Issues to Consider When Developing a Long – Distance Parenting Plan

Issues to Consider When Developing a Long – Distance Parenting Plan

In almost all cases, it is in the best interests of a child for his or her parents to live near enough to each other to allow the child to easily spend time with both parents in their separate households. It is for this reason that many states, Texas included, place restrictions on the ability of divorced parents to relocate without the permission of the other.

In those cases when parents must live far away from one another, special care should be taken when developing a parenting plan. Parents should recognize that they will have to make extra effort to facilitate the child’s relationship with the other parent, and take necessary steps to do so.

Some issues to consider when negotiating a long-distance parenting plan include:

  • Parenting time when the child is an infant (until 30 months)
  • When should overnight visits begin?
  • What kind of phone, video chat, and other telecommunications access will be allowed and encouraged between the distant parent and the child?
  • If exchanges are made via car, who will pick up and deliver the child and who will pay for transportation costs?
  • If airline travel is necessary for the child to visit the long-distance parent, who shall accompany the child? At what age may the child fly in the company of an airline chaperone? Will the exchange between the parents take place at the airport or at the parent’s home? Who will pay for airline tickets?
  • Which parent will be responsible for replacing lost or damaged possessions of the child while the child visits with the long-distance parent?
  • Can the long-distance parent take the child on vacation during visitation, with what restrictions or notifications?
  • Can either parent travel internationally with the child, at what age, and with what restrictions and notifications?

DistanceParent.org is the website of a nonprofit organization called The Long Distance Parent. The website offers sample long-distance parenting plans, forums for discussions with other parents, legal resources, and more.

Contact Attorney Kevin Buchanan for Answers to Questions About Long-Distance Parenting Plans

Kevin Buchanan is a Dallas lawyer offering family law clients skillful and experienced representation with a strong emphasis on fairness, and on treating all clients with dignity and respect. If you have questions about negotiating a long-distance parenting plan, he would be pleased to review your circumstances and offer his opinion. To schedule a private consultation, fill out the online intake form or call (214) 378-9500.

Stepparent Adoption in Texas – Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Adoption by a Stepparent

Stepparent adoptions are very common, in Texas and throughout the United States. Statistics are not readily available, but it is fair to say that more than one-third (and closer to one-half) of all Texas adoptions are stepparent adoptions. The stepparent adoption process in Texas can be easy and straightforward or difficult and wrought with conflict. It all depends on the circumstances of the adults involved.

  • The new stepparent just signs an adoption form and that’s it, right?
  • No. A child cannot have three parents. In order for a stepparent to adopt a child, one of the
    child’s biological parents must relinquish his or her parental rights. To make this article easier
    to read, let’s assume a situation in which a mother marries a man who wants to adopt the
    mother’s child, who has a different father.

  • How does a parent relinquish parental rights?
  • A parent can relinquish his rights voluntarily, or they can be removed from him involuntarily.
    Generally speaking, a Texas family court will not accept a voluntary relinquishment of parental
    rights unless a stepparent is waiting to adopt.

  • How can someone have parental rights terminated involuntarily?

    Texas law states several grounds under which parental rights can be involuntarily terminated:

    • The parent leaves the child alone or with someone other than the child’s other parent
      and states an intention not to return;
    • The parent leaves the child alone or with someone other than the child’s other parent,
      does not express an intent to return, does not provide enough support for the child in
      his or her absence, and is gone for at least three months;
    • The parent leaves the child with another – including with the other parent – and does not
      provide adequate support of the child and remains away for at least six months;
    • The parent puts the child in physical or emotional danger;
    • The parent fails to pay child support according to financial ability for a period of one year; and/or
    • The parent is convicted of a crime and goes to jail for at least two years.
  • If the parent voluntarily gives up parental rights, then what?
  • Then the stepparent and biological parent file a joint petition for the stepparent to adopt the
    child. In Texas, if the child is older than 12, he or she must give written consent to the
    adoption. There will be a short hearing, at which the judge will sign the papers formalizing the
    adoption. From that point forward, the stepparent has all the legal rights and obligations as if
    he was the child’s biological parent.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services publishes a general guide to stepparent adoptions that nicely summarizes the legal issues and steps to take.

Contact Kevin Buchanan for Answers to Questions About Stepparent Adoptions

Attorney Kevin Buchanan is a Dallas lawyer offering family law clients a skillful and experienced attorney who places a strong emphasis on fairness, and on treating all clients with dignity and respect. If you have questions about stepparent adoption or termination of parental rights, he would be pleased to review your circumstances and offer an opinion. To schedule a private consultation, fill out the online intake form or call (214) 378-9500.

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If you have a legal dispute that cannot be resolved without going to court, you want to hire a lawyer with significant trial experience and a record of obtaining results. The civil trial process can be complex. Your attorney needs to have extensive knowledge of rules governing discovery, jury selection, document production and the admissibility of evidence. Attorney Kevin Buchanan, in Dallas, Texas, has the skill, knowledge, experience and resources to protect your rights in civil litigation

Kevin Buchanan represents individuals and businesses in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, across Texas and throughout the nation. He believes that effective attorney-client relationships are built on trust and mutual respect, and that successful results come from hard work and attention to detail. Kevin will take the time to learn the details of your case, as well as your goals, so that he can develop the most effective strategy to meet your objectives. He will carefully explain the law and process, as well as your options, so that you can make intelligent decisions about how you want to proceed.

Attorney Kevin Buchanan offers a free initial consultation to every client. To set up a meeting, contact us online or call his office at (214) 378-9500.

 

About the Firm

Kevin Buchanan & Associates, P.L.L.C., are a Dallas based civil litigation firm that handles a variety of cases, including personal injury, product liability, and business disputes in many jurisdictions throughout the United States.


Our firm recently negotiated a $1.25 million dollar settlement for the family of a man who died as a result of a head-on collision with a wrong-way driver.

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