Texas custody disputes usually involve the children’s parents. When both parents unexpectedly pass away, however, their families may fight over who gets guardianship of the children. Generally, if the parents did not designate a guardian, a grandparent would be awarded guardianship. If multiple grandparents seek guardianship, then the court will appoint one of them, considering the circumstances and child’s best interest. If no grandparent seeks guardianship, then the court will appoint the next of kin, considering the circumstances and the child’s best interests if there are multiple people with the same degree of kinship. Tex. Est. Code Ann. § 1104.052. A minor who is at least 12 years old may be able to select a guardian, if the court finds the selection is in the child’s best interest and approves. Tex. Est. Code Ann. § 1104.054.
Last month was an exciting one for Texas family law attorneys. During this year’s legislative session, our friendly representatives down in Austin had their hands full with a number of new bills that sought to alter significant portions of the family law landscape.
There were three bills that passed their way through a House committee but ultimately were voted down after strenuous lobbying by the Texas Family Law Foundation. The first bill that was voted down was HB 4093, which sought to repeal section 6.001 of the Texas Family Code. Section 6.001 provides that “the court may grant a divorce without regard to fault if the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.” Had HB 4093 passed and been signed by Governor Abbott, parties seeking divorce would have to prove another valid ground for divorce, including adultery, cruelty, living apart, or abandonment.