(713) 622-9700

Family Law

Whether it is divorce, adoption, or child custody, issues relating to the family can quickly become very contentious and make amicable resolutions difficult to obtain. When a person is involved any type of family law issue, it is important to achieve a favorable outcome so that individual can move on with his or her life.

Any person who is preparing to file for divorce, attempting to modify a child support or custody agreement, or preparing to go to court to address a family law issue will want to make sure he or she has legal representation. An experienced lawyer will be able to help you achieve the most favorable possible outcome.

Family Law Attorney in Houston, TX

If you are involved any kind of legal issue in the diverse area of family law, it is in your best interest to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. Sydow Law Firm represents clients in Houston and many surrounding areas of Harris County and Fort Bend County.

Michael Sydow is an experienced family law attorney in Houston who is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law in addition to being a Fellow for the Texas Bar Foundation. You can have our attorney provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case when you call (713) 622-9700 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.


Harris County Family Law Information Center


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Types of Family Law Cases in Texas

Sydow Law Firm handles many different kinds of family law issues. Some of the most common issues our firm regularly sees include, but are not limited to: 

  • Divorce
  • Property Agreements
  • Property Division
  • Child Support
  • Adoption
  • Grandparents’ Rights
  • Child Custody
  • Paternity
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Common law marriage
  • Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA)
  • Parental Kidnapping
  • Family Violence
  • Marital Torts

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Family Law Definitions in Harris County

Chapter 101 of the Texas Family Code lists several definitions for frequently used terms and phrases relating to family law cases. Some of the notable definitions in this chapter include:

