Handling a Child Support Case as a Non Custodial Parent, Part Six

As a parent, you inherently believe in doing what’s best for your child. This belief aligns with the principles of our legal system, which generally supports parental discretion in decisions like your child’s religious upbringing, attire, and diet. However, when your family becomes entangled in legal proceedings, these rights can shift significantly.

In the realm of family law, the autonomy you possess as a parent can be substantially diminished. When a child becomes the subject of a legal case, the authority to make crucial decisions about their welfare shifts from you to the court. A judge will then determine what serves your child’s best interests, overriding both parents’ preferences.

Vagueness in Law and the Judge’s Role

State laws regarding a child’s welfare are often broad, leaving much to judicial discretion. This ambiguity allows judges to base their decisions on the unique aspects of each case. They may consider several factors, such as:

– Child’s Preference: Children over 12 may express their living arrangement preferences to the judge privately. While the judge isn’t bound to follow these preferences, they are considered. This is especially true if requested by a party in the case. For children under 12, this process is more complex and subject to the judge’s assessment of the situation.

– Emotional and Physical Well-Being: A child’s needs vary, and a judge will evaluate what is necessary for them to thrive emotionally and physically. This evaluation can significantly impact custody decisions, especially if a parent is deemed incapable of providing a nurturing environment.

– Parental Competence: Your parenting skills are under scrutiny in these proceedings. If you have been less involved or primarily a financial contributor, the court might perceive your parenting capabilities as limited, influencing its decision.

– Home Stability: The court will examine the stability of your home life. Factors like cohabitation with someone potentially problematic, substance abuse, or illegal activities can negatively impact your case, especially in custody determinations.

Determining Child Support in the Absence of Clear Income

In cases where income isn’t transparent, the court may base child support on the earnings equivalent to a minimum wage job. This standard applies regardless of your actual income level.

Deviating from Standard Guidelines

You may feel the need to pay more or less than the guideline amounts. In such cases, presenting your argument to the judge with supporting evidence is crucial. The decision will ultimately rest on what the judge deems in your child’s best interests. The judge considers factors like the child’s age, health, available childcare options, and time spent with each parent.

Parents can agree on these matters before court proceedings. If the judge finds these agreements to serve your child’s best interests, they can become legally binding orders.

The Duration of Child Support Responsibilities

Your obligation to pay typically extends until your child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever is later. The specific terms of your court order will dictate the exact duration.

Medical Support: An Additional Obligation

Besides child support, you may also be responsible for providing medical insurance. If the custodial parent covers medical insurance, you might need to reimburse them, or alternatively, provide the insurance yourself or compensate the state for Medicaid coverage.

Addressing Job Loss and Inability to Pay

The next segment of our discussion will explore the repercussions of job loss on your child support obligations. Stay tuned for insights into this critical issue, which affects many parents but often remains misunderstood.

For any queries regarding child support or family law, our licensed attorneys at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC are here to help. Contact us for a free consultation available six days a week.


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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Child Support Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding child support, it’s essential to speak with one of our Houston, TX, child support lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our child support lawyers in Houston, TX, are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the 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 child support cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, 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.

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