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After the finalization of a divorce decree, it is not uncommon for spouses to move to different states. If you obtained full custody of your children, your ex-spouse might feel resentful, and might seek opportunities to get that award modified. Can they bring an action in a court in their new state to modify your divorce decree in a way that is more favorable to them?

The UCCJEA

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) is a statute that 49 states – including Texas – have adopted. It governs how courts are supposed to treat custody disputes or challenges to divorce decrees between ex-spouses that live in a different state from the one where the divorce decree was originally established.

Under the UCCJEA, the court that first hands down a custody arrangement decree to a divorcing couple continues to have exclusive jurisdiction over that custody matter. Courts in other states in the nation must respect the decree and enforce it as if they themselves had passed it.

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When you have children, you want the best for them. You and your spouse may no longer get along or want to be together, but that doesn’t mean that you want to hurt their relationship with your kids.

Unfortunately, not all parents feel the same way. Some will use bribery and manipulation to turn their children against the other parent. This is called parental alienation, and it may lead to parental alienation syndrome. When dealing with custody disputes, this is more common, so it’s something to watch out for.

What are the three red flags of parental alienation?

There are three pretty significant signs of parental alienation to watch out for. These may include:

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Generally speaking, alimony and spousal support are paid out on a monthly basis, just like child support. The idea is that the spouse, like the child, was expecting that financial support. They made choices based on it, like leaving a job to start a family. Taking it away in a divorce can leave them destitute, and alimony helps pay the monthly bills for a time.

That said, some people will offer to pay all of the alimony at once, as a lump sum. If your ex does this — and has the money on hand to afford it — should you take it? Only you can decide, but there are some potential benefits.

Reasons to take the lump sum

You must consider the pros and cons carefully when making your decision. To that end, here are some reasons why a lump sum may be wise:

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There are times when grandparents step in and play a major role in their grandchildren’s lives. If you believe that your grandchildren are struggling in their home due to neglect or abuse, you may petition for custody. Similarly, if one parent passes away, you may seek visitation rights, so you can continue to see them regularly.

In most divorce cases, grandparent visitation rights are kept informal. It’s not typical for grandparents to be restricted from seeing their grandchildren. However, legal issues could arise in some cases. That’s why it’s smart to clarify your relationship with your grandchild and to make sure that you have the legal rights that you are entitled to receive.

Are grandparents likely to get custody of their grandchildren?

In divorce cases, it’s unlikely that grandparents will receive outright custody of their grandchildren. As long as both parents are providing for them, grandparents may only be able to seek to establish a visitation order. To do this, you will have to show that visitation time with your grandchild is in your grandchild’s or grandchildren’s best interests.

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When co-parenting with an ex-spouse, there’s no shortage of challenges that will come to light. Some of them are easier to deal with than others, but all of them require some level of attention.

Should you come to find that co-parenting disputes are far more common than they should be, it’s time to take action. Here are some of the things you can do:

  • Talk to your ex-spouse: Yes, this can be a challenge, but sharing your feelings may be the best way to get back on track. Explain your concerns, talk about potential resolutions and hear them out. One conversation may be all it takes to get things back on track.
  • Review your parenting plan and visitation agreement: You’ll find a lot of information here pertaining to physical custody, legal custody, where your children will spend holidays and visitation schedules.
  • Try something new: You can’t do this without your ex, but it’s something to consider if you’re willing and able to talk things out. For example, if the current visitation schedule isn’t working for your ex, maybe you can adjust the pick-up and drop-off times by a few hours. Small changes like this can go a long way in reducing tension.


Is a child custody modification necessary?

It’s your hope that you don’t have to go down this path, as it can cause additional tension between you and your ex. However, if you’ve tried everything else and are still in the same place, it’s an option to consider.

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