Adopting Child with Unknown Parent, Children Under Age Twelve, and Wasting Money Prior to Divorce

KFDM News’ Live at Five family law attorney, Sonya Coffman, answers viewer submitted questions. These questions include:

  • How can you adopt a child with an unknown parent?
  • Does a child have to wait until age twelve to choose which parent has custody of them?
  • What can be done about a spouse gambling away money prior to getting a divorce?


Your divorce spouse might qualify to receive social security benefits based upon your work record if she meets specific criteria and she can do so even if she is eligible to receive benefits based on her own record how exactly does that work Live at Five’s family attorney Sonya Coffman joins us now with answers so how does that work she get your 0:23: social security benefits she can draw on a husband’s record but it doesn't 0:27: reduce what he receives 0:29: and he may not even be notified of that she just has to make application if she 0:33: was married at least ten years and if she remains unmarried at age sixty 0:38: okay we'll pretty easy all she has to do file the paperwork that’s right and she would 0:42: make the election of which benefit would result in a 0:46: greatest payment to her she could either draw on her own record if she's eligible 0:49: in her own right 0:51: or she could draw fifty percent of her spouse’s record if she's been 0:55: married at least ten years said to you find many people are doing that these days 0:59: absolutely what some people are doing they are deferring drawing on their own 1:03: social security because the longer you wait the greater the benefit of the 1:07: payment 1:08: and drawing on the spouses in an interim period starting at an earlier time but you 1:12: can't draw both at some point you have to make the election and the stipulation is you can’t 1:16: have married once you have divorced that person 1:18: right and there are cases where people remarry before age sixty and then 1:23: divorce 1:24: prior to age sixty in order to draw a former spouses benefit and then you can 1:29: remarry after age sixty without affecting so it really pays to know your options 1:33: if you’re thinking of that just talk to a lawyer yes that’s the best thing 1:37: some more questions 1:38: if you have a child with an unknown parent what is the process for a man to 1:42: adopt this child 1:44: the rights of the unknown father have to be terminated and someone would need 1:49: to check with the paternity registry in Austin to see 1:52: if someone has registered regarding that child and if not then that would end 1:57: the question of terminating that person's rights and a step parent 2:01: can step in and adopt okay 2:04: if a child is nine years old can he determined which parents he wants to 2:07: live with now or does he have to wait until he's twelve we get this question a 2:11: lot we do and you know I've always sounded so confident that the child never gets 2:15: to choose the law says what's in the best interest of the child 2:19: but I have noticed more and more that judges are deferring to the wishes of 2:23: children even as young as nine sometimes 2:26: umm I guess if it were extreme situation the court might say no you can't 2:30: live at a particular parents house but more and more kids are having a a 2:34: greater voice in that the law is of course the judges require to 2:38: listen to the preference at age twelve but certainly can listen to the preference 2:43 of younger children based on the court's discretion but you have to go back to 2:47 court to get that changed you do if you're going to get a legal order changing 2:51 that possession or even custody you need to go back for an order okay 2:55: I'm supposed to have possession of my children this month 2:58: and I bought tickets to Disney World their mother lives in Austin and did not 3:02: put them on the flight I have not been able to reach her by phone what can I do 3:07: wow that's so inconsiderate isn't it 3:10: an oftentimes the order will have a provisional that if a parent doesn’t 3:15: put the child on the proper flight they are to put them on the next available 3:18: flight and make the notification so if they haven't and those things there in 3:22: contempt if the order and the legal remedy is to file an enforcement and 3:26: certainly would ask for 3:28: uh... reimbursement of the out of pocket expenses that that caused and as for make-up 3:32: time to be able to take that trip and ask for attorney’s fees for having to go 3:36: to court to do that have goodness that sound like a mess 3:39: my husband gambled away forty thousand dollars in the past several 3:42: months is there anything that the court can to you in the divorce 3:46: yes the court can consider wasting of community property 3:50: and gambling is a classic example wasting so that I think on the inventory of the 3:54: couple's assets there would be a fictitious number of forty thousand dollars 3:59: that the court could potentially award to the husband thereby giving the wife 4:03: other property to make up for that okay I think we can squeeze in more one more 4:07: question is there a way to get divorced through 4:09: mutual understanding what about custody of the kids 4:13: I guess they're asking about a divorce based on the irreconcilable differences 4:17: and uncontested divorce and if its an uncontested divorce they have to reach 4:21: an agreement and then the final a decree would reflect that agreement and 4:25: it becomes and enforceable order once the court signs it 4:28: alright as always Sonya we appreciate you stopping by and if you'd like to have 4:31: Sonya answer one of your questions all you can do is fax us at eight nine 4:36: two seven three oh five email us 4:38: at where you can post those questions on our KFDM 4:41: news Facebook page