Many people 50 and older may not appreciate the term "gray divorce." However, it's widely used since the finding that the divorce rate doubled for people in that age group between 1990 and 2010.
The recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court not to hear the pending gay marriage cases in six federal appeals courts throughout the country has literally changed the map when it comes to the legality of same-sex marriage in this country. According to the organization Freedom to Marry, as of Oct. 10, in 29 states and Washington, D.C., same-sex couples can legally tie the knot. Six other states have a "pro-marriage ruling at the appellate level" that clears the way for legal same-sex marriage.
Many people in Texas who marry a person who already has children want to adopt those children at some point. This can be particularly beneficial for the children's sense of a security if their biological father has little or no role in their lives. If the stepparent has taken on the role of mother or father, adoption can further solidify the family.
The mother of a child who has been missing since Dec. 26, 2009, has been released from prison. She was convicted of unlawful imprisonment and custodial interference and sentenced to prison in December 2012. She was also charged with kidnapping. However, the jury failed to reach a verdict on that count.
Many of our readers here in Texas have no doubt heard the story of the man who was sentenced to six months behind bars for failing to pay child support simply due to a clerical error. As has been widely reported, he not only paid the overdue support once he learned what had happened, but paid additional money. According to a June 23 report by KTRK-TV, the Houston man paid $1,000 beyond what he owed for the support of his 12-year-old son.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is in the running to succeed Gov. Perry when his term is over, is working to overhaul our state's child support system. Last year, Texas collected $3.6 billion in child support payments -- more than any other state. Abbott boasted that under his tenure, which began in 2003, Texas has developed the "most efficient and effective child support system in the country."
A couple of months ago, we discussed how an estranged couple's pets can become a source of dispute and even be used as a bargaining chip as they hash out their divorce. One couple's dispute over their 11-year-old dog went all the way to the Vermont Supreme Court.
Child support is a legal obligation for those ordered to pay it. When people don't make child support payments in full and on time, children and those caring for them can suffer greatly. Thanks to one sheriff's office and the state attorney general, 16 people recently learned that Texas takes child support seriously.
Texas has a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. However, not everyone in our state is of the same mind regarding the issue. It continues to be the subject of strong legal and political debate -- even when it comes to couples who were married in parts of the country where it is legal.
Family law issues such as child and spousal support are not limited to married couples. Unmarried couples may have children together over which difficult problems arise, and in some cases, the dispute is over having children to begin with. In a case involving a professional football player, one woman is alleging he took actions to encourage her to abort their child. She is now filing a lawsuit for damages and expenses.