The role of Family Law mediator continues to grow in Texas Family Law Courts. Virtually all family courts in Harris and surrounding counties now require mediation prior to temporary hearings where the custody of children is in dispute, as well as prior to final trials.
2011 was a busy session for the Texas Legislature, with legal changes that will affect many in the area of Texas Family Law. There are a few items of higher significance and this Blog will address these four areas: paternal rights, community property, protective orders, child custody.
Divorce mediation is an alternative to divorce litigation. It is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and is required by most Texas Family Law courts before a case will be allowed to proceed to trial.
According to the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, one out of every two marriages will end in divorce. Parents rightfully worry about their children in divorce and the affect it may have on their children. During this difficult period, parents are naturally preoccupied with the many aspects of the divorce and what it will mean for their future and the future of their children and at the same time, continue to be the most significant influence in the lives of their children. Children are prone to worry and invariably, children in divorce experience it as traumatic. As obvious as that seems, it is not always so obvious what to do for them, and how best to act on your natural concern for children in divorce. One of a child’s primary worries is his or her sense of security. In our Family Law practice, we regard children’s welfare and security as the highest priority and [...]
Division of property in a divorce settlement under Texas Family Law can be a complex process. The first issue that must be clarified is the characterization of property that is owned by you and your spouse—what is “community property” and what is “separate property”? These are legal terms of art, which means they have specific meaning under Texas Family Law. Almost everybody has an opinion about what is community property and what is separate property. However, under Texas Family Law, these definitions are very specific, and will frequently differ the preconceived ideas you have as to their meaning. The law on characterization of property is extensive and this is not intended to cover all aspects of this complex area of the law. […]
According to Texas Lawyer magazine (July 19, 2010), Harris County family law courts are “overwhelmed and under pressure.” I couldn’t agree more. The Texas Lawyer article last year cites the fact that about 40 percent of all civil cases before Harris County courts are family law cases. Compared to a civil district judge, who has about 1,500 to 2,000 cases pending on the docket, Harris County family court judges may have as many as 4,000 cases pending. In the 25 years I have practices Family Law, population in Harris County has almost doubled and yet the number of district courts that hear exclusively family law cases has increased by one, which is the protective order court (280th District Court). Although this was a welcome addition, the 280th hears only protective orders, not any of the myriad other family law matters which must be heard by the nine remaining family law courts. Compared to [...]