Fathers Rights Blogs

Domestic / Intimate Partner Violence – Know the Signs!

Would you know if your good friend from the office or your aunt that lives in Dallas is involved in a domestic / intimate partner violence relationship?  Probably not. Many times the abuse starts slowly, is concealed, and accelerates over time.

Domestic violence takes many forms, which include emotional, physical, and sexual abuse.  It occurs in heterosexual or same-sex relationships. Husband, wife, children, partners. The most important goal of domestic violence and abuse is to gain and maintain total and unyielding control over the victim.

How do you know if you may be in a domestic / intimate partner violence relationship with your partner?

  • Does your partner have a bad or unpredictable temper? Call you horrible names, insult you or put you down?

  • Does your partner limit your access to money, the phone, or the car? Are you constantly checked on about your whereabouts?

  • Are you discouraged from seeing family members and friends? Does your partner act excessively jealous and possessive without cause or reason?

  • Does your partner see you as property or a sex object and force you to have sex at times or in ways against your will?

  • Does your partner threaten to take your children away and harm them or to commit suicide if you leave him/her?

  • Does your partner blame you for his/her abusive behavior or destroy your belongings?

If you are already in an abusive situation, are your currently living in a hostile environment and:

  • Is your abusive partner threating violence

  • Has your abuser attacked you with aggressive, belittling, profane, or violent behavior so you know “Who the Boss is”?

  • After the abuse, does your partner feel concocted or temporary remorse, guilt and does he/she repeatedly promise to change?

  • Your abuser comes up with excuses and blames “you” as the abuser.  Does your relationship periodically go back into a” Normal Phase”?

  • Is all well until your abuser sets up his/her next situation when he/she can justify abusing you again?

If you are in a relationship with a Domestic / Intimate Partner who is exposing this behavior or you are already having abusive situations, seek help now!  Abusive relationships will destroy your self-worth and lead to anxiety and depression. Break free from this relationship by recognizing that such conduct is dangerous, that you are valuable and that you do not have to suffer this emotional pain!

If you are currently in a relationship or marriage with an abusive partner and need legal help, contact a knowledgeable attorney, other shelter or enforcement agency to obtain help.

By Nacol Law Firm | Domestic Violence
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Texas Prenuptial Agreements

In Texas, Prenuptial Agreements are becoming a very important tool for prospective spouses in the event of future marital problems.  With the rise in divorce rates and more boomer/senior remarriages, many people with assets are turning to a marital contract to sidestep a potentially difficult and very expense divorce.

A prenuptial agreement allows prospective spouses to, legally in advance, specifically define rights and obligations to each other and further allows spouses to decide their future marital property rights with relativity minimal judicial actions.  A prenuptial agreement, in Texas,  can cover any matter except:

  1. Violate public policy or a statute imposing criminal penalties

  2. Adversely affect a child’s right to support

  3. Defraud a creditor

Texas Family Code 4.003(a)(8), (b),4.106(a).

Among the permissible provisions that parties can list in a prenuptial agreement are the following:

  1. Rights and obligations of any interest, present or future, legal or equitable, vested or contingent, in real or personal property.

  2. Right to manage, control and dispose, by agreement, property upon separation of the married parties, dissolution of the marriage, death of either party, or other agreed event.

  3. Modify or eliminate spousal support.

  4. Specific matters related to prospective spouses, including personal rights and obligations that are not in violation of state laws.

  5. Choice of a state or country law that will govern the prenuptial agreement.

  6. Creation of a Will or Trust.

  7. Disposing of the Estate upon the death of one of the spouses. Also ownership rights and disposition of benefits from a life insurance policy upon the death.

  8. Waive one party’s right to occupy the family homestead after the other party dies.

By Nacol Law Firm | Texas Prenuptial Agreements
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Fathers Have Rights – Establishing Paternity

Paternity is defined as the quality or state of being a father.  Many issues arise in the face of a father being denied access to his child or wondering if he is truly the child’s father.  Where paternity of a child is in question, a mother or alleged father may ask the court to determine paternity of one or several possible fathers. 

Most paternity actions involve a child born out of wedlock.  However, paternity actions also occur between married persons where someone other than the husband is the father of the child, or where the husband has fathered a child outside of the marriage.  There is a presumption that a child born to a married woman is the child of the husband.  However, this presumption can be overcome by DNA or other valid evidence. 

