I have been practicing family law in central Texas for more than 15 years. After hundreds and hundreds of divorce cases, Patricia L. Brown & Associates have experienced an incredible variety of cases. While there are similarities and important learnings in each one, each new case does indeed present a unique set of circumstances. To prevail, we call first upon our significant experience base, and then our creativity which is always needed to adapt our experience to each of those unique situations. Some issues are significant and dramatic, with significant ramifications. But when a divorce becomes contentious, especially one involving violence, every issue, no matter how minor, has the potential to become a major obstacle, if not managed carefully.
Over the past two years, the Texas legislature has amended several provisions of the Texas Family Code related to spousal maintenance in divorce. Understanding these new spousal maintenance provisions and whether a spouse in a divorce may benefit from them is essential to proceeding with a claim for (or a defense against) spousal maintenance.
If you are male living together with a woman and have a child, what rights do you as an unmarried father have in Texas? To be succinct, the answer is "NONE", without a court order. Even if the father is designated as such on the birth certificate, the father has no enforceable rights. The child's mother is completely within her legal rights to refuse to allow the father to even see the child, let allow visitation or care. This is also true for the father's entire family, so that any grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc., would also be unable to have any access without the mother's express permission. However, even if that permission were to be granted, it can be withdrawn arbitrarily at a moment's notice.
Choosing a lawyer can be challenging. First, the need for a lawyer is usually infrequent, less frequent than choosing other professionals like doctors or dentists. Secondly, it is difficult for lay people to assess the technical competence of professionals like doctors or lawyers. We usually make those judgments based on their "bedside manner" and whether we feel we can trust the individual. Finally, the need for a lawyer is frequently associated with a stressful situation, and it is well known that stress and anxiety can affect the quality of our decision-making.