Mediation is an effort to settle disputes outside of the courthouse. It offers people an opportunity to negotiate and develop solutions with the help of their attorneys and a neutral mediator. In many cases, it is a good way for families, who know their children better than anyone else, to come up with collaborative resolutions to their cases without the risk of a contested hearing. Costs for mediation are often shared by the parties and may be required in some cases.
In simple cases, people may be able to handle their own divorce or other family law matter without the need to hire an attorney to fully represent them. In these situations, Limited Scope Representation can help provide peace of mind. Having an attorney review your pleadings and drafted decrees can provide pro se litigants the confidence to represent themselves and have sound documents in hand. We don't recommend this option for contested or complicated cases, but for the right circumstances, it is a great way to keep legal fees to a minimum.
When the right time comes, adoption is a two step process. In order for a child to be eligible for adoption, the appropriate biological parent or parents must have had their parental rights terminated. After termination, an adoption can proceed. Families can pursue adoption of their step-child, relative, or unrelated child, depending upon the circumstances and if proper legal criteria is met. For some families, conservatorship (custody) as opposed to adoption is in the best interest of the children.
If you are a Foster Parent, there may come a time when you are weighing your options as to if a child who's come into your home can become a permanent part of your family. Maybe you are considering intervening and becoming a party in your foster child's case. Laws in Texas generally allow interventions by foster parents who have fostered a child in their home for 12 months. Interventions in other scenarios are possible for foster parents who can meet a "substantial past contact" legal test. If allowed to intervene, foster parents have the same standing as other parties to the child's case.
In accordance with Texas law, couples are required to wait 60 days to finalize a divorce. However, contested issues regarding children and property can delay the process much more. As a general rule, parties can expect that the more contentious the issues are, the longer and more expensive the divorce process will become. Alternatively, any issue that can be agreed upon, or settled by negotiation, will save time and money.
The Texas Attorney General Child Support Division may be able to help! Their website, texasattorneygeneral.gov, is a great place to start. Select the Child Support Division option and look around for information about your particular situation, from making payments to enforcing orders to establishing paternity.