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TX family lawyerChild custody proceedings can be difficult for the children involved. Some will have a strong preference regarding which parent they would like to live with, while others may be reluctant to express a preference. While Texas courts may consider the preferences of children in limited ways, the state does not allow minors to make their own decisions regarding custody. The court will, however, carefully consider the child’s best interests before making any custody determination. A qualified child custody attorney can offer you more specific advice regarding your particular situation, as there are a lot of variables at play.

Why Are Children Not Allowed to Choose?

Children may not be able to make the best decisions for themselves regarding where to live and with whom. Often, a child will select the “fun” parent who is more permissive or the parent who gives them a better allowance. Children may also be easily bribed, and it is not uncommon for parents in divorce cases to do exactly this. Courts want to make sure that the child lives with the parent who it is in their best interest to live with - and this may not be the parent with who the child asks to live.

How Can a Court Consider a Child’s Opinion?

If the child is over the age of 12 years old, one or both parents can submit a request for the child to speak to the judge regarding custody matters, and the request must be granted. If the child is under 12 years old, a parent can still submit a request, but the judge may grant it only at his discretion. Neither parent will be permitted to be present for this conversation, which takes place in the privacy of the judge’s chambers.

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TX injury lawyerTexas sees more accidents involving commercial trucks than any other state in the nation. With the number of big rigs used by our oil and gas industries, this makes sense. More semi-trucks on the roads mean more accidents. However, a good number of these accidents are preventable when appropriate caution is used. Those operating these large and potentially dangerous vehicles have a very important duty to do so as safely as they can. When this duty is not taken seriously, very bad accidents can result. If you were hurt in a truck accident, it is important to speak to an attorney as soon as you can to begin preserving the proof you may need later.

What Causes Commercial Truck Accidents in Texas?

The reasons more commercial truck accidents happen in Texas than anywhere else may be complex. A big part of it is the sheer amount of large trucks used in the oil and gas industries. Unfortunately, when rigs carrying these substances or their byproducts are involved in collisions, there may be additional dangers involving these hazardous materials. Commercial truck accidents may happen in Texas due to:

  • Driver fatigue - Oil and gas are around-the-clock industries, as is truck driving. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets out strict policies regarding how long a driver can work and how long he must rest in between shifts, but these policies sometimes go ignored in the interest of saving time. When drivers exceed the allowable driving hours, they become more prone to mistakes that can lead to major wrecks.
  • Drugs - There is no excuse for a truck driver to get behind the wheel while impaired. There are supposed to be drug and alcohol testing procedures in place to ensure that intoxicated drivers stay off the road, but this does not stop every driver every time. Additionally, due to the long hours and tight schedules, some truck drivers turn to stimulants that help them stay awake, but may also increase reckless driving behaviors like speeding and tailgating.
  • Fleet maintenance - Companies are financially incentivized to keep all of their trucks in service at all times. This sometimes leads to companies negligently postponing necessary maintenance because they are reluctant to take a truck off the road, especially if doing so would cause delays.
  • Distraction - Anyone operating such a large vehicle should have their eyes on the road, not on their cell phone. Unfortunately, driver distraction is a contributing factor in many commercial truck accidents, both in Texas and elsewhere.

If you were hurt in an accident involving a semi-truck, it is best to contact an attorney quickly. The sooner an investigation can begin, the easier it may be to identify and later prove the cause of your crash.

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TX family lawyerTexas family courts operate under the presumption that it is in the child’s best interest to spend time with and enjoy the guidance of both parents. As such, they are generally reluctant to give one parent exclusive full-time access to the child. However, there are situations in which spending time with one parent would be detrimental to the child’s health, safety, or mental well-being. In these cases, courts will consider granting sole custody, but some evidence may be needed to convince the court that this is truly necessary to protect the child.

If you believe that you need sole custody of your child for their safety, working with an experienced family law attorney may afford you the best opportunity to put forth a strong case.

What Kinds of Evidence Might Convince a Court That Sole Custody is Appropriate?

Even if they are completely true, one parent’s unsupported claims that the other parent is a danger to the child may not be enough to convince a court that granting sole custody is the right thing to do. An attorney can work with you to help you start identifying and collecting the evidence you may need. This evidence could include:

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Posted on in Family Law

TX paternity lawyerEstablishing who a child’s legal parents are offers a number of benefits for mothers, fathers, and children alike. Fathers can assert their parental rights and seek time with their children. Mothers can assert the child’s right to receive financial support from the father. In most cases, children benefit from having a relationship and spending time with both of their parents.

The relationship between fathers and children is important, and establishing paternity is the best way to protect that relationship. Or, in some cases, it may be the only way to ensure that both parents are sharing the responsibility of supporting the child. Whatever your reason for needing to establish paternity, a qualified attorney will be able to assess your situation and guide you to the best way of establishing paternity for your child.

What Are the Ways to Establish Paternity in Texas?

There are multiple paths to establishing legal paternity in Texas. Some are simpler than others. Which method is best for a particular situation often depends on whether the father and mother are both on board with the process. If one party is uncooperative, a court order may be needed to force a paternity test. Ways to establish paternity include:

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TX divorce lawyerOrders of protection can serve an important purpose during divorce cases. Sometimes, one spouse is legitimately a danger to the other and a protective order is necessary for safety reasons. Sometimes, however, protective orders are used maliciously by an unscrupulous spouse seeking to gain an edge during divorce and child custody proceedings. If you have been served with an order of protection - even if you did nothing to warrant one - it is important that you immediately comply with its terms and call a qualified family law attorney immediately.

Why Are Protective Orders Issued Unnecessarily?

It is rather easy to obtain a temporary protection order in Texas. This can usually be done ex parte, meaning that you have no opportunity to explain why the order is not necessary before a judge issues it. Generally, if your spouse alleges that you have been violent or made violent threats, they will get the protective order they are asking for. Spouses may do this during divorce proceedings for reasons like:

  • Custody advantage - Your spouse may believe that if they claim you are violent, they will get sole custody. This is often not true, and you will have the opportunity to defend yourself.
  • Spite - Some angry soon-to-be ex-spouses will take out a protective order out of sheer spite, to cause you aggravation, expense, and embarrassment.
  • Fear - Reasonable or not, some people will ask for a protective order out of fear during a divorce.

What Should I Do If I Get Served with a Protective Order?

Even if you did absolutely nothing wrong, it is important that you take the order seriously and comply with its terms. If you are being expelled from the place where you currently reside, you are likely understandably angry and afraid. You have every right to feel this way, but it is critical that you do not return to the residence except with a police escort to collect your personal effects as permitted in the order.

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