fathers rights attorney mark nacol

Texas’ Law for Mistaken Paternity: Texas SB785

We hear a lot about dead-beat dads, or parents who do not pay their child support obligations. Now it is time for “fathers” or men who have been paying child support for children who are not their biological children to assert their rights.

Texas passed a new Paternity law, Texas SB785, effective May 13, 2011, which permits men who have been ordered to pay child support, without genetic testing, to request genetic testing in order to determine whether they are the genetic parent of the child.

After September 1, 2012, a man must file a petition to determine genetic parentage no later than the first anniversary of the date on which he becomes aware of facts indicating that he is not the child’s genetic father.

In order to file for relief under this law, the man must have signed an acknowledgement of paternity or failed to contest paternity in the previous proceeding because of a mistaken belief that he was the child’s father based on misrepresentations that led him to that conclusion.

If the man knew he was not the father at the time he signed the acknowledgement of paternity or the previous court order, the new law does not apply.

If the genetic testing concludes that the man is not the child’s genetic father, the court shall render an order terminating the parent-child relationship and terminating the man’s obligation for future child support.

This order, however, does not affect the man’s obligations for child support or child support arrearages accrued before the date of the order. However, the accrued obligations are not enforceable by contempt proceedings.

Even if the parent-child relationship is terminated, the man may request the court to order period of possession or access to the child following the termination. The court may order periods of possession or access to the child only if the court determines that denial of possession or access would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional well-being. The law directs the court to focus on the child’s well-being, not on the man’s desire to continue seeing the child.

If you have been paying child support due to a mistaken belief that you were the father, the time to act is now. A man must file the petition to determine genetic parentage no later than the first anniversary of the date on which he becomes aware of facts indicating the he is not the child’s genetic father. Contact an attorney now!

By Nacol Law Firm | Paternity
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Rights and Duties of a Parent – Joint Managing Conservator in Texas

Rights and Duties of a Parent –  Joint Managing Conservator in Texas.
Waiver To the Guidelines is a Matter of Court Discretion

As a joint managing conservator of a child in a divorce proceeding in Texas, unless special circumstances arise justifying a variance from the Guidelines, the Court will normally order guideline code rights and duties and a parent will be awarded the following:

1.the right to receive information from any other conservator of the child concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child.

2.the right to confer with the other parent to the extent possible before making a decision concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child.

3.the right of access to medical, dental, psychological, and educational records of the child.

4.the right to consult with a physician, dentist, or psychologist of the child.

5.the right to consult with school officials concerning the child’s welfare and educational status, including school activities.

6.the right to attend school activities.

7.the right to be designated on the child’s records as a person to be notified in case of an emergency.

8.the right to consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment during an emergency involving an immediate danger to the health and safety of the child.

9.the right to manage the estate of the child to the extent the estate has been created by the parent/conservator or the parent/conservator’s family.

10.the duty to inform the other conservator of the child in a timely manner of significant information concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child; and

11.the duty to inform the other conservator of the child if the conservator resides with for at least thirty days, marries, or intends to marry a person who the conservator knows is registered as a sex offender under chapter 62 of the Code of Criminal Procedure or is currently charged with an offense for which on conviction the person would be required to register under that chapter.  IT IS ORDERED that this information shall be tendered in the form of a notice made as soon as practicable, but not later than the fortieth day after the date the conservator of the child begins to reside with the person or on the tenth day after the date the marriage occurs, as appropriate.  IT IS ORDERED that the notice must include a description of the offense that is the basis of the person’s requirement to register as a sex offender or of the offense with which the person is charged.  WARNING:  A CONSERVATOR COMMITS AN OFFENSE PUNISHABLE AS A CLASS C MISDEMEANOR IF THE CONSERVATOR FAILS TO PROVIDE THIS NOTICE.

12.the duty of care, control, protection, and reasonable discipline of the child.

13.the duty to support the child, including providing the child with clothing, food, shelter, and medical and dental care not involving an invasive procedure.

14.the right to consent for the child to medical and dental care not involving an invasive procedure.

15.the right to direct the moral and religious training of the child.

16.Only one parent shall have the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of child in a specific geographical area, which is commonly the county in which the child currently resides and the contiguous counties thereto.

17.the right to consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment involving invasive procedures may be subject to agreement, an independent right or an exclusive right;

18.the right to consent to psychiatric and psychological treatment of the child may be subject to agreement, an independent right or an exclusive right;

19.Only one parent shall have the exclusive right to receive and give receipt for periodic payments for the support of the child and to hold or disburse these funds for the benefit of the child;

20.the right to represent the child in legal action and to make other decisions of substantial legal significance concerning the child may be subject to agreement, an independent right or an exclusive right;

21.the right to consent to marriage and to enlistment in the armed forces of the United States may be subject to agreement, an independent right or an exclusive right;

22.the right to make decisions concerning the child’s education may be subject to agreement, an independent right a joint right or an exclusive right;

23.except as provided by section 264.0111 of the Texas Family Code, the right to the services and earnings of the child may be subject to agreement, an independent right or an exclusive right;

24.except when a guardian of the child’s estate or a guardian or attorney ad litem has been appointed for the child, the right to act as an agent of the child in relation to the child’s estate if the child’s action is required by a state, the United States, or a foreign government may be subject to agreement, an independent right or an exclusive right; and

25.the right to manage the estate of the child to the extent the estate has been created by community property or the joint property of the parent/conservator may be subject to agreement, an independent right or an exclusive right.

In accordance with section 153.001 of the Texas Family Code, it is the public policy of Texas to assure that children will have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the child, to provide a safe, stable, and nonviolent environment for the child, and to encourage parents to share in the rights and duties of raising their child after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage.  The Court will therefore normally establish the primary residence of the child in the county where the child currently resides and/or a contiguous county thereto, and the parties shall not remove the child from such county for the purpose of changing the primary residence of child until there is a modification to the existing order of the court of continuing jurisdiction or a written agreement signed by the parties and filed with the court.

