How Texas Family Law Has Changed in 2021
The year 2020 brought about numerous changes to the field of law, especially in family law. Due to stay-at-home orders and the risk of contracting COVID-19, courts became more lenient with orders. Many of these changes were carried into 2021 to further accommodate families. With that being said and with the ever-changing rules of family law, it’s important that you stay in the know. We might be halfway through the year, but it’s never too late to learn about the laws that took effect in 2021.
Discovery in Divorce Cases
One of the biggest changes we have seen in 2021 is the law of discovery in divorce cases. Discovery refers to the period of time that divorce lawyers and their clients have to provide certain information after providing an answer to divorce proceedings. Divorce lawyers and their clients have been limited to thirty days of discovery. This was done to speed up divorce hearings, which clients had been asking for even before the pandemic.
Information to Be Exchanged in Divorce
Certain documents have been required to be exchanged during the process of divorce. The new 2021 Texas Civil Procedures code has been added to that list. Within that discovery period of thirty days, divorce lawyers and clients must be able to provide various things. This includes financial documents, property statements, names of people who have witness information and can testify in court, and additional evidence, especially if children are involved in the case. Failure to provide these documents will push the date of the hearing.
Modifications of Orders for Child Support
This law was made to help parents who have lost jobs and are currently still seeking work. As long as a parent can provide evidence that they have undergone substantial changes that impede their ability to pay child support, they can be granted a modification for their child support order. This law was also pushed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although, official modifications were set in stone at the beginning of 2021.
Enforcement of Odors for Child Custody Law
On the other hand, there has been an increase in parents abusing certain circumstances to keep their children longer than allowed. There has been an increase in enforcement of orders as well as modifications of orders. Because of this, the enforcement of odors has also become more strict. Also, lawyers have found themselves having to write and file writs for parents to return their children to the parent with custody.
More Protective Orders
There have been spikes in domestic violence from 2020 to 2021. It is suggested that this may be due to the fact that more families now spend more time at home. The law has also cracked down on issuing more protective orders. Texas family courts have been equipped with the ability to provide victims with temporary restraining orders or temporary emergency protective orders as their cases are settled. Violation of these orders can lead to incarceration.
Courts Holding Virtual Hearings
To this day, courts are making it more and more available to hold virtual hearings. The legal system recognized how convenient it was for families and lawyers to meet via video conferences. Therefore, it has become standard practice as of 2021. Courts are continuing to make adjustments to hold virtual hearings until families and other people become more comfortable with attending court in person. Courts have favored virtual hearings because it has allowed everyone involved to speed up the process.
Documentation Disclosed in Child and Spousal Support Cases
Similar to divorce cases, those involved with child support and spousal support cases must now provide additional documentation. Documents that must be presented include any medical or health insurance coverage that would be available to either parent or child, the party’s income tax returns from the past two years, and the party’s two most recent payroll check stubs.
We’re Here to Help You With Your Family Law
If you want to learn more about family law and how it affects you, you can get in touch with the Huerta Law Firm today. We are always ready to help our clients, and with family law being one of our focuses in law, we can provide you with all of the information you’re looking for.