Frequently Asked Questions about Texas Family Law

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Brett Pritchard Law

Updated on June 3, 2023

Family law is a broad and important branch of the law that is designed to help families resolve matters such as divorce and beyond. If you are facing a family law concern, you naturally have pressing questions, and the answers to those asked most frequently may help.

One of the most important steps you can take to help ensure that your family law concern is resolved fairly and that your best interests are supported is consulting with an experienced Killeen family law attorney early in the process.

What Is Family Law?

Family law is the arm of the law that helps families with concerns like those that follow:

  • Divorce and its terms, including the division of marital property, child custody arrangements, child support, and alimony

  • Post-divorce term modifications, including child custody arrangements, child support, and alimony

  • Child custody arrangements for children born to parents who are not married

  • Paternity, or the determination of who a child’s legal father is

  • Adoption

  • Issues addressed by Child Protective Services

While divorce is very closely associated with family law, this area of the law extends well beyond divorce. If any of these pertain to your situation, a dedicated family law attorney can help.

Do I Need a Family Law Attorney?

When your legal, parental, or financial rights are on the line, there is a lot at stake, and the best way to help ensure that your rights are protected, that your best interests are prioritized, and that your preferences on the matter at hand are supported is by working closely with a seasoned family law attorney from the outset.

How Do I Know If I Have Found the Right Family Law Attorney for Me?

If you are facing a family law concern, you are especially vulnerable and may feel like the task of finding the right family law attorney for you is beyond your current abilities. However, it may be comforting to remember that you do not need to gauge your attorney’s legal acumen. (You can look to client reviews and ratings for that).

Instead, you will need to assess whether or not you are comfortable working with a specific attorney. Family law concerns are – by their very nature – extremely personal matters, which means that you will need to feel comfortable opening up to your attorney.

When you find someone with whom you can talk freely, who takes your concerns seriously, who explains the legal process to you clearly, and who tells you how your case is likely to proceed (without making any guarantees), you will have found the right family law attorney for you.

What Are the Rules for Adoption in Texas?

As an adoptive parent in Texas, you can be either single or married, but you must meet all the following requirements:

  • You are at least 21 years old.

  • You are financially stable.

  • You are deemed responsible and mature enough to raise a child.

  • You share the required background and lifestyle information.

  • You complete the comprehensive adoption application.

  • You pass a home study.

  • You and every other adult living in your household pass a criminal background and child abuse check.

  • You provide adequate references.

Adoption is a rewarding and fulfilling means of growing your family, but the legalities are often challenging. A trusted family law attorney can help.

How Is Paternity Established in Texas?

Paternity establishes a child’s father. In Texas, paternity is presumed when a couple is married at the time of a child’s birth. If the parents are not married, however, paternity must be established, and this can be accomplished in any of the following ways:

  • Both parents agree on the matter of paternity and file a form signed by both of them with the court.

  • One parent seeks clarification on the matter of a child’s paternity with the court, which initiates court-ordered DNA testing.

  • The mother seeks child support from the father – whose paternity must be established – which initiates court-ordered DNA testing.

  • The court orders DNA testing in order to require a father to provide child support – in response to the mother’s need for financial assistance from the state.

What Are the Benefits of Establishing Paternity?

Determining a child’s father tends to benefit everyone involved. Consider the following:

  • The child benefits from additional financial support.

  • The father and child benefit from the opportunity to connect with each other and nurture a strong relationship that can last a lifetime.

  • The mother can benefit from increased financial stability and can share some of the challenges of parenting with the father.

  • The child benefits from the legal right to inheritance, health information related to the father’s side of the family, and benefits such as employment-based health care and veterans' benefits.

What Role Does Child Protective Services Play in Texas?

Texas’s Child Protective Services (CPS) is referred by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) in cases involving allegations of child abuse or neglect.

Abuse in this context refers to physical harm or an emotional injury that leads to a significant impairment in terms of the child's growth, development, and functioning. A claim of abuse can also be related to failing to protect a child from likely abuse. Similarly, child neglect relates to failing to take the precautions necessary to protect a child from harm.

If you have a concern related to child abuse or neglect, you should not wait to reach out for the skilled legal guidance of a compassionate family law attorney.

You Need an Experienced Killeen Family Law Attorney on Your Side

Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, dedicates his esteemed practice to helping clients like you resolve their family law concerns favorably. We are here to help, so please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at (254) 781-4222 today.

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