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Recent Additions to Texas Family Law

In the last few months of 2016, Texas legislature has passed a series of new bills related to family law. While some of these updates to existing Texas law are straightforward, other changes are slightly more complicated. This article will examine the various laws that went into effect recently in Texas in the hopes that Texans will be prepared for the changes to regulations.  While some of these laws do not become effective until January 1, 2018, it is best to understand and prepare for these laws now to ensure that compliance with these laws occurs when the laws do come into effect

New Changes to Texas Family Law

There are some news laws coming into effect in Texas that have a relatively clear effect and purpose, including some of the following:

  • Changes to Protective Orders Concerning Handguns. Effective January 1, 2016, the law regarding the license to carry a handgun has been amended so that when a final protective order has been issued against a person, the court will suspend their license to carry a handgun. Before this amendment, the law merely included just “concealed” handguns.
  • Conservator Laws. Texas courts must not take into account family violence and neglect when appointing conservators effective September 1, 2015. In Texas, conservator is a word that is used instead of custody. Not to mention, each parent is required to provide information to another parent regarding anyone else who is residing in the home with the child or who has access to the the child.
  • Dental Support Added Under Child Support Guidelines. This law expands the requirements of medical support beyond routine health insurance. Under the terms of the law, parents are now required to provide dental support, which includes paying for dental insurance and dental bills of children that are not currently covered by insurance. In an effort to give parents sufficient time to obtain insurance, this law goes into effect on September 1, 2018. This type of “dental support” includes periodic or lump-sum payments made under an order to cover dental expenses including dental insurance.
  • Same Sex Common Law Marriage. Common law marriage is defined by cohabitation and holding out one’s self as married without the formalities of marriage using an license and officiant. Because no laws specifically address the existence of common law marriage between same-sex couples, Texas family courts have yet to decide how far back the retroactivity of same-sex informal marriage extends.
  • When Texas Recognizes Same-Sex Marriage. Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling that permitted same-sex marriage in 2015, Texas family law courts have yet to interpret various remaining gray areas regarding gay marriage. One of the most noticeable of these gray areas is when same-sex marriage occurs. While some states recognize same-sex couples as married during the time of the couple’s nuptials, Texas does not recognize the date of a legal same-sex marriage retroactively and instead acknowledges the actual date of the marriage. In the event of the divorce, this can can prove essential in determining the division of marital assets and how various pieces of communal marital property are separated among couples.

Part of the ability of being skilled and experience lawyers is staying up to date with recent regulations and reforms regarding Texas family law. At Conner & Lindamood, P.C., our attorneys are always aware of the most recent legal developments and know how to use both new and old aspects of family law to help clients obtain the compensation and results that are deserved.

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