If you are questioning paternity, think about when the child could have been conceived.  Consider when you had relevant or timely intercourse.  Understand that paternity is determined by testing DNA from the father and the mother through the use of genetic fingerprinting.  DNA testing is done by drawing blood or by taking a buccal swab, when cells are wiped from the inside of the mouth with a cotton swab.  These tests can determine the father of a child with up to 99% accuracy.  DNA testing is currently the most advanced and accurate technology to determine parentage.  Generally paternity testing is paid for by the father.

If you file a paternity suit, you can request the court order DNA testing.  A court may order the mother, father and the child to submit to testing.  Paternity testing can be done during pregnancy or when the child is as young as one day old. 

Paternity proceedings can be filed by the alleged father, mother, child or child support division of a state.  A private action for paternity is usually prosecuted to secure child support payments from the father, parenting time with the child, and/or fair rights and privilege allocation. 

Some men are confident that they are the biological father and wish to maintain a legal relationship with the child whether or not they are the father and thus either initiate paternity actions or consent to the entry of a paternity order.  The paternity order entitles the father to visitation time with the child and creates a legal duty for the father to provide for the support of the child in addition to awarding him rights and privileges regarding the child’s future development.

When you consent to the entry of a paternity order, absent fraud, you consent for life.  Most jurisdictions will not allow you to escape the consequences of that order, including the requirement of payment for the support of the child.  If there is a chance that you will resent the child, or wish to break off the relationship with the child or, if you ultimately learn that you are not the child’s biological father, make certain you obtain a DNA test before legally admitting and therefore confirming that you are a child’s father. 

Custody of a child can either be awarded to the father or the mother in a paternity action depending on the facts.  Child support in a paternity action is generally set according to state law standards unless the parties sign an agreement providing for the payment of child support that is approved by the court. 

Reasons to establish paternity:  to provide the child with a needed identity; to confirm rights, privileges and duties of a parent; to know the health history of both the mother and father for medical care and treatment of a child; establish financial support for the child; establish health insurance coverage, social security eligibility, inheritance and other benefits; and seek public assistance where qualified.

By Nacol Law Firm | Paternity
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Paternity Defined – Texas Family Code

Under the Texas Family Code (Tex. Fam. Code) a “Parent” is defined as the mother, a man presumed to be the father, a man legally determined to be the father, a man who has been adjudicated to be the father by a court of competent jurisdiction, a man who acknowledged his paternity under applicable law, or an adoptive mother or father. 

The father-child relationship is established between a man and a child by:

  1. an unrebutted presumption of the man’s paternity of the child under Section 160.204;
  2. an effective acknowledgment of paternity by the man under Subchapter D, unless the acknowledgment has been rescinded or successfully challenged;
  3. an adjudication of the man’s paternity;
  4. the adoption of the child by the man; or
  5. the man’s consenting to assisted reproduction by his wife under Subchapter H, which resulted in the birth of a child.

Tex. Fam. Code Sec. 160, otherwise known as the Uniform Parentage Act, states that a man is presumed to be the father of a child if:

  1. he is married to the mother of the child and the child is born during the marriage;
  2. he is married to the mother of the child and the child is born before the 301st day after the date the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity, or divorce;
  3. he married the mother of the child before the birth of the child in apparent compliance with law, even if the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid, and the child is born during the invalid marriage or before the 301st day after the date the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity, or divorce;
  4. he married the mother of the child after the birth of the child in apparent compliance with law, regardless of whether the marriage is or could be declared invalid, he voluntarily asserted his paternity of the child, and:
    a)     the assertion is in a record filed with the bureau of vital statistics;
    b)    he is voluntarily named as the child’s father; or
    c)     he promised in a record to support the child as his own; or
  5. during the first two years of the child’s life, he continuously resided in the household in which the child resided and he represented to others that the child was his own.

A presumption of paternity established under this section may be rebutted only by:

  1. an adjudication under Subchapter G; or
  2. the filing of a valid denial of paternity by a presumed father in conjunction with the filing by another person of a valid acknowledgment of paternity.

A presumed father of a child may sign a denial of paternity.  However, the denial is valid only if:

  1. an acknowledgment of paternity signed or otherwise authenticated by another man is filed under Section 160.305 of the Texas Family Code;
  2. the denial is in a record and is signed or otherwise authenticated under penalty of perjury; and
  3. the presumed father has not previously:
    a)     acknowledged paternity of the child, unless the previous acknowledgment has been rescinded under Section 160.307 of the Texas Family Code or successfully challenged under Section 160.308 of the Texas Family Code; or
    b)    been adjudicated to be the father of the child.

