Parents in Texas and across the nation may be getting help with foreign custody battles if a new bill passes. Between 2008 and 2013, the federal government reported that 7,000 American children were abducted by one of their parents and taken overseas. The parents that remained in the U.S. battled for custody or visitation rights in countries where U.S. laws don't apply and an international treaty has been ignored. Most children never come back. Parents are often frustrated from trying to work with other nations and the U.S. State Department. Some in Congress want more attention placed on the problem of international child custody battles.
Shortly after the Copperas Cove Police Department announced a suspected interference with a child custody case involving a missing child, the 2-year-old was returned to her grandparents. The toddler was taken from them by the biological mother on Oct. 23, but the grandparents had legal custody of the child.
Parents of college-bound children in Texas and elsewhere that seek financial aid are usually required to fill out a standardized application form that is used by most public colleges and universities. This form, known as FAFSA, requires certain financial disclosures to be made. However, some of the disclosures differ depending upon the marital status of the parents. In the case of divorced parents, Child custody plays a role, especially in terms of where the young person is deemed to reside.
A Dallas judge recently issued a controversial ruling, telling a lesbian couple that they must cease living together or one of the women would lose custody of her children. The case may raise equal protection issues, but actually can affect the lives of parents of any sexual orientation who wish to live with a partner prior to marriage. The couple has stated that they believe the order to be unconstitutional, but that they will follow it and establish separate residences.
A jury has decided a custody dispute between Deion Sanders and his estranged wife, Pilar. The one-time Dallas Cowboy and current NFL analyst will have sole child custody of the couple's two sons while he and his actress wife will share joint custody of their daughter. The two have agreed to remain in north Texas for the sake of their children.The court ruling came after a week-long trial in which jurors heard evidence of the couple's bitter arguments, which have become public knowledge. Pilar Sanders accused her husband of trying to choke her on the set of their former reality television show, while Deion Sanders' representatives said the soon-to-be-ex-Mrs. Sanders is vindictive and not trustworthy.
The aging of our population has created an interesting phenomenon in family law, the rise of the so-called gray divorce. Divorce has become increasingly common among empty nesters and people reaching retirement age. While a split can be challenging at any age, older couples face a variety of issues that their younger counterparts need not worry about. Any Texas resident divorcing after age 50 should keep these issues in mind.First, consider your plans for retirement. Pension and 401(k) benefits are marital property and are subject to asset division in divorce. The closer you are to your planned retirement date, the more difficult it will be to replenish those funds. Also, consider the impact of divorce on your social security benefits. Social security cannot be divided in divorce, but it can be used to offset other assets or earnings. Another consideration is what would happen if one spouse were offered an early retirement package or cash buyout in lieu of a traditional pension benefit. How would that money be divided?
Divorce has a way of derailing the best-laid retirement plans as many Texas residents have come to learn. Instead of heading off into retirement together with the nest egg they accumulated over the years, divorcing couples find themselves divvying up their retirement funds and ending up with less savings than what they planned to take into their golden years. To make matters worse, divorce negatively impacts one's income, making it harder to rebuild those lost savings. The average divorced person has $10,000 less in retirement funds than someone who is married. Women are hit particularly hard. Their household income upon divorce, on average, is 47 percent less than during marriage. In contrast, men have 25 percent less household income following divorce.
The death of a 3-year-old boy in Texas in January has gained international attention. The boy, who was adopted from Russia, was found unresponsive at his home by his adoptive mother on Jan. 21.; he was then transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Although no arrests have been made, Texas Child Protective Services officials are investigating allegations of possible abuse and neglect, and a Russian governor is seeking the return of the boy's brother, who was adopted by the same family.It is not unusual for allegations of abuse to impact the outcome of a child custody case. Not only is a parent accused of child abuse at risk of losing custody and visitation rights, concerns of child abuse may lead to termination of all parental rights as Russia is now seeking with respect to the boy's brother. Here, not only is the Texas family impacted, but the abuse allegations are impacting other international adoptions. The Texas death has led one Russian region to temporarily suspend all international adoptions while the case under review.
Last month, entertainer Randy Travis pleaded not guilty to assault after an August altercation in a Dallas-area church parking lot with his fiancé's estranged spouse and brother. Now, Travis has filed a lawsuit against the men, claiming the two schemed with others to physically injure him, his fiancé and her 17-year-old daughter in order to gain leverage in a pending divorce case as well as to harass and humiliate Travis. Attorneys for Travis filed the nine-page complaint last week seeking damages for bodily injury and civil conspiracy. The brawl occurred after Travis, his fiancé and her daughter drove to the church to pick up the fiancé's 15-year-old son following his return from summer camp. The lawsuit alleges the fiancé's spouse and brother were there waiting and proceeded to accost the fiancé and her daughter. The suit further alleges that after Travis went to the women's aid, her brother pinned him to the ground while the spouse called a police officer he had pre-arranged to be available. When the officer arrived, Travis was arrested and issued a citation for assault.
January typically is a big month for divorce filings. In fact, more divorce proceedings are initiated in the early days of the year than any other time. This may not be a surprise as the start of a new year is viewed by many as a good time to make a fresh start. If you are one of the women considering filing for divorce in 2013, these tips will help you be prepared for what lies ahead.Before you file for divorce, the first step is to collect all of your financial documents. As you receive year-end statements from your bank, credit card company and other financial institutions, review them for discrepancies. They may provide clues that your husband is hiding assets that should be part of the marital property or that he's been spending money on another woman. Then make copies of all of your records and secure them in a safe place your husband can't access.