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Showing posts from May, 2011

Extended Summer Visitation

It's that time of year again.  The kids are out for summer and you and your ex are trying to come up with a schedule.  Many of you had to "notice" or be noticed by the other party by April 1 on the dates you want to exercise for extended summer possession.  This is that period of time that is in addition to regular visitation.  Many just defer to the default of the entire month of July but I would encourage you to sit down with your ex and try to work out a schedule that works for everyone but especially the kids.  Show some flexibility if your ex didn't notice you properly or by the deadline.  Consider a few things:
What camps are they interested in attending? Will they need to take a summer class to make up for a failed class or prepare for college or driver's education?  What do they usually do each summer and how has that worked in the past?  Are there annual family vacations or reunions that should be taken into account? How will each of the above affect each…

In the Headlines this Week

What Makes a Man (or Woman) on a Marriage License?by Brandi Grissom, The Texas Tribune            In a state that bans same-sex marriage, it would seem to be easy to know who can legally marry. Texas county clerks will tell you it is not.

A two-year-old state law says a court order recognizing a sex or name change is acceptable for marriage license applicants. But a 1999 Texas appeals court ruling stipulates that, at least for purposes of marriage, medical procedures cannot change a person’s gender — you are what you were at birth, period.
This legislative session, politicians have punted on clarifying the issue. And that means that despite the state’s constitutional prohibition of same-sex marriage, some clerks are issuing marriage licenses that, by some definitions, create gay unions. Other clerks are not sure what to do, waiting for lawmakers or the courts to clarify the matter.
“All of that is very unfortunate,” said state Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, whose 2009 legislation is …

Judge finds that a Nikki Araguz's "Common Law" Marriage Invalid in Probate Matter

A Wharton County Judge ruled that Nikki Araguz, the transgender widow of a Wharton firefighter, will not receive her husband's benefits because her marriage is not valid under Texas law. This ruling is based on Texas's constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.  Texas common law (case law) holds that in transgender relationships, that whatever gender you are at birth, you are forever despite gender reassignment, new birth certificates, etc.  Thus if you're born a male and later become a female, you can only marry a female. In other words, you can only marry as a lesbian and not as a heterosexual?  How is that fair for same sex couples (females at birth, females now)?

Without a doubt, this case will be appealed to higher courts so that it can be vetted with proper constitutional arguments. This is an excellent opportunity for the Courts to address the difficult issues that the GLBT community faces in every day life and now, death.

Bridging the Communication Gap

For many children, it is a difficult adjustment when Mom or Dad leaves the home and they don't get to see them very often.  The typical possession in a pending divorce and after is that the noncustodial parent has 1st, 3rd, 5th weekends and two hours on Thursday evenings.  Of course, this is a far cry from getting to see Mom and Dad every day when Mom and Dad were living together.  Consequently, divorces wreaks havoc on the noncustodial parent's relationship as such infrequent contact makes it difficult to foster a relationship with children, especially young ones.  We all know that the younger kids have a very short attention span and often do not want to talk on the phone long enough to have a meaningful exchange.  But there is options.  Attorneys are now proposing and Courts are approving the use of video conferencing such as Skype or Face Time, etc.  Some of my clients use Skype to read their children a bedtime story or just to catch up.  They report that the children are …