September 18, 2015
Family law doesn’t just cover divorce. It covers all aspects of the family relationship, which is ever evolving in today’s world. Family law is about relationships—between spouses, with children, between children, grandparents, etc. Did you know that besides child support and custody issues between parents, that family law covers these additional areas:
- Grandparent Access: Grandparents can seek custody or access to their grandchildren – In certain limited circumstances, grandparents can gain custody of their grandchildren if a) the grandchild has lived with that grandparent for at least 6 months; b) the grandparent has been named as a guardian of the child by a court; c) the child is being injured by his or her current living situation; or d) the person (or people) with custody of the child agree that the child should live with the grandparent. In short, there generally needs to be a danger to the child to change custody from the parents to the grandparents, but it is possible.
- Sibling Access: Siblings can petition the court to visit their brother or sister – While the circumstances are very limited, in some cases where the Department of Family Services is involved, siblings can seek access to other siblings.
- Step-Parent Access: Step-parents can seek custody of step-children – However, the step-parent must have had custody of the child within the past 6 months. These proceedings can be very difficult, especially if the step-parent and the biological parent are no longer in a marriage relationship.
- Name Changes: in some counties without family law-specific courts, proceedings to legally change a name are blended into regular legal proceedings; however, the laws governing name charges are found in the Texas Family Code. If you have a specific question about changing your name, it is best to contact a family law attorney.
- Enforcement: The Texas Attorney General can help you collect past-due child support – However, if you get the AG’s office involved in collections, you will not have control over the speed, strategy, or overall operation of the case.
- Adoptions & Terminations: You can establish or terminate parental rights. Families are not always created by blood. Adoptions of all kinds are covered by family laws: parent-child, stepparent, and adult-adoptions. In many cases, a parent cannot adopt while there is still a biological parent-child relationship; thus, some relationships need to be terminated before an adoption can occur. Termination proceedings are complex and fueled by emotion; after all, the stakes are high.
If you have any questions about anything related to families, marriages, or prior family proceedings, call the attorneys at Gardner & Smith, PLLC at (817) 737-4000.
Photo Credit: Jill Liebhaber/www.jookiekids.com