best interests" does not exist. However, the CWIG puts forth a loose interpretation that serves as a guide for those seeking to understand how the courts view the term. What you need to know is when a minor requires care, his or her "ultimate safety and well-being [are] the paramount concern."

Tips for preventing international child abduction

If you live in Texas and share a child with someone who comes from another country, and the two of you have a particularly difficult relationship, you may have valid concerns about international child abduction. At the Law Offices of Keith E. Holloway, we are highly familiar with the steps you can take as a parent to reduce the chances of your ex attempting to kidnap your child and leave the country. We have helped many clients facing such situations work to protect themselves or regain physical custody over their children.

According to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, one of the most important steps you can take if you suspect your child’s other parent may try and abduct him or her is to take out a court order or enact a custody decree. Court orders can cover any number of areas, but you may want to attempt to secure one that prohibits your child from leaving the country, obtaining a passport and so on.

Establishing or terminating paternity

Fathers interested in establishing paternity status in the state of Texas may have to pursue legal action to do so. The same is true of those wishing to terminate their parental status. Here is a brief overview of the key points of each process.

Before beginning the discussion, it is important to note that paternity is rarely the final step in any family law process. In the case that a court awards paternity status, the new parent often pursues procedures for various other legal rights, such as custody and visitation. The suits resulting in the dissolution of a legal parent-child relationship also often lead to subsequent procedures.

Resources for grandparents seeking custody of their grandchildren

Grandparents in Texas who seek to gain custody of their grandchildren face some challenges unique to the state. They also usually deal with general issues associated with the process. For example, many custodial grandparents who are not currently caretakers experience stress regarding discipline and communication. Grandparents can often benefit from learning about these problems during the legal custodianship process, even if they have raised a child in the past.

Grandfamilies, a non-profit partnership made up in part by the American Bar Association's children's center, is one of the most robust resources in the country. The Grandfamilies.org website describes the association's purpose as advocating, assisting and training policymakers, grandparents and attorneys in the issues facing grandparent custody or adoption of children. Some of the resources available on the site include:

  • A list of helpful national organizations
  • State and federal law databases
  • Several independent and government publications
  • Archives of web seminars on adoption and kinship custody

Do lesbian couples face unique domestic violence challenges?

Domestic violence has no preference when it comes to race, gender, financial status or sexual preference. The legalization of same-sex marriage brought numerous LGBT issues to light, including complications of divorce. There are also a few differences between same-sex and heterosexual couples when it comes to domestic violence. You are not alone if you are a woman married to another woman in Texas, and feel unsure where to turn if your partner is abusive.

Domestic violence is not an uncommon occurrence, unfortunately. According to the Medical University of South Carolina, between 17 and 45 percent of lesbians have reported being abused at least once by a romantic partner. Lesbian domestic violence follows many of the same patterns of heterosexual spousal abuse. An abusive partner can by physically, emotionally, sexually or financially abusive. Domestic violence is seen as often in lesbian relationships as it is in heterosexual unions. Your partner might have grown up witnessing abuse in her own household, or her treatment of you may stem from fear that you will leave the relationship.

Understanding the 20/20/20 military divorce rule

If you live in Texas, are in a military marriage and suspect divorce may be in your future, you may have concerns about whether you or your soon-to-be-ex spouse will maintain access to military benefits after you divorce. At the Law Offices of Keith E. Holloway, we have a firm understanding of the special considerations involved in military divorces, and we have helped many clients learn to navigate them and adjust to life on their own.

Per Military.com, whether you or your ex can maintain access to military benefits, such as TRICARE and use of a commissary, will ultimately depend on whether your marriage and you or your partner’s service meet certain criteria. More specifically, as a couple, you must meet the terms outlined by the 20/20/20 military divorce rule for the non-military member in the marriage to maintain access to benefits, post-divorce.

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