Parenting roles and responsibilities as determined in Texas family court

When you go through a family law case in Texas, you are establishing parental rights and responsibilities. In addition, the time that you can spend with your child will also be determined. It is a bit odd to have these aspects of your relationship with your child defined in terms like these by a judge that doesn’t know you from your next-door neighbor, but that is how these things tend to go.

An essential part of this process is knowing what to expect so that you and your attorney can prepare to negotiate and, if necessary, litigate your case successfully. Today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan will attempt to provide you with the information you need to prepare for your family law case regarding some of the most critical issues in Texas family law.

Could you get supervised visitation in your divorce or child custody case?

It is not likely that you will be awarded supervised visitation in your child custody or divorce case. The simple reason for this is that the default position of a family law court is that you and your opposing party should have similar amounts of possession and access to your child. Sure, one of you will be able to choose where your child lives on a full-time basis, but otherwise, periods of possession are split pretty evenly.

However, if you have a history of abusing or neglecting your child, then it is likely that you will be ordered to have only supervised visitation with your child. This means that any time you can be with your child will be directly supervised by another person. These supervised visitation sessions could occur at a restaurant, park, managed visitation facility, or even the other parent’s home.

As time goes by and you display better habits around your child, as far as keeping their safety in mind, you may be able to earn periods of possession where your visitation time is not supervised. Every circumstance related to supervised visitation is different, so I would advise you to contact our office to speak to one of our attorneys if you have a specific question about your circumstances.

The right to determine the primary residence of your child is typically a heated topic.

As I mentioned to you a moment ago, periods of possession allow you and your child’s other parent to have time with your child once your family law case has concluded. For the most part, the rights and duties that you and your child’s other parent share are relatively equal. However, perhaps the most crucial difference is that only one of you will have the right to determine your child’s primary residence.

“Determine the primary residence of your child” means that only one of you will be able to have your child reside with you during the school year. One parent will have visitation rights. All of that parents’ periods of visitation will be outlined in your final orders. The parent with the right to determine your child’s primary residence will have visitation at all other times. Generally speaking, in a Joint Managing Conservatorship, all other rights and duties are split down the middle.

Geographic Restrictions

A limitation to your determining your child’s primary residence comes in the form of a geographic restriction. A geographic restriction forces you to live within a particular geographic area after your family law case is over with. This is done to keep you from bouncing around the country and world wherever you would like, thus forcing the other parent to move with you to see their child.

Many parents will agree to use their home county and any county that borders that home county as the primary conservator’s geographic area. Some even pinpoint it further to either the home county by itself or even a school district within the home county. If you all go to court to have your case decided, the default setting would be to set your geographic restriction to your home county and any surrounding county. If you prefer something different, then it is up to you to negotiate with your opposing party.

Getting child support set up out of your family law case

In addition, to determine your child’s primary residence, the primary conservator can receive child support. That child support is supposed to go towards the daily support of your child. Food, clothing, shelter, medical care are supposed to be maintained at a basic level. Child support is an integral part of this equation because, as a parent with only visitation rights, you cannot physically be present with your child to provide for them on some days. Child support is supposed to even out the load.

A percentage of your net monthly resources will be assessed for child support purposes. You can take your take-home pay and multiply it by 20% for one child, 25% for two children, and up to 40% for five or more children. That will give you a rough estimate of your monthly child support obligation. You can receive small offsets for having children other than those you are responsible for caring for before the court. The absolute maximum that a parent can be expected to pay in child support is 50% of their net monthly income.

There is no difference in the child support that you are obligated to pay, depending upon whether or not you were ever married to your child’s other parent. Your income will be capped at $8,550 to calculate child support. This means that if your monthly net income is more significant than $8,550, only the first $8,550 is considered for child support.

What are other relevant factors when calculating child support?

Suppose a court believes that the method of calculating child support above is not in the best interests of your child. The age of your child, your child’s needs, your child’s other parent’s ability to earn an income and provide the necessities of life for your child, and whether or not your child has a disability of some sort all are relevant considerations to make. If your child has a mental or physical impairment that requires additional care, additional amounts of child support will likely be added to your total responsibility.

What about medical expenses? Are they a part of child support?

In addition to child support, If you are a noncustodial parent, you will also have to pay the medical bills (in part) of your child and provide health insurance coverage for them. If the child’s other parent pays for their health insurance, you will pay them directly for the cost of that policy. You may also pay for a policy out of your company’s health insurance. The final option that is likely to be relevant here is when you pay back the State of Texas for placing your child on a public health insurance option.

Wage withholding orders

It is common to send wage withholding orders to your employer to ensure that child support is paid on time and in full each month. Your child’s other parent will have this form filled out and sent to the judge for their signature. From that point, it will be forwarded to your employer for their reference. Every paycheck that comes out, a portion of the funds will go towards child support. If you are paid weekly, then a smaller amount will be taken out, and if you are a government employee and are paid once a month, a more significant portion of that check will go towards child support.

Once the money is sent from your employer, it will be processed by the Office of the Attorney General’s Child Support Division. From there, the funds will be sent to your child’s primary conservator for their usage.

How to change the orders related to child support

If you want to change how child support is paid in your case, you would need to file a modification petition with the court. A Petition to Modify is the name of the legal document that is filed under these circumstances. A court will be looking to see if a material and substantial change has occurred in your life, your child’s life, or the other party to justify a modification request.

Whether positive or negative, changes in your income are an everyday basis for filing a request to modify a child support order. Another would be if your ex-spouse or child suffered a disability that required more child support to be paid to support the child’s medical needs. Either way, if you are considering a request to increase child support, you must work with an attorney to do so. Child support modifications can be among the most hotly contested
of all family law cases.

How can you start a Texas family law case?

For the remainder of today’s blog, I would like to share how you would begin a Texas family law case. For example, if you want to file for divorce, you must file an original petition. Doing so would make you the petitioner in your case. Your spouse would then be the Respondent because they would need to respond to your Petition.

Before you start to think about any of the actual issues of your case, you would need to consider where your claim should be filed. Most people will file for divorce in the county where they reside because that is the only appropriate venue. However, if you have recently moved or plan on moving soon, that may not make sense for you.

To file for divorce in Texas, you or your spouse would need to have resided in the county where your divorce is to be filed for at least the past ninety days and in Texas (anywhere in Texas) for the past six months.

What are the grounds for your divorce?

A divorce can be filed in Texas for any reason or none at all. I will tell potential clients that you can file for divorce because you don’t like how he chews his dinner. You can base your divorce on any reason at all, and a court will grant your divorce so long as you meet the procedural rules of doing so. Tomorrow’s blog will begin by discussing the factors that can lead to a divorce being filed and the role these fault grounds can play in getting a divorce started.

Questions about Texas family law cases?

If you have any questions about the material that we discussed today, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys work tirelessly on our clients to achieve the results they and their families deserve. We work and live in this community and take a great deal of pride in providing the best representation in the city of Houston and its surrounding communities.

We offer free of charge consultations six days a week here in our office, where you can learn about our attorneys, our staff, and the services we can provide to you and your family. A half-hour can give you a huge leg up when it comes to learning about your case. Thank you for joining us today here on our blog, and we look forward to speaking to you in the future about your case.

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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 essential to speak with one of our Houston, TX, Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our divorce 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 Divorce 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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