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Dallas Family Law Blog

What are unwed fathers' rights with regards to child custody?

Fathers in Texas love their children, even if they are no longer in a relationship with the child's mother. Seeking fathers' rights over child custody may be very complicated. There are even more obstacles if the parents are unwed.

The husband is considered the child's father when a married couple has a baby. However, there is no presumption of paternity when a child is born to unmarried parents. Accordingly, unwed fathers have no legal status concerning visitation, shared custody or making decisions about the child's welfare.

Custody rules are important

Courts in Texas impose child custody and visitation guidelines and orders. These are ignored or disobeyed at a parent's legal peril. Understanding these requirements is important.

First and foremost, a parent cannot deny visitation rights if the other parent is not paying child support. There are legal means to seek relief from the court or government for late support payments. The delinquent parent can keep a record of denied visits and seek full custody.

Considering your digital assets in your prenuptial agreement

Divorce is a complex process, and there are often strong feelings on both sides regarding the division of marital property. Some couples choose to avoid these types of fights by drafting a prenuptial agreement before they get married. In most cases, these legal agreements address the division of marital property and assets, as well as financial matters during the marriage.

While you certainly have physical property and real assets of value worth protecting in a prenuptial agreement, that is not the only thing you would be wise to consider. It is becoming more common in Texas to also include provisions regarding digital assets. If you are preparing to marry and considering the benefits of a prenuptial agreement, you may consider addressing your digital assets as well.

Spouses who need prenups the most

Many divorce disputes can be solved in advance with properly-drafted prenuptial agreements. Their benefits are not limited to the wealthy. Starting business owners with limited resources, couples who married and moved and divorced spouses with children who remarried have the greatest need for a prenup.

In a community property state like Texas, any business formed during the marriage is community property which is divided when they divorce. If the business was owned before marriage, any increase in value also becomes community property.

Dropping the divorce bombshell

Following the issuance of a divorce decree, a spouse still has an important task. Telling friends, family and co-workers about a divorce may be difficult and cause problems if it is not handled correctly.

A general announcement on social media such as Facebook is wrong and can lead to unexpected and unwanted answers. Different language should be used for different audiences such as family members, children, friends and employer and co-workers.

What you need to know about legal custody

There are different types of child custody, and it's helpful to understand the differences.

The ultimate goal of any custody arrangement is the protection of the best interests of the children, and knowing more about the custody options available can help you protect your parental rights.

Homework for divorce settlements

Entering mediation or taking other steps to settle a divorce in Texas, instead of going to court, can lower rancor and costs. Preparation can increase the odds of a successful mediation, settlement or collaborative divorce.

Having a full and thorough understanding of finances is essential before negotiating child support, alimony or property division. Knowing what can be paid and what is needed to maintain a reasonable life style can prevent serious and unexpected long-term financial consequences.

Same-Sex rights and divorce in Texas

The U.S. Supreme Court validated and recognized same-sex marriage across the country in 2015. However, this also posed complications for same-sex couples in Texas seeking a divorce or asserting other rights when they lived together for years without a marriage license but who held themselves out and acted as married couples.

For recognition of a common law marriage, couples must establish that there was an agreement for marriage, the couple lived together in Texas, and they represented themselves to others that they were married. No specific words had to be used for a marriage agreement

Two financial areas to address during divorce proceedings

Divorce is already stressful enough without adding unnecessary financial complications to the mix. Even at the best of times, money can be a touchy subject, and when you take into account the emotional upheaval that many divorcing couples go through, even amicable splits can get nasty.

The good news is that this doesn't have to be the case. If you can keep a calm head, you can avoid making rash economic decisions or even failing to tackle important tasks at all until it's too late. You can focus your efforts on the two most crucial issues and untangle your finances from those of your ex as smoothly as possible. The two key financial areas are your home and your credit accounts.

Locating hidden divorce assets

A divorce often reveals unethical behavior, even among the affluent spouses who engage in complex maneuvers to hold onto assets. Spouses may consider unusual options to hide assets to lower alimony and child support payments.

Spouses begin planning to hide property well before the divorce process begins. A spouse may consult with a financial planner and even assume lots of debt to make it appear as if the spouse's estate is worth less than it is.