Have you ever heard the phrase, “A journey of a thousand miles beings with a single step”? The meaning behind this saying is that perspective is important when evaluating any situation that you may face in your life. If all you are doing is looking at a challenge from beginning to end then you may believe that it is insurmountable. However, viewing a challenge based on its component parts, piece by piece, makes it easier to digest.
If you are considering a divorce from your spouse you may be wondering what the most important parts of a divorce are. Sure, you’ve spoken with friends and family who have told you a wide variety of things about their divorce, but you’re not sure if what they’ve told you is applicable to your own situation. Are there any general issues that apply to most every divorce? My response would be that are a few concepts that are relevant to most any divorce in Texas. A quick lesson these issues and I think you’ll feel better about whatever decisions you make in regard to your own life and marriage.
1.Conservatorship of Children
Obviously this concept applies only to those of you that have children and are married. For those that do have children determining the rights and duties of each parent are as crucial as hammering out a visitation schedule.
The State of Texas wants both you and your spouse to continue to build strong relationships with your child. By and large most parents that get divorced end up becoming what are called joint managing conservators. This phrase means that both you and your spouse will essentially share equally in the rights and duties of raising your child. Think of rights as your guarantees to receiving information about school, making medical decisions and being able to choose the religious practices of your child while he or she is in your possession. Duties are the other side of the equation where you have the responsibility to provide basic necessities for your child and ensure that he or she receive schooling and medical care when necessary.
Unless family violence, drug use or other extreme behavior is present then the odds are good that you and your spouse will be named joint managing conservators in your Final Decree of Divorce. However, if this sort of behavior is present then there is an option for one spouse to be named a sole managing conservator while the other spouse is merely a possessory conservator. The possessory conservator lacks the rights that other parents retain under a joint managing conservatorship.
The always contentious concept of child support is another important part to any divorce case where children are involved. For the most part, what your child support responsibility will be is determined based on the guidelines contained in the Texas Family Code. Your net monthly income is multiplied by a percentage ranging from 20 to 40 percent in order to determine what your monthly support obligation is. If you are responsible for the care of a child who is not involved with your divorce case (for example if you have a child from a previous marriage) then a small percentage is deducted in order to compensate.
Child Support is paid until your child graduates from high school or turns 18, whichever occurs later. Eve if your spouse passes away you still owe child support. Your ex spouse is the recipient of the child support but is not its intended beneficiary. Likewise, if you pass away prior to your child turning 18 or graduating from high school that does not mean the responsibility stops with your having passed away. If your divorce decree holds that your estate has a responsibility to pay the child support then the State will expect to receive payments. In that case how your decree is drafted is crucially important.
Finally, if your child has special needs and requires that child support be paid beyond their graduation from high school or turning 18 then that can be ordered by a court or agreed to between you and your spouse. Situations where the need for continued support is likely is if you know your child will not be able to immediately go out into either the workforce or post high school education after high school is completed.
If you have heard friends or family talk about spousal support as if it is a part of every divorce in Texas take solace in my telling you that this is not the case. In fact, courts view spousal support as a temporary rather than permanent form of assistance to a former spouse. If your spouse is not able to provide for their basic needs in the time period after your divorce is finalized then spousal support may be agreed to or ordered by the court. Spousal support can also be awarded on a temporary basis during a divorce with the understanding that your spouse will need to complete their education or market themselves in order to find employment.
Other requirements must be in place as well. At a minimum your marriage must have lasted at least ten years in length. Having a child who requires additional care or your spouse him or herself requiring care that is above and beyond what a typical adult would require are reasons why spousal support could be awarded as well. A typical limit for payments is three years from the time of your divorce. Payments should not exceed twenty percent of the paying spouse’s average gross monthly income or $2,500.
Interested in learning more divorce essentials? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC
Across the whole of southeast Texas, families trust the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC to provide effective and strong advocacy inside the courtroom and in negotiations. If you are interested in speaking to one of our licensed family law attorneys for a free of charge consultation please do not hesitate to contact our office today.
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
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- Dividing Property in a Texas Divorce – The Just and Right Division
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding Divorce, it’s important to speak with one of our Houston, TX Child Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our Divorce lawyers in Spring TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.