The geographical restriction on the residence of the child may be lifted or modified if, at the time the primary parent with the right to establish residence wishes to remove the child from the county for the purpose of changing the primary residence of the child, the other parent does not reside in that county or a contiguous county thereto.

Time constraints, employment issues of the primary Joint Managing Conservator, and other material factors may come into play when a Joint Managing Conservator requests waiver of the geographical restrictions.  It customarily is a very difficult, but not always insurmountable, burden to achieve a geographical restriction waiver.  The success, consistency and regularity of the non-primary conservator’s possession and access to the child is a factor the court will view in making a ruling.  Frequently, an agreement to adjust the amount of support and/or transportation costs comes into play in resolving such disputes.

By Nacol Law Firm | Child Custody . Possession of Children
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Big Changes in Texas Spousal Support Laws

Texas House Bill 901 changing the spousal maintenance law in the Texas Family Code became effective for divorce cases filed on or after September 1, 2011. The bill revises the conditions that establish eligibility for spousal maintenance, commonly referred to as alimony, and changes the factors required to be considered by a court in determining the nature, amount, duration, and manner of periodic payments for a spouse who is eligible to receive maintenance.

Eligibility for spousal maintenance requires that the spouse seeking maintenance lack sufficient property to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs.

The new law provides potentially increased relief to spouses who have been out of the work force, are disabled, are victims of family violence or are the primary custodians of a disabled child.

Major changes to the Texas spousal support law are:

1. The maximum amount of spousal support that courts may award increased from $2,500 to $5,000.00 per month, although still limited to 20 percent of the payer’s average gross monthly income.

2. The duration of spousal support extended from a maximum of 3 years to a maximum of 5, 7 or 10 years, generally depending on the length of the marriage.

3. The law clarified that if a person has primary care for a disabled child, the custodial parent may be prevented because of the child’s disability from earning sufficient income to meet the custodial parent’s minimum reasonable needs.

4. The law also clarified that a person may not be held in contempt for failing to pay spousal support which is in an agreed order and extends beyond the period of time provided under the law.

In order to receive “maintenance,” (which is the statutory term for spousal support), the spouse seeking support must lack sufficient property to provide for the spouse’s “minimum reasonable needs”, AND one of the following:

(1) The recipient must be unable to earn sufficient income to provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs because of an incapacitating mental or physical disability;

(2) The marriage lasted for 10 years or longer and the recipient lacks the ability to earn sufficient income to provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs;

(3) The recipient is the custodian of a child of the marriage of any age who requires substantial care and personal supervision because of a physical or mental disability that prevents the spouse from earning sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs; OR

(4) The person ordered to pay support was convicted of or received deferred jurisdiction for an act of family violence during the pendency of the suit or within two years of the date the suit is filed.

Under the previous law, under most circumstances, the court could only order maintenance for a maximum of three years, regardless of the length of the marriage. Under the new law, the court can order maintenance to continue for:

(1) 5 years if the parties were married less than 10 years and the maintenance is awarded due to family violence;

(2) 5 years if the parties were married more than 10 years, but less than 20 years.

(3) 7 years if the parties were married more than 20 years, but less than 30 years;

(4) 10 years if the parties were married for more than 30 years.

In cases where the maintenance is awarded due to the mental or physical disability of the spouse or a child of the marriage, the court may order that the maintenance continue as long as the disability continues.

However, in all circumstances, the law provides that the Court shall order maintenance for the shortest reasonable period that allows the recipient to earn sufficient income to meet his or her reasonable needs.

If you are contemplating dissolving your marriage and have questions concerning your financial future, seek competent legal counsel to help you determine whether you could be eligible for spousal support under the expanded provisions of the new law.

By Nacol Law Firm | Spousal Support
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Texas SB785: New Texas Law for Mistaken Paternity

We hear a lot about dead-beat dads, or parents who do not pay their child support obligations.  Now it is time for “fathers” or men who have been paying child support for children who are not their biological children to assert their rights.

Texas has a new law, Texas SB785, which permits men who have been ordered to pay child support, without genetic testing, to request genetic testing in order to determine whether they are the genetic parent of the child. 

But the clock is ticking.   If you suspect that you are paying child support for a child who is not your biological child, you must file the petition before September 1, 2012.

After September 1, 2012, a man must file a petition to determine genetic parentage no later than the first anniversary of the date on which he becomes aware of facts indicating that he is not the child’s genetic father.

In order to file for relief under this new law, the man must have signed an acknowledgement of paternity or failed to contest paternity in the previous proceeding because of a mistaken belief that he was the child’s father based on misrepresentations that led him to that conclusion.

If the man knew he was not the father at the time he signed the acknowledgement of paternity or the previous court order, the new law does not apply.

If the genetic testing concludes that the man is not the child’s genetic father, the court shall render an order terminating the parent-child relationship and terminating the man’s obligation for future child support.

The new order, however, does not affect the man’s obligations for child support or child support arrearages accrued before the date of the order.  However, the accrued obligations are not enforceable by contempt proceedings. 

Even if the parent-child relationship is terminated, the man may request the court to order period of possession or access to the child following the termination.  The court may order periods of possession or access to the child only if the court determines that denial of possession or access would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional well-being.  The law directs the court to focus on the child’s well-being, not on the man’s desire to continue seeing the child.

If you have been paying child support due to a mistaken belief that you were the father, the time to act is now.  If you wait to file for relief, you will be barred.  Contact an attorney now! 

By Nacol Law Firm | Paternity
DETAIL

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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