2015 is over. 2016 lies ahead. Looking back, it is worth noting what changes have occurred in the laws of Texas as they regard family matters.
Lawmakers in Austin reportedly made a record number of changes to the existing family code. Analysis suggests that the overall effect of the changes could be somewhat limited in some instances. But there are a few changes worth noting as we enter the new year.
Divorce and social media
New prohibitions against types of communications that divorcing individuals might aim at each other now on the books. Courts now have the authority to bar parties going through the divorce process from using any form of email or social media to level disparaging remarks or threats against each other.
Spouses in hotly contested actions may also be barred from destroying or even tampering with electronic records or intellectual property such that it might cause financial loss or inconvenience to the other party.
Changes in the handling of some protective orders make it possible for the courts to consider issuing protective orders on the basis of a person having an existing record of family violence.
New rules are also due to take effect in 2016 in divorce cases where parents contest child custody. The changes clearly define what it means when a court orders a child custody evaluation. It sets the minimum requirements of who can conduct such evaluations, putting the task in the hands of a neutral third party, and the kind of information that the court can seek.
That change and others could prove to be sources of concern for many families going through divorce. To be sure that you understand the obligations of the law and your rights, you should plan to consult with a skilled attorney.
Source: Chron.com, "Texas Family Code sees changes in 2015," accessed Dec. 31, 2015