Our firm handles all aspects of family law matters. Learn more about our most common areas of practice below.
In Texas, a marriage can only be dissolved by court order or by the death of a spouse. The three types of suits that can be brought to dissolve a marriage by court order include a suit for divorce, a suit for annulment, and a suit to declare a marriage void. The most common action to dissolve a marriage is a suit for divorce.
At the Law Office of Joshua Coffman, we specialize in providing compassionate, innovative, and thorough representation to individuals facing divorce proceedings.
Child custody proceedings involve suits in which a person seeks to be appointed a conservator of a child (“legal custody”), receive child support, establish the parent-child relationship, terminate the parent-child relationship, or receive possession of or access to a child (“physical custody”). If the suit involves parents who are not married, it is referred to as a suit affecting the parent-child relationship or “SAPCR.”
At the Law Office of Joshua Coffman, we seek, first and foremost, to protect the children involved in a family law dispute.
A suit for child support is designed to obtain an order requiring one or both parents to pay for a child’s financial and medical support. In Texas, child support can include current child support, medical support, retroactive support, and temporary support.
If you are facing a child support proceeding, we recommend that you seek legal advice immediately; calculating the correct amount of child support – whether you are the person who is going to pay support (“obligor”) or the person who is going to receive support (“obligee”) – can be complicated and a good lawyer is needed to help you navigate the system.
MODIFICATION OF PRIOR ORDERS
The primary objective of a suit to modify custody, possession, or child support is to change the terms of a prior court order. In Texas, there are a number of grounds upon which a prior order may be changed. It is important to consult with a lawyer before filing a modification suit.
Remember, a suit to modify should be based upon the changing needs of the family with a special emphasis on the best interest of the child or children involved in a particular case.
ENFORCEMENT OF PRIOR ORDERS
Enforcement proceedings provide a way for a party to enforce a child custody order. These situations arise when one party is non-compliant with a court order. Texas law provides a variety of mechanisms to punish the disobedient party and to coerce him or her into compliance.
Under certain circumstances, a child’s grandparent may file a suit for child custody. If you are a grandparent seeking custody of your grandchild, we recommend that you seek legal counsel to address your issues. The U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion in 2000, which held that “a parent has a fundamental right to decide who has access to a child.” In the same opinion, the Supreme Court spelled out a so-called “fit parent” presumption. Under this presumption, a parent who is “fit” is presumed to be able to make the decision to prevent a grandparent from contacting a child. This presumption can be rebutted with evidence that a parent was not fit or that denial of grandparent access would impair the child’s well-being.
With constitutional issues at play, again, it is important to seek legal counsel when a grandparent is faced with the decision of whether to file a child custody suit seeking custody of their grandchild or grandchildren.
Adoption is a process whereby the parent-child relationship is legally established between the adopted child and the adoptive parents as if the child was born to the adoptive parents. Consequently, a child who is adopted will have the same rights, such as inheritance rights, as a biological child; likewise, an adoptive parent will have the same rights and duties toward his or her adopted child, as he or she would otherwise have in regards to their biological child.
On entry of a decree of adoption, a celebration usually ensues between the judges, court staff, attorneys and the family involved.
A paternity suit is typically pursued to legally establish the parent-child relationship. It is the most common type of parentage suit and is brought by a biological father seeking to establish their legal rights and duties with respect to their child.
An appeal is a process whereby a losing party (“appellant”) requests a higher court to reverse the decision of a trial court after final judgment or other legal ruling. Appeals have many timing requirements, so it is crucial to seek immediate legal counsel regarding a possible appeal as soon as a final judgment or other legal ruling is rendered.
Mediation is the most common type of alternative dispute resolution. It is a process whereby individuals work through a neutral third-party (“mediator”) to reach agreements. Due to increased costs and the uncertainty of litigation, mediation has become the most favored method to resolve disputes between litigants.