LAW OFFICE OF CODY M. PIRTLE

FAMILY LAW

Divorce

A divorce can be an emotionally painful situation. As with marriage, divorce should be entered into with extreme caution, and every reasonable chance should be given to preserve it.

Years ago, it was not as easy to get a marriage license as it is today. Culturally, divorce was not readily accepted, regardless o
f the cause. In the last 40 years, however, that has changed. The divorce rate has risen dramatically and sociologists have observed the following disturbing trends: an increase in teen suicides and pregnancies, high school drop-outs, drug use, alcohol use, depression, and the necessity for psychiatric counseling. These are directly related to the increase in divorce.

It was previously thought that younger children were more dramatically impacted by divorce, but we have learned just the opposite - the older the child, the greater the impact of divorce.

Divorce should be considered only after all other alternatives have been eliminated, such as marriage counseling.
 

Paternity

If a man is married to a woman and a child is born during the marriage that man is presumed to be the father of the child. Sometimes DNA testing is required to prove paternity. Also, paternity can be disputed. Until a presumed father's paternity is disproved, he retains an obligation to support the child, as well as the right to have a relationship with the child.

Adoption

Adoption is a serious legal proceeding that involves the termination of the legal parental rights of birth parents and the assumption of legal parental responsibilities by the adoptive parents. Individuals who are contemplating an adoption should consult legal and child welfare professionals before proceeding.

Custody

Custody is the care and control of a person. According to the judicial system many courts consider that the person who primarily bathes, clothes, and feeds the children is the person with custody. This issue should be discussed with legal counsel.

Modification - Visitation, Custody, and Child Support

The court always has authority to modify and order, however, the court will be guided by the desire to maintain status quo and the best interests of the children. Modification of conservatorship or child support can be addressed by the court. There are many factors to be considered in modifying conservatorship. It is advised to talk to legal counsel regarding this matter.
The Texas Family Code sets out guidelines for the court in determining the amount of child support to be paid. There are a number of factors which may be considered, but generally the court will apply the following formula:

•1 child                    20% of the obligor's net resources
•2 children             25% of the obligor's net resources
•3 children             30% of the obligor's net resources
•4 children             35% of the obligor's net resources
•5 children             40% of the obligor's net resources
•6 plus children    Not less than the amount for 5 children

The court may order either or both parent to support a child until the child is 18 years old or has graduated from high school, whichever is last, or indefinitely if the child is disabled.

Attorney General Cases

The Child Support Division of the Texas Attorney General's Office determines, on a case-by-case basis, which of the child support services they are willing to provide. Such services can be locating an absent parent, establishing paternity, enforcing child support orders, adjusting child support orders, and collecting and distributing child support payments. As a former Assistant Attorney General for the child support division, I highly recommend that you contact legal counsel when a problem with the Attorney General's Office arises. I have been told that having legal counsel work with the Attorney General's Office seems to facilitate the process and helps accomplish individual's goals.

Child Protective Service (CPS) Cases also known as the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS)

Child Protective Services protects children from abuse and neglect through investigation, services, foster care, and adoption. The Law Office of Cody Pirtle has handled many CPS cases and has much experience in this area. It's recommended that you contact legal counsel if you are having a problem with the Department.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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