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FAMILY LAW PRACTICE AREAS

Family Law attorney Julie Ketterman primarily practices in Houston (Harris, Galveston, Brazoria, Ft. Bend, Matagorda and Waller counties) but has represented thousands of divorce and family law clients nationally and throughout Texas.

Family Law deals with a variety of matters governing the family relationship, including

*Julie Ketterman has a statewide focus on representing the legal rights of parents with Child Protection Services (CPS) issues click here for more information. Julie is dedicated to supporting you through the challenges of the process with compassionate, yet thorough and aggressive representation - helping you face the challenges of the moment with an eye toward the future.

If you are searching for an experienced professional Family Law attorney who will answer your questions, inform and guide you through the process, help you formulate goals, set realistic expectations, provide you with options, formulate a case strategy, negotiate from a position of strength, and ultimately be prepared to litigate if reasonable agreements cannot be reached, contact Julie Ketterman.

Following is a brief description of some areas of Family Law

Adoption

Adoption law falls under Family Law. Adoption lawyers establish a process by which a legal parent-child relationship is created between individuals not biologically parent and child (adoption process).

The legal procedure by which a formal legal adoption occurs differs from state to state.

Julie Ketterman, an experienced Texas adoption attorney, knows the particular procedures and laws of the state of Texas. With the assistance and representation of qualified and experienced adoption lawyers, you can be better assured that all the procedures are properly followed in the adoption process.

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Child Custody and Visitation

Child custody matters are often some of the most difficult issues parents deal with, whether as part of a divorce or otherwise. Child custody refers to the legal rights and obligations to care for and control a child. Custody usually has two elements - physical custody (with which parent the child resides) and legal custody (the right to make decisions about the child's health, education, welfare, religion, etc.). Often, custody and visitation arrangements need to be modified over time to reflect changes in the child's needs, or changes in the parents' circumstances.

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Child Protective Services Defense:

Family Law attorney Julie Ketterman has a focus on representing the legal rights of parents with Child Protection Services (CPS) issues. Julie is dedicated to supporting you through the challenges of the process with compassionate, yet thorough and aggressive representation - helping you face the challenges of the moment with an eye toward the future.

Parents make mistakes. Sometimes these mistakes are reported to CPS (the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services). And before you know it, your children have been taken away. The process and steps that you will have to take to get your children back can be grueling. Having a lawyer by your side fighting for your fundamental right to parent your children is essential in this situation. As an experienced Houston Family Lawyer Julie Ketterman will walk you through each step successfully so that your children can come home as soon as possible.

Julie is dedicated to serving the needs of her clients by providing the highest level of commitment, experience and professionalism to achieve successful results. She also believes in close and direct contact with you. As your case progresses, she will always keep you fully informed. You will be involved with all decisions affecting your case.

She is a member of the College of the State Bar of Texas, an honorary society of lawyers who are among the best-trained attorneys in Texas. Members are qualified attorneys who are interested in both high ethical standards and improved training for all Texas attorneys.

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Child Support

Child support is a periodic payment made to a custodial parent from a non-custodial parent to help compensate for child's living expenses including food, clothes, medical care, and other needs of the child. When one parent is awarded sole or primary physical custody, the non-custodial parent is required to fulfill his or her child support obligation by making set payments, whereas the custodial parent meets his or her support obligation through the custody itself. The obligation to support minor children cannot be waived by either parent and is a right enjoyed by the child, not the parent.

The amount of child support is calculated according to a variety of factors set by state law including the obligor-parent's income and assets, the standard of living enjoyed by the children prior to the divorce or separation, the parents' current standard of living, the child's various needs, and a consideration of the amount of time each parent spends with the child. While each state's guidelines for determining child support may vary, the goal is generally to achieve an equitable distribution of the financial responsibility for raising children and to encourage parents to be actively involved in their upbringing.

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Common Law Marriage

Common-law marriage is permitted in a minority of states. To be defined as a common- law marriage within the states listed below, the two parties must: agree that they are married, live together, and hold themselves out as husband and wife. Common-law marriage is generally a non-ceremonial relationship that requires "a positive mutual agreement, permanent and exclusive of all others, to enter into a marriage relationship, cohabitation sufficient to warrant a fulfillment of necessary relationship of man and wife, and an assumption of marital duties and obligations." Black's Law Dictionary 277 (6th ed. 1990).

Before modern domestic relations statutes, couples became married by a variety of means that developed from custom. These became the elements of a "common-law marriage," or a marriage that arose by operation of law through the parties' conduct, instead of through a ceremony. In many ways, the theory of common-law marriage is one of estoppel - meaning that parties who have told the world they are married should not be allowed to claim that they are not married in a dispute between the parties themselves.

Currently, Texas is one of only 9 states (Alabama, Colorado, Kansas, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Iowa, Montana, Oklahoma, and Texas) and the District of Columbia which recognizes common-law marriages contracted within its' borders.

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Divorce

Divorce cases are first and foremost about the lives, relationships, and futures of the people involved. Because divorce creates significant disruption resulting in permanent changes there are many questions you might have at the outset, such as

  • How will we split up our property?
  • Will I be able to support myself?
  • How do I protect my relationship with my children?
  • Where will I live?
  • Where will my children live?
  • How do I prevent my spouse or domestic partner from moving our assets?

