Posts Tagged ‘Amendments’
New amendments to the Family Code became effective Sept. 1, 2011. Now the court may order spousal maintenance after a divorce for a period up to 5 years if either spouse lacks sufficient property to provide for his/her minimum reasonable needs and the spouse from whom maintenance is requested was convicted of or received deferred adjudication for committing family violence within two years before filing for divorce or while the suit is pending. The court may also order maintenance if a spouse is unable to earn sufficient income and has been married for 10 years or longer. The duration of the maintenance now depends on whether a marriage lasted at least 10, 20, or 30 years. If married 10 years, maintenance can be ordered for up to 5 years; if married 20 years, for up to 7 years, and if married 30 years, for up to 10 years. Additionally, the court may modify a maintenance obligation on a showing of a material and substantial change.
Other amendments to the Family Code pertain to hearsay statements of a child victim and to the duration of protective orders. The amended law allows a statement made by a child 12 years of age or younger that describes alleged family violence against the child to be admissible as evidence in a hearing on the application for a protective order. The courts may render a protective order that exceeds 2 years if a person who is subject to a protective order caused serious bodily injury or has been the subject of two or more protective orders.
Another amendment to the Family Code pertains to termination of the parent-child relationship and the duty to pay child support in circumstances involving mistaken paternity. Any man who signed an acknowledgment of paternity without first obtaining genetic testing may file a termination suit within one year of the date he becomes aware he is not the child’s genetic father if he signed an acknowledgment of paternity or failed to contest parentage because of his mistaken belief that he was the child’s genetic father based on misrepresentations made to him
Another new amendment to the Family Code pertains to possession of a child under three years of age. In determining a possession schedule for children in this age group the court shall consider factors such as the caregiving provided to the child before and during the current suit, the effect on the child that may result from separation from either party, and the physical, medical, behavioral, and developmental needs of the child.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding these new amendments or any Family Law matters please feel free to contact us today at 817-861-8400.