If you and the other parent of your child are in agreement to change your current custody arrangement due to your child’s preference, you can do a simple agreed modification which will involve minimal court involvement.

If you and the other parent are not in agreement to change custody to reflect your child’s desires, you’ll need to file a modification in a suit affecting a parent-child relationship. Once that suit has been filed, Texas Family Code Section 153.009 allows a parent to request the judge presiding over their case confer with the child or children over the age of 12. This is the opportunity for your child to express their desire as to which parent they would like to live with.

The judge will meet with the child in chambers and during that discussion the child can tell the judge which parent they desire to live with. This allows a child to state their preference of where to live, however the judge will only take that preference into account, but the child won’t have the final say. The judge will take the child’s desires into account when determining what is in the best interest of that child.

Texas family court judges look at many factors when determining the best interest of a child, including the emotional and physical needs, a parent’s abilities to meet the needs of the child, the stability of the home, and the desires of the child. The Court may decide that the desires of the child and what is in the best interest of the child may conflict. In that situation, the court will likely decline to place the child in the home the child has expressed a desire to reside.

If you have a child who is over the age of 12 and has expressed a desire to change your current conservatorship arrangement, please contact the child custody lawyers at the Ramos Law Group, PLLC to assist you in modifying your current arrangement.

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Texas has a mandatory sixty day waiting period from the date a person files an Original Petition for Divorce before they are eligible to formally receive a divorce from the Court. This is outlined in Section 6.702 of the Texas Family Code. In almost all circumstances, you will be required to wait the statutorily required sixty days before you are able to finalize your Houston divorce.

The sixty day waiting period is not required in two cases, annulment and cases with domestic violence. The waiting period is not mandatory for an annulment and/or void marriage because the Court is making a finding that there is no marriage, thus there is no requirement for a waiting period.

The waiting period may be waived by a judge if a spouse has been formally convicted of or has received deferred adjudication for an offense involving family violence against the person who filed for divorce or if the filing person has a current protective order against their spouse for domestic violence. In cases of domestic violence, it is in the best interest of the battered party to be granted the waiver of the waiting period.

If you have any questions about the mandatory waiting period in Texas or if you believe you may be eligible to have it waived, please contact the RamosFamilyLaw.com.

If you are an adult in the State of Texas and desire to legally change your current name, there are procedural steps that must be taken before a court will sign an order granting a legal name change.  The steps are as followed:

  1. File an Original Petition requesting a legal name change.
  2. This petition will be filed with a family law court in the county of your residence. In this document you request that your name be legally changed to your desired new name. You must also affirm that you have no previous felony convictions and are not a registered sex offender.

  3. Fingerprinting and Background Check.
  4. The State of Texas requires that persons desiring a legal name change are fingerprinted and have a background check conducted. You can have your fingerprints taken at a local police department, FBI office or an organization such as Fingerprint Applicant Service of Texas (FAST). Once you have been fingerprinted and received your fingerprint cards, they will need to be submitted to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the organization responsible for running background checks.

    Background checks typically take six weeks to be processed and returned to the court. You may not proceed on your name change until the court has received the results of your background check.

  5. Proving up your name change.
  6. Once the court has received the results of your fingerprints and background check, you may finalize your request for a name change.  Adult name changes are typically heard on the uncontested docket, which means that you and your attorney will sign up and approach the judge. You will “prove up” your requested name change by testifying that you have requested a name change, your reasons for the requested name change, affirming that you are not requesting a name change in an effort to avoid criminal prosecution or collection of debts and what your new requested name shall be. Once you have given testimony and the court approves your request, the court will sign an order granting your requested name change.

  7. Certified copy.
  8. Now that the court has approved your requested name change, you will need to obtain a certified copy from the court or district clerk, which is a copy of the order containing the judge’s signature. You will need this order to take with you to the Social Security Office, the DMV, your bank and any other organizations where you will need to show proof of your new legal name.

Quick Tip: If you are currently going through a divorce it is less expensive to include the adult name change as part of the divorce process rather than filing a separate petition which requires the background checks.

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