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New Braunfels Family Lawyer Post: Family Law Updates Summary

by | Aug 18, 2009 | Family Law |

Family Law By Jack W. Marr and Warrant Cole
Family Law Updates Summary

The Texas Legislative Session of 2009, with the help of Texas family lawyers, have made some important changes to family law. The majority of the State Bar Family Law Section’s proposed legislation passed both houses and was signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry. The most important changes are outlined below.

    • Section 3.402(a)-(e) deletes any reference to economic contribution and codifies reimbursement. The measure of reimbursement expended by one estate to benefit the other estate is measured by the enhancement in value to the benefited estate. The court now has discretion to impose an equitable lien on any of the benefited estate’s property, where before it was mandatory.
    • An amendment to Section 85.022 mandates that a court suspend a respondent’s license to carry a concealed handgun if a protective order is issued against respondent.
    • If there has been a finding of family violence, the court may grant the divorce prior to the 60th day after filing.
    • Section 153.008, which permitted a child over 12 years to sign a designation of which parent he or she chose to live with, has been repealed. The child may still express his or her preference, but it must be made by the child to the court in chambers.
    • Section 153.133(c) has been repealed – there is no longer a need for one of the parents to be labeled as the one with the exclusive right to designate the child’s primary residence. The order now need only state that the child’s primary residence will be within a specified geographical area.
    • Under newly enacted 153.432(c), a grandparent seeking access to a child must file a petition with an affidavit alleging that denial of access would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional well-being. If the facts are sufficient to support relief and petitioners have overcome the presumption that a parent acts in the child’s best interest, the court may order reasonable access and possession.
    • Newly enacted Chapter 34 permits parents to unilaterally enter into agreements to delegate certain rights to a child’s grandparent, adult sibling, or adult aunt or uncle. Some of the rights that can be delegated include: consenting to medical care, obtaining health insurance, and enrolling a child in school.
  • Under newly enacted Section 153.6051, the court may appoint a parent facilitator. This is in addition to the court’s ability to appoint a parent coordinator. Parent facilitators, unlike parent coordinators, are appointed in a nonconfidential capacity.