Today, times are difficult for families. Regardless of how hard we try, not all marriages can last. Sometimes it is just because people have changed and do not get along anymore. Other times, one spouse has wronged the other through abuse or infidelity. If the marriage has deteriorated, you need an experienced Divorcer lawyer to listen and fight for you. Even in a "friendly divorce," it is wise to have a lawyer to ensure things go smoothly and according to the law. If children are involved, the issues of child support and child custody are extremely difficult ones. You should not try to resolve these questions without professional help.

Divorce attorney Julie Ketterman is not only capable and prepared to handle standard divorce cases but is one of the most experienced Family Law lawyers available for handling complex divorce cases involving complex financial and property matters, as well as litigation, international divorce and family law, appeals, and cutting edge areas of developing family law like domestic partnerships.

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Father’s Rights

Whether you are a father or you are about to be a father you have certain legal rights and obligations towards your child. Your rights include visitation and custody of the child and notice if the child is put up for adoption and your obligations consist of supporting the child financially. If you are an unmarried father an attorney can help you file for paternity to establish your parental rights and represent you in any child support order you have received.

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GLBT

Because same-sex couples have different needs when dealing with their legal needs, we focus on same-sex family law. This allows us to help families of all types with problems they may be having.

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Juvenile Law

Each year millions of young people are arrested in the United States. Depending on state law and the circumstances, minors may not be legally eligible for prosecution as adults for criminal acts, but rather subject to the juvenile justice system. The main goal of the juvenile justice system is rehabilitation rather than punishment. Juveniles may be released into their parents' custody after being arrested or may be held in detention pending further juvenile court procedures. If your child has been charged with a juvenile offense or a crime, contact a juvenile attorney for more information about your child's legal rights.

If you or someone you know in Texas needs the assistance of an experienced Houston Lawyer, call Attorney Julie A. Ketterman today at 713-652-2003 or complete the contact form provided on this site to schedule your free consultation.

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Paternity

A paternity action is commenced when the parents of a child are not married but need to establish the legal identity of a parent, typically the father. Paternity actions are also referred to as parentage actions.

The actual paternity (legal identification of the father) can be legally presumed from certain circumstances or established by DNA testing. At the end of a paternity case a Judgment & Order Establishing Parentage will be entered by the court, along with other provisions for child custody, parenting plan schedules, and child support. Generally speaking, once paternity is established the court is required to enter an Order of Child Support requiring the parent with less residential time to pay child support to the primary residential parent.

Either parent can initiate a paternity action. Mothers typically bring paternity actions to establish child support and sometimes to request entry of a parenting plan for their children. Fathers typically file a paternity action in order to legally establish their parental rights and to request entry of a parenting plan.

If the father of the child signed an Affidavit of Paternity (usually at the hospital when the child is born) then a different type of case is required. In this situation, a father or mother may file a Petition to Establish a Parenting Plan and Child Support. Since paternity has already been admitted, this procedure allows either parent to request entry of these orders and provisions without having to prove paternity of the children through genetic testing.

If you need to establish paternity for your child, obtain an enforceable parenting plan, or establish child support, contact Julie for an appointment.

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Temporary Restraining Orders (Family Law)

When spouses first separate, there may be quite a bit of uncertainty about just how the finances, assets, insurance policies, and household debts will be managed on a daily basis. Especially in marriages where one spouse is the primary financial manager, a person might literally go from being comfortable one day and totally in the dark the next concerning financial matters. A family law lawyer can help.

In order to protect parties and children until a divorce is finalized, an experienced family law lawyer in Houston will ask the court for restraining orders. Such orders specify things like which expenses each party will be responsible for, and will prohibit either party from liquidating assets, canceling or modifying insurance policies, or selling property without consent. These orders will often be entered at the same time as a temporary Texas child support order, and a temporary parenting plan. In some cases, Texas family law allows for the payment of spousal maintenance between the parties.

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How to get a Restraining Order

Family Law lawyer Julie Ketterman knows that part of her job as your family law lawyer is to protect you and give you some peace of mind during difficult times. Julie is highly experienced in making an early assessment of your financial picture, drafting restraining orders, advising you on when and what kinds of restraining orders make sense, and getting restraining orders entered by the court.

If you are contemplating divorce or separation and you feel uncertain about financial, insurance and/or personal safety matters, contact family law lawyer Julie Ketterman for some peace of mind.

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Protective Order

This civil order provides protection from harm by a family or household member or dating partner. The order can also place other restrictions on the abuser, such as ordering him to stay away from you or stop contacting you.

You can apply for a protective order on behalf of yourself and/ or your child if the abuser is "a family or household member," which is defined as one of the following:

  • A current or former spouse
  • A blood relative such as a parent, sibling, child
  • A relative by marriage (an in-law)
  • A person who you have a child in common with
  • A household member (such as a current / former roommate)
  • A foster parent
  • A foster child
  • A person with whom you had a continuing romantic or intimate relationship

You may be able to get a protective order against someone who has sexually assaulted you even if he is not a family or household member (like a co-worker or neighbor).

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