George on Texas Family Law--Precedent and Procedure
2017-2018 ed. (George)
Published August 2017
Author: Professor Pamela E. George
South Texas College of Law--Houston
From the author Professor Pamela George:
The past few years have seen monumental decisions emanating from the United States Supreme Court regarding same sex marriage. These decisions will be considered in the first chapter of this text. The past year, 2017, was also a Texas Legislative year. One of the most interesting aspects of that legislative session was that the Texas legislature was once again given the opportunity to amend the Texas Family Code so that it was consistent with rulings of the United States Supreme Court regarding same sex marriage. That is, the legislature could have removed all references to marriage in Texas being between a man and a woman, recognizing that opposite genders are not a requisite for a legal marriage. However, no such steps were taken. The bills introduced in the Texas legislature that would have provided the consistency with decisions of the United States Supreme Court were never reported out of committee. One can only speculate as to the reasons for this inaction.
Nonetheless, Texas Family Law is very much a code based course and thus, each legislative session requires an update of the text. And 2017, as most legislative years, produced a number of changes to the Texas Family Code.
The current Texas Family Code is the product of many decades. In 1975, the Texas Family Code was little more than a pamphlet consisting of a codification of well accepted common law tenets. Today, the Code is massive, an annotated version exceeds 1,000 pages. This incredible expansion is evidence that in the nearly four decades since the original codification, the code has never escaped the attention of the legislature during any legislative session. The Regular Session of the 85th of the Texas Legislature proved no different in that it yielded many changes. Substantive changes of note will be commented upon throughout the text.
This text, GEORGE ON TEXAS FAMILY LAW, PRECEDENT & PROCEDURE, is intended to be used as a casebook for a 3 hour course in Texas Family Law. The Texas Family Code which governs almost every aspect of domestic relations practice in Texas serves as a base for this textbook. Reference to the relevant Family Code sections will precede the cases in each chapter, except for Chapter 1 which encompasses a select group of opinions rendered by the United States Supreme Court each of which involve the family.
The Texas Family Code and related Texas cases will be presented beginning with Chapter 2. One glance at the Texas Family Code and it is obvious that it would be impossible to compile a casebook that could address every statute, much less address the nuances within the statutes. One should read and become familiar with the statutes referenced at the beginning of each chapter of the text before progressing to the cases. Accordingly, purchase of the Texas Family Code, any version, is necessary for this course of study; an annotated version of the code would provide additional insight. The cases have been selected to provide students with a sampling of the disputes which have arisen under numerous sections of the Texas Family Code, while alerting the students to the fact that any select statute could be subject to a variety of interpretations. This sampling should make clear that the factual circumstances which can give rise to dispute under the code are infinite. In some instances, such as common law marriage, the cases have been selected so that the students are exposed to the evolution of the law.
The procedural aspects of a family law case can have as much effect upon the outcome of a matter as do the substantive aspects. For this reason, the cases have been edited with some restraint so that they will not be viewed within a vacuum, but rather within a realistic procedural context. The Notes, Comments, Questions presented throughout the book are designed to spur discussion and to further understanding of the basic concepts presented in the cases.
Chapter 1. Constitutional Concerns in Family Law
Chapter 2. The Marriage Relationship
Chapter 3. Dissolution of the Marriage Relationship
Chapter 4. Suits Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship
Chapter 5. Conservatorship, Possession, Access and Child Support
Chapter 6. Continuing Jurisdiction & Modification of Conservatorship, Possession, Access, Primary Residence, Rights and Duties Relating to the Child, and Modification of Child Support
Chapter 7. Termination of Parental Rights
Chapter 8. Establishment of the Parent-Child Relationship, Paternity Registry, Assisted Reproduction and Adoption
Chapter 9. More on Grandparents' Rights
Chapter 10. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act and the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act