Unfortunately, former spouses do not always comply with all of their obligations under a Texas divorce decree.  When that happens, the other party may need to take action to enforce those obligations.  A father recently challenged a court order charging his interest in certain business organizations with judgments the mother obtained following the divorce.

After the mother was unable to collect on two judgments against the father related to his obligations under the divorce decree, she filed an Application for Charging Order.  She alleged the he had “a position of authority” in five business entities.  She alleged he received distributions from one or more of the entities, through funds disbursed to him and funds paid by the entities for his personal living expenses.

In his response, the father acknowledged holding an ownership interest in one of the organizations, but denied having an interest in any of the other named organizations.

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Sometimes, couples’ lives remain intertwined even after divorce.  If the parties continue to mingle finances, own property together, or keep or take out loans together after the divorce is final, the divorce may not finally resolve all of their issues.

In a recent case, an ex-husband sued his ex-wife regarding property she had been awarded in the divorce years earlier.  The parties purchased a vacation home during their marriage.  The ex-wife was awarded the vacation home in the divorce decree, but a geographical restriction on where the children could live prevented her from living in it.

The ex-wife put the house up for sale after the divorce, but did not sell it after the husband offered to pay the mortgage.  The ex-husband received the statements and made the payments.  The ex-wife testified she was aware her ex-husband was paying the mortgage.

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Recently a Twitter user named @cxkenobkerry shared her advice on 20 things that people should do before getting married. While Twitter may not seem like the most traditional place to seek relationship or marriage advice, the Twitter thread went viral and was even featured on the Daily Mail. With this list reaching such a wide audience and with it now being October and therefore wedding season in Texas, it seems appropriate to analyze its contents from a perspective focused on family law in the Lone Star State.

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A Texas court may order child support beyond a child’s 18th birthday if the child is still in high school, whether a public school, a private school, or course that provide joint high school and junior college credits.  The child must comply with the minimum attendance requirements in the Education Code or the private school’s minimum attendance requirements.  Tex. Fam. Code. Ann. § 154.002.  A mother challenged the termination of child support for her son after his 18th birthday in a recent Texas custody case.

The divorce decree ordered the father to pay monthly child support until one of the listed events occurred.  Child support would continue if he was in compliance with the requirements in Tex. Fam. Code. Ann. § 154.002.

The father petitioned to terminate child support in September 2018, following the son’s 18th birthday in April.  The mother claimed the son was enrolled in an accredited secondary school.  She then filed a petition for continuation and increase of child support and alleged her son was enrolled full-time in a private secondary school.

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In a Texas custody case, the court may grant certain rights and duties to one parent exclusively even if both parents are named conservators.  The court may limit the rights or duties of a conservator parent if it finds, in writing, that doing so is in the child’s best interest.  Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 153.072.  Courts may grant exclusive rights to one parent when the other reuses to cooperate with respect to those aspects of the child’s care.  A father recently challenged a court order granting the mother a number of exclusive rights.

The mother petitioned to modify the parent child-relationship.  She requested the exclusive right to designate the primary residence without a geographic restriction so she could accept a job and move to Louisiana.

The mother took a job in Monroe, Louisiana in 2015. The father also moved to Monroe, and they all lived there for several months. The mother testified he was abusive toward her.  She also said he took her green card and moved with the children back to Texas.

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A parent may want to change a child’s name for a number of reasons.  Texas family law allows a court to order the change of a child’s name if doing so is in the child’s best interest.  Tex. Fam. Code § 45.004(a).  Generally, courts should only order a child’s name change if it is needed for the child’s “substantial welfare.”  A mother recently appealed a court’s denial of her petition to change her children’s names from their father’s surname to her maiden name.

The parents divorced in 2011.  After allegations the father had abused the son in 2015, the mother had sole possession of both of the minor children. The mother petitioned in 2019 to change the children’s last name to her maiden name.  The children agreed to the change, but the father opposed it.  He argued they had his name since they were born and that they could change their names on their own when they are adults.

The mother testified she wanted to change the children’s names because she had grown up with her maiden name.  She said the children wanted to identify with her family’s name “to feel the closeness of [that] family.”  They had been using her name and wanted to legally change their names.  She testified that her maiden name is well respected in the area and having that name would be important when the children became involved with the family businesses.

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Pursuant to the Texas Supreme Court’s 17th Emergency Order Regarding The Covid-19 State of Disaster, Texas courts may now modify or suspend deadlines for civil and criminal cases, except for child-welfare cases, until September 30. In child-welfare cases, the Texas courts may modify or suspend a deadline or procedure imposed by statute, rule or order for a period not to exceed 180 days and extend the dismissal date for any case previously retained on a court’s docket for no longer than 180 days. The 17th Emergency Order reiterates the status quo of following the trial court’s order in possession and access cases. Continue Reading ›

As COVID-19 began to take hold in the United States, Texas and other states took action to ensure that child possession schedules remained in effect and were followed according to court orders. These actions were effective, and as COVID-19 continues to persist in society, parents have adapted to working within court-ordered possession schedules. Now, however, new issues have surfaced regarding the safety and protection of children who are subject to the court-ordered possession schedules. Continue Reading ›

Texas family law requires a just and right division of community property by a divorce court.   The court must, however, have the relevant information before it to identify and appraise the assets.  A party who refuses to disclose assets or information about their value generally may not complain about the court’s valuation of those assets.  A former husband recently challenged the court’s division of property.

Prior to the marriage in 1994, the parties signed an “Agreement in Contemplation of Marriage.”  The wife filed for divorce in 2005, and the husband counter-sued.  The divorce decree was issued in July 2009.

Issues related to the case had already been before the appeals court five times.  The appeals court had previously remanded certain issues related to the property division back to the trial court.  The husband appealed the “Judgment on New Trial for Property Division.”  He argued the trial court erred by not enforcing the prenuptial agreement regarding a bank account and a legal settlement.  He argued the agreement required property held in the name of either party to be presumed to be that party’s separate property.

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In some Texas custody cases, the major issue is not the actual custody or visitation.  Sometimes a court may enjoin a parent from allowing a child to spend time with or be in the presence of another person.  Such injunctions can be particularly difficult for the parent if they prohibit the parent from letting the child be with the parent’s relative or romantic partner.  A father recently challenged an injunction prohibiting him from allowing his daughter to be in the presence of his girlfriend and her child.

The parents married in 2011 and moved to Austin in 2015.  The mother became pregnant in 2017.  The father became romantically involved with a co-worker.  The father testified he lied to the mother repeatedly to hide the affair.  The daughter was born prematurely and stayed in the neonatal intensive  care unit for five and a half weeks.

Both parties testified the father spent a lot of time away from the mother and daughter due to his relationship.  The mother filed for divorce after she learned of the affair.  She also sought an injunction to keep the father from letting his daughter have contact with his girlfriend or her daughter for at least six months after the decree.

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