By the A.T Law Office
As a Houston family law attorney who also practices some criminal defense case, one of the common questions I get is “can I record a conversation with someone if I don’t have their consent?” or “Can I videotape someone without their consent?” The quick answer is yes, in Texas you can, but here are more details you need to know:
Many people don't know that the vast majority of family law cases end up settling out of court. Most of the time out of court settlements are for good reason and can greatly simplify a family law case for all involved and eliminate some of the strain that is placed on the Texas family courts. Not only is it very expensive to take a case all the way to trial, but you know your situation better than a judge does and you are in a better position to decide what is going to work best for you and your family.
Sometimes I hear a question about how a minor can become emancipated from their parents. Generally speaking, a court in Texas may allow a minor to become emancipated in certain circumstances if the child is over the age of 16. Emancipation of a minor can have a vast effect on what a minor can and cannot do and the rights of parents.
As responsible co-parents you know the importance of following the court order regarding custody and visitation of your children. It is likely that you had to endure a great deal to get it, whether you reached it by agreement or a Texas family court ordered it. Sometimes, however, issues arise that make following the court order more difficult then anticipated. One of those issues is when a child refuses to comply with the court order by going with the other parent during their visitation time. Although this situation may be completely out of control it can have far reaching consequences for you and for your family.
Why change a court order?
There are many people who have gone through a divorce or child custody lawsuit and have consequently, whether through agreement or otherwise, obtained orders from a court outlining the rights and duties of parents, child support, and visitation with children. You may think that these orders are forever set in stone, that is not always the case. It is true, however, that child custody orders can have a long lasting effect because they usually don't change until further order of the court or the child or children turn 18. That being said, in the modern era where people are increasingly mobile, and electronically connected, life can change in an instant making following a previous custody order difficult or impractical. There are innumerable ways in which lives can change and sometimes this change can make following a current custody order impossible or even dangerous for the children. Simply put, a court order that was workable at one time may not be later. But even though child custody orders can be modified when there is a change in circumstances (more on this below) a court will not change a child custody order unless it is in the best interests of the child.
Child custody laws in Texas can be confusing and going through a child custody court case can be an extremely taxing experience. If you have a basic understanding of the laws in Texas regarding child custody then you can help yourself in minimizing the stress. Read on to learn about some of the major points in a child custody case.
A Texas divorce is an extremely stressful experience for all involved and dealing with a pregnancy can make it more so, it can also increase the complexity of the divorce process. It is very important not to go through a Texas divorce alone, if you are pregnant and interested in obtaining a divorce, or if you want a divorce and you are the husband, then you should talk to a qualified divorce attorney to help you. The focus of this article is on how Texas courts handle the situation when there is a question about the identity of the biological father of the unborn child during the divorce. If you are interested in learning about the life cycle of a divorce, or what you need to know regarding child custody lawsuits in general, then the following two blog posts may be of interest: The Life Cycle of a Texas Divorce and Child Custody in Texas, What you Need to Know.
There are a number of reasons why a court may order that a non-custodial parent's visitation with their child or children be supervised. Some of the most common reasons, but not all, include alcohol and drug problems, the previous commission of physical or verbal abuse by the non-custodial parent against the child or a family member, or mental illness that results in unsafe behavior around the children. A court can also order supervised visitation if they think that the non-custodial parent may take the child and not return them as ordered. Courts generally order supervised visitation when they believe that the behavior of the supervised parent could affect the safety or security of the child. The court places utmost importance on what is in the best interests of the child. There are certain instances when the court could consider the child's preferences.
It happens sometimes that an anonymous person makes a phone call to Child Protective Services and says that someone they know about has been neglecting or abusing a child, has been arrested for a drug related crime, or is using illegal drugs, or they may bring up any number of things. If that happens to you then it is almost sure that a Child Protective Services investigator will show up at your home and ask you questions, including asking you to take a drug test.
Sometimes I get a call from someone who has an issue with the amount of child support they are paying or the amount that they may have to pay in the future, or someone who needs to get paid child support to help alleviate the cost of child rearing. In Texas there is something known as guideline child support and it is presumed by the Texas legislature to be in the child's or children's best interest. A court can vary from these guidelines in certain circumstances.
Chad Zubi Houston Family and Criminal Law Attorney.