  • Acknowledged Father, Texas Family Code § 101.0010 — A man who has established a father-child relationship under Chapter 160 of the Texas Family Code.
  • Alleged Father, Texas Family Code § 101.0015 — A man who alleges himself to be, or is alleged to be, the genetic father or a possible genetic father of a child, but whose paternity has not been determined. Alleged father does not include a presumed father, a man whose parental rights have been terminated or declared to not exist, or a male donor.
  • Amicus Attorney, Texas Family Code § 101.0017 — An attorney appointed by the court in a suit, other than a suit filed by a governmental entity, whose role is to provide legal services necessary to assist the court in protecting a child’s best interests rather than to provide legal services to the child.
  • Attorney Ad Litem, Texas Family Code § 101.0018 — An attorney who provides legal services to a person, including a child, and who owes to the person the duties of undivided loyalty, confidentiality, and competent representation.
  • Child or Minor; Adult, Texas Family Code § 101.003 — Child or minor is defined as a person under 18 years of age who is not and has not been married or who has not had the disabilities of minority removed for general purposes. In the context of child support, “child” includes a person over 18 years of age for whom a person may be obligated to pay child support. An adult is a person who is not a child.
  • Child Support Agency, Texas Family Code § 101.004 — The Title IV-D agency; a county or district attorney or any other county officer or county agency that executes a cooperative agreement with the Title IV-D agency to provide child support services under Part D of Title IV of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 651 et seq.) and Chapter 231 of the Texas Family Code; or a domestic relations office.
  • Child Support Services, Texas Family Code § 101.006 — Administrative or court actions to establish paternity; establish, modify, or enforce child support, medical support, or dental support obligations; locate absent parents; or cooperate with other states in these actions and any other action authorized or required under Part D of Title IV of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 651 et seq.) or Chapter 231 of the Texas Family Code.
  • Clear and Convincing Evidence, Texas Family Code § 101.007 — The measure or degree of proof that will produce in the mind of the trier of fact a firm belief or conviction as to the truth of the allegations sought to be established.
  • Danger to Physical Health or Safety of Child, Texas Family Code § 101.009 — Includes exposure of the child to loss or injury that jeopardizes the physical health or safety of the child without regard to whether there has been an actual prior injury to the child.
  • Disposable Earnings, Texas Family Code § 101.010 — The part of the earnings of an individual remaining after the deduction from those earnings of any amount required by law to be withheld, union dues, nondiscretionary retirement contributions, and medical, hospitalization, and disability insurance coverage for the obligor and the obligor’s children.
  • Earnings, Texas Family Code § 101.011 — A payment to or due an individual, regardless of source and how denominated. The term includes a periodic or lump-sum payment for wages, salary, compensation received as an independent contractor, overtime pay, severance pay, commission, bonus, and interest income; payments made under a pension, an annuity, workers’ compensation, and a disability or retirement program; and unemployment benefits.
  • Family Violence, Texas Family Code § 101.0125 — An act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself; abuse by a member of a family or household toward a child of the family or household; or dating violence.
  • Foster Care, Texas Family Code § 101.0133 — The placement of a child who is in the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services and in care outside the child’s home in a residential child-care facility, including an agency foster home, specialized child-care home, cottage home operation, general residential operation, or another facility licensed or certified under Chapter 42, Human Resources Code, in which care is provided for 24 hours a day.
  • Foster Child, Texas Family Code § 101.0134 — A child who is in the managing conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services.
  • Guardian Ad Litem, Texas Family Code § 101.0145 — A person appointed to represent the best interests of a child, including a volunteer advocate from a charitable organization described by Subchapter C who is appointed by the court as the child’s guardian ad litem; a professional, other than an attorney, who holds a relevant professional license and whose training relates to the determination of a child’s best interests; an adult having the competence, training, and expertise determined by the court to be sufficient to represent the best interests of the child; or an attorney ad litem appointed to serve in the dual role.
  • Joint Managing Conservatorship, Texas Family Code § 101.016 — The sharing of the rights and duties of a parent by two parties, ordinarily the parents, even if the exclusive right to make certain decisions may be awarded to one party.
  • Managing Conservatorship, Texas Family Code § 101.019 — The relationship between a child and a managing conservator appointed by court order.
  • Obligee, Texas Family Code § 101.021 — A person or entity entitled to receive payments of child support, including an agency of this state or of another jurisdiction to which a person has assigned the person’s right to support.
  • Order, Texas Family Code § 101.023 — A final order unless identified as a temporary order or the context clearly requires a different meaning. The term includes a decree and a judgment.
  • Parent, Texas Family Code § 101.024 — The mother, a man presumed to be the father, a man legally determined to be the father, a man who has been adjudicated to be the father by a court of competent jurisdiction, a man who has acknowledged his paternity under applicable law, or an adoptive mother or father. A parent does not include a parent as to whom the parent-child relationship has been terminated unless the person is ordered to pay child support or to provide medical support for a child for purposes of establishing, determining the terms of, modifying, or enforcing an order.
  • Parent-Child Relationship, Texas Family Code § 101.025 — The legal relationship between a child and the child’s parents as provided by Chapter 160 of the Texas Family Code. The term includes the mother and child relationship and the father and child relationship.
  • Record, Texas Family Code § 101.0255 — Information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or stored in an electronic or other medium; and retrievable in a perceivable form.
  • Standard Possession Order, Texas Family Code § 101.029 — An order that provides a parent with rights of possession of a child in accordance with the terms and conditions of Subchapter F, Chapter 153 of the Texas Family Code.
  • Suit, Texas Family Code § 101.031 — A legal action under this title.
  • Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship, Texas Family Code § 101.032 — A suit filed as provided by this title in which the appointment of a managing conservator or a possessory conservator, access to or support of a child, or establishment or termination of the parent-child relationship is requested. The following are not suits affecting the parent-child relationship: a habeas corpus proceeding under Chapter 157 of the Texas Family Code; a proceeding filed under Chapter 159 of the Texas Family Code to determine parentage or to establish, enforce, or modify child support, whether this state is acting as the initiating or responding state; and a proceeding under Title 2.
  • Title IV-D Case, Texas Family Code § 101.034 — An action in which services are provided by the Title IV-D agency under Part D, Title IV, of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 651 et seq.), relating to the location of an absent parent, determination of parentage, or establishment, modification, or enforcement of a child support, medical support, or dental support obligation, including a suit for modification filed by the Title IV-D agency under Section 231.101(d) and any other action relating to the services that the Title IV-D agency is required or authorized to provide under Texas Family Code § 231.101.

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Family Law Resources in Texas

Texas Constitution and Statutes — Visit this website to view the full text of the Texas Family Code, Health and Safety Code, and Civil Practice and Remedies Code. The Family Code governs many family law case matters, such as marriage, divorce, children, and property rights. The Family Code also addresses protective orders.

What to Expect in Texas Family Law Court — The Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA) is commonly referred to as the “public service arm” of the State Bar of Texas. All licensed Texas lawyers 36 years old or younger or in their first five years of practice are automatically members of TYLA. View the full text of a TYLA handout discussing how family law cases work in Texas.


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Find an Attorney Experienced in Family Law in Houston, TX

Are you involved in any kind of family law issue in Southeast Texas? You will want to contact Sydow Law Firm as soon as possible.

Houston family law attorney Michael Sydow represents clients in communities throughout Fort Bend County and Harris County in Family Law matters.

Call (713) 622-9700 or complete an online contact form to have our lawyer review your case and help you understand all of your legal options during a free initial consultation.


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Sydow Law Firm