The rules for adjudication of paternity are as follows: 

  1. The paternity of a child having a presumed, acknowledged, or adjudicated father may be disproved only by admissible results of genetic testing excluding that man as the father of the child or identifying another man as the father of the child.
  2. Unless the results of genetic testing are admitted to rebut other results of genetic testing, the man identified as the father of a child under section 160.505 shall be adjudicated as being the father of the child. 
  3. Unless the results of genetic testing are admitted to rebut other results of genetic testing, the a man excluded as the father of a child by genetic testing shall be adjudicated as not being the father of the child. 
  4. If the court finds that genetic testing under Section 160.505 does not identify or exclude a man as the father of a child, the court may not dismiss the proceeding.  In that event, the results of genetic testing and other evidence are admissible to adjudicate the issue of paternity.

Under Tex. Fam. Code Sec. 160.608, if there is an established relationship between the presumed father and the child, the court may deny genetic testing and adjudicate the presumed father as the father of the child. 

In In re Shockley, 123 S.W.3d 642, 652-53 (Tex. App.–El Paso 2003, no pet.) the court ruled a mother was equitably estopped from litigating a child’s parentage due to the fact that she refused to consent to DNA testing in prior years and brought suit for parentage more than four years after the birth of a child to question the parentage of the father.  The mother then consented to DNA testing that showed another man to be the father of the child, but the court refused to recognize the DNA tests and her claim was barred.

By Nacol Law Firm | Paternity
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Texas Divorce – How Long Will It Take to Get Divorced and Other Important Facts

To file for a divorce in Texas, you must be a Texas Resident for 6 months, and you must have lived within the county you plan to file in for at least 90 days immediately prior to filing of your divorce petition. Time spent by a Texas resident outside of Texas, while in the military, satisfies the residency requirement in Texas for a divorce.

Texas does not recognize legal separations.

It is possible to get a divorce even though the other party does not want the divorce to take place. Texas is a “no fault divorce state.” “No fault” means that one spouse does not have to prove the other spouse has done anything wrong in order to obtain a divorce. You cannot be held to a marriage because your spouse does not want to sign or refuses to participate in the divorce process. The court will enter divorce orders even if the other party refuses to sign them.

Texas requires a minimum 60 day waiting period before any divorce can be finalized. The 60 day period begins to run from the time the Original Petition for Divorce is actually filed with the court. In other words, the shortest time it will take to finalize a divorced in Texas is 61 days. On occasion, in domestic violence cases, there is an exception to the 60 day rule. If the parties are in agreement, a divorce proceeding can be finalized immediately following the sixty-day waiting period. On average, however, the time period is more likely to run 90 to 120 days in an uncontested divorce due to the crowding of court dockets and the time necessary for counsel to draft necessary legal documents and obtain the agreement of both parties regarding the wording of the final documents. If the parties are not in agreement, the time necessary to finalize the divorce will depend on the conduct of both parties and their attorneys, the court’s schedule, the matters in controversy and the complexity of the contested issues. From start to finish, the divorce process may go through a number of phases which might include temporary orders, exchange of financial information, psychological evaluations (in child custody cases), alternative dispute resolution, trial, and appeal. A divorce in which the parties are deeply in opposition to an agreement on some or all of the core issues may take anywhere from several months to several years to complete.

As to the division of marital assets, Texas is a community property state. For more information on community and separate property, see our blog, Divorce: What is separate property and what is community property.

It is important to remember that, although the statutory waiting period to finalize a divorced is 60 days, it is more likely than not that your divorce will “not” be finalized on the 61st day following the filing of your petition for divorce.

By Nacol Law Firm | Filing for a Divorce
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Please contact father’s rights Dallas Attorney Mark Nacol, or father’s rights Dallas Attorney Julian Nacol with the Nacol Law Firm P.C., for legal insight to your rights as a father. Both attorney Mark Nacol, and attorney Julian Nacol , provide counsel in the area of family law including divorce, father’s rights, interstate jurisdiction, child support, child custody, visitation, paternity, parent alienation, modifications, property division, asset division and more. Attorney Mark A. Nacol is board certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Our attorneys at The Nacol Law Firm P.C. serve clients throughout Texas, including Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Grayson, Kaufman, Rockwall and Tarrant counties and the communities of Addison, Allen, Arlington, Carrollton, Dallas, Fort Worth, Frisco, Garland, Grapevine, Highland Park, McKinney, Mesquite, Plano, Prosper, Richardson, Rowlett and University Park, Murphy,Wylie, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Irving, along with surrounding DFW areas.

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