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Tarrant County issues Standing Orders for Family Law Cases during Covid-19

In an effort to alleviate contested matters before the family courts, Judges of the family law courts in Tarrant County, Texas have now issued standing orders, which are effective March 23, 2020 and apply to both new suits and pending matters. Unless extended, these Orders expire on May 30, 2020.

These orders specify what is allowed and what is not allowed while your case is pending before the various courts.

Some things that are prohibited while your case is pending:

  • cancelling your spouse or children from health insurance coverage
  • removing the child or children from the State of Texas for the purpose of changing the child or children’s primary residence
  • changing beneficiary designations on life insurance policies or withdrawing cash value
  • excluding your spouse from the martial residence
  • hiding or secreting the child or children from the other party
  • harming pets or interfering with the care, custody, or control of a pet or companion animal.

It is very important to know that at this time, our Judges are enforcing possession and access schedules as they are set out in your particular court order. If you withhold the child from the other parent without an agreement from that other parent you could be faced with an enforcement, and be ordered to pay the other side’s attorney’s fees.

After the threat of Covid-19 is over, the courts will likely be flooded with enforcement suits over missed and withheld time. The courts are going to carefully look at each parent’s actions and co-parenting skills during this time. The courts also can liberally order make-up time for the parent who has missed time with his or her child. During this difficult period, it is time to work together as parents and/or conservators of these children- if suit is pending or is soon filed, your actions and words will be scrutinized to ensure you are making the child’s best interests a priority.

A copy of the standing orders is available to read at the link below: http://www.tarrantcounty.com/content/dam/main/district-clerk/COVID19_STATE_OF_DISASTER_FAMILY_COURT.pdf

If you have any questions about a family law issue, or how the new standing orders can affect your particular situation, call the attorneys at Justice Law Firm, PC at 817-421-0300.

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