Archive for August, 2010

How old does my child need to be before he/she gets to choose to live with me?

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

At least several times per month I am asked by a divorced parent something akin to this question.

There is a LOT of confusion about this subject, so let me lay out the basics.

First, the child NEVER gets that decision to make for himself/herself in Texas.  What the Texas Family Code does allow is for a child 12 years of age (or older) to file his/her written designation stating their preference of parent with whom they wish to primarily reside. 

Note, this is only an available option if there is an open lawsuit involving the child.  Also, if the non-custodial parent does file for a modification seeking primary residence of the child, then the court MUST interview the child regarding his/her wishes about primary residence if you request the interview and the child is 12 or older.

If you are a non-custodial parent looking to have your child(-ren) come live with you, then I encourage you to email me (eric@ericgruetzner.com) or call me (713-370-7100) and we can sit down together to see what possibilities are available to you at this time.

My website’s services page also touches on relevant issues you may want to review before we meet. www.ericgruetzner.com/services.html.

You can also read up on my thoughts on this issue with my prior answers at http://www.avvo.com/attorneys/77095-tx-eric-gruetzner-75667.html.

But what if I don’t want to get divorced…can I prevent the divorce from being granted?

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

That is a question I sincerely wish I was asked more often.

When the couple said “I do” it was “till death do you part,” however when a divorce is filed in Texas, a no-fault divorce state, one of the parties is representing to the court that they do not believe the marriage can be reconciled (in other words, repaired).  There is an old saying in Texas that it takes two to marry but one to divorce, and that is so true.  In a no-fault divorce it merely takes one spouse saying they do not want to be married and it will happen.

If you have had a divorce filed against you and you don’t think your marriage is beyond repair, then now is the time to consult with your attorney about your options.

If you really want to save your marriage, and especially when children are involved, the courts are generally sympathetic.  To that end, the Texas Family Code makes it possible for you to ask that the divorce court to order you and your spouse to marital counseling before making a final decision about granting a divorce in Texas.  A client seemed perplexed and asked me, “you mean I am asking a divorce court to help save my marriage?”  Yes, it does seem counterintuitive, but it’s true.

And it does work, since I have had clients that have done this and are still married today!  While it’s not for everyone, it is an avenue for you to consider once you are on the road towards a divorce. Only you can decide whether to stay on the road to divorce, or whether you try to change your path for the better.

I would welcome the opportunity to represent you if you are facing this difficult issue, feel free to visit my website at www.ericgruetzner.com or visit my services page to learn more about how I might help, www.ericgruetzner.com/services.html.